PenFed Credit Union CD Rates, Checking, Savings, Money Market, and IRA Accounts

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Reviewed By

Updated on Wednesday, July 1, 2020

PenFed CD Rates

PenFed Money Market Certificates

Term

APY

Minimum Deposit to Open

6 months

0.40%

$1,000

12 months

0.70%

$1,000

15 months

0.70%

$1,000

18 months

0.70%

$1,000

2 years

0.75%

$1,000

3 years

0.80%

$1,000

4 years

0.85%

$1,000

5 years

1.00%

$1,000

7 years

1.05%

$1,000

PenFed refers to its certificate of deposit (CD) products as money market certificates. They feature competitive rates and renewal flexibility. 

  • Minimum amount to open an account: $1,000
  • Minimum amount to earn APY: $1,000
  • Early withdrawal penalties, which depend on the original term of the CD, are: 
    • For a 6-month certificate, you’ll forfeit any dividends earned if you withdraw the amount before 90 days, or a full 90 days’ worth of dividends thereafter.
    • For a longer-term certificate, you’ll forfeit all dividends earned if you withdraw the amount within the first year, or 30% of what you would have earned if you kept the certificate to maturity (if you withdraw the amount after one year, but before the certificate matures).

One of the nice things about PenFed’s Money Market Certificates is that they are very flexible in terms of how your dividends are paid out and what happens to the certificate upon maturity. You can choose to have dividends reinvested into your certificate or paid out each month by direct deposit into a PenFed savings, checking or money market savings accounts, or mailed to you as a check.

There is no grace period after maturity to decide what to do with your funds, like with many other institutions. Instead, you choose upfront whether you want to roll over the certificate at maturity or close it. However, you can change your mind at any time prior to the maturity date.

The only apparent downside of PenFed’s money market certificates is that you are not allowed to make a partial withdrawal. If you need to withdraw cash early, you can only remove the full amount. If you do need to withdraw funds, you can also only do so after giving written notice to the credit union, which reserves the right to require up to 60 days’ notice.

How to get a PenFed Money Market Certificate

To get this certificate, you’ll need to be a member of the credit union. Joining is easy and only takes a few minutes.

As a part of the application process, you’ll need to deposit at least $5 into a PenFed savings account. Once this is done, you can open up your certificate with a minimum deposit of at least $1,000.

PenFed will mail you a signature form to complete your account application. However, you can still open new accounts online before completing this final task.

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How PenFed’s Money Market Certificates compare

PenFed offers very competitive rates on its Money Market Certificates. Each certificate carries a higher-than-average interest rate compared to those listed in our roundup of the best available CDs. These high rates, combined with flexibility on how you earn dividend payments and how the money market certificate is renewed, make this a great choice for people looking for a well-rounded CD option from a credit union.


PenFed’s Coverdell Education Savings Certificates

Lower minimum deposit requirements make this account more accessible for parents.

Term

APY

Minimum Deposit to Open & Earn APY

1 year

0.60%

$500

2 years

0.65%

$500

3 years

0.70%

$500

4 years

0.75%

$500

5 years

0.90%

$500

7 years

0.95%

$500

  • Minimum amount to open an account: $500
  • Minimum amount to earn APY: $500
  • Early withdrawal penalty: If you withdraw the certificate within one year, you’ll forfeit any dividends earned. If you withdraw the certificate after one year has passed, you’ll pay a penalty equal to 30% of what you would have earned if you had kept the certificate to maturity.

PenFed’s Coverdell Education Savings Certificates are a great tool to help save for college. These certificates have a lower, and therefore more accessible, minimum account opening requirement compared to the credit union’s regular Money Market Certificates. You can contribute up to the maximum yearly amount set by the IRS ($2,000) to this Coverdell account.When you set up your account, you can choose what happens when the CD matures: either renew the certificate for a similar term or deposit the amount into a new Coverdell certificate account. Unlike PenFed’s regular certificates, you do have the option to make a partial withdrawal during the term of the certificate if needed, provided that it doesn’t drop the balance below $500. If you do make a partial withdrawal, that amount will also be subject to early withdrawal penalties.

How to get PenFed’s Coverdell Education Savings Certificates

To get this certificate, you’ll need to be a member of the credit union. Joining is easy and only takes a few minutes. As a part of the application process you’ll need to deposit at least $5 into a PenFed savings account. Once this is done, you can open up your Coverdell account with a minimum deposit of at least $500.

PenFed Access America Checking account

Great interest rates, but make sure you can meet the requirements to get the monthly fee waived.

