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USAA Classic Checking account review

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USAA Classic Checking
  • No minimum balance
  • No monthly service fee
  • 60,000 free ATMs nationwide
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An interest-bearing, free checking account for members of the military.

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.

APY0.01% on balances of $1,000+
Monthly fee$0
Minimum deposit to open$25
ATMsFree at 65,000 ATMs nationwide (USAA, Allpoint, MoneyPass, PNC)
ATM transaction fee$0
ATM fee rebatesUp 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 fee1%
Overdraft fee$29
Nonsufficient funds fee$29
Cash
Check
Transfer
  • Cash by teller
  • Check by teller
  • Bank transfer
  • Cash by ATM
  • Check by ATM
  • Wire transfer
  • Mobile/remote check deposit
  • Direct deposit

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

Compare with other checking accounts

Name Product APY ATMs Fee
Access to 16,000 ATMs and nearly 5,000 branches nationwide
$12/month
(can be waived)
Get a $200 bonus when you open a new Chase Total Checking account and set up direct deposit within 60 days of opening your account. Chase's simplest checking account is easy to use and gives you access to 16,000 ATMs and nearly 5,000 branches.
1.25% on balances of $0+ with $1,000+ in direct deposits, 10 $3+ debit card transactions and 5 additional account transactions per month
ATM fees reimbursed at any ATM nationwide
$0
Earn up to 1.25% APY while enjoying a suite of digital tools for smarter money management.
Free at over 56,000 ATMs around the world
$0
A full-service account with convenient, surcharge-free access to two massive ATM networks.
0.01% on balances of $5+
Surcharge-free HSBC ATMs nationally and internationally, plus up to four rebates a month for using non-HSBC ATMs in all US states except New York
$25/month
(can be waived)
Get $350 by funding and maintaining your new account with at least $5,000 in combined checking and savings for 90 days and setting up recurring third-party direct deposits for 3 consecutive months. Offer expires December 31, 2019.
2.00% on balances of $10,000+ or deposit $1+ each calendar month into any Aspiration cash management or investment account
Free to use anywhere worldwide
$0
A spend and save combo account with no monthly service fees, free access to every ATM in the world, unlimited cash back rewards and deposits insured by the FDIC. The Aspiration Spend & Save Account is a cash management account offering of Aspiration Financial, LLC, an SEC-registered broker-dealer. Aspiration is not a chartered bank.
0.01%
Free to use anywhere worldwide
$25/month
(can be waived)
Get a $750 welcome bonus when you join Sapphire Banking by September 28, 2019. Within 45 days of joining, transfer a total of $75,000 or more in qualifying new money or securities to a combination of eligible checking, savings and/or investment accounts (excludes any J.P. Morgan retirement accounts and CDs), and maintain the balance for at least 90 days.

Compare up to 4 providers

How do I apply for the USAA Classic Checking account?

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

Online:

  1. Visit the USAA website.
  2. Click Products, then Checking Accounts under the banking column.
  3. Click Get Started under Free USAA Classic Checking.
  4. Log in to your current account or sign up for a new USAA account if you are not already a member.
  5. Enter all personal information, then continue to funding.
  6. 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 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?

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.

Bottom line

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.

However, if you aren’t affiliated with the military or you’re looking for more perks on your account, you may want to look elsewhere. Before choosing any checking account, make sure to check out other bank accounts and compare your options to find the best one for your financial needs.

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Frequently asked questions about the USAA Classic Checking account

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