USAA Classic Checking account review
An interest-bearing, free checking account for members of the military and eligible family members.
finder.com’s rating: 4.3 / 5.0
USAA’s free checking account is for people affiliated with the military and is ideal for those who want an experience with full online access and limited fees. You can apply completely online, you don’t have to deal with monthly service fees and there’s no minimum account balance requirement. As an account holder, you can also utilize more than 60,000 preferred ATMs nationwide for free, and USAA offers services to all states.
Minimum deposit to open
|APY||0.01% on balances of $1,000+|
|Minimum deposit to open||$25|
|ATMs||Free at 60,000 ATMs nationwide (USAA, Allpoint, MoneyPass, PNC)|
|ATM transaction fee||$0|
|ATM fee rebates||Up to $15 in other US banks' ATM usage fees; not applicable for the month in which the account is closed|
|Out-of-network ATM fee||$2|
|Foreign transaction fee||1%|
|Nonsufficient funds fee||$29|
Megan Horner is the credit cards publisher at finder.com. She's passionate about helping you find the best credit cards to meet your financial needs — whether that's earning great rewards or improving your credit score. Previously, she edited and published educational articles on credit cards as an assigning editor at Credit Karma.
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.
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 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: 1% for debit card or ATM transactions at a merchant or ATM in a foreign country.
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 $29 each time you overdraw, though the bank limits these fees to two per day. You’ll pay $29 for every check or withdrawal returned unpaid.
- High requirement to earn interest. You won’t earn interest on your money unless your balance is $1,000 or higher.
- 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 fee-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 with other checking accounts
How do I apply for the USAA Classic Checking account?
You can apply for the USAA Classic Checking account online or by phone.
- Visit the USAA website.
- Click Products, then Checking Accounts under the banking column.
- Click Get Started under Free USAA Classic Checking.
- Log in to your current account or sign up for a new USAA account if you are not already a member.
- Enter all personal information, then continue to funding.
- Read and verify all information, then sign the tax document and confirm the account.
If you don’t have a reliable Internet connection or would rather speak to someone, you can apply by phone at 800-531-8722.
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 documents and information
- 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
How do I deposit and withdraw money?
- Cash or check at ATM
- Direct deposit
- Transfer from another bank account
- By check via mail
- Wire transfer
- 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 checking account for youth that offers mobile access, the ability to set ATM and debit limits, a 0.01% APY and more.
- USAA Classic Checking for College Students. A free college checking account that helps students manage money, make transfers and more.
Frequently asked questions about the USAA Classic Checking account
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