Looking for a new checking account with low fees and great customer service?
Take a serious look at USAA Free Checking.
USAA stands for United Services Automobile Association. The firm was started in 1922 by 25 service members that came together to insure each other’s vehicles. It is a financial services company with our nation’s military and military families at its core. The firm has grown to serve more than 8 million members and offers a wide variety of banking and insurance products.
Being able to use USAA’s financial services is only available to the select few who have either served in the military or their family members. This keeps the company focused on its mission and enables them to offer unique products.
If you qualify, you should definitely consider using them for your banking and insurance needs.
That said, certain products, like checking and savings, are available to everyone. And that’s great news for you!
Why USAA Free Checking?
USAA offers a unique free checking product to its exclusive members. Here are some of the perks.
Nationwide Free or Low-Cost ATM Use
If you are in the military you often find yourself moving posts around the country. This means you have essentially two choices for banking: a national firm that will cover your banking needs wherever you go or to open up new accounts at every new station.
Opening new accounts at every base you end up in is a pain, but if you keep your old accounts you will probably be paying a lot of ATM fees.
If you go with a national bank, almost all of them are going to ding you with fees for using ATM services.
USAA doesn’t do that to you.
They’ll reimburse you $15 of ATM fees charged to you by other banks and give you 10 free ATM transactions per month. (Transactions after that will cost you $2.)
No Monthly Balance Fees
Major banks like to charge their customers monthly balance fees for simply having an account.
Sure you get a debit card out of the deal (that earns the bank more revenue) and you can use the ATM (earning the bank more revenue), but is that really worth paying a monthly fee for?
With USAA you don’t have the problem of worrying about what your average daily balance is or if your account is below the important threshold. Stop worrying about that by using USAA Free Checking.
USAA won’t hit you with a monthly account maintenance fee.
Remote Check Depositing
One of the cool things about technology is how it improves our daily lives.
USAA has financial center locations in 9 different cities in the country. If you’re living or based away from those locations, how exactly are you supposed to deposit checks that are written to you?
Instead of having to mail them in and wait for them to be deposited, you can now use what USAA calls Deposit@Home or Deposit@Mobile. Essentially you can scan your checks in digitally and have them deposited a lot faster than mailing. (This service is only available if you meet eligibility requirements for USAA Property and Casualty insurance and credit qualifications.)
Deposit at the UPS Store
Don’t have a PC and scanner and don’t live near one of USAA’s financial centers?
You can use Easy Deposit to deposit your check at a local UPS store. This is a unique advantage that other banks don’t have — the firm doesn’t have to have branches everywhere because the UPS store is just about everywhere with 1,900+ locations.
Unlimited Online Bill Pay
Getting paper bills is a hassle. Buying paper checks, writing out a check for the bill, dropping it in an envelope, paying for stamps… it’s all a hassle.
USAA gives you another option: just go online and pay all of your bills through USAA. The firm’s Web BillPay allows you to view and pay all of your bills in one easy online location.
Downsides to USAA Free Checking
With the firm’s specific focus on military families there is little to complain about, but I do want to point out a few potential flaws.
Lower Interest Rates
First, you will be able to find slightly better interest rates with other checking products. In fact, USAA lists no interest as being paid on the free checking account. Considering other banks like ING Direct and Ally are paying between 0.20% and 0.90% on checking balances, you’ll be missing out on some interest by going with USAA. USAA does offer some interest on accounts with balances greater than $1,000 but it really doesn’t compete with some of the high interest checking accounts out there.
However, the convenience factor and customer service for military members may wipe out this problem especially if you don’t hold a lot of money in your account at one time and thus won’t miss a lot of interest.
Tied Into Their Services
To get the best benefits like the digital check deposit you must be eligible for USAA’s other products. Like any firm the company wants to snag you into as many of its products as possible. But don’t let your loyalty to one firm make you blind to potentially less expensive products available.
Other than that, USAA Free Checking looks like a great choice for military members and their families, especially if you are consistently having to move across the country to a new post. They have rave reviews for their products (seriously, people LOVE USAA), offer convenient no-fee accounts, and their checking is available to the general public.
If you are looking for a checking account take a look into USAA.
Click here to start a USAA Checking account or to learn more.
My dad was military so I have USAA and absolutely love it. I have never had a problem with them and they have great customer service if you ever have to call.
USAA is great. And if you can have any other type of account with them you really should…their insurance rates are amazing. Their interest rates aren’t the best on any banking products…a little high on loans and a little low on interest building accounts. Like you, that would be one of my only criticisms. If you had this account, you wouldn’t have to worry about bank shopping when you move either!
I love USAA. I’m lucky that my step-father had a military service background and that I qualify to use USAA. I’ve been meaning to look into whether they offer business checking accounts since using their personal savings account is so easy – scanning in checks is terrific.
I’ve only heard good things. I try look into them if I had military ties.