USAA

210-531-USAA (8722), 800-531-USAA
San Antonio, Texas United States

USAA, long known for its insurance coverage, has also provided brokerage services since the 1980s. Unlike the company’s insurance policies, which are available only to active or retired members of the military and their families, both military and non-military families are eligible to trade with the firm. There’s a lot to recommend USAA — notably, its well-deserved reputation for customer service — although some of its offerings are limited.

Members consistently praise USAA’s responsive and knowledgeable customer service staff. The brokerage’s associated banking services are also a major point in its favor. Customers active with both branches of the company have access to a comprehensive list of account types and can easily link accounts and transfer funds. Banking clients with at least $5,000 invested may also opt for an Asset Management Account, entitling them to a number of banking and brokerage services (like check-writing) fee-free.

USAA’s Gold Plan, the default for all brokerage clients, is on the more expensive side for both stocks and options. Its bond and mutual fund fees are also similar to other, higher-priced brokerages. On the other hand, USAA’s list of service fees is surprisingly short and doesn’t include charges for penny stocks, after-hours trading, account maintenance or account transfers. More-active traders can also receive discounted commissions by qualifying for the firm’s Platinum Plan.

USAA’s trading tools and research are outranked by many competitors’, and while it offers most asset classes, the number of funds or stocks available is often smaller than through other firms. The brokerage’s trading tools and website have all of the standard features — including screeners, interactive charts, and third-party research from Standard & Poor’s — but little to set them apart from the competition. In addition, some users complain of site design flaws that make trading difficult at times.

Because of USAA’s unimpressive educational resources and trading tools — and relatively high fees — it likely won’t be the first choice of most investors, whether beginning or more advanced. Current USAA banking customers, though, might find the easy account-linking and friendly customer service a good deal.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • No. 1 in Bloomberg Businessweek’s Customer Service Champs ranking
  • Provides broker-assisted market orders
  • Commission per trade is below $10
  • Account minimum is below average
Cons
  • Does not offer commission-free ETFs
Founded in: 1922
Licensed:
Platforms: USAA mobile smartphone application, USAA website
Capital:
Fees:
Broker: 8.95
Exchange:
Withdrawal:
Minimum Deposit: 0

Mobile Trading

User Reviews

DanielWidenhouse

I am a member of USAA and they do offer commission-free ETFs. They are Fidelity ETFs. The con, then, would be that they only offer a limited selection of comission-free ETFs.

JohnC.

To be fair, many critics of uSAA financial services have valid points: you could do worse, but you could also do better. I think they probably charge more than other services like Vanguard (another excellent company). It is a conservative company, so dont expect to make a fortune, just fair returns. However, ive found that at USAA you pay good money and get excellent service in return. What youre paying extra for is good customer service, advice, and convenience (like as not, if you invest here you probably bank here as well). Other institutions require you to pay extra or have a certain balance in order to obtain advice; at UsAa, thats included with the fees you pay. If youre a novice who would prefer to put your finances on autopilot, usaa is the company you want. Regardless of the fees, your investments will still grow and you can retire happy. If youre an experienced or savvy investor, you'll probably be bored or feel limited at UsAa.

P.C.

ITS NOT OVER! so USAA (Thanks!) had changed investment custodians to national Financial Services in 2014. An entity which clears their trades. I just got a letter from the IRS and I owe 18K because USAA and NFS BOTH sent 1099s and 5498's to the IRS. IRS added up the redundant amounts, and added them to my income. I can't even access my statements previous to august 2014 when the takeover occurred. So I will have to ASK USAA (though it's their fault). to help me prove to the IRS the actual amount of some conversions I did. NO, they did not notify me that there could be some problem with the IRS; I had to go through that stroke on my own with no one by my bedside. In figuring out what the problem was I went from 7 on anxiety to like a 7.5 on pissed! This is crap! It's taking so much of my time. I hope they step up and provide a letter and documentation. Not optimistic... WHAT FREAKING GENIUS at USAA decided it was ok to change transaction clearinghouses in the middle of a year, instead of Dec 31? IT MUST HAVE BEEN CHEAPER. Just unacceptable. And I cannot be the only one.

P.C.

un freaking believable. they have had my IRA funds transfer request for over a month. I have had to call so many times, and each time i called i found the transaction was lost in a crack. It happens to be a type of account they don't do anymore. They have a new transaction processor NFS too. My request was in march. Still not done. Again, they say it's been "escalated". What else that's got precedence are they working on. Absolutely everything should be behind me in the queue. If I saw this as a supervisor I would be furious and have someone hand carry it through all the people who needed to approve it till it was done. Drop everything. I get, "do you want to speak with my supervisor?" and then "How can I help you today?"The one person I got on a fluke, he just piced up one of my calls on a Wednesday, knew more than anyone else but REFUSED to give me his extension so that I could talk to him directly again. Erik Gibson. From my Wed ap 15 call retd my call Saturday saying it was lost but now in process. by Wed 22 Ap , still no transaction. When I call, they don't mention the notes from Erik on the account, which in the message, rather than tell me how to reach him, says "anyone here can update you non the status." Just unacceptable. Lost best transaction date and price, Can't pay my bills, penalties, and so much time wasted. Who is so much more important than me that you can't finish this 6 week old request before you work on whatever you have to do today? I didn't give them enough lead time to get this done? 6 weeks? total BS and no satisfaction and no recourse. I've been a USAA member for 30+ years, and it's as if they sold the company! Not the same at all anymore. No bank is but this is ridiculous
ap 27 they sent me an apology end of last week in my secure messge box, saying sorry fax were not received (from USAA to NFS, not my fax), saying they would not have known had I not called them Ap 15 (that was my 5th call when i happened to get Erik Gibson, only by chance, anyone else request would have remained lost--you understand, just by a fluke i got him and he started process again), and message admitting they LEARNED on my account how to do this transfer type. That was something.
Added 2 years hence: oct 27 2016...
ITS NOT OVER! so USAA (Thanks!) had changed investment custodians to national Financial Services in 2014. An entity which clears their trades. I just got a letter from the IRS and I owe 18K because USAA and NFS BOTH sent 1099s and 5498's to the IRS. I can't even access my statements previous to august 2014 when the takeover occurred. So I will have to ASK USAA to help me prove to the IRS the actual amount of some conversions I did. NO, they did not notify me that there could be some problem with the IRS; I had to go through that stroke on my own with no one by my bedside. In figuring out what the problem was I went from 7 on anxiety to like a 7.5 on pissed! This is crap! It's taking so much of my time. I hope they step up and provide a letter and documentation. Not optimistic...

