PenFed Credit Union Offers Special Holiday Rates On Short-Term CDs


Deal Summary: Money Market Certificates – 12-month (0.85% APY) and 15-month (1.00% APY), $1k minimum deposit.

Availability: Easy membership requirement

Lock in a special holiday rate!

PenFed Credit Union (PenFed) is definitely spreading some holiday cheer with two competitive Money Market Certificates (MMC). Following recent rate increases, the 12-month MMC now earns 0.85% APY, with the 15-month MCC currently earning 1.00% APY. Either MMC can be opened with a $1k minimum deposit, with no stated balance cap.

1.00%$1k-PenFed Credit Union15 Month Money Market Certificate
0.85%$1k-PenFed Credit Union12 Month Money Market Certificate
Rates as of January 26, 2022.

As stated on the Money Market Application page, the Early Withdrawal Penalty (EWP) for terms greater than six months reads as follows:

a. If redeemed within the first year, all dividends will be forfeited.

b. If redeemed thereafter, but prior to the maturity date, the early withdrawal penalty will equal 30% of what would have been earned if the certificate had been held to maturity, not to exceed total dividends earned.

PenFed reserves the right to require a written notice of up to 60 days of the intention to withdraw funds pertaining to this certificate.

This EWP is punitive, particularly for short-term MMCs. The 12-month MMC would lose all dividends earned. The 15-month MMC would also lose all dividends earned for an early withdrawal made during the first 12 months. An early withdrawal after that would then lose approximately 4 ½ months of dividends.

According to the Disclosure section at the bottom of Money Market Certificates page,

For all certificates funded by ACH, funds cannot be withdrawn within the first 60 days of the account opening.

On the other hand, PenFed continues to allow penalty-free partial withdrawals of IRA MMCs for members over the age of 59 1/2. The following is an excerpt from the IRA MMC disclosure:

Partial withdrawals for members over the age 59 1/2 (including Required Minimum Distributions) and qualified distributions regardless of age (including Disability) may be processed from IRA certificates without incurring an early redemption penalty.

This withdrawal policy could possibly (and partially) explain why PenFed now keeps its IRA MMC rates five bps lower than its standard MMCs.

Funding and Distribution of Funds

Funding an MMC can be done by ACH, wire transfer, or check. PenFed does not participate in the CO-OP Shared Branch network.

Earned dividends can be added back into the MCC; transferred to a Regular Share, checking, or Money Market Savings account; or distributed by check to the address on file.

Maturing funds will be distributed by check or transferred to a Regular Share, checking, or Money Market Savings account.

Unlimited beneficiaries can be named, with assigned percentages available. Social Security number, full legal name, and physical address are required for each beneficiary.

Renewal Policies

As stated in the Money Market Certificate Disclosure,

At the time of establishing a certificate, you may elect to have your certificate automatically renew. You may change your renewal selection any time during the term of the certificate, but prior to the maturity date.

    1. Automatically Renewable Certificates – If you selected this option, your certificate will automatically renew at maturity. There is no grace period during which penalty-free withdrawals may be received following the maturity of this certificate.

    2. Non-Renewable Certificates – If you selected this option, your certificate will not renew automatically at maturity. If you do not renew the certificate, the funds in the certificate will be transferred to your Regular Share account, checking account, or MMSA, according to your selection, and will earn dividends based on the dividend rate then in effect for that account. If you elected to have your certificate funds paid to you, your certificate will no longer earn dividends after payment.

Premium Online Savings

In addition to these new holiday MMC rates, PenFed increased the rate of its Premium Online Savings Account. The new rate is 0.55%, a gain of 5 bps. In October, the rate was increased from 0.45% to 0.50%. Since the MMCs have such a punitive EWP, many PenFed members may prefer to just keep their money in this savings account.

0.55%--PenFed Credit UnionPremium Online Savings
Rates as of January 26, 2022.


Headquartered in McLean, Virginia, PenFed Credit Union’s field of membership (FOM) had been open to almost every U.S. citizen or resident alien for many years, with a longlist of ways to qualify. For those who did not qualify through residency, employment, or military relationship, joining one of two charitable organizations provided a pathway to PenFed membership.

The days of determining how to qualify for PenFed membership are over: the only requirement is now depositing $5 in a Savings/Share account.

When I about PenFed last summer, the online application hadn’t been updated to reflect the new membership eligibility and still listed a variety of membership requirements (residency, employment, organizational affiliation, military relationship, and none-of the above).

The Membership Application has been streamlined down to three simple steps.

Step1 – Eligibility – Good news! PenFed membership is open to everyone, including you.

Step 2 – Provide Your Info – Enter your name, phone number, email and address to get started.

Step 3 – Open An Account – Open your savings account with just a $5 initial deposit and you’re a PenFed member!

Joining PenFed and/or opening a Money Market Certificate can done online or at any of the 38 full-service branches located in California, the District of Columbia (3), Florida (3), Georgia (2), Hawaii (3), Maryland, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York (4), Pennsylvania (2), Texas (10), Virginia (5), and Wisconsin.

You will need to maintain a $5 Savings/Share Account as part of your PenFed membership.

PenFed participates in the Allpoint ATM network providing members with access to 85,000 surcharge-free ATMs at large retailers such as Target, CVS, and 7-Eleven.

Credit Union Overview

PenFed Credit Union has an overall health grade of "A+" at, with a Texas Ratio of 3.42% (excellent), based on September 30, 2021 data. In the past year, PenFed has increased its total non-brokered deposits by $2.28 billion, an excellent annual growth rate of 11.9%. Please refer to our financial overview of PenFed Credit Union (NCUA Charter # 227) for more details.

Established in 1935, PenFed Credit Union is currently the third largest credit union in the nation, with more than 2,430,000 members and assets in excess of $29.7 billion.

How the Money Market Certificates Compare

When compared to 155 similar length-of-term CDs tracked by that are nationally available and require a similar minimum deposit, PenFed Credit Union's 15-month Money Market Certificate APY currently ranks second.

When compared to 216 similar length-of-term CDs tracked by that are nationally available and require a similar minimum deposit, PenFed Credit Union's 12-month Money Market Certificate APY currently ranks second.

The above information and rates are accurate as of 12/17/2021.

To searching for the best CD rates, both nationwide and in your state? Please refer to CD Rates Table page.

Related Pages: 1-year CD rates, nationwide deals


#1 - This comment has been removed for violating our comment policy.
  |     |   Comment #3
NASA Federal Credit Union has a 15-month 1.05% CD, minimum $10,000 new money.
  |     |   Comment #4
I was thinking I would get the 12 month cd to wait until rates go up but now I'm thinking that rates may go up as early as March and hopefully there'll be at least one CD rate abpve 2 percent.
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