USAA Bank Review 2020

Published February 2020 by Matthew Goldberg

AT A GLANCE
4.0
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Bankrate Score

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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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    3.1
  • CDs
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    3.5
  • Checking
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    4.0
  • MORE HIGH-YIELD OPTIONS
    MORE HIGH-YIELD OPTIONS
    BMO Harris Bank

    Member FDIC

    MMA

    1.85 % APY

    $ 5,000

    Min. balance for APY

    BBVA

    Member FDIC

    MMA

    1.85 % APY

    $ 10,000

    Min. balance for APY

    CIT Bank

    Member FDIC

    Savings account

    1.75 % APY

    $ 100

    Min. balance for APY

    Overall

    4.0

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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

    • 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.

    What we don't

    • 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.

    Savings accounts

    3.1

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    Bankrate Score

    OTHER SAVINGS OFFERS YOU MAY LIKE
    CIT Bank

    Member FDIC

    Savings account

    1.75 % APY

    $ 100

    Min. balance for APY

    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.

    What we like

    • 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.

    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

    3.5

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    Bankrate Score

    OTHER CD OFFERS YOU MAY LIKE
    Goldman Sachs Bank USA

    Member FDIC

    CD

    2.05 % 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.

    • Yields are competitive and much higher than average.

    • 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

    4.0

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    Bankrate Score

    OTHER CHECKING OFFERS YOU MAY LIKE
    Simple

    Member FDIC

    Checking account

    1.75 % APY

    $ 0

    To open

    $ 0

    To avoid fees

    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.

    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.

    • Overdraft protection.

    What we don't

    • 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

    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. He graduated from Illinois State University with a bachelor's degree in mass communication and earned an MBA at William Paterson University. He began his writing career in 1998 at Sun Publications in Crystal Lake, Illinois. He was sports editor at The Daily Vidette, a sports reporter at The Journal Standard and a sports writer at The Quincy Herald-Whig. His work has also appeared in Sports Illustrated On Campus. He has been honored by both the Illinois Associated Press Editors Association and the Illinois Press Association. He also has more than seven years of financial services experience, in both banking and insurance.