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USAA Classic Checking account review

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USAA Classic Checking
4.3
★★★★★
Finder score
Fee
$0 per month
APY
0.01%
Minimum deposit to open
$25

Our verdict

An interest-bearing, free checking account for members of the military and eligible family members.

If you're affiliated with the military and looking for a checking account with no monthly fees, the USAA Classic Checking account could be an ideal solution. It offers easy access, the ability to earn interest, personal budgeting tools and a number of other features that make it a great everyday account.

But it has limited branches and puts a long hold on deposits.

Pros

  • Free transfers
  • Low minimum deposit
  • Quick deposits
  • Easy access
  • Personal budgeting tools
  • Multiple ways to send money
  • Overdraft protection

Cons

  • Overdraft and NSF fees
  • High requirement to earn interest
  • Long holds on deposits
  • Withdrawal fees
  • Limited branch locations

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How do I open a USAA Classic Checking account?

You can apply for the USAA Classic Checking account online or by phone.

Online:

  1. Go to the provider’s site and follow the steps to apply.
  2. From the USAA website, click Products, then Checking Accounts under the banking column.
  3. Select your state and click Continue.
  4. Click Get Started under USAA Classic Checking.
  5. Log in to your current account or click Join Online to sign up for a new USAA account if you’re not already a member.
  6. Enter all personal information, then continue to funding.
  7. Read and verify all information, then sign the tax document and confirm the account.

By phone:

If you don’t have a reliable Internet connection or would rather speak to someone, you can apply by phone at 800-531-8722.

Eligibility

Applying for a checking account requires applicants to meet at least ONE of the following:

  • USAA member
  • Active, retired or honorably discharged personnel of the US military
  • Cadet or midshipman
  • Joining the military
  • Parent had, or currently has, a USAA account
  • Spouse had, or currently has, a USAA account
  • Spouse served in the US military

Required information

Have this information on hand when you sign up for the USAA Classic Checking account:

  • Full name
  • Residential address
  • Marital status
  • Birth date
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Social Security number or tax identification number
  • Proof of employment and income amount

Benefits of the USAA Classic Checking account

In addition to being a secure, interest-earning account with no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements, a USAA Classic Checking account also offers:

  • Free transfers. Bill payments and direct deposits are free as well.
  • Low minimum deposit. Open an account with just $25. This minimum is waived for new military recruits.
  • Quick deposits. Deposit checks at ATMs, through the Deposit@Mobile app or by setting up direct deposit.
  • Easy access. Manage your account from anywhere using the mobile app or USAA website. Plus, get access to 60,000 USAA-preferred ATMs.
  • Personal budgeting tools. View balances and statements, get alerts about your spending, set up a spending plan and more.
  • Multiple ways to send money. Choose from bill pay, Zelle, Mobile Wallets and other options.
  • Overdraft protection. Link another account to ensure your balance never falls below $0.

USAA ATM network and fees

Members of USAA get free access to a nationwide ATM network that includes more than 65,000 Allpoint, MoneyPass and PNC Bank ATMs. Plus, USAA will refund up to $15 per month in usage fees when customers use other banks’ ATMs. However, there are some fees to be aware of:

  • Withdrawals: The first 10 transactions are free, then $2 per subsequent transaction, regardless of which ATM is used.
  • Foreign transactions: You’ll pay 1% for debit card or ATM transactions at a merchant or ATM in a foreign country, which is cheap compared to other banks and credit unions.

What to watch out for

In addition to needing military ties to be eligible for an account, you’ll want to be aware of a few other potential limitations:

  • Overdraft and NSF fees. Overdraft fees are lower than they are at other institutions, but you’ll still pay $29 each time you overdraw — up to two times a day. You’ll pay $29 for every check or withdrawal returned unpaid.
  • High requirement to earn interest. You’ll need to maintain a minimum $1,000 balance to earn the subpar 0.01% APY advertised for this account.
  • Long holds on deposits. Deposits made by Deposit Mobile, Deposit Home and Easy Deposit may be held for up to seven days.
  • Withdrawal fees. Customers can make 10 free withdrawals per month, but will be charged $2 per transaction after that.
  • Limited branch locations. If you prefer banking face to face, you can visit a financial center, but there are only five nationwide. Those USAA locations include:
    • Colorado Springs, CO
    • West Point, NY
    • Highland Falls, NY
    • Annapolis, MD
    • San Antonio, TX

If you aren’t affiliated with the military and want an account with more perks, you’ll want to keep looking. As always, compare your options when choosing a checking account.

