USAA Bank Review

USAA Bank

Overall Rating

9

Bottom Line

If you're enlisted or served in the past, USAA Bank could be a great option for you. While it does trend behind in on its savings account interest rates, overall, there is a lot to like.

Pros

  • Plenty of account options
  • Few fees
  • Rewards credit cards
  • Lots of loan options

Cons

  • Low APYs
  • No sign-up bonus
  • Few physical locations

USAA Bank is the consumer banking branch of USAA, a San Antonio, Texas-based financial institution.

USAA has been around since 1922, when it was founded as an insurance company by a group of US Army officers who weren’t able to get car insurance.

Today, USAA is a Fortune 500 company and still provides insurance and banking solutions to current and former military members and their families.

In this post, you’ll find out how to become a USAA member and everything that you need to know while considering it as your next banking partner.

In This Article

USAA Checking Accounts

USAA offers several different checking account options:

USAA Classic Checking

Classic Checking is a standard checking account that comes with no monthly service fee. You can open a new account with as little as $25, and you’ll earn interest at a low rate of 0.01% if your balance stays above $1,000.

Classic Checking comes with a debit card, mobile banking, bill pay, and up to $15 per month in non-USAA ATM fee reimbursements.

USAA Cashback Rewards Checking

Cashback Rewards Checking earns $0.10 in rewards for every qualifying debit card purchase. There is a $25 minimum deposit to open an account, and there is no monthly checking account service fee.

The account comes with free access to USAA and partner ATMs, but there’s no reimbursement for out-of-network ATM use.

Cashback Rewards is only available in certain markets, so keep in mind that you might not be able to take advantage of this account depending on what state you live in.

To figure out if it’s an option where you live, just head to the USAA website, enter your state, and all available accounts will pop up.

USAA Youth Spending

Youth Spending is a free checking account designed to help set your kids on the right financial path. The account is available for joint access until your child turns 18, at which point it’ll automatically convert into a Classic Checking account.

Youth Spending has no monthly fees and comes with overdraft protection, direct deposit, and mobile app access for teens once they turn 13.

You can easily set spending limits and other parental controls to keep tabs on the account.

USAA Savings Accounts

Here are the current savings account options available with USAA:

USAA Savings Account

USAA Savings is an entry-level savings account that earns interest with a .03% APY (Annual Percentage Yield) for all balances. There’s no monthly fee, and you can easily link with other USAA bank accounts for easy, automatic transfers.

You’ll have full access to your savings through Usaa.com and the mobile app, where you can set savings goals and track your progress.

You can also set up your savings as overdraft protection for your checking account. To open a new account, you need an initial deposit of $25

USAA Performance First Savings Account

Performance First is similar to USAA Savings but requires a much higher initial deposit and comes with more interest-earning potential.

You’ll need an initial deposit of at least $10,000, and the APY is tiered based on your balance.

Here’s a look at the current rates:

  • Balances up to $49,999: 0.05% APY
  • $50,000 to $99,999: 0.06% APY
  • $100,000 to $249,999: 0.08% APY
  • $250,000 to $499,999: 0.11% APY
  • $500,000 or more: 0.25% APY

Overall, these rates aren’t terrible, but considering the high threshold to get the best rate, you might be better off elsewhere if you’re hoping to max out your return on interest.

Youth Savings

Like Youth Spending, Youth Savings is a savings account designed for kids to teach good financial habits.

The account is free, and you can easily make transfers from your own account for allowance or to help your kid get closer to a savings goal.

When your child turns 18, the account automatically converts into a USAA Savings account.

USAA Certificates of Deposit (CDs)

USAA Bank offers three different types of CDs, including a Standard, Jumbo, or Super Jumbo CD, depending on how much money you’re looking to stash away.

All USAA CDs are FDIC-insured and come with a wide range of term lengths from 30 days to 7 years.

No matter which type of CD you choose, the available CD rates are the same and are determined by the length of your term.

Here are the current USAA CD rates and terms as of 5/19/2021:

  • 30-Day Term: 0.03% APY
  • 91-Day Term: 0.03% APY
  • 120-Day Term: 0.03% APY
  • 150-Day Term: 0.03% APY
  • 182-Day Term: 0.03% APY
  • 7-Month Term: 0.03% APY
  • 270-Day Term: 0.03% APY
  • 1-Year Term: 0.04% APY
  • 15-Month Term: 0.04% APY
  • 18-Month Term: 0.05% APY
  • 2-Year Term: 0.06% APY
  • 30-Month Term: 0.06% APY
  • 3-Year Term: 0.07% APY
  • 4-Year Term: 0.10% APY
  • 5-Year Term: 0.18% APY
  • 7-Year Term: 0.22% APY

Standard CD

For a Standard CD, there’s a minimum deposit requirement of $1,000. 30-day, 120-day, and 150-day CDs aren’t available with Standard.

