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USAA: 2023 Auto Loan Review

2023-05-01 00:00:00

At a glance

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Bankrate Score

  • Availability
    Rating: 4.3 stars out of 5
  • Affordability
    Rating: 3.8 stars out of 5
  • Customer Experience
    Rating: 4.8 stars out of 5
  • Transparency
    Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5
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About USAA

  • Moneybag

    Loan amount

    $5,000 to $500,000

  • Credit Good

    Min. credit score

    Not disclosed

  • Rates

    APR from

    5.69% (with autopay)

  • Funds available in

    One to three business days

USAA pros and cons

USAA boasts special discounts and rates for its members. Still, consider the cons before signing off.


  • Checkmark

    Autopay discount

  • Checkmark

    No application or prepayment fees

  • Checkmark

    Long shopping window


  • Close X

    No prequalification

  • Close X

    Undisclosed refinance rates

  • Close X

    Membership required

USAA is a Texas-based company that serves U.S. military members and veterans, pre-commissioned officers and spouses and children of either. Members can take out auto loans for new and used vehicles and refinance existing ones. With competitive rates and dedicated customer service, USAA can be a great option for service members looking to finance their next vehicle purchase.

Do you qualify?

USAA does not disclose loan requirements other than membership. Those who can join USAA include:

  • Active duty, National Guard and reserve members of the U.S. Armed Forces
  • Veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces 
  • Contracted cadet or midshipmen
  • Officer or warrant officer candidates
  • Spouses, former spouses, widows and children of the above
Typically, to get the best rate, you will need to have very good to excellent credit — a score of at least 670.

USAA versus M&T Bank

With a lower minimum loan amount of $2,000, financing through M&T Bank is a great option for borrowers who are financing a less expensive vehicle. Additionally, the Buffalo-based bank offers discounts to its borrowers without a membership requirement, unlike USAA. If you do not meet the membership requirements imposed by USAA, consider M&T Bank for similar rates, terms and acceptance.  

USAA versus Navy Federal

Like USAA, Navy Federal serves U.S. military members and veterans, though Navy Federal is a credit union rather than a financial services company. The two lenders offer similarly large maximum loan amounts, competitive minimum interest rates and fast funding. Navy Federal offers a couple of perks USAA doesn't, including a 96-month repayment term and access to car-buying services through TrueCar. Check out our full USAA vs. Navy Federal comparison for more help deciding.

What we like and what we don’t like

While you won't face prepayment penalties and you can shop for up to 45 days, there are some drawbacks to consider.

What we like

  • Autopay discount: Members benefit from a 0.25 percent discount when they sign up for autopay.
  • No application or prepayment fees: USAA doesn't charge application fees or prepayment penalties. 
  • Long shopping window: The loan offer you receive is good for 45 days. 

What we don’t like

  • No prequalification: USAA does not offer a way to accurately see your rates without a hard credit check. 
  • Undisclosed refinance rates: Although refinance is available, rates are not shared online. 
  • Membership required: You must have personal or family connections to the military in order to finance with USAA.

How to contact USAA

If you have questions regarding your loan application or prefer to communicate over the phone, USAA can be reached at 800-531-8722 or 210-531-8722 or via chat function directly on the site. Customer service representatives are available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT.

Auto loan types offered

USAA offers auto loans for drivers looking to finance a new or used vehicle or refinance their current loan. It also offers financing for lease buyouts but directs customers to call for more information.

New and used auto loans

  • Amounts: $5,000 and up
  • Terms: 12-84 months 
  • APR: From 5.69%, new; 6.04%, used (with autopay)

Drivers can finance a vehicle directly from a dealer or through a private seller with terms up to 84 months. However, USAA does carry some rules regarding vehicle age, cost and available terms. For 72-month terms, the financing amount must be $15,000 or greater. The longest terms are only available for model years 2016-2024 and require financed amounts of $25,000 or greater.

Refinance loans

  • Amounts: $5,000 to $500,000
  • Terms: 12-84 months 
  • APR: Not specified

While USAA does offer the ability to refinance your vehicle, the specifics are not disclosed on its website. In order to find available rates and terms, you must first apply. 

One perk that comes with USAA refi is the ability to take your vehicle overseas, ideal for those awaiting deployment. 

How to apply for a loan with USAA

The application process can be done fully online with approval provided in minutes. Your loan offer will be good for 45 days so it is wise to shop around before signing off. According to USAA’s site, applying for a new or used auto loan can be done in three simple steps.

  1. Apply online. First, fill out the online application and undergo a credit check. You will need information about the loan you want, your income and housing.
  2. Sign your documents. Following approval, which should take minutes, you will sign off on the e-documents via the website.
  3. Get the loan. Finally, you will receive your funding and can purchase your vehicle. Payments will be made to USAA on a monthly basis.


How Bankrate rates USAA

Overall score 4
Availability 4.4 USAA offers loans in all 50 states but does not disclose maximum loan amounts.
Affordability 4.3 There are no hidden fees but USAA uses traditional underwriting criteria and has an average minimum APR.
Customer experience 5 The shopping window is longer than competitors and USAA 24/7 online chat support.
Transparency 2.5 USAA does not offer prequalification and only shares its minimum APR.


Bankrate considers 18 data points when selecting top auto loans. Acceptance criteria, whether rates and fees are available and APR range all influence lender scores. These scores are broken up into four categories.

  • Availability: Loan amounts, repayment options, dealership requirements and state availability all contribute to this category.
  • Affordability: This section houses APR ranges, acceptance criteria, fees and discounts. 
  • Customer experience: How long you have to shop, customer service availability, whether there’s an app and autopay availability are accounted for in this section.
  • Transparency: This category accounts for the availability of fees and rates along with whether prequalification is available.
Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by 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 as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the lender’s website for the most current information.
Written by
Rebecca Betterton
Writer, Auto Loans and Personal Loans

Rebecca Betterton is a writer for Bankrate who has been reporting on auto loans since 2021. Through her writing, Rebecca aims to provide clarity and accessibility to the automotive loans industry as the cost to finance new and used vehicles continues to climb due to steep inflation.

Edited by Editor, Personal Loans, Auto Loans, and Debt