The United Services Automobile Association (USAA online banking) is a San Antonio-based Fortune 500 diversified financial services group of companies including a Texas Department of Insurance-regulated reciprocal inter-insurance exchange and subsidiaries offering banking, investing, and insurance to people and families who serve, or served, in the United States Armed Forces. At the end of 2017, there were 12.4 million members.
USAA was founded in 1922 in San Antonio by a group of 25 U.S. Army officers as a mechanism for mutual self-insurance when they were unable to secure auto insurance because of the perception that they, as military officers, were a high-risk group. USAA has since expanded to offer banking and insurance services to past and present members of the Armed Forces, officers and enlisted, and their families. The company ranked No. 100 in the 2018 Fortune 500 list of the largest United States corporations by total revenue.
USAA Online Banking System
Banking services are provided by USAA Federal Savings Bank. The bank was established on December 30, 1983. According to USAA’s 2015 Annual Report to Members, USAA held over $62.549 billion in deposits with more than 6.3 million accounts.
USAA Federal Savings Bank’s bank lobby located in San Antonio is its only full-service banking location. Other cities, however, hold financial centers, often near military bases, which provide advice and assistance in obtaining services of any kind offered by USAA, in addition to opening those accounts online.
Banking services can be accessed in person, by mail, by phone, or through the internet. USAA Federal Savings Bank provides members with the ability to deposit checks to their accounts using mobile applications on the Apple iPhone and iPad, mobile devices with Google’s Android operating system, and Microsoft’s Windows Phone.
Major banking competitors include Bank of America-Military Bank, Pentagon Federal Credit Union, and Navy Federal Credit Union.
USAA Offers to Members
Below in numerous goodies USAA offers to its eligible members:
- Free checking, with no service fees and no minimum balance requirement, plus free bill pay and online transfers
- Savings accounts (but no high-yield savings accounts, alas)
- Competitive rates on mortgages, auto loans, and personal loans
- Investment accounts, including mutual funds for both Roth and traditional IRAs, 529s, and standard brokerage accounts
- Credit cards with cash rewards, special benefits for military members and, in some cases, crazy-low regular APRs
- A car-buying service that helps members secure lower prices
- A wide variety of insurance products, including renters, homeowners, auto, and life
Apart of the above mentioned offers, USAA is uniquely known for is its customer service. For the past three years, it’s been top ranked in the credit, banking, and insurance categories of Forrester Research’s Customer Experience Index. It was named The World’s Most Admired Company by Fortune in 2014. In 2002, it received the J.D. Power and Associates’ distinguished Chairman’s Award, which had, at that time, only been given to 10 companies, and never to a bank.
There’s been some rumblings lately about a decline in the quality of USAA’s famed customer service, but, scanning some consumer reviews of the bank at Credit Karma, the raves still outnumber the angry screeds.
USAA as One The Digital Revolutionary Banking
USAA has only one physical branch, in San Antonio, Texas—and thus, only one ATM. This particular arrangement made them early adopters of many practices that are now standard.
- Their first remote-deposit service, Deposit@Home appeared in 2007, and an iPhone app, Deposit Mobile, followed in 2009. (Before that, in order to deposit a check, you had to mail it to Texas—a considerable hassle.)
- They’ve also long refunded ATM fees (up to $15 a month) and not charged their own ATM fee for the first 10 withdrawals each month.
Returning Profits to The Insured USAA Online Banking
Since there are no shareholders, profits are retained for financial strength or returned to the members. Returns are accomplished through a Subscriber’s Account, commonly known as a distribution. Each year a portion of USAA’s profit is retained as “unassigned,” the rest is allocated to each member’s Subscriber’s Account using a formula based on the amount of premium the member paid that year as well as the member’s Subscriber’s Account balance. The allocation of capital to a member’s Subscriber’s Account occurs early in the calendar year. Late in the calendar year a portion of the member’s Subscriber’s Account is distributed to the member via checks or electronic funds transfer.
Members with more than 40 years of membership also receive a special yearly “senior bonus” distribution which amounts to 10% of the member’s Subscriber’s Account balance. The entirety of the Subscriber’s Account belongs to the member, but is not completely distributed until approximately 6 months after the member no longer has a USAA P&C policy. In 2015, USAA returned $1.666 billion to its members.
Those not eligible to join USAA but who are eligible to purchase insurance from USAA’s subsidiaries, such as USAA-CIC, may receive dividends as declared by USAA.
USAA Reserves Best Deals For Active-duty Service Members
USAA offers its best terms to those currently serving, and especially those who are deployed:
- 4% APR on credit cards while deployed (which is 2 percent lower than the rate mandated by the
- Service members Civil Relief Act)
- Waiver of some fees
- Rebates on interest accrued during deployment for those who receive campaign medals
- Discounts on auto insurance rates while a car is either garaged on base or kept in storage at home
USAA Non-eligible (Civilians) Benefits
Customers with no ties to the military, either through marriage or a parent, can still take advantage of the following products:
- Life insurance
- Investment accounts and mutual funds
- Discounts and other rewards
From 2009 to 2013, USAA online banking also allowed civilians to use their deposit-only banking products. And it’s possible that eligibility requirements will loosen again sometime in the future. If they do, you should take advantage.
With the above numerous mentioned features, I believe I have to some appreciable extent cleared some of your perspective about USSA. Both the eligible and civilian have opportunity to benefit from USAA banking.
We forward to your questions and comment.