CarlP.

USAA is great with banking and insurance...... that being said all their other services are substandard or terrible. Their investments and loans are some of the worst I've encountered. I'd recommend you avoid the easy route and let a bank like USAA do what they're specialized in..... banking..... for everything else other than insurance find a company that's dedicated to that specialization.

MattF.

If you've worked as an independent contractor for less than two years, don't try to get a mortgage through USAA. I know this is oddly specific, but just don't. We are supposed to close on our house in two days and I've just received a call of denial from them today. This is the first time that the nature of my work has been brought up. We got a conditional loan approval last week and now we have to start the entire process over again with another company and wait another month to close.

They have been unhelpful and unorganized for past 43 days of working with them. I've had to submit documents multiple times because they "don't show up". The loan officer was unprofessional and made me believe that our application would be accepted. Unless you work for a corporate organization, don't bother applying for a mortgage here.

DeanT.

I was a government employee, both federal and city, and I transferred my IRA's to USAA since they have an excellent reputation in matters related to insurance. I transferred money to open an IRA and a ROTH IRA.

My initial elections didn't fair well in the market, so I blamed myself as I am no financial expert. So I contacted USAA and spoke to a financial advisor and expressed that I may not have made the best investment choices, and I requested that they make any investment choices on my behalf moving forward.

My investment choices earned an of average of a 1.5% gain prior to to handing over all investment decisions over to the advisors of USAA.

After handing over control of my investment elections to USAA I have continually seen declines quarter after quarter. As a busy professional I just don't have the time to watch the market and adjust accordingly, but even without the market savvy I can attest that the return on investment just doesn't add up. I don't hand my money over to professionals just to see continuous declines; and for that reason, I would not recommend their retirement program with as much confidence as I would the rest of their product lines.

RossS

Untrustworthy to do business with refinanced and two days after final closing they call and tell me I owe them $1,000 more on the loan I asked him why and they can't tell me put me on hold hang up on me then I contact the complaints department so they can't help me either I spoke with Andrew Williams he was incompetent tried to talk to David Cordova wouldn't answer his phone spoke with someone named Crystal and she was unable to explain why all this money I suggest if you are a veteran that you find somebody else to do business with the incompetence and lack of caring or professional ability is not with these people do not refinance or do any of your financial mortgage transactions with this group of people they are unethical and criminals

KenR

USAA has stollen $300,000 in savings from my widowed mother. My father died over three years ago, and they have used every ridiculous excuse not to give her the money. They have an outside idiot attorney named Ted whose sole purpose is to block withdrawals. Unfortunately, your agreement with them blocks any lawsuits. So there's basically nothing you can do. I have rerouted them to the SEC. I have hired a lawyer.

BarbJ.

Around 2013 I transferred my money from Wells Fargo investments to USAA UMP. That meant it was managed and had moderate growth. In the spring of 2014, I added another $50,000 to the mix. Then my accountant told me at the end of the year that USAA was reporting mutual fund gains so I would pay income tax, yet I wasn't making much money in real dollars on the same money??? Over about 2 years, maybe I made $2000 in good market. But my 1099's said I made much more even when I lost. WTF?
Now, today? Get out fast. I've lost almost $9000 since my high gain. Since initial investment plus the additional $50k, on Monday the 31st of August would have been loss of over $1000. Today???? Quoted almost $5000 loss. In their MANAGED ACCOUNT I PAY EXTRA FOR. Get out while you can.
I've been an insurance customer since I was commissioned. 1979. I'm thinking Amica looks better. Don't trust USAA managed accounts.
By the way, as I was losing hand over fist my money????USAA has so far this year taken over $1300 in fees TO MANAGE MY MONEY. ROTFLMAO!
I understand this has been a bad year. And last year was a bad year. So why when I lose money do you report me as making money? I think you are serving not us vets. You are serving the bottom line. Which now makes me question every product you offer.

BrianW.

USAA generally provides excellent banking services, insurance, etc. However, the investment side of the bank is the normal wolf-in-sheep's clothing. After a "wealth management" consultation, they talked me into putting a bunch of money from savings into a life insurance annuity, claiming it would be save, I could take it out anytime, etc, etc. A few years and some additional knowledge later, I looked into removing the funds. There are service penalties, tax penalties, etc, etc, that the agent who sold me the annuity didn't mention. These guys are simply salesmen masked as financial planners. I've trusted USAA for decades, but should have known better. Shame on you USAA.

DerekW.

I have largely been happy with USAA. I've never had trouble accessing my money and they are largely very helpful with any issues. My only real complaint is that they push managed accounts pretty hard. They charge a ~1% management fee and then invest the money in mutual funds which also have expenses. I've done just as good if not better picking my own funds.

MikeD.

beep boop, lovin it.

My only complaint is that it appears most members dont review unless they are unhappy. Can we hear from a happy member. Forgot, people dont care unless its time to complain. beep boop, lovin it.