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USAA Federal Savings Bank has been serving the U.S. military and their families for roughly a century. Founded in 1922, United Services Automobile Association, better known as USAA, started as an automobile insurance company but expanded to offer banking and other financial services.
As a membership-based bank catering to U.S. military members, their spouses and their children, USAA isn’t available to the general public. For those who qualify, USAA offers many products and services designed to help families manage their money, save for retirement and much more.
This review focuses on USAA’s personal banking products. The bank’s products and rates may vary slightly by location. For this review, we used New York as the primary location. Account details and annual percentage yields (APYs) are accurate as of August 25, 2021.
USAA has three checking accounts: USAA Classic Checking, USAA Cashback Rewards Checking and USAA Youth Spending.
USAA Classic Checking
This account is relatively standard so far as checking accounts go. Members can open a checking account with a minimum opening deposit of $25. This checking account gives you access to more than 60,000 in-network ATMs nationwide. But be careful if ATM withdrawals are your main form of banking. USAA doesn’t charge fees for the first 10 ATM withdrawals per monthly statement cycle, but subsequent non-USAA Bank ATM withdrawals cost $2 each.
The bank refunds up to $15 each month for out-of-network, third-party ATM fees. There’s a 1% foreign transaction fee for withdrawals made outside of the U.S., which applies to debit card purchases, non-ATM cash withdrawals and ATM cash withdrawals. Account holders may qualify to receive direct deposits a day early. There are also no costly monthly service fees to worry about with USAA Classic Checking accounts. You can earn interest with this account, but not much—it pays just 0.01% APY.
USAA Cashback Rewards Checking
With Cashback Rewards Checking, you can earn cash back rewards through debit card purchases. It offers 10 cents per qualified debit card purchase. There’s no limit to the amount of cash back you can earn, so long as your account is open and in good standing.
Like Classic Checking, you have access to more than 60,000 in-network ATMs and USAA reimburses $15 per statement cycle in third-party ATM fees. Unlike Classic Checking, this account is only available in 28 states, but USAA notes on its website that it will be available in additional states at a later date. You can see if this account is available in your state on USAA’s website.
USAA Youth Spending
For USAA members with children ages 13 to 18 years, there’s USAA Youth Spending. Similar to Classic Checking, there is no monthly service fee and it only requires a $25 minimum opening deposit to open an account. Through this youth bank account, parents can give their children limited online and mobile account access. Youth spending accounts come with a free debit card and access to the same network of ATMs. Also included with youth accounts is overdraft protection without extra fees.
Overdraft protection requires linking another USAA checking account or credit card for payment of overdrafts. Youth Spending accounts automatically convert to USAA Classic Checking accounts when your child turns 18, although you can keep it a joint account for as long as they want or until you request to remove your name from the account. Like Classic Checking, you can earn interest with this account, but not a lot—it pays 0.01% APY.
USAA offers three savings accounts: the USAA Savings Account, the USAA Performance First Savings Account and the Youth Savings Account.
USAA Savings Account
This resembles a traditional savings account. It requires a $25 minimum opening deposit. There’s no monthly maintenance fee, and the account comes with overdraft protection with another linked USAA deposit account or credit card to fund overdrafts.
Currently, rates on the USAA Savings Accounts sit at 0.01% APY on all balances. If you’re hoping to earn significant interest with higher balances, this isn’t the ideal account for you. The account does offer some extra perks, though, like mobile deposits and a handy goal planner and tracker.
USAA Performance First Savings Account
As the bank’s high-yield savings account, the USAA Performance First Savings Account offers slightly higher interest rates than the standard USAA Savings Account, albeit with a significantly higher minimum opening deposit requirement of $10,000. While the account has higher rates, it tops out at 0.20% APY on balances of $500,000 or more, much lower than what’s available from the best online savings accounts. With a daily balance of $10,000 to $49,999.99, you’ll earn 0.05% APY.
The APY moves up to 0.06% APY for balances of $50,000 to $99,999.99, 0.08% APY for balances of $100,000 to $249,999.99 and 0.11% APY for balances of $250,000 to $499,999.99. Other than interest rates and minimum deposit requirements, this account offers similar features as the USAA Savings Account—overdraft protection with a linked USAA deposit account or credit card, no monthly maintenance fee and a goal planner and tracker.
Youth Savings Account. This savings account for kids ages 13 to 18 pairs well with the Youth Spending account. The account has no monthly maintenance fee and comes with an ATM card. Children can make mobile check deposits and get text alerts about account balances. You can give your child limited access to USAA.com and choose whether or not they can transfer or deposit money.
Currently, the Youth Savings Account earns 0.01% APY on all balances. This account automatically converts to a USAA Savings Account once your child turns 18.
