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The United States Automobile Association (USAA) began in 1922 in San Antonio, Texas by 25 Army officers who needed to insure their automobiles. Today, USAA also offers banking services, health insurance, online shopping items and an advice center. Their clientele has grown to include all past and present military and their families, as well as a select group of individuals outside of the military. Stuart Parker, retired United States Air Force officer, is the CEO. Under 4 major lines of business, USAA has 46 different products and 5 services. There are 19 locations, but only the headquarters is a full service operation. USAA also has online and mobile banking options.

 

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The Good

  • Products and services
  • Financial advice
  • Mobile app

USAA offers the largest portfolio of products for the military. These products are designed as the standard products offered to the general public, but with specific features that fulfill the unique needs of soldiers, veterans, the honorable discharged, and their family members.

USAA has the unique structure of being an entity of members who insure each other. This means there are no shareholders; their entire account belongs to them. Each year, members receive profits from their investment, based on how much premium they paid and their account balance.

Products and Services

Banking services are available with all of the modern conveniences of completing transactions in person, by mail, online or on the phone. Checks are free at every order and can be deposited by mail. Soldiers and veterans are also entitled to free financial counseling. USAA account holders can count on the following benefits:

Banking

  • free ATM
  • free banking, no fees
  • direct deposit one day early (not applicable to all members)
  • competitive APR's
  • delayed payment auto loans (60 days)
  • straight forward mortgage loans
  • for deployed account holders only
  • special APR's

Insurance

  • reduced auto insurance rates
  • discount on vehicle storage
  • car rental insurance
  • home owner's insurance
  • for active members, uniform expense coverage
  • quick home claim settlement
  • worldwide renter's insurance
  • cheap personal property coverage
  • natural disaster coverage
  • simple life insurance
  • for active and deployed members, SGLI coverage
  • severe injury and war time life insurance coverage
  • supplemental health insurance
  • travel insurance and cancellation coverage

Financial Advice

  • investment portfolio
  • retirement plan guide
  • for the active and deployed, military life financial advice
  • for deployed account, deployment response center

Shopping

  • home security and monitoring
  • for deployed account holders, free monitoring
  • reduced travel and accommodation rates
  • discount car rentals
  • discounts on variety of products and services, including cars, flowers and gifts, home improvement items, shipping, storage, utilities and cable

Mobile App

Account holders can download the mobile app for Google play and Apple for free, and take advantage of many features. In addition to depositing checks, paying bills and transferring funds, they can track spending, and on Google Play, research investment markets, get quotes and make trades.

The Bad

  • Exclusive membership
  • Lacking quality
  • Customer service

Exclusive Membership

USAA products and services are not offered to a select group of people who, by the same values upon which this business has been established, are also entitled to have them. Widows, widowers, and children of the military who did not have a USAA membership are not eligible to join.

Lacking Quality

Although there is a large quantity of products that USAA offers, the quality is lacking. The automobile insurance rates are comparatively higher than other major companies. Credit card payments are designed to pay off interest, and little of the actual balance. The accounts that see extremely low interest rates include:

  • Savings accounts
  • Checking accounts
  • CD accounts

Customer Service

What USAA has in terms of products and services, it lacks in terms of customer services. There are over 500 complaints posted from old and new customers alike about the negative experiences they have had. Most of the complaints are concerning the negligent way auto claims are handled. There are cases in which USAA are accused of catering to the unrepresented party in an accident to compensate for their negligence, even when the uninsured is at fault. Other reports explain general practices of negligence, resulting in slow resolution of claims.

Clients are stating that USAA, the company developed to service the military in a way that they deserve, are NOT providing that service. Some of the members have received such bad service that they believe USAA is a con.

The Bottom Line

USAA is a financial institution for the military that offers more products and services than any other business of its kind. They are advertised to be designed with the specific needs of those in the armed services and their families in mind. However, according to many servicemen, that is not the case.

The interest rates on savings and checking accounts are extremely low compared to what most civilians pay. The credit card interest is good, but the payments are arranged to primarily pay off the interest instead of the balance. Anyone, and especially a soldier, would need to pay off debt as soon as possible. USAA offers a wide variety of types of insurances, but they are higher than their competitors.

USAA members are very dissatisfied with the services they receive. Instead of a staff that values the people who defend our country and want to show their appreciation by giving them good service in return, military are stating they are being disrespected, ignored and misinformed. This kind of treatment is not experienced when members are applying for products, opening accounts and making payments. Obviously, the payments are the primary concern and not customer satisfaction. Those that use USAA online banking can expect the following:

  1. Quality online banking services
  2. Options for insurance
  3. Financial advice provided
  4. Low interest rates on basic accounts

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User Reviews

Star Rating

2.5
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4 Reviews

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Squeaky
June 4th, 2018 Chicago, IL DETAILS
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I have been a USAA member for almost 30 years. Last week I moved all my banking to Navy Federal (great place) and I will also not be renewing my USAA insurance policies. Their customer service has devolved from absolutely stellar to barely functional. I'm so disappointed in what USAA has become. They will no longer get any of my business. There was a time in my life when I couldn't imagine surviving without them, but now I can't wait for them to close my accounts.

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Chase Huntzinger
April 18th, 2018 Provo, UT DETAILS
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Good coverage, but I think there are better prices. My experience with USAA has been that they have excellent customer service, though.

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Doyal Stewart
June 2nd, 2017 Salt Lake City, UT

USAA really has a great banking app. It is super easy and convenient to use. Transferring funds from other banks is extremely fast, and paying bills is easy. I have had to talk to customer service several times and have always had a positive experience. I would recommend using USAA to anyone who has a military background or military family member.

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A
September 1st, 2016 Rio Rancho, NM

There customer service isnt all bad, when your just starting out. Once your out they get pretty bad. They should honestly be ashamed of themselves or atleast fire there entire customer service. They have some great perks though. The car shopping and discounts is a pretty nice feature to have. Sometimes 5,000 off sticker price though in all honesty Ive gotten quite a bit more than that off without any of there help, it is nice though if your are not used to dealing with salesmen though. The insurance is hit or miss, I have a friend who swears by them but has never gotten in a wreck or needed to use them. If you ask around there are some pretty unhappy customers, if you get there insurance make sure to have GAP insurance to be safe they are really hit or miss. My wife got in a real bad wreck and only received 300 dollars. This company cost me quite a bit of money for a period of a month, I had to survive a month of cereal and dollar TV diners, due to a mistake at USAA and only got a sorry and we can give you 45 dollars back. They do some good things but they also do some horrible things as well. For every happy customer they have 3-5 who wish the company would go bankrupt and eventually go somewhere else. They pray on young service members and there families though. My experience was absolutley horrible, and they did some real shaddy things that affected my credit score. I dont owe them anything either I paid all my debts in full, they just did something verry unethical to me and I will allways remember what they did and friends and family do too.