Jumbo and Super Jumbo CD

All term lengths are available for both Jumbo and Super Jumbo CDs. To open a Jumbo CD, you’ll need $95,000 or more to deposit, and with a Super Jumbo CD, the initial deposit threshold goes up to $175,000.

USAA Credit Cards

USAA offers credit cards from either Visa or American Express. From rewards to cashback to low interest, there are plenty of options for every need. All USAA credit cards have no annual fee and no penalty APR (Annual Percentage Rate).

Here’s a quick overview of each available card:

Rewards American Express

USAA Rewards is a points-based card that earns 3 points per dollar on dining out, 2x on gas and groceries, and 1x on everything else. Plus, when you sign up, you’ll get a 2,500 bonus points after your first qualifying purchase.

Rewards Visa Signature

Rewards Visa Signature is similar to its Amex counterpart but doesn’t bring quite as much to the table in terms of point multipliers. You’ll get double points on gas and dining out and 1x points on all other purchases. The same 2,500 point bonus is available after your first qualifying purchase.

Cashback Rewards Plus American Express

With Cashback Rewards, you’ll earn 5% cashback on your first $3,000 per year in gas station and military base spending. You’ll also earn 2% on your first $3,000 per year on groceries and an unlimited 1% on all other purchases.

Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature

Cash Rewards is a simpler cashback card with no spending categories that earns 1.5% cashback on all qualifying purchases. This might be a better bet if you tend to spread your spending between different categories.

Rate Advantage Visa Platinum

If you tend to carry a credit card balance month to month or are looking to give your credit score a boost, Rate Advantage might be a good option. It comes with the lowest APR that USAA has to offer, so you’ll pay less in interest on your unpaid balance.

There are no rewards with Rate Advantage, so this option is really only for those who are still working on sticking to a budget.

USAA Loans

As a lender, USAA brings a ton of options to the table. Here’s a quick rundown of the types of loans that are available.

Auto Loans

Whether you’re looking for a new or used car or just want to refinance, you’re covered with USAA auto loans that are good for 45 days following your application. You can apply online, and there’s no application fee, so you don’t have to pay to figure out how much you qualify for.

Mortgages

If you’re hoping to buy or refinance a home, USAA provides VA loans, VA jumbo loans, and VA home loan refinancing. It only takes a few minutes to get preapproved online, and USAA loan officers are available to help make the application process easier.

The USAA website has a ton of information about VA loans and general homeownership, so you can approach buying a new home with everything you need.

Personal Loans

If you need a loan to cover a big expense, USAA offers personal loans up to $20,000. From bill management to home repairs or unexpected medical expenses, you can apply for the cash you need in just a few minutes online.

The approval process is generally pretty quick, and once you’re approved, you should receive funds within 24 hours on business days.

USAA Bank Features

Online Banking

USAA has a handful of physical locations throughout the US but mostly operates as an online bank. This means that all of your financial needs, from deposits to transfers, can be handled digitally.

As an early adopter of online banking, USAA has a strong history of providing user-friendly online tools for its members.

Mobile App

The USAA mobile banking app allows you to take care of all your banking needs from your smartphone and is available on both iOS and Android.

You can pay bills, send money with Zelle, deposit checks, and get customer support from your in-app assistant. You’ll have full access to your mobile wallet whether you use Apple Pay, Google Pay, or Samsung Pay.

The app also comes with budgeting tools to help you along the way. Whether you’re looking to pay off debt, put money away, or just set a budget, the app has useful tools in place to get you on the right track.

Current USAA members seem to have nothing but good things to say, and the app is highly rated. It currently has a 4.5-star (out of 5) rating in the Google Play Store and a 4.8-star (out of 5) rating in the App Store, making it one of the most well-liked mobile banking apps out there.

60,000 Free ATMs

When you need to take out cash, USAA bank has in-house ATMs, and it also partners with Allpoint, MoneyPass, and PNC Bank. USAA Bank ATM withdrawals are always free, and members get up to 10 fee-free withdrawals from partner ATMs each month.

