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PenFed Credit Union Offers New Competitive 15-Month CD


UPDATE 1/30/16: Rate has been dropped to 1.26% APY.

Availability: Easy membership

On New Year’s Day, I was happy to see that PenFed Credit Union (PenFed) had raised the rate on its 1-year Money Market Certificate (CD), but a closer look dampened my enthusiasm when I saw the APY was only 1.21%.

A few days later, DA reader, StantheMan, posted he had been told by a PenFed rep that an "unadvertised 15-month CD Special paying 1.51%" would be offered, beginning on January 23, 2016.

That’s today, and DA reader, leef, noted in the Forum that the 15-month CD (1.51% APY) is indeed being offered. StantheMan, you’re definitely the man!

The minimum deposit for the 15-month CD is $1K, with no maximum balance cap.

1.46%$1k-PenFed Credit Union15 Month Money Market Certificate
Accounts mentioned in this post. Rates as of April 24, 2017.

Since I last wrote about PenFed, their Early Withdrawal Penalty (detailed on the Money Market Certificate Application) has changed and now reads as follows:

Certificates Having a Term Greater Than Six Months:

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

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.

Thanks again to both Stantheman and leef.


Headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, Pentagon Federal Credit Union offers membership to virtually all U.S. residents. PenFed’s online application lists the various ways in which individuals can qualify for membership.

If you meet any of the following requirements, you are eligible to join PenFed:

1. I am in the United States Military & Uniformed Services.

2. I am an employee of a qualifying organization.

3. I belong to the following association or organization.

4. I am an employee of the United State government.

5. I am a relative or housemate of someone who is eligible.

6. I live or work at an eligible location.

7. Other

Clicking on Option #7, "Other," provides information about joining PenFed through membership in either Voices for America’s Troops ($14, one-time only dues) or the National Military Family Association ($15, one-time only dues). Joining either of these associations and PenFed can be done simultaneously using PenFed’s online application.

Need another way to join? No problem!
Members of the National Military Family Association and Voices for America's Troops
are among those eligible for PenFed membership. We've made it easy for you to join one of these associations, which makes you eligible to join PenFed.

Opening a CD can be done online, or in person at any of 32 branches located in the District of Columbia (9), Florida, Hawaii (2), Maryland (2), North Carolina, Nebraska, New York (2), Oregon, Tennessee, Texas (2), Virginia (6), Guam, and Puerto Rico.

Credit Union Overview

PenFed Credit Union has an overall health grade of "A" at DepositAccounts.com, with a Texas ratio of 2.76% (excellent), based on September 30, 2015 data. In the past year, PenFed has increased its total deposits by $866.894 Million, an excellent annual growth rate of 6.25%. Please refer to our financial overview of PenFed Credit Union for more details.

Established in 1935, PenFed Credit Union (NCUA Certificate # 227) is one of the largest credit unions in the nation, with over 1.4 million members and assets in excess of $19 Billion.

How the CD Compares

When compared to the 99 similar length-of-term CDs tracked by DepositAccounts.com, requiring a similar minimum deposit and available nationally, PenFed Credit Union’s 15-month Money Market Certificate APY currently shares the top spot with USALLIANCE Financial’s 15-month Certificate Special.

The above rates are accurate as of 1/23/2016.

To look for the best nationwide CD rates and the best CD rates in your state, please refer to our CD rates table or our new Rates Map page.

