Its accounts are free to maintain, but you must be eligible through military association.USAA offers an array of free checking and savings account options. But its customer service is primarily accessible online unless you live near one of its five branch locations.
What banking products does USAA offer?
- USAA Classic Checking. Earn interest on balances of $1,000 or more and get reimbursed when you use other banks’ ATMS up to $15.
- USAA Youth Spending. Open a checking account for your child with the option of setting up parental controls to limit things like ATM withdrawal and deposit rights.
- USAA Classic Checking for College Students. Offers account flexibility like free incoming wire transfers and mobile banking, but there aren’t perks specific to this account.
- USAA Classic Checking for Military Recruits. Comes with additional perks for fresh recruits, such as a waived opening deposit and a prefiled IRA to help simplify finances.
- USAA Savings Account. Good for beginners, it features decent APYs that increase the more you save. Expect 0.09% APY for less than $1,000 and 0.15% APY on $10,000 or more.
- USAA Performance First Savings Account. Features higher interest rates — .20% on $10,000 to $24,999, 1.02% on $100,000 to $249,999 — but requires an opening deposit of $10,000 or more.
- USAA Youth Savings. Meant to help parents teach kids about saving, you can give kids limited access to the website and choose whether or not they can make transfers or deposits.
- USAA CDs. Grow your money and get it back at the end of the term period.
- USAA 529 Plan. An investment account meant to help save for education costs, it features tax-free withdrawals for qualified expenses and requires an initial investment of either $50 with $50 monthly deposits or a one-time deposit of $250 with no subsequent deposits required.
- USAA UGMA and UTMA Accounts. These custodial accounts let you invest money on behalf of a child, who’ll get access to it at 18 or 21, depending on the state.
- Insurance. Get protection for valuables with over 12 different types of coverage.
- Credit cards. Earn cashback and rack up points with the reward system.
- Investing. Watch your money grow with mutual funds, ETFs and other portfolio options.
- Real estate. Refinance a house, take out a loan or connect with a real estate agent.
- Retirement and IRAs. Plan for the future with trust services, annuities and wealth management services.
- Health insurance. Find dental, vision and Medicare coverage.
How does USAA compare to other banks or services?USAA has far fewer office locations than most domestic banks, but its total amount of yearly domestic deposits are about average. Interest rates on its main savings accounts tend to be higher than some rates at competitors like Bank of America or Wells Fargo.
It offers Zelle for users to send and receive money, as well as automatic bill pay, mobile deposits and smart Pay options like Apple and Google Pay.
Why should I open an account at USAA?
Some featured benefits include:
- No monthly service fees. You don’t need to worry about incurring fees, because it’s free to have a checking or savings account with USAA.
- No minimum balance requirements. After the initial $25 deposit, the amount you leave in the account is up to you.
- 60,000 USAA-preferred ATMs nationwide. That means you can withdraw without a fee. And if you do use an ATM that charges extra, USAA will reimburse you up to $15 per month.
- Optional overdraft protection. Back up your checking account with your USAA savings or a credit card for extra protection.
What should I look out for?USAA has some potential drawbacks too, including:
- Eligibility. To open an account, you’ve got to be an active, retired or separated veteran with honorable discharge. Or be a spouse, widow, widower or unremarried former spouse of a USAA member who joined before or during the marriage. One of your parents can also be a USAA member.
- Limited in-person options. USAA only has five brick-and-mortar locations, which can be frustrating if you’re hoping for face-to-face service.
USAA reviews and complaints
IDC Financial Publishing gave it a “Superior” rating for the 130th consecutive quarter, and its bank is a member of the FDIC. It’s also rated “Outstanding” by the FFIEC.
However, it’s not accredited by the BBB, and only has a C+ rating due to some recent government action taken against it. USAA was accused of “failing to properly honor consumers’ stop payment requests on preauthorized electronic fund transfers” by the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.
Additionally, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency alleged that USAA “failed to implement and maintain an effective compliance management system,” essentially esquing certain risk management practices. USAA has reached a settlement regarding both allegations and is taking steps to resolve the issues.
USAA customer service
Get support from USAA through one of these options:
- Phone: Call 210-531-8722
- Mobile app: The USAA mobile app allows you to make deposits, manage your account and get financial advice.
- Electronic message: Log into your account to send a note directly to USAA.
- Branch: Get face-to-face service at locations in Colorado Springs, CO; West Point and Highland Falls, NY; Annapolis, Maryland; and San Antonio, TX.
- Fax: Send and receive documents at 800-531-5717
- Mail: If regular mail is more your thing, send a letter to:
USAA Federal Savings Bank
10750 McDermott Freeway
San Antonio, TX 78288-9876
If you’re looking for a no-fee checking or savings account, consider opening an account with USAA. But if you’re not eligible for membership, check out other bank accounts with competitive features.