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How to activate a USAA credit card

Activate by phone or online to start using your new card.

You have two options to activate a USAA credit card: by phone or online. Unlike most card providers, USAA lets you activate your card even before it arrives in the mail, which is helpful if you need immediate use of your card. Here’s how to activate.

How to activate your USAA card online

You need an online USAA account to activate your card. You can easily sign up if you don’t have one and activating online should only take a few minutes. Once you have set it up, here’s how to activate your USAA card:

  1. Log in to your online USAA account
  2. Look for the Activate card link
  3. Enter your card information, such as the card number, expiration date and CVV
  4. You might be required to enter personal information, such as your date of birth and Social Security number

How to activate your USAA card by phone

Another option for activating your card:

  1. Call 210-531-8722
  2. Say you want to activate your card
  3. Provide your card’s account number or your USAA membership number
  4. You may also need to provide your SSN and date of birth

Getting started with your USAA credit card

Once you’ve activated your USAA card and confirmed it’s ready to go by logging into your account, here are a few ways to start making the most of it:

  1. Open your online account. After you’ve been approved for your card, you can open your online account once you’ve received your account information in the mail or through email. Your online account is your headquarters for monitoring your account and altering account settings, such as autopay. To sign up, you’ll need to do the following.
      • Go to the USAA main page and click “Log on.”
      • On the next screen, click “I need help logging on.”
      • On the next screen, click “Register for digital access.”
      • Answer the following questions and provide the requested information to open your digital account.
  2. Download the provider app. USAA offers a mobile app that allows you to monitor your account, receive fraud notifications and review your earned rewards. You can download it from the Apple Store or Google Play by opening the store and searching for USAA mobile app. Once downloaded, you can log in using your main account information you set up online in step 1.
  3. Set up autopay. Autopay is your secret weapon against late fees and credit card interest. You should turn this feature on as soon as your account is open. Ideally, you should set your account to pay your monthly balance in full each month.
  4. Set up your PIN. A credit card PIN allows you to withdraw money as a cash advance and is often required to use your credit card abroad. You’ll need to contact USAA directly to set this up by calling 210-531-8722 or sending them a message through your online account.
  5. Add your card to your digital wallet. You can add your USAA credit card to several digital wallets, including Apple Pay.
  6. Review your card benefits. Many USAA credit cards come with an assortment of useful benefits, such as extended warranties. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with these features to ensure you’re in a position to get the most value out of your card. You’ll find all of your card benefits listed in your USAA guide to benefits. They’re also typically featured on your account page online.
  7. Earn rewards. If you have a USAA rewards card, remember to use your card on categories that earn you accelerated cash back or points.
  8. Redeem your rewards. Many USAA credit cards earn cash back, which is a simple and straightforward reward to redeem. If your USAA card earns points however, you’ll want to do a little research into how to best spend your points.

Bottom line

You can activate any USAA credit card just like you would activate any other card. In most cases, USAA lets you activate your card online before your physical card arrives.

Now that you have your card active, consider adding one of the best secondary credit cards to your wallet to get additional perks, increase your credit limit and earn a signup bonus.

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