USAA Federal Savings Bank Review: Fee-Free Checking for Military Personnel

4.8
Our Take: From fee-free checking to home and auto insurance, USAA Federal Savings Bank might be the only financial institution you need. If you qualify for membership, you have access to everything the bank offers.
  • Fees
    5.0
  • Breadth of Products
    5.0
  • Customer Service
    5.0
  • Opening Deposit Requirements
    4.0
How did we calculate this?

Pros

  • Wide variety of products and services
  • No minimum balance requirements
  • Affordable opening deposits
  • Wide range of CD terms

Cons

  • No high-interest savings account
  • Annual percentage rate for checking account below the national average

About USAA Federal Savings Bank

What started in 1922 as a way for 25 Army officers to insure their vehicles is now a fully integrated bank with more than 13 million members. Headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, USAA Bank generated nearly $36 billion in revenue in 2019 and has assets totaling almost $219 billion. Additionally, GOBankingRates has ranked it as one of the Best Online Banks of 2021 as well as one of the Best Checking Accounts of 2021.

USAA Federal Savings Bank Products

USAA Bank offers several bank and insurance products for its members. Here’s a quick look:

Product or Service Features
Checking Accounts
  • No monthly service fees
  • $25 opening deposit
  • Access to more than 60,000 preferred ATMs
Savings Accounts
  • No service fees or minimum balance requirements
  • Automatic transfers
  • Free ATM card
Certificates of Deposit
  • Terms from 30 days to 7 years
  • Fixed interest rates
  • FDIC insured
Loans
  • Auto, motorcycle, RV and personal loans
  • Terms up to 84 months for new car loans and 180 months for boats and RVs
  • APR as low as 2.89%
Mortgages
  • VA and VA jumbo loans
  • Rates as low as 3%
  • $50,000 minimum loan amount
Insurance
  • Policies for vehicles, homes, personal property and small businesses
  • Renters and rental property insurance also available
  • Life and flood insurance
Credit Cards
  • No annual fees
  • Benefits for travel and retail spending
  • American Express and Visa cards available
  • Cashback cards available
Investments
  • Brokerage and trading accounts available through Schwab
  • Mutual funds and EFTs
  • 529 education plans
Retirement
  • Traditional and Roth IRAs available

USAA provides interest-bearing and non-interest-bearing checking accounts as well as savings accounts, CDs and loans. There also are checking and savings accounts for kids and teens. Keep reading to learn more.

USAA Federal Savings Bank Checking Accounts

USAA offers two checking accounts, each with no minimum balance requirements or monthly service fees. The USAA Cashback Rewards Checking pays cash back for qualified debit card purchases. Balances in a USAA Classic Checking account earn interest on balances of $1,000 or more. A Youth Spending account is also available to help kids learn how to manage money.

Features

  • $25 opening deposit
  • No monthly service fees
  • Access to more than 60,000 preferred ATMs
  • Overdraft protection
  • Ranked as one of the Best Checking Accounts of 2021 by GOBankingRates

Pros:

  • No minimum balance required
  • ATM rebates up to $15 per month
  • Low opening deposit

Cons:

  • The 0.01% APY is below the national average of 0.04% on interest checking accounts

USAA Federal Savings Bank Savings Accounts

USAA has two savings accounts that target different types of customers. The bank also offers a Youth Savings account for younger customers. USAA Savings is a no-frills account for new customers that requires an opening deposit of only $25. USAA Performance First Savings is for customers who have at least $10,000 to open an account. Both come with automatic transfers and 24-hour account access through online banking.

Features

  • Opening deposit as low as $25
  • No monthly service fee
  • Mobile check deposits
  • APY ranging from 0.01% to 0.35%, depending on balance

Pros:

  • No minimum balance requirement
  • No monthly service fees
  • Goal planner and tracker to monitor savings

Cons:

  • Best rates reserved for accounts with large balances

USAA Federal Savings Bank CD Accounts

USAA Bank offers an impressive variety of CDs, including standard, jumbo and super jumbo CDs. Here are more details:

Features

  • $1,000 minimum deposit for standard CDs
  • APY of 0.05% to 0.47% for standard CDs
  • Terms from 30 days to 7 years
  • Interest paid monthly

Pros:

  • Wide range of CD terms
  • Competitive rates for long-term CDs
  • APY for 12-month CD slightly higher than the national average

Cons:

  • Early withdrawal fees apply
  • Some banks offer higher APY

Banking Experience

Because of USAA’s limited number of branches, members mainly rely on online banking and ATMs to conduct business. Here are the details:

Customer Service

The best way to contact USAA Bank customer service representatives is by phone. Members can contact the main customer service line at 800-531-8722 and ask for a specific department, or call individual departments directly. The bank website does not mention hours of operation.

