USAA Bank Review 2021: Best Bank for Military Members

Banking
Updated: 16th Mar 2021
Written by Meagan Drew
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Banking
March 16, 2021
Written by Meagan Drew

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The San Antonio based United Services Automobile Association, or USAA for short, was established in 1922 by a group of Army Officers as a solution to being snubbed by more traditional banks and insurance agencies for their choice of transient occupation.

Since USAAs birth nearly a century ago, it has managed to grow tens of millions of members while still proudly serving military and military adjacent individuals exclusively.

Keep reading this USAA Bank Review to find out more about what they offer and why it is one of the best banks for military and veterans around.

USAA Bank Overview

Feature(s):Details:
Minimum Deposit:$25
Online Savings APY:0.01%
CD Term Lengths:91 Days to 7-Years
Products Offered:CDs, Checking, & Savings Accounts
Year Founded:1922

Who Qualifies for USAA Bank?

Active-duty military, honorably separated veterans, retired service members, and commissioning program student (service academy, ROTC, OCS) are all eligible.

Widows and widowers of USAA members who have not remarried are also permitted membership.

Finally, some family members of the above-mentioned categories are eligible for membership, but with caveats- spouses and underage children of military personnel are always accepted.

Anyone who thinks they may be eligible to be a member of USAA is encouraged to contact them directly for more information.

What Does USAA Bank Offer?

Even though USAA Bank only has one physical location, they are still able to offer comprehensive banking services through a primarily remote model.

At USAA Bank, members will find checking and savings accounts, certificate of deposits, credit cards, loans, and ATM services- just as they would find at a more traditional brick-and-mortar bank.

Despite there only being one USAA Bank standing, USAA members do not have to worry about exorbitant ATM fees.

USAA contracts with over 60,000 ATMs to offer 10 free withdrawals per month and has another 1,200 USAA ATMs that are always free.

USAA Bank Featured Products:

USAA Classic Checking

USAA’s flagship product is their Classic Checking Account which touts an extremely low minimum deposit and carries a .01%* APY.

All checking accounts at USAA are FDIC Insured up to $250,000 per account holder. USAA Classic Checking’s most unique and desirable feature is the early direct deposit for Military- making money available sooner!

TL, DR: USAA Classic Checking

  • $25 Minimum Deposit
  • $0 Monthly Maintenance Fees
  • .01%* APY
  • 10 free ATM withdrawals at any of the 60,000 affiliated ATMs and unlimited free withdrawals at the 1,200 USAA ATMs
  • Free Bill Pay
  • Early Direct Deposit

USAA Youth Spending Checking

Members looking to establish their children as USAA Members and teach their children about financial responsibility love the USAA Youth Spending Checking Account.

This account comes with many of the same attractive features as the USAA Checking Account but is designed for the younger USAA members (up to the age of 18) to learn to control their spending and savings goals – with supervision.

The account also comes with a debit card which caregivers can help manage and set daily limits. These accounts also carry overdraft protection when connected with another USAA account.

TL, DR: USAA Youth Spending Checking:

  • $25 Minimum Deposit
  • $0 Monthly Maintenance Fees
  • .01%* APY
  • 10 free ATM withdrawals at any of the 60,000 affiliated ATMs and unlimited free withdrawals at the 1,200 USAA ATMs
  • Debit Card with spending limits
  • Overdraft Protection
  • Supervisory Ability

USAA Savings Account

These FDIC Insured accounts are competitive and can be opened with as little as $25, carry zero monthly fees, and earn .03%* with a $1 minimum balance.

Sure, members are not earning much on .03% of $1, but the lack of monthly fees helps members to keep what they earn no matter the amount.

The accounts are accessible 24/7 through the app or website and allow instant and seamless transfers between USAA Accounts.

TL, DR: Savings Accounts:

  • $25 Minimum Deposit
  • $0 Monthly Maintenance Fees
  • .03%* APY
  • FDIC Insurance
  • Seamless Transfer Capabilities

USAA Performance First Savings Account

Where this product differs from most of the other USAA products is in its minimum balance. The USAA Performance First Savings Account requires a $10,000 minimum balance.

That amount is a far cry from the usual $25 USAA requires for its checking and savings products, but the APY is like their other products.

The real perk here is that with $10,000, your APY pays out on a larger amount.

