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Penfed has long offered very competive life-of-the-balance transfer offers for new AND existing customers on their credit cards. Previous threads discussing these are here and here

Note that the monthly minimum payment has been lowered to 2% of the outstanding balance, from the previous 2.5% mentioned in the older threads.

Now, with rates a-rising, these deals are better than ever...a great way to lock in fixed, unsecured debt at below-secured rates with no fees.

Anyway, I was pleased to find in today's mail a convenience check for both my and Ms. DH's penfed CC that can be written at the 4.99% rate, provided it clears by 5/31/06. While the accompanying letter says that the check is labeled "for balance transfers only", in really has no restrictions at all (for instance, being made out only to another creditor), provided they are "presented" to PenFed by the deadline. (There is the memorial day holiday, but cashing them by May 25 should ensure that they post in plenty of time for this).

While the general promotion is open to all, I'm not sure whether the checks are targeted or not...anyone else get them?

Edit 6/18/06 As of 6/1/06, rate is up to 5.49%

Edit 9/6/06 Still good at 5.49%, with a new round of checks just mailed out.

Edit 1/5/07 Two noteworthy changes. First, effective 1/1/07, the BT rate was bumped again to 5.99%. Second, the BT rate no longer applies to the famous cash rewards card, although it's still available on the other flavors of the card (notably the travel rewards card).

Edit 9/2/07 As of 9/1, the platinum rewards cards DO qualify for the 5.99% transfer rate.

Member Summary
Most Recent Posts
Interesting. A CSR I specifically quizzed about this swears it shoudn't be possible for a member to exceed $40K on thei... (more)

DaveHanson (Dec. 18, 2007 @ 12:45a) |

Just called. No termination date on this offer, but 1% BT fee with $100 cap does phase in on 1/1/08.

They can still only... (more)

DaveHanson (Dec. 19, 2007 @ 2:36p) |

Last day to get in on this without paying a fee!

Still wondering if anyone can confirm how long BTs are taking. I keep g... (more)

DaveHanson (Dec. 31, 2007 @ 12:24p) |

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I have taken advantage of their promotion in the past, but I haven't recieved any new convienence checks or anything.

I just received these checks as well. However, I don't have a cc with them, I have a HELOC. So I guess I could do a no fee BT to my AMEX cards and then transfer back to HELOC FLB??? Anyone else receive a letter that specifies credit card but with HELOC account number?

Very interesting bfit01! That's a different, but in some ways hotter deal, especially if you have a big "interest only" HELOC (did you)?. It would be like getting an "interest only" 5% loan for 10+ years, then paying it down only gradually...

First report we've heard here of something like that.

Just a word of caution: Penfed sends out regular "Visa Platinum Cash Rewards" checks that are treated as cash advance @12.9%. I inadvertantly assumed it would be 4.9% since I was using it to balance transfer, but no such luck. Very expensive lesson.

Also, don't understand why they give these out at the same time 6% 3yr CDs are offered. Not a problem to get higher credit limits, except taking a large BT for a long period might sink your credit score.

bfit01 said: I just received these checks as well. However, I don't have a cc with them, I have a HELOC. So I guess I could do a no fee BT to my AMEX cards and then transfer back to HELOC FLB??? Anyone else receive a letter that specifies credit card but with HELOC account number?

I got this 4.99% check with my HELOC. I called asking if I can use it. They told me it's intend for credit card balance transfer and suggested me to throw the check away.

As DaveHansen and I have been saying for awhile, a Penfed HELOC acts and looks like a VISA credit card.
Even PenFed can't tell the difference

chunbo said: bfit01 said: I just received these checks as well. However, I don't have a cc with them, I have a HELOC. So I guess I could do a no fee BT to my AMEX cards and then transfer back to HELOC FLB??? Anyone else receive a letter that specifies credit card but with HELOC account number?

I got this 4.99% check with my HELOC. I called asking if I can use it. They told me it's intend for credit card balance transfer and suggested me to throw the check away.


Anyone knows if I sell my house, can I still keep the HELOC account open?

chunbo said: Anyone knows if I sell my house, can I still keep the HELOC account open?In order to close on the sale of your house, you will need to pay off the liens on it--which means closing the HELOC (assuming that it has been recorded properly).

updated to reflect rate change

Just got another round of checks, 5.49% still, expire 9/31

Looks to be an attractive offer.

In the old thread that DaveHanson linked to in the OP, PenFed was requiring 2.5% of the minimum each month.

For those of you currently using this BT - Is the 2.5% minimum still in tact (as the old post dates back to February of '05)?

beatnik28, it's now 2%, just updated OP to reflect this.

Dave, as always you're a gentleman and a scholar. Thank you.

I just joined PenFed (after hanging around this site for 6 years - shameful I know) and will update this thread with the particulars after I am able to apply for the credit card.