APY

Account Balance to Earn APY

0.20%

Up to $19,999.99

0.50%

$20,000 - $50,000

  • Minimum amount to open an account: $25
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $10
  • How to avoid the account maintenance fee: Keep $500 or more in your account, or have at least $500 directly deposited into your account each month.
  • ATM fee: None for in-network ATMs. Out-of-network withdrawals incur a $1.50 PenFed fee, in addition to whatever surcharge the ATM’s owner charges.
  • Overdraft fee: $30 as an opt-in line of credit that is subject to approval.

Unfortunately, this checking account charges a monthly fee, but if you have a job with a direct-deposit paycheck or at least a little bit of cash, it’s not a hard fee to beat. Interest is compounded daily and credited monthly.

The Access America account offers users the mobile payments feature via Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay. If you prefer cash, some of Penfed’s accounts offer access to over 68,000 ATMs.

A downside of this account is the overdraft line of credit option. Unlike other banks where you can simply overdraw from a savings account, PenFed allows overdraws from a line of credit with fairly dismal terms — a fixed annual percentage rate (APR) approaching 20%. Although many customers may cover their overdraft rather quickly, this could spell trouble for those unable to cover their overdraft amounts in a timely manner. This overdraft line of credit is an opt-in program, and it is not automatically applied when you open your account.

Still, it is easy to look past that downside on an account that charges zero ATM fees except for any surcharge fees an out-of-network ATM owner would charge. If you’re looking for a high-interest-earning checking account and use the ATM often, this would be a great checking account for you.

How to get PenFed’s Access America Checking account

To get this account, you’ll need to be a member of the credit union. Complete an application and deposit $5 into a PenFed savings account. Once your application is complete or if you’re already a member, you can open any new financial product directly online. PenFed will mail you a signature form, but you can still open new accounts before completing this final task.

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How PenFed’s Access America Checking account compares

PenFed’s Access America Checking account offers a low annual percentage yield (APY) compared to our roundup of the best online checking accounts. In addition, the credit union charges its own fees on out-of-network ATMs and offers no refunds for third-party ATM fees.

There are plenty of other checking account options that charge no monthly fees and also reimburse third-party ATM fees. Unlike other checking accounts that charge a flat rate for any overdrafts, PenFed’s optional line of credit accrues its own interest. The APR for its overdraft line of credit is exorbitant, even when compared against credit cards — let alone other banks.

PenFed Money Market Savings account

Very low rates for this account, even if you carry a high balance.

APY

Minimum Balance to Earn APY

0.05%

Up to $9,999.99

0.10%

$10,000 - $99,999.99

0.15%

Over $100,000

  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: $1.50 fee for both in-network and out-of-network ATM withdrawals, plus whatever fee the ATM’s owner charges.
  • ATM fee refunds: None.
  • Overdraft fee: $30 as an opt-in line of credit that is subject to approval.
  • Excessive transaction fee: $10 if you exceed six certain transactions per month.

PenFed’s Money Market Savings account is designed to earn higher APYs than its Regular Savings account, and that’s exactly what this account does — but only if you bring at least $10,000 of cash to the table.

Although this account doesn’t have a monthly account maintenance fee, there are other fees to watch out for. You don’t typically use ATMs with a money market account as often as with a checking account, but if you do need to use it, you’ll pay a $1.50 fee to make a withdrawal, even at an in-network PenFed ATM.

A better way to get your cash out of this account is with the free checks that come with this account or via an account transfer. Federal Reserve’s Regulation D mandates certain types of telephone and electronic withdrawals, including transfers from savings accounts up to 6 per statement cycle.

How to get PenFed’s Money Market Savings account

To get a PenFed Money Market savings account, you’ll need to be a member of the credit union. Joining is easy and only takes a few minutes. As a part of the application process, you’ll need to deposit at least $5 into a PenFed savings account. Once this is done, you can open up your Money Market savings account with a minimum deposit of at least $25.

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How PenFed’s Money Market Savings account compares

The APY on PenFed’s money market account is very low compared to the rates on our listing of the best accounts. In fact, you can earn higher interest rates by keeping your money in PenFed’s checking account.

Furthermore, we find it odd that the credit union charges you to make an ATM withdrawal from this account — even from its own ATMs. At least PenFed offers free checks, but that won’t help you if you need quick cash.

PenFed Regular Savings account

Lackluster savings account that offers a low rate and charges for ATM withdrawals.