TL, DR: Performance First Savings Account:

  • $10,000 Minimum Deposit
  • $0 Monthly Maintenance Fees
  • .05%-.30%* APY depending on the account amount
  • FDIC Insurance

Certificate of Deposits (CDs)

CDs are also a popular product at USAA. With offerings from 30 days to 7 years and competitive interest rates, USAA has CDs for anyone who does not mind locking their money up for a while in return for some free cash.

TL, DR: Certificate of Deposit:

  • $25 Minimum Deposit
  • $0 Monthly Maintenance Fees
  • .06%-.43%* APY
  • Fixed Rates
  • FDIC Insurance

USAA Bank CD Rates

TermAPY
91, 120, 150, 182, 270 days 0.05%
7 Months:0.05%
1 Year:0.06%
15 & 18 Months:0.07%
2 Years:0.10%
30 Months:0.13%
3 Years:0.18%
4 Years:0.26%
5 Years:0.37%
7 Years:0.43%

*All rates as of 3/11/21

Other USAA Bank Products:

  • Credit Cards: There are a variety of credit cards to choose from at USAA. Each with its own competitive and attractive features. USAA has cash-back credit cards, travel miles cards, and points-based cards to accommodate members in whatever their goals.
  • Personal Loans: Personal loans ranging between $2,500 to $20,000 with repayment options between one and seven years are available through USAA Bank for members with good credit. Rates are competitive with these loans.
  • Auto Loans: Auto loans with USAA are probably best suited for people who already do their banking with USAA. USAA rewards loyalty in their loan terms, and automatic bill pay through their banking program is ideal. They offer no hidden closing costs, no-prepayment penalties, and no application fees, which can be attractive to consumers as part of their overall loan picture.
  • Mortgages: USAA strives to make home-buying easy and seamless. They offer a home buying service where they link members with pre-approved Real Estate Agents in their area. Once a member has decided to buy, they are met with competitive interest rates and quick preapprovals for qualified buyers.
  • ATM Services: USAA boasts 1,200 ATMs throughout the US and 60,000 partnered ATMs, as well. Withdrawals at USAA’s ATMs are free, and the first 10 at the partner ATMs are free.

USAA Bank Review: Fees & Customer Support

Overdraft Fees

USAA overdraft fees are $29 and are triggered by transactions of $5 or more. The offer overdraft protection on all their checking account products.

Customer Support

Because USAA serves tens of millions of members worldwide, they offer multiple avenues of support.

USAA has a very comprehensive online presence on both their website and their mobile app. Members can directly access customer service online via a chat feature, or they can call 1-800-531-USAA (8722) Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm.

If they require customer assistance outside those hours, they need to look no further than the app or the website. Customers can do nearly anything using the virtual assistant feature 24/7.

A quick google search will return hundreds of checking accounts with a considerably higher APY than what USAA offers. What USAA lacks in APY, they try to make up for in lack of fees.

Very few products and services that USAA Bank have to offer have a monthly fee of any kind. They also offer remote check cashing, early direct deposit, and other bells and whistles that most other banks would not dare offer.

Most members do not sign up for USAA for their interest rates. USAA has built its brand on offering service members what they need, when they need it, and as painlessly as possible.

USAA Pros:

  • Excellent Mobile Banking Apps and Website Support
  • Special Benefits for Members
  • ATM Network and Fee Reimbursement
  • Early Direct Deposit
  • Help During Deployment
  • Most Products Have No Monthly Fees
  • Minimum Balance Requirements
  • Competitive Loan Rates
  • FDIC Insured

USAA Cons:

  • Limited Membership Availability
  • Better Interest Rates Elsewhere
  • Only 1 brick-and-mortar bank

Bottom Line: USAA Bank Review

USAA has a reputation built on amazing customer service. Ask any military member, and they likely will have some product with USAA or know someone who does.

By keeping their membership small and niche, they are able to offer an unparalleled customer service experience for customers who move hither tither and yon at the needs of the military.

USAA might not be for every military or adjacent military person, but USAA is a safe and suitable option for a lot. USAA offers benefits that are important to the military and their families and consistently improve the customer experience.

If you qualify for USAA, they are worth taking a closer look at for your banking needs. They just might surprise you!

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Meagan Drew
Meagan Drew
Meagan Drew is a personal finance writer with 7 years experience in wealth management. As a former Series 7 and 63 certified advisor, Meagan specializes in making financial topics relatable and consumable, no matter the reader’s experience level. Meagan is a veteran, military spouse, and mom of 4 currently living in Colorado Springs.