PenFed Adds New Ways To Join – Red Cross Donors

Kind of hidden at the bottom of my last post was that discovery that there are new ways to join Pentagon Federal Credit Union, known commonly as PenFed. There are several reasons to join this credit union, including at-times competitive certificate of deposit (CD) rates, a credit card that gives you 5% cash back on gas, and low interest rates on mortgages and auto loans. (Their 5/5 ARM mortgage is relatively unique.)

In general, membership is open to the military, US government employees, or the family or household of existing members. Previously, the most open way to join was with by paying $20 to join the National Military Family Association. (I didn’t realize this was tax-deductible.)

However, recently two new ways have popped up on their eligibility page. First, you can become eligible by joining the Voices for America’s Troops group for a $15 one-time fee (not tax-deductible). Second, you can join by being a Red Cross blood donor (blood or money). I’ve donated both blood and money to the Red Cross, and many of you probably have as well so it may be a good time to join. You’ll need to keep $5 in a share account. Maybe somebody new can apply and tell me how they verify this, but I bet they are using the honor system. Thanks to reader Paul for the tip.

American Red Cross Employees and Volunteers. A volunteer is defined as anyone who provides wealth, wisdom, or work. Wealth can include a blood donation or a financial donation.


  1. Thanks for this info. As someone who has donated blood to the Red Cross before, and has donated money recently, I used this method. It is the honor system, and works like a charm.

  2. I used the red cross category just now. It works without any verification. I have given blood and money to redcross.

    Now, are there any sneaky fees on the regular share account ? ( Like inactivity fees etc ). I once lost my $100 deposit in a local cu when they deducted $10 each month for inactivity after 6 months. I was not paying attention to the statements so it is my fault.

  3. MM-

    Nope to the fees. I’ve been a member for about 4 years now and never paid a special fee. I’ve only paid for interest accrued on my auto loan and occasional credit card balance

  4. Their list of service fees does include a a “Bad Address/Inactive Accounts” fee of $10 per quarter. Not sure how they define an inactive account, though.

  5. Why do they ask for my Social Security # to sign up for an eligible organization?

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