No. of Recommendations: 0
To conclude this saga, I called Penfed at the number listed (1-800-247-5626) and immediately got a helpful rep on the line. She told me she could complete both the NMFA membership application and my credit union application over the phone using a Visa or MC. But it would be as a cash advance so make sure you have a DEBIT CARD available at this point.

The NMFA application asks for the number household members, any spousal members and the location of your nearest military installation (you can get the list from their online application form).

After your account is funded you are transferred to their online PIN entry system where you select a pin of 4-6 digits. The rep can then open any other accounts that you wish to open.

Regarding the Penfed credit card application itself, you request a credit limit between $500-$30,000 and provide your annual income as well as standard information about your job, housing, dependents, etc. You can get approved automatically over the phone.

The card will arrive in 7-10 business days via regular mail (there may be options to get it faster).

The bad news: Penfed itself does not allow for automatic checking deduction from non-Penfed accounts. So you may automatically have your full balance or minimum amount automatically paid from a penfed account but not from your existing checking account.

To me, this is highly problematic because I like having the entire process automated in the even that I happen to be away or extremely busy during the time that the payment is due. I have set this up with Citibank, Chase, USAA, US Bank and MBNA in the past but they're a smaller establishment. I will have to experiment with the bill pay options from USAA to see if I can find a good way to make this work.

Overall:

1. Good rewards structure
2. BAD payment options
3. BAD online form
4. Helpful phone reps

This may have been a $25 experiment to find a better rewards card that hasn't yielded anything.. (but maybe I can get a mortgage with them eventually..)
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