APY

Minimum Deposit to Open

0.05%

$5

  • Minimum opening deposit: $5
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: $1.50 fee for both in-network and out-of-network ATM withdrawals, plus whatever fee the ATM’s owner charges.
  • ATM fee refund: None.
  • Overdraft fee: $30 as an opt-in line of credit that is subject to approval.
  • Excessive transaction fee: $10 if you exceed six certain transactions per month.

This is the basic account that you need to become a PenFed member and open any other account. It’s designed as a free savings account and does pay a minimal APY, but don’t expect much more.

If you need to take out cash from this account via an ATM, you’ll pay a $1.50 fee per withdrawal, even if you use a PenFed ATM. Unlike for its money market checking account, you don’t get free checks with this account. That means the only way you can make a free transaction into or out of this account is either online or by visiting a branch.

How to Get PenFed’s Regular Savings account

You need to get this account to be a member of the credit union. Joining is easy and only takes a few minutes. As a part of the application process, you’ll need to deposit at least $5 into this savings account. The credit union will mail you a signature form to complete your account application, but you can still open new accounts online before completing this final task.

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How PenFed’s Savings account compares

The interest rate this savings account is extremely low. You likely won’t earn much, especially when compared with other online high-interest savings accounts listed on our site.

Furthermore, we don’t like the fact that you need to pay to use an ATM with this account, even for in-network PenFed ATMs. Most banks at least let you use their own in-network ATMs for free, so the fact that you need to pay to do so with this account puts it at an even further disadvantage.

However, even though all members are required to open this account when establishing their membership with PenFed, it doesn’t mean you have to use it. It’s perfectly fine to let it sit idle with the $5 minimum deposit since there are no monthly account maintenance fees. It’s probably best to view this account just as the minimum requirement for PenFed credit union membership.

PenFed Premium Online Savings Account

A welcome step up from PenFed’s basic savings account, with a respectable APY and no monthly maintenance fee.

APY

Minimum Balance Amount

1.00%

$5

  • Minimum opening deposit: $5
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • Overdraft fee: $30 as an opt-in line of credit that is subject to approval.
  • Excessive transaction fee: $10 if you exceed six certain transactions per month.

PenFed seems to be committed to passing on in-branch savings with its online-only offering. Most of the terms are the same as in its regular savings account, except for the fact that you won’t be able to manage your account at a physical branch. Considering PenFed’s 24/7 access to customer service personnel, this lack of branch access probably won’t be much of an issue and is offset by the APY boost.PenFed’s other accounts charge a small fee to use in-network PenFed ATMs, but that isn’t an option with this account as there is no ATM access whatsoever. So customers will need to make their transfers online, over the phone or in person at a branch.

How to Get PenFed’s Premium Online Savings Account

To get a PenFed Premium savings account, you’ll need to be a member of the credit union. Joining is easy and only takes a few minutes. As a part of the application process you’ll need to deposit at least $5 into Penfed’s Regualar Savings account.

The credit union will mail you a signature form to complete your account application, but you can still open new accounts online before completing this final check mark.

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How PenFed’s Premium Online Savings Account compares

The interest rate on PenFed’s Premium Online savings account is refreshingly competitive. You do sacrifice accessibility in terms of of visiting a branch or using ATMs, so this account might not be best for those who need cash quickly.

That being said, if you are looking for somewhere to park your money for a while and let it accrue interest, this could be a good account for you.

PenFed IRA CD

No fees on partial withdrawals for those ages 59½ and over make this IRA certificate a great account choice for mature consumers.

Term

APY

Minimum Deposit to Open & Earn APY

1 year

0.60%

$1,000

2 years

0.65%

$1,000

3 years

0.70%

$1,000

4 years

0.75%

$1,000

5 years

0.90%

$1,000

7 years

0.95%

$1,000

  • Minimum amount to open an account: $1,000
  • Minimum amount to earn APY: $1,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: If you withdraw the money in the first year, you’ll forfeit all dividends earned. If you withdraw the money after one year but before the certificate matures, you’ll pay 30% of what you would have earned if you kept the certificate to maturity.

At first glance, PenFed’s IRA certificates look pretty run-of-the-mill. The minimum opening deposit is fairly high, especially if you’re a young saver just looking to start out. Over time, the certificate interest adds up. They are considered one of the safest investments, but it will take a long time to see noticeable returns.