Related Pages: PenFed Credit Union

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Anonymous   |     |   Comment #1
I guess an okay rate for 15 month but I am I glad I went ahead and got the Navy 2.5% 30 month instead.
TU HO   |     |   Comment #3
It's not easy for everyone can join Navy Federal CU.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #2
The Navy CU is has limited availability. The Penfed is a high rate for a 15 month and is easy membership. Wish another CU would offer 3% like Northwest did a couple of months ago with the add on for 3 years. I maxed on that one. I put some in the 1.5% and have other money ready if another high rate comes up. I don't see Penfed being a leader anymore. Put some money in the stock market too on the dips.
TU HO   |     |   Comment #4
Although the PenFed membership is easy, note that they will pull a hard inquire on your Equifax credit report. So I think if you don't have a plan to apply for a PenFed credit card or loan (their Credit Cards are great, and PenFed uses the same hard pull within 90 days for all application ), you shouldn't open a CD.
If I have to choose between PenFed and low-ranking CUs (offer a little bit higher rates), I prefer PenFed :)
Actually, I opened a 15-month CD at 5 a.m today. I cannot wait to jump in :)
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #5
I never worry about Equifax or any hard pull inquire.  I don't even take that into consideration.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #16
A hard credit pull when opening a new CD is a pain for those of us who have blocked access to our credit reports for security reasons.  While it is possible to temporarily reinstate access, the credit bureau's don't make it easy.  Unless it is an exceptional rate, I wait for an offer from a more traditional institution that only does a "soft" credit pull.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #6
I just opened one. I believe the hard pull is new member. For the joint wife had to answer 3 questions.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #7
PenFed has a pretty flat yield curve with only a 30 basis point difference between the 1-year and 7-year certificates.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #8
This rate is a joke!  The new CEO gets a pass on this!  If the CEO has a "good" loan department team they would be needing funds to fuel their growth...the low rate confirms that Penfed is past tense under the new leadership!  I'll defer
TU HO   |     |   Comment #9
Or they have too much money available for loan, xo they don't need to raise the CD rates ?
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #10
All rates are a joke. They are offering one of the highest rates for an approximately 1 year CD. Unless they are in need for a major cash infusion why would any sane CEO offer any higher rate?
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #17
Your choice.

Could be the new CEO is being cautious, being PenFed was burned several years ago by being overly aggressive with the extremely high rate CDs they offered. 

I'll stick with Pen Fed. 
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #18
Extremely high rate?  Only in the eyes of the beholder..."they" know the amount of loans they should close in the out months and therefore need $X and have to offer a reasonable rate...they don't have a proactive loan dept with this current offering!
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #19
They offered a 10 year 5% CD but there were limitations on it,  I'm pretty sure it was supposed to only be for people who had a cd coming due that month if I remember correctly. What happened was people that did not meet the requirements were allowed to open the CD and they were flooded... I thought that was very unfair of them because the people that followed the rules didn't get the CD but the people that didn't follow the rules got the CD....penfed never should have offered the CD if they weren't going to offer to everyone..imo.
Fifi   |     |   Comment #11
I joined PenFed last Wednesday without a problem.  I wanted their MM Certificate.  After I passed through all the set-up, I logged on to make sure all was o.k. so I could transfer money from my bank.  I was amazed to see "Welcome XXX XXX XXX" - and a name I haven't used since my divorce 12 years ago and a name I didn't give them.  It seems that when they pulled my credit information, they latched on to that name.  I immediately called and told them to use the name I had given them which was my legal name.  The agent said she couldn't do that unless I provided them legal documentation that the name I had given them (which is on passport, driver's license, etc.) was my real name!  Needless to say, I told them to close the account,  Hopefully they did.

Hope Navy CU has a new special rate CD offer soon.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #15
If I were you I would ask what credit beauru they used. You may have a problem with the way your credit prfile is set up. With the Patriot Act the bank is responsible that they can verify the identity of the person opening a CD. Many banks and CU's will ask for a copy of a drivers license or other ID when you open an account.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #12
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #13
Penfed's rates have really been disappointing... they used to be my best CDs.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #21
Penfed has on of the highest rates for an approximately 1 year CD and they get bashed. All rates stink. I think that the last time they offered the 3% CD they couldn't handle in in flow and had many people close old CD's and open new CD's at the higher rate.
Midwest saver
Midwest saver   |     |   Comment #14
I tried to open 15 month IRA certificates this morning and was told by CSR that rate is not available for IRA certificates, only money market. One more limitation. This rate chase game is getting frustrating.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #23
Is anybody having trouble opening this 15 Month Certificate online ? Thanks
TU HO   |     |   Comment #24
I have no trouble. It's really smooth.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #25
Thanks for your feedback.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #27
When does this promotion end?
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #28
I'd also like to know when the promotion ends.  I just joined today so I could get this CD.  I'd prefer to set up a ladder -- split the amount I want to put into the CD over more than one certificate, and spread the start day out by a month for each CD.  Do folks with experience with PenFed's promotional CD rates know how long the offers typically last?
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #30
It's tough to predict.  The institutions customarily commence their deals with need for a particular amount of money for a particular term.  They make known their special deal offer in order quickly to raise that dough.  When their needs have been fulfilled they close down the deal.  So amount of time the deal is out there depends heavily on strength of response.

