USAA Free Checking Account Review

Checking Account:
USAA Bank
Price:
Free

Reviewed by:
Rating:
5
On July 17, 2012
Last modified:January 5, 2013

Summary:

USAA Bank Checking Account is a truly no-fee checking account. There's no minimum monthly account balance requirement and no monthly fee. USAA Checking Account customers also enjoy ATM-fee reimbursement up to $15 fee charged by other ATM owners per month. Other features include free checks, mobile deposit and free online banking and billpay.

When I wrote about the promotional offer from USAA brokerage last week, I also mentioned in the post a few other products from USAA, one of them being the no-fee checking account, which is the favorite of many USAA customers. So what exactly makes it special?

We have discussed quite a few times in the past that today, checking accounts offered by many big banks are not as free as they used to be five years ago. Particularly, new laws enacted in the past few years aiming at reining in bad practices at financial institutions have squeezed their bottom lines. In a response to these new regulations, banks, especially those big ones, have turned their attentions to fees that are deemed as legal to make up the lost revenue. One easy victime is free checking accounts, which have become so popular since it was first introduced in early 1990s that everybody seems taking for granted. Not any more. Nowadays, if you have a checking account at one of the big banks, it’s likely that there are many strings attached to it if you want to avoid paying a monthly fee. For example, you would likely be required to maintain a minimum account balance, such as $1,500, everyday through out the month. You probably also would have to establish a direct deposit into the account or use the bank’s debit card to make a number of purchases each month. If you fail to meet these requirements, then you will be subject to a monthly surcharge that could be as high as $12 if you bank with BofA or Chase.

At USAA, however, the checking account really comes free. You won’t be accessed a monthly service charge for having a low account balance because there’s no balance requirement for the USAA checking account. It doesn’t matter what your balance level is, daily or monthly, the account is absolutely free. And if you like to pay your purchases with cash, USAA checking account will be an even better choice for you because “USAA Bank refunds up to $15 in other banks’ ATM usage fees each month and does not charge a fee for the first 10 ATM withdrawals. Subsequent transactions will be charged $2.00 each.” I would say that 10 fee-free withdrawals per month, i.e., an average of one ATM withdrawal every three days, is pretty good, even though it’s not the same as unlimited (I wonder whether my bank has unlimited ATM withdrawals or not).

Even if there may not be as many USAA Bank branch offices in your areas as other big banks, depositing a check into your USAA checking account isn’t a problem at all. In fact, you have plenty of options to add fund to your account. USAA Bank offers Deposit@Mobile which allows you to use your iPhone, iPad or Android Phone to make remote deposit, Deposit@Home that lets you deposit using a scanner and computer (note that Deposit@Home requires additional eligibility requirements, such as a USSS credit card), and Easy Deposit at more than 1,900 UPS Stores nationwide. If you choose to mail your checks for deposit, USAA will provide you with postage-paid envelopes.

The last but not least feature I like is that, as a USAA Bank customer, you will get checks for free as well. Every bank gives their new customers the first book of checks for free and when that runs out, you can either order more from the bank or through a third party, but they won’t be free. Even though I don’t write as many checks as I used since I now pay most bills online, it’s still good to have them for free.

Of course, there are many other features that comes with the USAA checking account, such as free online banking and free bill pay, but the most significant ones are listed above. If you are interested, you can find out more about the account on their website and whehter you are there, don’t forget to check out the 12670+ reviews and see what others have to say about their products and services.

USAA Bank Checking Account is a truly no-fee checking account. There's no minimum monthly account balance requirement and no monthly fee. USAA Checking Account customers also enjoy ATM-fee reimbursement up to $15 fee charged by other ATM owners per month. Other features include free checks, mobile deposit and free online banking and billpay.

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