Dave and other PenFedites,

I found & tested what I think is a pretty cool feature of PenFed's online BT service. If this is common knowledge or has been posted elsewhere, I apologize in advance. I didn't find anything about it in any of the current PenFed threads or the Creative BT... thread. If you don't have a BT check on hand, this might be an alternative way to get cash out of your PenFed account.

After logging in and clicking the CC/ELOC BT button, I wondered whether I could get them to send a BT to a bank account like Citibank allows online. I put in my GMAC account number and an amount (I thought I'd test it with a small amount, $500), and clicked "continue". The next page asked me to choose from a list of merchants/banks. It's a short, strange list - 5 per page, 10 pages in all, mostly mortgage companies and department stores, but there was also a Bofa checking/savings account. At the end of the list, it allowed me to put in a merchant/bank name and mailing address. I put in GMAC's info & clicked continue. It asked me to verify the info and click "submit". I think it said something about it posting the same business day.

I put in for the transfer on 10/9, which was a holiday. It posted to PenFed on 10/10. (Interestingly, it seems like they transfer the funds to the Regular Share account, and then withdraw by check on the same day.) I MBNA'd it on 10/12 to minimize interest charges. The deposit showed up in my GMAC account with a post date of 10/13 - much faster, as others can attest, than Citibank's similar service.

The downside, as compared to checks, is that the transfer posts right away or the next business day. The small upside is that this gives you a better idea of when to send an off-setting BT to PenFed. And the transfer by check was pretty fast.

I have to say I've been very, very impressed with PenFed's speed as a whole. I applied on 10/4, was instantly approved, and the account showed up online on 10/6 and was usable immediately. It displayed my full account number - the security side of me trembles at this - so, I was able to set up an MBNA BillPay account right away. All this, before I even received and activated the physical card - yesterday, 10/13.

Anyway, hope this is of use to others - I can say I am very happy I got a PenFed card.

Thanks for the useful info, sonnysighedup--green for you. I've been carrying 3.9 and 4.9% balances at Penfed for some time via checks, so haven't tried their online service. That's a very nice option.

sonnysighedup - thanks for the useful info. I was wondering about that too as it'd be nice to use it as the BT pass-through point. I'm getting a little tired of going through Citi each time, waiting for them to mail my refund and then my bank to sit on the check for 5 days.

tooshy said: Just a word of caution: Penfed sends out regular "Visa Platinum Cash Rewards" checks that are treated as cash advance @12.9%. I inadvertantly assumed it would be 4.9% since I was using it to balance transfer, but no such luck. Very expensive lesson.**

Also, don't understand why they give these out at the same time 6% 3yr CDs are offered. Not a problem to get higher credit limits, except taking a large BT for a long period might sink your credit score.
Rereading, my post did not make much sense, by "these" I meant promo BT checks.

Be careful that BTs online are not charged 12.99%

**The 4 days of interest on a $6535 balance transfer at 12.99% was $9.13. The 4 days was the lag time it took to boomerang the funds back to Penfed from MBNA billpay. I still don't understand why I was not given the BT rate since the check was made payable to MBNA. I thought all BTs were 4.9% back in April, but I guess not. I don't see any special BT rate advertised in their newsletter. So BE CAREFUL!

edit: from Penfed's site

Credit Card Balance Transfer
5.49% APR Balance Transfer!
Save more when you transfer balances from your high rate credit cards.

You'll get a low 5.49% APR for the life of your transferred balances when you transfer them to your Pentagon Federal Credit Union credit card. Transferring your balances is easy: you can transfer your balance securely online right now by logging on below.


It's clearly spelled out on their website that online balance transfers should get the low 5.49% rate. I'm going to call Penfed to ask why I was charged 12.99%.

I've been put on hold for almost 30 minutes and the outcome was they need to send an email to the research department and I should find out in a few days. I should be refunded about $4-5, definitely not worth everyone's time to correct this mistake, but I want to know why the check I used was not given the balance transfer rate.

tooshy said: It's clearly spelled out on their website that online balance transfers should get the low 5.49% rate. I'm going to call Penfed to ask why I was charged 12.99%.I had to have them fix such an error a while back, turned out to be a little glitch that was fixed without much hassle.

DaveHanson said: tooshy said: It's clearly spelled out on their website that online balance transfers should get the low 5.49% rate. I'm going to call Penfed to ask why I was charged 12.99%.I had to have them fix such an error a while back, turned out to be a little glitch that was fixed without much hassle.Our account online shows a $5.62 credit for "*FINANCE CHARGE* Purchase Refund". Maybe it was a glitch, but I'm satisfied knowing that ALL BTs should have received the preferential rate, not just a certain batch of checks. BofA for example will send out several batches of checks with different rates and terms on each, and track what rate to honor by check number of the check used. Glad to see nothing this confusing with Penfed.

