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USAA was established in 1922, and started as a car insurance company for military members. Over the years, the company has grown to include banking, investments, all types of loans, all types of insurance, and other great services and features for members and their families. Auto financing is one of USAA's most popular services because of the many car loan discounts and incentives the company offers. USAA has won many awards and has been recognized for many great achievements including best customer service multiple times.

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The Good

  • Low APR
  • Loans up to 84 months
  • Incentives and discounts


USAA has a history of providing military members and their families with many services, while also striving for excellent customer service. In the 2015 Temkin Customer Service Ratings, USAA's banking services came out on top, ranking number one overall for customer service. Customer service is very important in this industry as customer's need answers to questions regarding their auto loan options. The company also offers many other great advantages to their service, such as:

  • No application fees
  • Low APRs
  • No early-pay penalty


USAA frequently offers incentives and special offers on their website. For example, if USAA members buy through the USAA Car Buying Service before a designated date, they can receive discounted loan rates. The USAA website states that previous members have already saved an average of up to $3,485 on their MSRP simply because they are signed up with the USAA Car Buying Service. USAA also offers discounts for clients who sign up for their automatic loan payment system, and they offer exclusive manufacturing incentives. USAA does not penalize members for paying off their loans early, nor do they charge application fees. Some companies in the industry charge fees when customers pay their loans off early, some companies also charge application fees. We like that USAA doesn't charge for either of these.

The Bad

  • Must have a military affiliation
  • No free credit score check
  • Lacking information

Exclusive to Military Members and their Families

Borrowers who do not already have a USAA account or any military affiliation are unable to qualify for USAA services. This limits who can apply for loans with USAA. If you do have military affiliation, you can qualify for an auto loan through USAA, as well as benefit from all of their other great services.

No Free Credit Score Option

When applying for auto loans, it's good to know your credit score so you're aware what type of APR you might be offered. Some companies in the industry offer a free credit score, or help customers find their credit score through a free third party website. We would like to see USAA add a free credit score option so members can know where they stand before applying for a loan.

Lacking Information

The USAA website offers minimal information about auto financing, the loan process, explanation of APR, and other similar details that borrowers find helpful. Borrowers who choose to work with USAA will want clarification on the process, terms of the loan, and other details with USAA. Potential customers should research these items before they finalize their loan so that they can ensure they understand what they're committing to.

The Bottom Line

USAA offers some great features for their members. However, they are lacking some information we would like to see, and are exclusive to military members and their families. USAA offers an easy online application, low APRs, quick approval times, and several ways to get discounts. For military personnel and their families, we recommend USAA as a great option for a car loan.

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