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Is PenFed Visa a good credit card? I found it on the Internet offering 5 percent gas rebates and it looked enticing.

By , CardRatings contributor
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Pentagon Federal Credit Union's PenFed Platinum Cash Rewards Visa® Card offers one of the very best cash back programs on the market, though you'll have to jump through a few hoops to earn one.

PenFed's Plus version offers up to 5 percent cash back when you "pay at the pump" for gas. For the Plus Card you will need to have an active qualifying PenFed product for example an active checking account with direct deposit ($250 min.); a money market certificate or IRA certificate; a mortgage; an installment loan to name a few. There is no annual fee with the Plus Card. The Standard Card offers 3 percent cash back on gas purchases paid at the pump with an introductory annual fee of $0 for the first year then an annual fee of $25. Both the Plus and Standard Card are simple, money-saving cards with no time-consuming promotional offers that require quarterly enrollment. Note that fuel purchases for airplanes and boats do not receive cash back rewards.

The credit union's own marketing material points out that their finance charges beat nearly every other cash back card on the market. You'll get the most value from your account if you pay down your balance every month after using the card to pay for routine household expenses or for business travel.

The only exception is Pentagon Federal offers seasonal balance transfer specials that can bring your interest rate down to the low single digits. If you want to enjoy one of the most generous cash back credit card deals while saving money on an existing balance, time your application during one of the credit union's promotional periods.

To understand why the PenFed Platinum Cashback Rewards Visa Card can provide cardholders with such a great deal, it pays to learn about the card's heritage. Pentagon Federal Credit Union typically serves military families, especially married couples who must deal with the challenges of being separated during active deployment. As a nonprofit organization, PenFed doesn't have to worry about pleasing Wall Street bankers or fickle shareholders. Instead, it can afford to design credit card programs that pass along savings directly to members.

Earning membership in Pentagon Federal Credit Union requires dedication to our country and commitment to strong personal finance. If you're not part of a military family, you can make a one-time donation to a nonpartisan military support charity for eligibility consideration for credit union membership. After that, you'll need excellent credit to be considered for one of PenFed's cash back cards for your wallet. If your credit score still needs some work, you may be eligible for one of the credit union's other credit cards and personal banking services to help pay down your debt.

If you are interested in this offer review the terms and conditions on the PenFed application page to determine if this card will fit your needs.

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