I haven't seen this info in another thread. I would file this in the rumors category...

I talked to a PenFed CSR to finish up my Cash Rewards Visa application. She gave me 2 interesting nuggets that management has been passing along to the CSRs:

1) Beginning sometime next year, this card will begin offering 5% rebates on gas purchases (in addition to 1.25% for everything else). She didn't have a date, but said the change would happen early in 2007.

2) Around the time that the additional rebates begin, Penfed will stop offering balance transfers on this card. She didn't know if targeted BT offers would also stop.

I picked her brain a little bit, but she hadn't heard of any other upcoming changes (e.g. cash advance fees). She also cautioned that she isn't the last word on the matter, but that is what management told her. Obviously, we'll have to wait till we see these changes in writing, but I thought I would pass this along.

The end of easy BT would be interesting indeed. However, the no-fee cash advances will make up for it in a pinch.

mespin said: 1) Beginning sometime next year, this card will begin offering 5% rebates on gas purchases (in addition to 1.25% for everything else). She didn't have a date, but said the change would happen early in 2007.

They are now advertising 5% Cash Back on gas purchases for their Visa Platinum Rewards Card.

update bump (see OP)

Just got a mailing from them today that the Visa Platinum Variable credit card is being discontinued and replaced by the Visa Gold credit card.

9.99% APR
5.99% BT APR
No annual fee
No cash advance or BT fee

No change from last update AKAIK.

I wasn't sure if I should put this question in this thread, the "creative BT" thread, the question thread, or the AoR FAQ thread. I hope because it is PenFed 5.99% specific it is ok to ask here.

I applied for the PenFed Visa Gold for the sole purpose of using the 5.99% BT. I have no "real" debt. I requested a $25K credit line. They called me and asked if was planning on doing a BT. I said yes eventually. They said they need to know the credit issuers and amounts before they can approve my card and set my credit limit.

I said I didn't have the information on hand and would call back. I called back and said while I was very interested in BTs I felt more comfortable getting the card first and using a BT check to pay my bills (which is true). They said they were very interested in helping me consolidate all my debt but must have the issuers and amounts before they approve my card. I said I needed to call them back.

Should I...

1) Tell them no BTs at this time and risk a low(er) CL.

2) Tell them to transfer a balance from my FIA card which shows a large balance but is soon to be paid off by another transfer. Then request a overpayment check from FIA.

3) Same as 2) except use bill-pay to pay back PenFed the same money. This would cost me a small amount of interest for no gain, but could ensure me a large credit line. Then wait until I receive BT checks.

4) BT it to my Fido Am.Ex and eat the interest for one month until the over balance sweeps into my brokerage.

5) Something much smarter than I could develop. (but remember I have no real debt so paying down a mortgage/HELOC/HEL/car_loan is not an option for me)

I know I should figure this out for myself but I would love suggestions. I've only been a PenFed member for 1 day.

Plus I'm not sure about FIA's opinion about negative balances.

I would do #3. That should be safer than the alternatives, at a very low opportunity cost.

PenFed might want to make sure your overall utilization won't spike as a result of approving your for a good size limit. And/or, they want to make sure that they get a chunk of your business, if they do approve you for such a limit.

SPuff-

Do you have any "unused" Citi cards? Citi plays nice with credit balances. You can even request a credit balance refund online.

One more question...where's the BT arbitrage opportunity at 5.99%? Just curious what you plan to do with the funds.

lhendricks92 said: SPuff-

Do you have any "unused" Citi cards? Citi plays nice with credit balances. You can even request a credit balance refund online.

One more question...where's the BT arbitrage opportunity at 5.99%? Just curious what you plan to do with the funds.


Unfortunately, I have a Citi "for life" deal that started at 89%. I reallocated all my other Citi cards after they finished their respective 0% offers. So that means every Citi line I have is $500 except for the for life deal which I'm not willing to touch.

Also, I was very careful to not use the word arbitrage, this time. I do not have a guaranteed place for this money. I do, however, have a location that I feel comfortable with on a risk adjusted basis. Besides covering the spread, I'd use this money to achieve an account balance threshold which would give me $30-$40 a month in "perks" (free trades).

Update:

PenFed sent me a "counter-offer" of a $5,000 credit line (disappointing but ok), two pay stubs, PLUS I have show them my investments (I listed my monthly interest income on the "other" line).

1) $5,000 is kind of insulting but better than a rejection
2) I am fiercely determined to keep my personal finance schemes and my employer separate.
3) I don't really feel like a $5,000 credit line justifies revealing all of my investment holdings to their credit department. It isn't like I'm asking for a $400,000 jumbo mortgage.
4) I'm stilling being paid by my current employer, but I'm accepting a new job in 5 weeks. I put my income based on that offer (but conservatively low, I subtracted $5,000). I just tried to push this through because I'm going to lose my 20 year+ housing address.

