PenFed Review

ByAlex McomieJan. 03, 2021
This site is a free online resource that strives to offer helpful content and comparison features to its visitors. Please be advised that the operator of this site accepts advertising compensation from certain companies that appear on the site, and such compensation impacts the location and order in which the companies (and/or their products) are presented, and in some cases may also impact the scoring that is assigned to them. The scoring that appears on this site is determined by the site operator in its sole discretion, and should NOT be relied upon for accuracy purposes. In fact, Company/product listings on this page DO NOT imply endorsement by the site operator. Except as expressly set forth in our Terms of Use, all representations and warranties regarding the information presented on this page are disclaimed. The information which appears on this site is subject to change at any time.

In a Nutshell

PenFed is one of the largest credit unions in the United States. It offers competitive student loans and student loan refinancing options for students, parents, and spouses through a partnership with Sallie Mae. With no prepayment fees, a variety of loan options, and a convenient online application, it’s one of the top lenders to consider in 2020.


  • No prepayment fees
  • Possibility to consolidate partner’s loan through spouse loans


  • May require a strong credit history
  • Not a direct lender

PenFed at a Glance 

APR2.99% (fixed), 2.25% (variable)
Loan Types In-school student loans, parent loans, student loan refinancing
Refinance amount No minimum
Repayment terms Generally 5-15 years with no prepayment penalty
Minimum credit score No specific minimum
Suitable forParents and students who want to apply for a new loan or refinance an existing one

PenFed  PenFed View Rates

Suitable For?

Whether you’re looking for a new student loan, a parent loan, or refinancing on an existing loan, PenFed provides affordable rates and an easy online application. It also allows partners to consolidate their own separate loans into a combined spouse loan with one easy payment.

Loan Features

PenFed offers a number of loan types through a partnership with Sallie Mae. Along with loans for parents and undergraduate students, they also provide targeted loans for graduate students attending business school, medical school, dental school, law school, and more. Many loans come with four free months of Chegg study, which includes solutions to textbook questions and 24/7 professional availability.

The Application Process

When you select a PenFed loan, you’ll be redirected to the Sallie Mae website to complete their online application. After choosing a loan type, the form will ask for some basic information including your status (student/cosigner/sponsor), the school you’re attending. From there, it will provide details about the available loans and ask if you want to continue.

All things considered, the application process is relatively seamless, and you’ll be able to receive a result in as little as 15 minutes. Remember that Sallie Mae is the creditor for PenFed student loans—you’ll be applying to, getting money from, and making payments to Sallie Mae rather than PenFed.

It's important to note, that while PenFed is a credit union, you do not need to be a member in order to apply. If you choose to accept the loan you will become a member for free. 

Loan Terms

PenFed offers a variety of loans together with Sallie Mae, and your loan may have different terms depending on what you’re looking for. That said, most new loans have flexible maximums, allowing borrowers to take out anywhere from $1,000 up to the full cost of attendance as certified by their institution.

Repayment Terms

The specific terms of your loan will depend on a number of factors including your credit and the type of loan you’re applying for. For refinancing loans, fixed rates range from 2.99% to 5.15% while variable rates go from 2.25% to 4.49%.

Furthermore, there are no prepayment fees, so you’ll have the opportunity to pay off the loan more quickly in order to save money on interest. Most loans run from between five and fifteen years, but again you can always pay it off more quickly if you have extra cash on hand.

Sallie Mae also offers deferments for up to 60 months for undergraduate loans and 48 months for most graduate student loans. Keep in mind that interest will continue to accumulate throughout the deferment, which could lead to greater total interest payments.

How Safe Is It? 

As mentioned earlier, PenFed offers student loans through a partnership with Sallie Mae, which is one of the largest and most well-known student loan providers in the United States. While Sallie Mae is a private lender, it’s still a safe option if you’re looking to borrow money.

Similarly, PenFed itself is one of the largest credit unions in the United States, and it has a strong reputation that dates back to the 1930s. Make sure to enable two-factor authentication on your account in order to keep your information as safe as possible. The platform’s secure messaging options will also enable you to contact support without putting any sensitive data at risk.

Help & Support

PenFed offers an informative set of 29 FAQ articles covering common questions about their services. There are also several ways to contact their team directly for additional assistance—you can call, fax, send an online message, or securely upload a support request. 

Phone support is available in the United States from 7 AM to 11 PM Eastern on weekdays, 8 AM to 11 PM on Saturdays, and 9 AM to 5:30 PM on Sundays. Their contact phone numbers are 724-473-6333 and 1-800-247-5626.


