Navy Federal Credit Union vs. Pentagon Federal Credit Union vs. USAA

As a member of the military, you have choices on where you bank. There are a number of banks and credit unions that are specifically geared toward military personnel and their families. If you are looking to switch banks or open a new account with a military-focused credit union, you may want to take a look at these three options.

Navy Federal Credit Union

With 8 million members, Navy Federal Credit Union is strong in power and force. It offers a range of loan options that target those in the military as well as the other members of their family. The credit union offers options for student, home, auto, personal, and home equity loans. It also offers its own credit card option that provides a bevy of rewards.

With Navy Federal Credit Union, you’ll find that it offers virtually every banking and finance option you would need as a military member or civilian family member. It has several branches and ATM locations on the east and west coast as well as down south.

You do have to become a member of Navy Federal Credit Union in order to use its services, and you must have eligibility as an active military member, veteran, retiree or DoD employee. The credit union is not open to non-military individuals unless you bank through your spouse or partner that is in the military.

While the benefits of Navy Federal Credit Union are readily apparent, it does have some drawbacks. The bank is its limited availability throughout the U.S. You’ll be hard pressed to find a branch in the Midwest if that is where you hail from.

Pentagon Federal Credit Union

Pentagon Federal Credit Union, or PenFed as it is affectionately known, is also a well-known credit union. It offers a wider window of eligibility for military members as well as those that live with a military member, has an affiliation with a military person or works in a military organization. This makes it easier for families to use PenFed without their military family member available.

Like most credit unions, PenFed offers loans for automobiles, homes, certificates, and personal use. They also offer a series of available credit cards with reward points that extend as much as five times the money spent on things like fuel. You can also open up a checking or savings account with PenFed

Even though PenFed offers its services to those connected to the military, some of its cons are its limited locations. Although it has ATMs all over the U.S. It is a smaller credit union that Navy Federal Credit Union, but did sign on more than 15,000 new members this year alone. You will find that because PenFed is less stringent on its enrollment requirements, that you are able to take advantage of this credit union’s offering without hassle or worry of denial.


Also, a credit union dedicated to the military is USSA. USSA is has been around since 1922. It is a staple credit union that has products such as loans, IRAs, insurance, banking accounts, and shopping discounts. Unlike other credit unions, USSA offers one-stop shopping for everything you would need financially.

What makes USSA unique is its range of insurance options that include home, auto, health, dental, vision, life, renters, and more. Plus, you can plan your retirement with USSA as it offers mutual fund and IRA investing.

One of the drawbacks to USSA is its selectiveness in who can bank with them. It only allows members of the military and their qualifying family members. This leaves DoD and other military organization workers out. Another downfall of USSA is its limited physical locations only in Colorado, New York, Maryland, and Texas.

The company recently announced that it closed the rest of its financial centers because of low visitation by its members. The four centers listed are the only available for walk-in service, making it difficult to get that personalized service you may be looking for.

The Verdict

When comparing these three credit unions, it is apparent that USSA offers more benefits than any of the others named here. Because you can easily take care of your insurance and retirement needs under one roof, it makes a lot of sense to bank with USSA. However, that being said, you do need to be internet savvy in order to take advantage of the features and products it offers.

If you are more of a brick-and-mortar person, you may find that USSA is not right for you. But, those that rarely go to the bank will find that USSA is an ideal choice as it has everything you need to care for your family as a military member. This definitely makes things easy duringactive duty as you don’t have to worry about multiple locations and companies taking care of your finances, insurance, and investments.

Please note none of the above credit unions offer great credit cards.  If your in the market for a great credit card check out Get My Offer Capital One.

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