Compare USAA Classic Checking with other checking accounts

1 - 6 of 26
Name Product Fee Minimum deposit to open Annual Percentage Yield (APY) Offer
SoFi Checking and Savings
Finder Score: 4.5 / 5: ★★★★★
Bonus
SoFi Checking and Savings
$0 per month
$0
4.60% on balances of $0+
0.50% on balances of $0+
1.20% on balances of $0+
Get up to $300 cash bonus with qualifying direct deposit. Terms apply. This offer is available until December 31, 2024.
Upgrade Rewards Checking Plus
Finder Score: 4.3 / 5: ★★★★★
Upgrade Rewards Checking Plus
$0 per month
$0
N/A
Cash Card by Cash App
Finder Score: 4.4 / 5: ★★★★★
Cash Card by Cash App
$0 per month
$0
N/A
Step Black Card
Finder Score: 4.3 / 5: ★★★★★
Step Black Card
From $0 per month
$0
5.00% on balances of $0 to $1,000,000
PNC Virtual Wallet with Performance Select
Finder Score: 3.4 / 5: ★★★★★
Bonus
PNC Virtual Wallet with Performance Select
$25 per month
(can be waived)
$0
0.01%
Earn $400 when you open a new PNC Virtual Wallet with Performance Select and establish a direct deposit of at least $5,000+ to your Spend account in the first 60 days.
Axos Bank Rewards Checking
Finder Score: 4.2 / 5: ★★★★★
Bonus
Axos Bank Rewards Checking
$0 per month
$0
3.30% on balances of $0 to $50,000
Use promo code RC500 and apply by July 31th, 2024, to earn up to $500 bonus, $100 each month you meet requirements: receive qualifying direct deposits of $1,500.00+ and maintain an average daily balance of $3,000+.
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How do I deposit and withdraw money?

There are several ways to access money in your USAA Classic Checking account:

Deposits

  • Deposit@Mobile
  • Cash or check at ATM
  • Direct deposit
  • Transfer from another bank account
  • By check via mail
  • Wire transfer
  • Deposit@Home

Withdrawals

  • At an ATM
  • Check addressed to yourself
  • Transfers to other accounts
  • Mobile payment
  • Bill pay
  • Wire transfer
  • Cash back from merchants and retailers

How do I contact USAA customer service?

USAA makes it easy to get a hold of customer service:

  • Phone: 210-498-2722 (Available 24/7)
  • Twitter: @USAA_Help
  • Online message: Log in to your account and visit the contact and support center
  • Chat: Click “Help” to chat with a virtual agent

What other checking options does USAA offer?

Just starting out with your finances? Have a child who you’re trying to get started on the right foot? Consider these other USAA products.

    • USAA Youth Spending account. A free youth checking account that offers mobile access, the ability to set ATM and debit limits, a 0.01% APY and more.
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Frequently asked questions about the USAA Classic Checking account

How do I increase my daily ATM withdrawal limit with USAA?

You can’t increase your daily ATM withdrawal limit for your debit card. But if you have a USAA credit card, you can request a credit card limit increase in three steps:

  1. Visit your USAA credit card account page.
  2. Select Services from the Account Services menu.
  3. Choose Change Credit Limit.

Note that you can only request a credit limit increase on USAA Rewards, Cash Rewards, Cashback Rewards, Rate Advantage or a military affiliate credit cards.

How can I pay bills or buy goods with my checking account?

Use your debit card, the USAA Mobile Banking app or your Mobile Wallet, which lets you pay through Apple Pay, Android Pay or Samsung Pay.

What can I do with the mobile app?

Use the mobile app to send money and access your balances. You can also set up bill pay and enjoy special offers and discounts with the Mobile Wallet.

Are there withdrawal limits on this account?

Yes. You’ll be limited to $600 per day for ATM cash withdrawals, $1,000 per day for debit card cash advances, $3,000 per day for signature-based purchases on your debit card and $3,000 per day for PIN-based purchases on your debit card.

What is the routing number for USAA?

USAA Federal Savings Bank’s routing number is 314074269.

How do I sign up for overdraft protection?

Log in to your online account and visit the overdraft protection service page for details on how to enroll.

How can I fund my account?

You can fund the initial deposit using a checking, savings, Visa or Mastercard account.

Checking account ratings

★★★★★ — Excellent

★★★★★ — Good

★★★★★ — Average

★★★★★ — Subpar

★★★★★ — Poor

We analyze top checking accounts and rate them one to five stars based on factors that are most important to you. These factors include: monthly fees, the ease at which monthly fees can be waived, the breadth of ATM access, ATM and overdraft fees, and customer service.

Read the full methodology of how we rate checking accounts.

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