PenFed has everything most borrowers are looking for in a student loan provider: competitive rates, a reliable lending history, numerous loan and refinancing options, and an easy online application process. Whether you’re looking for a student loan, parent loan, spouse loan, or refinancing, PenFed is a good place to start—particularly if you have a strong credit history.

Physical Address

2930 Eisenhower Avenue

Alexandria, VA 22314

13220 Fort Street

PenFed  PenFed View Rates

PenFed customer testimonials

AverageReviews 15
TrustPilot is the world’s most powerful review platform, free and open to all.
  • author
    William Sloan
    Dec 28, 2020
    Best student loan rates I could find

    Better than expected rate on my student loans. After applying a couple other places I found PenFed and was shown a great rate quickly with no tricks or gimmicks. Closed my loan fast and with no fees


  • author
    rex gehring
    Jan 06, 2021
    recently got a 20k loan payment 469.75…

    recently got a 20k loan payment 469.75 the principal that was attributed to the principal 36.12. I thought it was a mistake. Nope they said it was totally correct. If you think of doing business with this credit union think again if you value fair trade.


  • author
    Paul in RVA
    Dec 20, 2020

    OVERVIEW: After another exhaustive experience with trying to get help from PENFED i have now decided that for me PENFED is only good if there are no problems or issues and PENFED has demonstrated to me that it is in NO WAY CAPABLE of quickly, effectively, and accuratley assessing a problem and as such not cabable of resolving financial matters/problems for their CUSTOMERS. How good a company can help resolve problems is a key test of the compenticy and abilities . For me PENFED has failed and I have begun shifing IMPORTANT banking to another credit union. Ideally one where the IT and customer support can take ownership of a problem thru to resolving. Detailed Background: Being a CUSTOMER of penfed for over 5 years I write this review after an exhausting time consuming fruitless effort to get an explanation for a secure email PENFED created and posted into my infox. The SUBJECT SIMPLY BEING being 'Confirmation of ACH Transaction***1234". Upon seeing thie I immediately sought to understand if there was/is a problem with a ACH I posted or some other entity was posting. But due to PENFED SEVERE technical and operational INABILITIES I spent 2 days and countless hours speaking with cust support, chatting online with custiomer support, and even submitting two requests for assistanct to PENFED CHAIRMAN GRADY In each case I received GUESSES as to what it was but at no point was anyone involved able to read to me the message. The ultimate PEN FED solution to my seeing but not being able to read the message was simply delete the message.... I guess that is the way PENFED choose to avoid a difficult question. I never heard from anyone about the message being deleted. From all of this I get the sense there is no organizataion but rather seperate departments that do not support each other. This very, very , very bad experience reminded me of a similiar experience in the past where a bill payment from PENFED was deducted from my account but the vendor couuld not find any record of it. In that case I spoke with level 1 PENFED CUST SUPPORT who sinply refered me to IT. The IT person could not provide any useful information that would help me and my vendor reconcile what happened to the payment. Again days and angst spent to get a non-answer from penfed.


  • author
    Oct 26, 2020
    Not Perfect but None Better

    I have used Penfed for over 25 years. I have had some great experiences and some not so great ones. Customer Service is like a roller coaster. Sometimes it is great, sometimes it is terrible but 7/10 times it is good. I have had issues with wire transfers (35k was "missing") and although it took two months it did get resolved but I never got an explanation. The best thing IMO about them is the interest rates on many of their products are the best I have found. HELOC and vehicle loan rates are about as low as anything you will find out there. Comparatively speaking they are a pretty good Credit Union and I will continue to use them until I find a better one. I have tried four other credit unions (Navy, Airforce, Eglin, Ft Bragg) and no other Federal Credit Union can touch the rates they have given me.


  • author
    Sep 15, 2020
    Pentagon FCU is supposed to be great…

    Update - 15 SEP 2020, I stand by what I wrote in my review. I sent the Post to PenFed as requested. I can prove everything. Original Post - Pentagon FCU is supposed to be great for VA Home Loans. I called and applied with a loan officer and explained that I tried with USAA and was preapproved but was told more money was needed. The PenFCU loan officer said she would contact the VA to see what was needed before they could issue a preapproval letter but $19,500 for the final approval due to an old car in a divorce and more savings req. Long story short I came up with $12,058 and asked if that would suffice as the car was paid-off etc. No word ever from PenFCU. I called, emailed, sent letters etc. No word ever. Everytime you call the regular number they say only the loan officer can assist. I call her and receive no response. - No professionalism.