USAA has maintained a reputable image as a military insurance provider with outstanding customer service and solid products for decades. Business Week consistently ranks the company as a customer service favorite, typically within the top 5 U.S. companies overall. The full service firm has branched out from insurance products to investment management, college savings and even a service to help members purchase the right car. USAA has created a whole new loyal base of fans: iPhone addicts and impatient mobile banking aficionados.
With a membership base primarily composed of current and former US service personnel (and their families), USAA has always been a solid choice for insurance products. The words “technology” and USAA were rarely used in the same sentence. But all that has changed.
Recently USAA has added online checking account features with a surprisingly tech-savvy vibe. Far from stodgy or traditional, the new iPhone application from USAA is downright cutting edge. Combine that with some great freebies and online banking features, and USAA has created one great checking account.
USAA’s iPhone Application
Using the USAA iPhone application, banking customers can use the GPS coordinates generated by their iPhones to find the closest ATMs. A loan calculator generates a payment schedule on the spot. There’s even a checklist on steps to follow if you’re in a car accident. But it gets better. USAA features a digital deposit system which allows virtual check deposits for qualifying members initiated by a cell phone, sure to awe even the most jaded mobile banking customers.
How virtual check deposit works:
- Use the iPhone application to take a clear photo of the check you wish to deposit, front and back, using your cell phone.
- The images are digitally transmitted to USAA via the iPhone’s wireless internet
- Banking account numbers are verified electronically, along with the details of your location and cell phone for security purposes.
- Once verification completes, the application deposits the funds into your checking account without ever setting foot inside a bank.
The physical check never technically goes to the bank using the new remote deposit system. Electronic check verification has been utilized by bank branches for years, but the idea of transmitting images virtually creates a leap in innovation for consumers. Rather than waiting in line at a branch or waiting to deposit a check if a local branch isn’t available, instant banking gratification can be yours.
A few caveats on the USAA virtual check deposit system:
- The funds must pass security requirements and verification before reflecting as available in your account
- Timing of deposits still must fall within normal banking hours. A 2am deposit won’t instantly post to an account. The bank would verify the information during normal banking hours
Other Free Checking Account Features
USAA hasn’t stopped at upgrading online banking. Several other features for checking accounts include everyone’s favorite word when it comes to banking, “free”:
- First 10 ATM withdrawals a month are free, and up to $15 a month in outside ATM fees refunded
- Unlimited transfers between US checking accounts, even those held at other banks, for free
- Integrated online bill pay service lets you receive, view, pay and track bills in one place, for free
- Financial planning software to manage all of your USAA deposit, investment and retirement accounts in one place.
The Best Part: USAA Offers Banking Products to Average Consumers
Certain USAA products can’t be obtained by non-military personnel. But here’s some little known good news: many of USAA’s deposit banking products are now available to the general public. This includes the majority of checking and savings accounts.