PenFed Defender Amex Review: A Great Deal for Those Who Serve


If you’re looking for a credit card with super-low APR and solid cash back rewards, look no further than the “PenFed Defender American Express Card.”

First and foremost, to qualify for this credit card you need to be active in the U.S. military, or a member of the Reserves or National Guard.

*For a limited time, up until March 31, 2013, honorably discharged veterans are also eligible for the PenFed Defender. Contact PenFed for specifics on eligibility.

Defender Offers 6.99% APR for Five Years


The number one thing that jumped out at me was the low, low credit card APR on the PenFed Defender, aside from the card itself looking super cool.

It starts at 6.99%, and remains there for a staggering 60 months, or five years.

Seeing that the average credit card APR is in more than double that, it’s certainly a good deal on the APR front.

After the five years are up, it will vary based on the Prime Rate, which is currently set at 3.25%. PenFed adds a margin of 6.74%, making the effective rate 9.99% as of today. Still relatively low.

PenFed is offering an even lower APR for credit card balance transfers, at 4.99% for the life of the transfer, as long as they’re made by December 31, 2012.

It’s not 0% APR, but it’s still pretty low, and with no balance transfer fee, it’s certainly competitive.

That balance transfer promotion then rises to the standard 9.99% purchase APR, making it unattractive compared to other offers available today.

[No fee balance transfer offers with 0% APR.]

PenFed is currently offering 0% introductory APR for six months on purchases of electronics made by December 31, 2012 (through qualifying retailers); handy for those pricey flat-screen TVs.

Lastly, the PenFed Defender doesn’t charge a penalty APR, so you can be assured that your interest rate will stay low, even if you miss a credit card payment.

No Fees Whatsoever with Amex Defender

In the past, there have been other credit cards that promised no fees, such as the American Express Clear and the Citi Simplicity Card.

Add the PenFed Defender to the pile, seeing that it doesn’t charge any fees.

– No annual fee
– No balance transfer fees
– No cash advance fees
No foreign transaction fees
– No late payment fees
– No over credit limit fees
– No returned payment fees

Get 1.5% Cash Back on Every Purchase

You’d think that with no annual fee and rock bottom APR the credit card would lack in other departments.

Not the case with the PenFed Defender – it comes with an impressive 1.5% cash back on all purchases.

That puts it on par with Capital One’s 50% More Cash deal, though Defender clearly has more perks than the former.

All in all, the PenFed Defender Amex card is a great choice for military members and their families.

You get the winning trifecta of ultra-low APR, absolutely no fees, and a respectable percentage of cash back.

This explains why it’s limited to a select group of individuals that serve our country.

If you’re interested, check out PenFed’s website for more details. And be sure to contact them for eligibility requirements, as they seem to be more stringent with this particular card (for good reason!).

By Colin Robertson

Colin created this blog after spending several years in a job that required him to scour credit reports on a daily basis. His goal is to help individuals better understand their credit and get the most out of credit cards.

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