Here’s the bank’s mailing address:

USAA Federal Savings Bank

10750 McDermott Freeway

San Antonio, TX 78288

Accessibility

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, USAA’s San Antonio bank lobby and other financial centers are currently closed until further notice. Drive-through services are available Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. CT and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. CT.

Mobile and Digital Experience

USAA has a mobile app available for Apple and Android devices. The app has a rating of 4.8 out of 5 in the App Store and a rating of 4.6 in Google Play. You can download the Apple version here and download the Android version here. The app provides information about all your USAA accounts with a single login. Information is protected by a PIN or biometric access.

Convenience

USAA Bank has a limited number of offices. However, members have access to their accounts through the mobile app, online banking and more than 60,000 USAA-preferred ATMs around the country.

How To Open an Account

To open an account at USAA Bank, you must first become a member. After reviewing and approving your membership application, a representative from the bank will make service and product recommendations.

Membership is open to current and former military personnel, including pre-commissioned officers. Their spouses and children can also join.

Key Information

Customer Service number: 800-531-8722

Routing number: 314074269

Promotions: See Newest USAA Bank Promos and Bonuses

Login: USAA Bank Login Help

USAA Bank Fees

USAA Bank does not charge monthly service fees for its checking or savings accounts, but other fees may apply. Here’s a rundown:

  • Monthly maintenance fees: $0
  • Overdraft fees: $29
  • Returned deposit fee: $5
  • Incoming wire transfer: $0
  • Outgoing wire transfer: $20
  • NSF fee: $29
  • ATM service fee: $2 after 10 transactions
  • ATM foreign transaction fee: 1% of the transaction amount

You can avoid these fees by staying away from activities that trigger them. This requires monitoring your account to make sure you have enough money to cover transactions, and using network ATMs.

USAA Bank vs. Competitors

Even if you qualify for membership at USAA, it’s helpful to compare it with other banks when you complete a USAA Federal Savings Bank review before opening an account. Here’s a look at how it stacks up against a few rivals:

Bank
Best For
USAA Bank Military personnel and their families who want access to a full range of banking and insurance products
Navy Federal Credit Union Military personnel and their families who prefer banking with a credit union
Bank of America Customers who are willing to pay higher fees in exchange for access to branches across the country
Chase Bank Customers who want the convenience of a national bank and the ability to earn a bonus for opening a new account

USAA Bank vs. Navy Federal Credit Union

Both USAA Bank and Navy Federal Credit Union offer products and services to military personnel and their families. USAA Bank offers a greater variety of products, including insurance. Navy Federal Credit Union has more branches available in the U.S. and a bigger presence around the world.

USAA Bank vs. Bank of America

USAA offers a higher APY on interest-earning accounts, but these rates are only available to those who meet the membership requirements. Bank of America is a better choice for folks who don’t qualify for USAA membership and prefer having access to a larger number of branches.

USAA Bank vs. Chase Bank

Like Bank of America, Chase Bank has more physical branches than USAA across the country. It also runs promotions that give new customers free money for opening an account. However, members of USAA have access to a broad range of non-banking products and services unavailable at Chase, including health insurance, shopping discounts and travel deals.

Final Take

If you meet the membership requirements at USAA Bank, it’s worth a second look. You get free checking and savings accounts and an array of other financial products and services at competitive prices. Find out if you qualify for membership and open an account to access everything the bank has to offer.

Editor’s Favorite

USAA Bank’s mobile app is an excellent tool for managing your finances. You can use it to monitor all of your bank accounts as well as insurance and investment products.

USAA Bank FAQ

Here are answers to some of USAA Federal Savings Bank's more commonly asked questions.
  • Is USAA Bank only for military personnel?
    • Not exactly. USAA Bank membership is open to current and former military personnel as well as their spouses and children. This includes veterans and pre-commissioned officers.
  • Does USAA have actual banks?
    • USAA Bank has financial centers and corporate offices in the U.S., England, Germany and Luxembourg.
  • How long does it take for a check to clear through USAA?
    • Most check deposits are available within seven days after the deposit. This can vary depending on your credit history and relationship with the bank.
  • What time does USAA release funds?
    • You should have access to your money the first business day after you deposit it. In most cases, you can withdraw funds from electronic direct deposits and cash ATM deposits the same day the bank receives them.
  • Does USAA offer free money for signing up for an account?

This article has been updated with additional reporting since its original publication.

Rates are subject to change; unless otherwise noted, rates are updated periodically. All other information on accounts is accurate as of Dec. 23, 2020.

This content is not provided by USAA Federal Savings Bank. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by USAA Federal Savings Bank.

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About the Author

Sean joined the GOBankingRates team in 2018, bringing with him several years of experience with both military and collegiate writing and editing experience. Sean’s first foray into writing happened when he enlisted in the Marines, with the occupational specialty of combat correspondent. He covered military affairs both in garrison and internationally when he deployed to Afghanistan. After finishing his enlistment, he completed his BA in English at UC Berkeley, eventually moving to Southern California.

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