USAA Bank Review 2020

Published March 2020 by Matthew Goldberg

AT A GLANCE
3.3
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Bankrate Score

bank-logo
Credit Card Cash

ATM fee refunds

Laptop Best

Digital Leader

Money

Low Fees

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.

  • Savings
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    2.8
  • CDs
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    2.9
  • Checking
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    4.2
  • MORE HIGH-YIELD OPTIONS
    MORE HIGH-YIELD OPTIONS
    Goldman Sachs Bank USA

    Member FDIC

    CD

    1.00 % APY

    1 yr

    Term

    $ 500

    Min. deposit

    Goldman Sachs Bank USA

    Member FDIC

    CD

    1.00 % APY

    1 yr

    Term

    $ 500

    Min. deposit

    Overall

    3.3

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    Bankrate Score

    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.

    What we like

    • The USAA mobile app has positive reviews and popular features, such as the ability to send money using Zelle, mobile deposit and the ability to locate ATMs.

    • No minimum balance requirement or monthly fee for the savings account.

    • Generous free access to ATMs

    What we don't

    • Limited physical locations.

    • If you don’t have a link to the military — through your own experience or through family — you won’t be able to join.

    • You can find higher yields elsewhere.

    Savings accounts

    2.8

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    Bankrate Score

    USAA Performance First is the bank's top-yielding account. You earn higher rates on higher balances.  However, you will need at least $10,000 to open the account.

    What we like

    • You will earn a higher rate on a higher balance.

    • No monthly service fees or minimum balance requirements.

    • ATM card is available.

    • USAA has more than 60,000 preferred ATMs nationwide that you can use for free.

    What we don't

    • 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.

    CD rates

    2.9

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    Bankrate Score

    OTHER CD OFFERS YOU MAY LIKE
    Goldman Sachs Bank USA

    Member FDIC

    CD

    1.00 % APY

    1 yr

    Term

    $ 500

    Min. deposit

    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 interest for CDs with terms longer than 30 days up to 12 months. For CDs maturing in more than one year but less than seven years, the penalty is 180 days of interest

    What we like

    • Interest is compounded daily.

    • Accrued interest can be paid out before maturity.

    • Low minimum deposit required to open each CD.

    What we don't

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

    Checking accounts

    4.2

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    Bankrate Score

    USAA Bank customers can earn interest with USAA Classic Checking on balances $1,000 or more. 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 members in certain states 10 cents back on every debit card purchase.

    What we like

    • Tiered rates offer interest on balances of $1,000 or more.

    • Up to $15 in fee reimbursements if using non-USAA preferred ATMs.

    • Account works with well-reviewed mobile app.

    What we don't

    • The Cashback Rewards Checking account does not earn interest.

    • Membership is exclusively geared toward active military, former military, an eligible family member, or a cadet or midshipman.

    Bank experience

    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.

    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.

    Matthew Goldberg Twitter Created with Sketch. @MATTATBANKRATE

    Matthew Goldberg Twitter Created with Sketch. @MATTATBANKRATE

    Matthew Goldberg is a consumer banking reporter at Bankrate. Nearly his entire career has either been as a reporter or working in financial services, in banking and insurance. His writing has been featured on MSN, appeared in Sports Illustrated On Campus, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Buffalo News and other publications. He has been honored by both the Illinois Associated Press Editors Association and the Illinois Press Association. Matthew is currently on the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing (SABEW) Board of Governors. He has previously served on conference planning committees, the training committee and the finance committee for SABEW, which is the world's largest and oldest organization of business and financial journalists. His reporting career has included working as a staff reporter at two daily newspapers. He earned a bachelor’s degree at Illinois State University and an MBA at William Paterson University.