Sometimes, which speaking with a phone rep, I will ask how busy they are or how much response (whatever) deal has elicited.  The reply is not something upon which you can rely, but on occasion a rep will offer a bit of insight not available elsewhere.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #31
Thanks for the response.  
RJM   |     |   Comment #29
I will probably open one. 1.5% is more than 1%.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #32
I already have an account w/ Penfed and it was quick and easy to add and fund the new 15 month CD tonight.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #33
Very easy. You now e sign docs and print your CD papers. They don't mail forms anymore.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #34
I called PenFed and asked if there's a known expiration date for this promotional rate.  I was told that it is good through the month of February.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #35
They told my mom today that the special ends TODAY (January 29).  I don't believe it, though.  It sounds like the representative she spoke with was making things up as he spoke.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #37
Looks like they were right, says 1.26% now for 15 months.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #36
The 10-year fell to 2.6% this week. I think savers are finally whipped into shape. I see recession, no rate increases and more QE in 2016.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #38
The 1.51% APY rate is gone.  It's been changed to 1.26% APY this morning.
CapitalClimate   |     |   Comment #39
Thanks a lot, PenFed. I had a CD mature yesterday I was going to roll over with additional deposit. Now you're going to lose the entire balance.
vgadhok   |     |   Comment #40
call them today, they will still honor the rate until Feb 1st (they did for me). 
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #41
#39:  Lesson is...always do your due diligence, bargain, etc. and perhaps "they" want to keep your money!!!   Some have flexibility.  The hard part is getting a new customer with the easiest being to keep an old customer...of course, this assumes "you" are one that does not jump at the EWP and move money all the time or around town!  Thanks, #40.
CapitalClimate   |     |   Comment #43
So they said yesterday, but as of today CD is still not open.  Called back, they said there was an "error"; it should be processed in a couple of days. We shall see.
RJM   |     |   Comment #45
Any news ?
RJM   |     |   Comment #48
As I posted below, she said they are way backed up so to expect it to take 5-7 days to update but that it will be backdated when they do.
I guess a lot of people buying them is why they reduced the rate.
Supply & demand.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #49
And, of course, you confirmed in writing!
RJM   |     |   Comment #51
stupid post
RJM   |     |   Comment #42
Just called & asked. They said they would honor the 1.5% but then said wait, you don't have it in your share account. So I have to transfer it into my share account first but said then would honor the 1.5% when I call back I guess wed.

He was going to do the ACH from their end but their limit is $5000.

So I had to do it from mine.

I had attempted to open it over the weekend but ran into a down website or something.
RJM   |     |   Comment #44
My ACH in got there today so I called to open the CD. She took the information but it needs approval from someone else and they are supposed to let me know later today.

Im going to be ticked off if they say no after I ACHed in $60k.  But I hope & expect it will go as planned.

I will update here.
RJM   |     |   Comment #46
They called back, a 3rd person from penfed and said they are doing it as a one time courtesy. But it might be 5-7 business days before it shows up because they are incredibly behind. It would be backdated for today however. She said.
RJM   |     |   Comment #50
The $60k is missing from my account but it seems to be just like the rep said.  The new CD will be opened & backdated to 1/31.

RJM   |     |   Comment #52
I just now logged in and refreshed my account and the $60k showed up just like they promised.

Current Balance:  $60,000.00
Available Balance:  $60,000.00 Dividend Rate:  1.50%   |   APY:  1.51%   |   Maturity Date:  04/30/2017
RJM   |     |   Comment #53
The $60k has not yet updated via Mint.com.
Its in my account, it just doesnt show up on mint. I thought overnight refreshing would have solved it but it didnt.
In the past, new CDs would show up immediately I think.
RJM   |     |   Comment #54
The $60k showed up on Mint. All is good. I dont know if its because i complained to mint or it just showed up.