USAA Bank Review 2019

USAA Logo

4.0/5

USAA Federal Savings bank is a members-only bank that requires membership through serving in the military or by having eligible family members who served.

ABOUT OUR REVIEWS

The experts at Bankrate are continually researching, reviewing, and rating banks to help you objectively compare and choose institutions that fit your needs. To support our constant research we sometimes receive compensation from links you choose to click on.

Bankrate's overall ratings for financial institutions comprise weighted averages up to five stars of five main categories: customer service, savings accounts, checking accounts, money market accounts (MMAs) and certificate of deposit (CDs).

The Bankrate editorial team compiles publicly-available company data as well as information from the government organizations like the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. for our review of each financial institution. App ratings are obtained from iTunes and Google Play. The interest rates, branch densities, fee amounts and other data was collected in fourth quarter 2018 and first quarter 2019.

When a financial firm offers more than one checking, savings or MMA accounts, Bankrate reviews the account with the highest APY. Each bank is evaluated based on the 12-month certificate of deposit (CD) it offers.

All reviews are prepared by Bankrate staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information including rates and fees presented in the review is accurate at time of publication. Check the bank’s website for the most current information.

About USAA

The USAA Federal Savings Bank opened in 1983. Generally, active military, former military, and veterans with a discharge type of “Honorable” from the U.S. military — and their eligible family members — are eligible for USAA membership. USAA Federal Savings Bank is a wholly owned subsidiary of USAA. Eligible family members are spouses, widows, widowers and un-remarried former spouses of USAA members who joined USAA prior to or during their marriage. Individuals whose parents joined USAA are also considered an eligible family member. There are four USAA financial centers in the United States, in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Highland Falls, New York, Annapolis, Maryland and San Antonio, Texas. There is also a USAA Federal Savings Bank at West Point, New York.

USAA may only have five physical locations, but it does have a mobile app, which allows customers to deposit checks, use Zelle to send funds to others and find ATMs. USAA has both deposit taking ATMs and USAA Preferred ATMs, but these don’t accept deposits.

USAA is good for people eligible for membership who want to bank at a direct bank and want access to 60,000 free ATMs.
It’s bad for people who don’t meet the eligibility requirements and for those looking for the absolute highest APY out there.

 Pros

  • USAA Performance First is a competitive savings account when it comes to APY.
  • The USAA Mobile App has popular features, such as the ability to send money using Zelle, mobile deposit and the ability to locate ATMs.
  • No minimum balance requirement for both the USAA Performance First Savings Account and the USAA Savings Account.

 Cons

  • If you’re looking for a brick-and-mortar bank, there are only five physical USAA locations.
  • In order to get over 1% APY in a savings account at USAA, you have to have at least $100,000 in your USAA Performance First Savings account. That’s a high minimum compared with others in the direct-banking space.
  • If you don’t have a link to the military – through your own experience or through family – you won’t be able to join.

USAA Services

CDs Rating

3.5/5

USAA offers some unique CDs that aren’t available at other banks. Investors without much money to invest may be able to open a CD with the bank and earn more interest than they would at most banks. Early withdrawal penalties for CDs are standard. The penalty is 90 days of simple interest for CDs with terms of 12 months or less. For banks with longer terms, the penalty is 180 days of simple interest.

 Pros

  • Interest is compounded daily.
  • Accrued interest can be paid out before maturity.
  • Yields are competitive and much higher than average.
  • Low minimum deposit required to open each CD.

 Cons

  • None of the CDs offer special features like the chance to automatically raise rates.

USAA CDs

TERM APY MIN DEPOSIT
5 year 2.78% $1,000
3 year 2.54% $1,000
4 year 2.48% $1,000
2.5 year 2.43% $1,000
2 year 2.32% $1,000
18 month 2.28% $1,000
1 year 2.06% $1,000
6 month 0.56% $1,000
9 month 0.56% $1,000
3 month 0.25% $1,000

CDs available from other banks

Capital One Logo
2.80% APY
$0 MINIMUM DEPOSIT
PurePoint Financial Logo
2.80% APY
$10,000 MINIMUM DEPOSIT
Barclays Logo
2.75% APY
$0 MINIMUM DEPOSIT
Savings Rating

3.1/5

USAA Performance First is the bank's top-yielding account, more than 13 times the national average APY on $1,000,000 or more. Other tiers are $100,000 to $249,999 earns 10 times the national average APY, $250,000 to $499,999 earns 11 times the national average APY and $500,000 to $999,999 earns 12 times the national average APY.

 Pros

  • This account has an APY that is more than 12 times the national average.
  • No monthly service fees.
  • Mobile check deposit.
  • ATM card is available.
  • USAA has more than 60,000 preferred ATMs nationwide that you can use for free.
  • USAA reimburses up to $15 a month in ATM fees outside of USAA’s network.

 Cons

  • There are more competitive APYs available at other banks.
  • The highest APY tier is one of the highest around at $1 million or more.
  • There are much lower minimum balance requirements with much higher APYs available at other online banks.

USAA Savings

0.09 % APY
Savings
$25
MINIMUM BALANCE FOR APY

Savings accounts available from other banks

Goldman Sachs Bank USA Logo
2.25% APY
$1 MINIMUM DEPOSIT
Barclays Logo
2.20% APY
$0 MINIMUM DEPOSIT
Checking Rating

4.0/5

USAA Bank customers can earn interest with USAA Classic Checking after a $ $25 opening deposit. There’s no monthly fee for the account and no minimum balance. USAA reimburses up to $15 per statement cycle in other banks' ATM fees. Another option that does not earn interest USAA Cashback Rewards Checking. After a $25 opening deposit the account does not require a minimum balance or monthly fee and offers 10 cents back on every debit card purchase.

 Pros

  • Tiered rates offer interest on balances of $1,000 or more.
  • Up to $15 in fee reimbursements if using non-USAA preferred ATMs.
  • Overdraft protection.

 Cons

  • Interest rates are relatively low.
  • Membership is exclusively geared toward active military, former military, an eligible family member, or a cadet or midshipman.
Bank Experience Rating

4.6/5

USAA has long been regarded as a digital leader among financial institutions and its reputation remains so. Its mobile app comes with standard features, like deposit checks and send money with Zelle. But the app also comes with edgier features, such as a digital assistant that you can conjure up within the app to answer your questions. USAA also stands out for letting members pull in all of their financial accounts into one portal to customize their budget and track their spending. It also offers a Digit-like tool that moves $1 to $9 to someone’s savings every few days — based on how much funds you have in your checking account. While you won’t be banking at a traditional branch, USAA also provides access to more than 60,000 ATMs that members can use for free.

Read bank experiences from other banks

Citibank Logo
BANK EXPERIENCE
4.6 /5
Ally Logo
BANK EXPERIENCE
4.6 /5
Capital One Logo
BANK EXPERIENCE
4.5 /5