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New Paper Statement Fee at Pentagon Federal Credit Union


Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed) is the latest credit union to start charging members who choose to keep receiving paper statements. PenFed has been sending out notices informing members of this change. I just received an email yesterday. A reader reported receiving a notice in his credit card statement. Here’s a summary of the new fees that will be effective on August 1, 2013:

  • $1.00 fee for each paper copy of credit card statement.
  • $1.00 fee for each paper copy of Consolidated Statement of Accounts.

The fees can be avoided by signing up for electronic statements.

PenFed sends each credit card statement and consolidated account statement (savings and checking) separately. So if you have more than one credit card with PenFed, the fees can quickly add up.

Pushing members to e-statements has been common. Not all credit unions use the fee approach. Some use incentives rather than fees. The high yield from reward checking accounts is an example of an incentive since e-statements is always one of the qualifications for the high yield.

If you prefer paper statements, you can always print out the statements. Of course, this will cost you paper and ink. I prefer to keep an electronic copy and only print out the statement if there’s an important reason. That avoids the cost of printing. I keep backups of the statements (and other files) in USB flash drives, and I place one of those flash drives in my safe deposit box each year. Do you print out all of your e-statements?

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Bancxman   |     |   Comment #1
Ken: This is good advice. I too download my online account statements to a flash drive. Paper statements carry a risk of identity theft. It doesn't take much effort for anyone to intercept my account statements in the mail.
paoli2   |     |   Comment #2
Thanks for the info.  I just called PenFed and was told I am already signed up for electronic statements.  I thought I was getting paper.  I will just sporatically print out a copy but not do it every month unless I see problems.
Alskar   |     |   Comment #3
As an Electrical Engineer and somebody that is pretty knowledgeable about MLC (Mult-Level Cell) flash memory technology used in USB flash memory drives I STRONGLY encourge everybody NOT to use flash drives for long-term storage.  MLC flash is prone to losing memory over time, particularly if it is not re-written periodically.  In my view, a flash drive is a very poor choice for archival of important data.

For tax records that only have to last 3-7 years I use old fashioned, non-rewritable CD's to store my data.  They also have issues over time, but they should last long enough to keep the IRS happy, something that can't be said about flash drives.  My second choice, would be non-rewritable DVD's. 

For data that has to last indefinitely, I use a lower density (<500MB) USB hard drive kept in my safe deposit box.  I also use a cloud backup service.

Another note:  A home safe rated at 1200 deg for 1 hour is supposedly (safe manufacturers cheat on their testing) tested to keep the interior of the safe below 350 deg F for an hour in a 1200 deg fire.  350 deg F was chosen because that's about the temperature where paper begins to yellow.  Spinning media will die when the magnetic material gets above its curie temperature (around 200 deg F).  Flash media will be dead long before that. That means your important data may only last 20-30 minutes in a safe rated for 60 minutes. 

If you want to keep important data safe from fire, you need a safe that is "media rated" or use a "media box" inside your home safe. 
psjf   |     |   Comment #4
Wow, Alskar.  Thank you so much for the info here.  I'm thinking I might have assumed a little too much about the fireproof qualities of my safe and need to go back and investigate further.  I do keep a second copy of the files offsite but only update it once per year or so.  Sounds like i need to reevaluate this strategy a bit.  Thanks for the prompting!   
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #5
I still keep a paper copy in my fireproof file. I like to and sometimes need to go back a year to check something out and like the convience of a paper copy. Today in fact I will on the phone with IRS trying to find out how to split my husband basis out of mine when I disclaimed some IRA's. I needed 2 years copies of a from. Still use ledgers also to keep track of IRA's, CD's, reward checking accounts and a savings accounts keeping track when they are due, interest rate, and how much is in each place so I am not near any limits. I find it easier to keep track of interest and income for record keeping. I make copies of whicn banks and what  accounts and their  numbers once a year for the kids. Am in the process now getting on bank and credit union letterhead  account numbers with names of beneficiaries on each account. After some of my husband Roth's were added to mine after his death,  beneficiaries were lost even though I had the same account number. I am being proactive and leaving nothing to chance. 
Mark   |     |   Comment #6
Create an encrypted file container with a 14-18 character password, drop your statements in the container, and store the encrypted file only you can access in the cloud at a place like DropBox.  End of story.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #7
While on the subject of Pen Fed, it's hard to believe their 3-year CD was 1.85% back in February.  Now it's 0.94%.  So not only have they dumped their CD rates they want to nickel and dime us for paper statements.  Yet another institution that has decided to **** over it's members.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #10
I am glad Ken posted on the $1 fee.   ($4 for a year is not much but why should I pay when I have plenty of other accounts that give me free services.) I don't want all electronic banking statements.  I like receiving my paper statements and hold onto them.  

I closed my Penfed account this morning.  I hope more will do the same.  I am within their field of membership so if rates ever do go up and they offer a decent deal, I can rejoin and deal with the fees then.

Interest rates on mortgages have been going up recently while very little has happened to savings interest rates.   I will try to do business with those institutions that raise their rates and of course, do not charge me fees.
paoli2   |     |   Comment #11
Did I misunderstand something.  $4.00 a year?  I thought these paper statements came out monthly. Wouldn't that be $12.00 a year?  I would not leave Penfed over $4.00 a year.  If it is only done 4 times a year, I can easily print them out.  To each his own tho.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #12
They're still in the business of making a profit.  By encouraging e-statments, hopefully they will continue to offer good CD rates from time to time.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #13
Below are Penfed's good rates.  If Penfed was my only choice on c.d.'s, then I would prefer a higher or near equal savings rate from an institution that mails out paper statements and does not charge you a $1 fee to mail you a bill for your credit card.

  1.25% $1k - 7 Year Money Market Cerificate
  1.15% $1k - 5 Year Money Market Cerificate
  1.10% $1k - 4 Year Money Market Cerificate
  0.94% $1k - 3 Year Money Market Cerificate
  0.74% $1k - 2 Year Money Market Cerificate
  0.50% $1k - 1 Year Money Market Cerificate
  0.30% $1k - 6 Month Money Market Cerificate
Shorebreak   |     |   Comment #14
Someone has to pay for that 5% cash-back on gasoline purchases using their Visa Platinum Cash Rewards credit card. Seriously, PenFed, being the third largest credit union in the country, is just a reflection of what is occurring throughout the financial industry. They are trying to squeeze a buck out of every service provided that they can.
Kaight   |     |   Comment #15
Everything old is new again. It now appears to me that those having both Valor and PenFed memberships, who today (read Ken's post, above) receive without charge from PenFed only e-statements, will be able once again to receive paper statements following the merger on March first. At the very least this would appear to apply to persons sixty-five years of age and older.

What do you think? Do I have this right?
Ill ???
Ill ???   |     |   Comment #16
If you're old
If not $1 paper statement fee.
Ill ???
Ill ???   |     |   Comment #17
I would like to receive paper consolidated statements. Except where prohibited by law, there is a fee of $1.00 for each paper consolidated statement I receive (unless I have a PenFed Checking Account with a monthly direct deposit of at least $500/month). There is no fee for paper first mortgage statements.
LuvCD   |     |   Comment #18
Amazing how the fees just keep on going
Bogey   |     |   Comment #19
No different than the airlines charging an extra fee for everything that used to be free.