Intro: Brief History of USAA Bank (Reviews)
USAA Bank has provided banking and financial products to the military community and their families since 1922.
Since its inception, USAA has gone from a small insurance company to a large provider of a variety of insurance and financial products.
USAA was founded by a group of army officers to provide automotive insurance to other service members. The company quickly expanded to provide banking and a host of other financial services, but they have remained committed to offering their services only to members of the U.S. military community and their families.
What is USAA Bank?
Committing to a bank can be a big decision, especially if it means switching from one institution to another.
If you’re considering a new bank, you’ll probably want to know if this bank is a good choice for you or your family. There are a lot of USAA Bank reviews out there and, as is usually the case with reviews on the internet, opinions are mixed.
So, is USAA a good bank? We’ll take a detailed look and let you decide.
Let’s start by looking more closely at the organization and the products they offer. We’ll do a detailed USAA Bank review.
USAA Bank Might Be for You If…
USAA Bank has a few distinguishing factors that you’ll need to consider before choosing to bank with them.
The first thing you’ll need to consider is that USAA banking is only available to qualifying current or former members of the military and their families. Secondly, you’ll need to use USAA for your auto or property insurance.
Another point you’ll need to consider is that USAA is set up a little differently than most banks. USAA does not rely on physical bank locations, so you’ll need to be comfortable with managing your accounts online or with your mobile device. This shouldn’t be a problem for most 21st century consumers, but you’ll want to keep it in mind.
USAA could be a great option for your banking needs, if you qualify for the criteria above.
Services Offered by USAA
USAA offers a host of banking products, in addition to other financial and insurance products. This review will focus on USAA’s core banking products, so consider that as you read other USAA banking reviews that may look at other aspects of the organization.
Also remember, USAA was founded by members of the U.S. military and is only available to qualifying members of the armed forces or their families. Offering services to military families is USAA’s biggest distinction from other banks and a great bonus for those that qualify.
USAA Checking Accounts
USAA Bank offers a completely free checking account with no monthly service fees — a great perk in today’s financial climate. There are also no account minimums or ATM fees at USAA-approved ATMs.
USAA’s website states that, “your checking account is the core of your financial life.” A review of the services offered by USAA seems to support that claim. The organization offers checking features that are competitive with the offerings of other banks.
Opening an account only requires a $25 deposit and, as we saw previously, there are no minimum account balance requirements. Direct deposit is free, as are transfers and bill payments.
A close review of USAA Bank reveals that they also give customers the ability to deposit checks with their mobile device: simply take a picture of the check through USAA’s mobile app and add the funds to your account. Another option for customers to easily add funds to their accounts is through a number of USAA deposit-capable ATMs.
The fees associated with a USAA checking account are for things like overdrafts or returned checks; hopefully, you’ll never have to worry about those things, but information about them is available here.
Image Source: USSA
Free Tools for USAA Checking Account Customers
In addition to the features we’ve already looked at, USAA Bank provides a number of free tools to its checking account customers.
One of the most interesting tools provided by USAA to its checking account customers is the ability to pay or send money in a variety of convenient ways. Here are the options USAA provides for its customers to send money or pay bills:
- Web BillPay. This option allows customers to pay anyone directly from a computer or mobile device. Customers can also set up automatic payments with this tool, freeing themselves from the worry of missing or making a late payment.
- Send money directly to a friend or family member. Send Money uses PayPal to send funds directly to other accounts. All you need is the email or phone number of your intended recipient. This option is a safe way to transfer funds, as no account numbers or other information is revealed to either party.
- Apple Pay or Android Pay. USAA checking accounts are compatible with both Apple Pay and Android Pay. Both of these methods allow customers to quickly and securely pay for a variety of things.
A review of USAA bank indicates that they allow their customer to keep track of their money with USAA Money Manager. The Money Manager allows users to track and manage their finances in one convenient location. Users can view all of their account balances, budget their finances, and get alerts about their spending.
USAA Savings Bank Accounts
In addition to checking accounts with competitive rates and features, USAA also provides savings accounts. USAA's savings accounts share some similarities with the checking accounts. There are some differences, though. Let’s take a look at what USAA offers in its savings accounts.
Much like their checking accounts, USAA’s savings accounts are free. There are no monthly service fees associated with USAA savings bank accounts. Rates currently range from 0.05% to 0.15%, depending on account balance. Only $25 is required to open an account.
Just like USAA’s checking accounts, customers can deposit checks from anywhere via the mobile app and have access to a broad network of ATMs. Savings account customers can also use USAA’s mobile app for managing and budgeting their accounts.
Here are a few more features you can take advantage of with a USAA savings bank account:
- Drop your deposit in the mail with a free, postage-paid envelope from USAA
- Transfer money to any bank in the U.S. without paying a fee
- Set and achieve your financial goals with USAA’s Goals Planning Tool
USAA also offers youth savings accounts to help begin teaching your kids about financial planning and saving. Youth accounts allow parents to fully access the accounts as well as set limits on what kids can do with the account.
One Big Advantage
Other types of loans, such as personal loans or mortgages, have similarly low rates when compared to competitors. These low loan rates are a big perk for USAA members and will likely not be found with other major banks.
USAA Bank Reviews
Now that we’ve looked at some of the features offered by USAA, let’s take a look at some USAA banking reviews and analyze what consumers are saying about the bank.
Credit Karma users currently give USAA a rating of 3.4 stars out of 5 based on 109 reviews. Most of the reviews are positive 5 star reviews, with a few lower ratings mixed in.
One anonymous reviewer writes, “I am retired after working in banking software development for 37 years. I have worked with over 100 banks in the USA and in Asia, Europe and South America. I have never worked in a bank with better customer service.”
USAA banking reviews appear to be most divided on USAA’s customer service. Some reviewers give the organization negative marks for customer service, while many others say exactly the opposite.
Is USAA a Good Bank?
So the question remains: is USAA a good bank? And, more importantly, is USAA Bank right for you?
USAA Bank reviews indicate that they offer a variety of great banking products, all with competitive rates and services. Compared with other banks, they have a great customer service record with the smaller constituency afforded to them by the selective nature of the institution.
Here are some points you’ll want to keep in mind if you’re considering switching to USAA Bank:
- Do you qualify for membership? Remember, only qualifying current or former members of the military and their families can bank with USAA. You’ll need to use one of their insurance products, whether auto, property, or something else.
- Are you okay with banking remotely? USAA does not have very many physical locations, so most of your banking will need to be done online or with your mobile device.
- Incredibly low loan rates. If the above two points work for you, this one is a no brainer. USAA’s low interest rates could save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, over the life of a loan.
If these items meet your needs, then USAA should be a great fit for you. They’re a solid institution that’s been helping military families for nearly a century.
When you’re considering changing banks, and looking at other USAA Bank reviews, it’s important to do your research. When you choose a bank, you’re making a big commitment — so do your homework. Hopefully, this review provided some insight into the unique offerings and expertise USAA brings to the banking world.
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