In 6 months I'll have a few big chunks of debt disappear. Perhaps I'll try again then.

I'm surprised to hear that. I'm 8 years into a BK 7 real Fico's all 700. No other baddies and perfect for 8 years. I thought I left some money on the table only asking for 5K on that card. That's all they offered to you?

cashonlyplease said: I'm surprised to hear that. I'm 8 years into a BK 7 real Fico's all 700. No other baddies and perfect for 8 years. I thought I left some money on the table only asking for 5K on that card. That's all they offered to you?

I know business is business and I can't take it personally.

I just find it amusing that the "predatory" credit card companies with their billion dollar profits and congressional hearings to control their cut throat practices will instantly give me $10,000, $15,000, $20,000 credit lines with a simple application.

Where as this friendly, "member owned" credit union which gets special tax breaks and charters because it is "for the people" did a hard pull, complete application, modest credit line request...yet they asked to contact my employer, wanted to see two pay stubs, asked to view my investment portfolio...all to get a relatively pathetic $5,000 credit line.

From what I have read they are a great company to get in with. Very liberal increases down the road and tons of products. Be prepared for hard pulls and verifications along the way. Doesn't bother me I actually do better on the income side of things. I'd ask for another card soon if I could only figure a way to lose some of these inquiries.

FWIW Penfed has always been very conservative for a Credit Union.

I have been a member for close to 15 years now (my account number is 6 digits, heh) and haven't really gotten much credit from them over the years. I tried to re-finance a car through them (bought used, so it wasn't really depreciated) but they wouldn't loan above wholesale. (versus the less than retail, but close to private party I paid) I ended up leaving it with HSBC rather than pay another 1500 into the note.

I had a small Visa from them when I was in service 14 years ago, closed it as part of credit counceling while I was in college.

Just recently they instant approved a 5000 line rewards card, I requested that amount expecting a counter-offer at best. (My FICO was 730 at the time)

--

They keep your credit report on file for 30 days and don't repull so you can take your time and talk to the loan dept. I would send them your current paystubs and the offer letter if they would accept it and re-apply without the interest income.

Penfed can be a bit picky, but they offer great rates in exchange. They are STILL reporting an old TCS account I had with them though.

Penfed has been very generous with their CL increases, bumping it up by 10K automatically, and continuously asking if we'd like more. However, the trick is to keep some deposits with them. Not hard to do given their also generous CD rates every January it seems.

Another side benefit (are you there mapen?) is the 6 days of overlapping interest when you present a GMAC check (so far that's the only bank I've tried**) for deposit or cash. I cashed a GMAC MMA check at the branch on 5/15 and that check finally cleared GMAC on 5/21. Not exactly an "overlap" when you cash a check but it's the same...6 days of earning interest while enjoying cold cash in our hands hehe...(I won't say where or how but that cold cash earned us even more interest)

OT....but Penfed has been great about cashing large out of town checks. I first went to our nearby local WOCFCU which refused to cash the GMAC check even with enough CD deposits to cover the check amount. They told me there would be several days of hold and only $100 released on the spot. That's when I drove over to Penfed (**just remembered that I cashed a USAA check there before without any hassles but didn't make a point to notice if any overlap interest was earned). Not only did they take our check and cash it without any holds or the usual deposit and withdraw from account, but (still beaming) on top of that gave an additional 6 days of interest! Just too bad you have to be carded by security (and issued a temporary pass) every time you cross the gate (new commander running things so it is not as simple and easy as showing your ID).

fixed grammar

ScootyPuffSr said: Also, I was very careful to not use the word arbitrage, this time. I do not have a guaranteed place for this money. I do, however, have a location that I feel comfortable with on a risk adjusted basis.

OK, now I'm really curious. Please share your magical investment.

RedWolfe01 said: FWIW Penfed has always been very conservative for a Credit Union.I actually think they're more generous to high-FICO borrowers than any other CU I know of.

For example, they'll do Visas up to $40K and LOCs up to $25K, often without financial documentation. Most CU's can't go that high under any circumstances.

ScootyPuffSr said: all to get a relatively pathetic $5,000 credit line.
That's very strange.

I got pre-approved for a car loan through them in June, during the application process for the pre-approval they offered me their gold Visa with a 10K limit.

OP updated to reflect inclusion of their Rewards cards in the BT offer.

Skipping 18 Messages...
DaveHanson said: Also, multiple reps have confirmed that as of 1/1/08, this offer will come with a 1% BT fee.

Last day to get in on this without paying a fee!

Still wondering if anyone can confirm how long BTs are taking. I keep getting quoted 10 days or longer, even to major issuers like citibank or cap1.



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