If you use a partner ATM more than 10 times per month, there’s a $2 fee per withdrawal. With certain accounts, you’ll also get reimbursed for fees up to $15 per month if you have to use an out-of-network ATM.

USAA Bank Fees

As an almost entirely online bank, USAA mostly keeps to digital trends with low-fee financial products.

All USAA accounts come without a monthly service fee, and aside from your initial deposit, there are no minimum balance requirements.

That said, there are still some fees to be aware of. Here’s a look at the most common fees you’ll have to navigate with USAA.

ATM Fees

USAA ATM transactions are always free, and members get 10 free withdrawals per month at Allpoint, MoneyPass, or PNC Bank ATMs. After that, there’s a $2 charge for the partner ATM fees.

For out-of-network ATM use, you’ll be reimbursed for fees up to $15 per month with all checking accounts except Cashback Rewards. If you’re traveling internationally, there’s a 1% fee on withdrawal fee for all accounts.

Overdraft Fees

If you overdraft your account, there’s a $29 Non-Sufficient Funds (NSF) fee that can be charged up to three times per day.

Fortunately, you can set up overdraft protection with a linked credit card or deposit account, and there’s no transfer fee to cover your negative balance.

Wire Transfer Fees

Incoming wire transfers are always free with USAA, and both domestic and international outgoing wires come with a fee of $20.

There’s also an additional $25 service fee for outgoing international wires, bringing the total cost up to $45.

Getting Started

To qualify for a USAA account, you’ll need to be an active or former service member or a family member of a current USAA customer.

Membership is open to Active Duty, National Guard, Reserves, Veterans with an honorable discharge, Cadets, Midshipmen, and the spouses and children of USAA members.

If you’re eligible for membership, you can apply for an account online at USAA.com with your DOB, contact information, and Social Security Number

You’ll also need details about your own or family member’s military service. From there, you should be good to go, and you can complete an application in just a few minutes.

USAA Bank Promotions

At the moment, there are no sign-up bonuses or promotional rewards for opening a new account.

The bank isn’t well-known for its incentives, but it has run offers in the past. We’ll be sure to keep this post updated with any opportunities that might come up in the future.

Security

As a bank with a long history of providing online accounts, USAA is prepared with tools in place to help you and your money safe while banking online.

USAA Bank is FDIC-insured, so all deposits are protected up to $250,000. With CyberCode Text and Quick Logon, you’ll be protected whether you bank on the website or mobile app.

USAA also has 24/7 fraud monitoring and will alert you in real-time of any suspicious activity.

USAA Customer Service

You can contact USAA customer support at its main number, 210-531-8722, which will re-route you to the specific department to meet your needs

You can also head to the website to utilize the virtual agent or check out the FAQs to try and find the answer you’re looking for.

Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Plenty of account options
  • Few fees
  • Rewards credit cards
  • Lots of loan options

Cons:

  • Low APYs
  • No sign-up bonus
  • Few physical locations

Alternatives to USAA Bank

USAA isn’t the only bank that caters to those associated with the military. Competitors like:

…all provide financial products and services for those who have served and their families.

If you aren’t eligible for a USAA account or you don’t feel the need for a military-specific bank, you might want to check out some other online banking options. For example:

…all offer digital accounts with low fees and high earning potential through interest.

FAQs

Is USAA a good bank?

For those who qualify, yes. USAA provides a variety of online accounts with low fees and a solid mobile app.

Is USAA insured by FDIC?

Yes, all USAA accounts are FDIC-insured. USAA Bank, which is officially called USAA Federal Savings Bank, is member-FDIC.

Does USAA have actual banks?

Yes, but not many. USAA maintains just 16 corporate offices and financial centers in Texas, Arizona, Colorado, New York, Maryland, Virginia, and Florida.

What does USAA stand for?

USAA stands for the United Services Automobile Association. The name goes back to its roots as an auto insurance provider for military members. The company has since expanded to offer a much wider breadth of financial product offerings.

Is USAA Bank Right For You?

If you’re enlisted or served in the past, USAA Bank could be a great option. While it does trend behind in on its savings account interest rates, overall, there is a lot to like.

The company’s mostly online and low-fee platform is full of user-friendly digital tools. With an impressive mobile app, numerous credit cards, and opportunities to secure loans, USAA Bank is a one-stop shop for those who qualify.

As you think about the best bank for you and your family, weigh the pros and cons and find the one that best meets your particular needs.

Now that you know what to expect with USAA, you’re one step closer to your goal.