Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our opinions or reviews. Learn how we make money.

USAA Classic Checking account review

Last updated:  

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 account with no monthly fees and access to more than 60,000 preferred ATMs nationwide for free. But you need to keep at least $1,000 in the account to earn the low 0.01% APY.

$0 per month

Fee

0.01%

APY

$25

Minimum deposit to open

Details

APY0.01% on balances of $1,000+
Fee$0 per month
Minimum deposit to open$25
ATMsFree at 60,000 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

Expert review

Megan Horner

Review by


Megan Horner is the credit cards publisher at Finder. 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. Megan's expertise has been spotlighted on Lifehacker, CreditCards.com, American Banker and featured on news broadcasts across the country.

Expert review

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.

How do I open a USAA Classic Checking account?

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

Online:

  1. Click Apply now.
  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

Name Product Minimum deposit to open ATMs Out-of-network ATM fee
Chase Total Checking
$0
Access to 16,000 ATMs and nearly 4,900 branches nationwide
$2.50
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 4,900 branches. Available online nationwide except in Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.
HSBC Advance Checking
$0
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
Get up to $270 (max. $50 per month) for eligible new customers who open an HSBC Advance checking account. Conditions apply. Deposit products are offered in the US by HSBC Bank USA, N.A. Member FDIC.
BBVA Online Checking
$25
No ATM fees nationwide at more than 64,000 AllPoint, participating 7-Eleven and BBVA USA ATMs
$3
A full-service account with convenient, surcharge-free access to two massive ATM networks, plus a $200 signup bonus when you meet deposit requirements
Aspiration Spend & Save Account
$10
55,000 free in-network ATMs
$0
Deposits are fossil fuel-free. A spend and save combo account with unlimited cash back rewards and deposits insured by the FDIC.
SoFi Money
$0
$0
SoFi Money® is a cash management account that charges no account fees to save, spend, and earn cash back rewards when you spend on brands you love.
NorthOne Business Banking
$50
More than 300,000 ATMs across America.

$0
A digital bank account featuring free cash deposits, on-demand customer support and streamlined bookkeeping integrations.
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

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.
Back to top

Frequently asked questions about the USAA Classic Checking 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.

Ask an expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our finder.com Terms of Use and Privacy and Cookies Policy.
Go to site