USAA offers several different types of certificates of deposit (CDs). Not only does it carry Standard CDs, but it also offers Jumbo CDs, Super Jumbo CDs, Adjustable Rate CDs and Variable Rate CDs. However, regardless of which CD type you choose, USAA’s CD rates are much lower than you can find at most online banks and significantly lower than the best CD rates. The minimum deposit requirement varies depending on the CD type:
- Standard Fixed Rate and Adjustable Rate CDs: $1,000
- Jumbo Fixed Rate and Adjustable Rate CDs: $95,000
- Super Jumbo Fixed Rate and Adjustable Rate CDs: $175,000
- Variable Rate CDs: $250
There’s no shortage of CD terms available through USAA. Depending on the CD type, the terms range from as short as 30 days to as long as seven years.
Standard fixed-rate CDs range from 91 days to seven years, while jumbo and super jumbo CDs offer terms from 30 days to seven years.
Adjustable Rate CDs come in four term lengths: three, four, five and seven years. With USAA Adjustable Rate CDs, account holders can adjust the rate one time during the term. Variable Rate CDs are available in either a one-year term or a 182-day term. With Variable Rate CDs, USAA can adjust the rate at any time during the CD term. Both the Adjustable Rate and Variable Rate CDs currently earn 0.01% APY.
Interest on all CDs is compounded monthly and credited to your account monthly. CDs automatically renew at maturity, unless you decide not to renew during the 10-day grace period. Like most banks, USAA charges an early withdrawal penalty if you choose to withdraw funds from a CD before it reaches maturity.
Here’s an overview of USAA Bank’s fixed rates for standard CDs.
USAA’s Jumbo and Super Jumbo CDs require much larger opening deposits and currently pay the same APY as the Standard Fixed Rate CDs.
Other Accounts and Services
As a full-service financial institution, USAA offers more than just traditional banking products. For members, USAA also offers products and services like:
- Auto loans
- Credit cards
- Investment accounts
- Mortgages and home refinancing
- Motorcycle, RV, and boat loans
- Personal loans
- Retirement accounts
- Shopping and discounts
When talking about USAA, you can’t forget about its insurance products since the company’s roots began in the auto insurance industry. Auto insurance is still available today, but USAA has significantly expanded its insurance coverage offerings. Here are some of the insurance options that USAA offers:
- Health: Medicare, major medical, dental, vision
- Mobile home
- Motorcycle, RV, and boat
- Personal property
- Renters and rental property
- Small business
Members with both a USAA savings account and checking account have access to extra tools to maximize savings. Four tools are available:
- Text Savings Tool. With this tool, USAA analyzes your checking accounts frequently to see if there’s extra money to move to savings (between $1 and $9, never dropping your balance below $100).
- Recurring Transfers Tool. Have money automatically transferred to savings whenever regular deposits are made to your checking account.
- ATM Rebates Tool. Have any ATM rebates received for out-of-network ATM use transferred automatically to your savings account.
- Tax Refunds Tool. Have a portion of your tax refund automatically transferred to your savings account.
Access on the Go
Besides an extensive network of more than 60,000 ATMs, USAA members can access their bank and investment accounts online or through USAA’s mobile app. Some of the app features include:
- View account balances and transaction history
- Electronic transfers
- Bill pay
- Send money with Zelle
- Mobile check deposit
- Loan calculators
- Digital assistant
Not only can you manage your bank accounts, but the app allows you to shop online, find travel deals, access your auto insurance card, request roadside assistance and more.
USAA’s highly rated mobile app is available for iOS (4.8 stars out of 5 on the App Store) and Android (4.6 stars on Google Play).
USAA members can also get help via phone support by calling (800) 531-8722.
- Offers full-service banking solutions
- Extensive ATM network with out-of-network ATM rebates for eligible transactions
- Bank accounts have no monthly maintenance fee
- Automatic savings tools
- Highly rated mobile app
- Valuable resource for qualified military personnel and their families
- USAA membership is limited to active and former U.S. military, pre-commissioned officers, spouses and children
- You can find higher APYs at other banks and credit unions
- USAA has very few in-person financial centers across the U.S.
How USAA Bank Stacks Up
The depth and quality of financial products and services available through USAA Federal Savings Bank are tough to beat. Yet, membership is limited to current military members and veterans and their families, so not everyone can join. If you’re looking to maximize your savings through higher interest rates, you’ll need to consider other options. Most of USAA’s rates are comparable to large brick-and-mortar banks.
For qualified individuals and their families, though, USAA offers enough value that it may still be worth using for personal banking and other financial needs. USAA Bank provides extra support for military members when they need it the most—before, during and after deployment.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Yes, USAA Federal Savings Bank is a member of the FDIC (FDIC# 32188). Its deposit accounts are insured up to $250,000 per depositor, for each account ownership category, in the event of a bank failure.
How do I become a USAA member?
You can join USAA Bank online through its website. You’ll be asked a series of questions to determine eligibility. You’ll also need to provide some personal information to verify your identity.
Does it cost money to become a USAA member?
There is no cost to become a USAA member. You must meet membership requirements to be eligible to become a member and have access to USAA products and services.