However, what makes these IRA certificates stand out as better options for more mature savers is that if you’re age 59½ and over, you can make partial early withdrawals penalty-free. So if you need to take out the cash early in retirement, it won’t cost you as long as you leave at least $1,000 in the certificate for the account to stay open. However, you will need to consult with your tax professional about any IRS penalties you might incur.

Another benefit is that you can make withdrawals at any time, so long as they are reinvested in a PenFed IRA product. Otherwise, you will be subject to withdrawal penalties from both the bank and the IRS.

How to get a PenFed IRA Certificate

To get a PenFed IRA certificate, you’ll need to be a member of the credit union. Joining is easy and only takes a few minutes. As a part of the application process, you’ll need to deposit at least $5 into a PenFed Regular Savings account. Once this is done, you can open your IRA certificate with a minimum deposit of at least $1,000.

The credit union will mail you a signature form to complete your account application, but you can still open new accounts online before completing this final check.

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How PenFed’s IRA CDs compare

While PenFed doesn’t offer the highest interest rates on its IRA certificates, the credit union is industry-competitive. If you’re looking to get as high in returns as possible, it’s tough to go wrong with PenFed, but you may earn more with other IRA CDs listed on our site.

What stands out the most with PenFed’s IRA certificates is that people who are over age 59½ can make partial withdrawals from these certificates without paying any early withdrawal penalties (assuming they keep at least a $1,000 balance in the certificate to keep it open). This unique feature is why PenFed’s IRA certificates can be a good choice for older adults looking to retain access to their capital throughout the term of an investment.

PenFed IRA Savings Account

A low APY means your money will grow, but not at a substantial or competitive rate.

APY

Minimum Deposit to Open

0.05%

$25

  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None

Remember how everyone is required to open a PenFed savings account and fund it with at least $5 if they want to become a member? This account is the IRA version of that. Specifically, if you want to open up an IRA product — such as one of PenFed’s IRA certificates — you’ll need to open one of these accounts first.This will be the default account that your IRA certificate money is deposited into if you elect not to have the certificate auto-renew when it matures. It’s a decent place to store your money in the short term until you withdraw it for retirement or move it to another IRA investment, but not a great option to grow your money due to the lackluster interest rate.

How to get PenFed’s IRA Savings Account

To get a PenFed IRA Savings Account, you’ll need to be a member of the credit union. Joining is easy and only takes a few minutes. As a part of the application process, you’ll need to deposit at least $5 into a PenFed Regular Savings account. Once this is done, you can open your IRA savings account with a minimum deposit of at least $25.

The credit union will mail you a signature form to complete your account application, but you can still open new accounts online before completing this final check mark.

PenFed IRA Premier Account

Similar to PenFed’s regular IRA Savings account, just with a higher minimum balance requirement.

APY

Minimum Deposit to Open

0.05%

$10,000

  • Minimum amount to open an account: $10,000
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None.

The high minimum balance requirement to open this account and the $10,000 minimum deposit required to receive the premier rate make it hard to understand the appeal of this account. There are many other IRA savings options at other banks that yield significantly higher interest and may even reward savers who can ante up an amount like $10,000.

How to get a PenFed IRA Premium account

To get this certificate, you’ll need to be a member of the credit union. Joining is easy and only takes a few minutes. As a part of the application process, you’ll need to deposit at least $5 into a PenFed Regular Savings account. Once this is done, you can open your IRA certificate with a minimum deposit of at least $10,000.

PenFed will mail you a signature form to complete your account application, but you can still open new accounts online before completing this final check.

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How PenFed’s IRA Premium account compares

At the time of writing this article, it is hard to see any benefit to this account. The high minimum balance and paltry APY make little sense when compared to some of PenFed’s other products.

Typically, the more money you bring to the table, the higher the interest rate you can earn (as with PenFed’s Money Market Savings account), but that is not the case with this account. That could change in the future, however, if the credit union decides to increase its interest rates for this account.

Overall review of PenFed’s banking products

When it comes to banking accounts, PenFed really shines in some areas and is somewhat lackluster in others. Specifically, we like the high rates offered on its checking accounts and certificate products, which currently run near the top of the pack. The added advantage for people who are over age 59½ to withdraw money from the IRA certificates without paying a penalty as long as they keep at least $1,000 in the certificate is also a great option.

However, other products — such as its savings and money market accounts — fall a bit short. We find it odd that the credit union charges ATM fees for some of its accounts even if you use a PenFed network ATM. Furthermore, each of PenFed’s savings accounts offers such low rates that we can’t recommend them as a place to grow your money, although it might be a place to store it while you look for a higher-yielding option.

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