Happy Friday everyone! I thought while I was away at FinCon today I’d share a review of probably one of my most favorite companies – USAA. I apologize if I sound a little over the top, but we’ve had such a great experience with USAA that I thought a USAA review would be good to share with my readers.
A little background on the company, they started in 1922 and their mission is to serve and care for the financial needs of individuals who have been in the military as well as their families. They have regularly been recognized as one of the top companies in terms of customer service and offer a very wide range of financial products from insurance of many types, brokerage services, savings vehicles and credit cards – just to name a few. We love USAA so much that over the years we’ve acquired seven different products with them.
Who Can Join USAA
As I said previously, they’re open to those who have served or do serve in the military. Up until a few months ago, they allowed non-military individuals to use their banking products, but I’ve read that has changed as of this past August. In terms of who can join USAA, here’s the brief list:
- Active, retired, or honorably discharged members of the U.S. military
- Individuals in commissioning programs like ROTC
- Adult children whose eligible parents had or currently have an auto or property insurance product through the company
- Widows or widowers of USAA members who had products through the company
If you think you might be eligible to join USAA you can call them and they can tell you in a few minutes if you qualify for membership.
What Does USAA Offer?
As I shared above, USAA offers pretty much any financial product you can think of. I’ll highlight a few of the products they offer.
Car Insurance: This is one of the cornerstone products available through USAA. They offer a very competitive rate and call us several times per year to ask about our driving habits to see if they can further reduce the cost of our car insurance. Thankfully, they’re usually able to lower it at least a little bit with each call.
Life Insurance: This is a fairly new USAA product to us in that we just purchased it a year or two ago for Mrs. Frugal Rules. We had called in for something unrelated and they offered her $50,000 term life coverage for $5 per month. Seeing as we needed more life insurance coverage on her anyway, we jumped at the deal the rep offered.
Homeowners Insurance: USAA was one of the first calls we made after finding our house about seven years ago. We enjoy very competitive rates and feel like they worked hard to get us the lowest price possible.
Credit Cards: Mrs. Frugal Rules has a Mastercard through USAA as they do offer a number of credit cards. Some of their cards offer rewards programs associated with them and have rates as low as 6.9 percent.
Related: If you’re looking for another card with great rewards, then check out my Discover it® card review - now with $75 cash back after the first $500 spent in the first 90 days.
Brokerage Account Services: This is one product we don’t have through USAA (more on that in a bit), but they offer a full suite of brokerage services that can help with your investment strategies.
Advantages of USAA
Excellent Customer service: Above all else, I have been incredibly impressed with the customer service at USAA, which makes sense since they’re known for it. We’ve been members for almost 13 years and pay a little extra on prices because it’s that good. Whenever we call them they’re very helpful, never pressure sales on us and look for ways to save us money. To me, that is what makes USAA second to none.
Care for the needs of their members: I know this may not be a true advantage, but I think it speaks to their values. They highly value those that have served our country, or those related to them and USAA wears that on their sleeve. So much of what you get with them flows from that.
Wide array of options: If you really wanted to, you could take care of all your financial services needs through USAA. I know other companies offer a lot of products, but everything (and I mean everything) can be found at USAA. They’ve really set it up so you can have a one stop shop, which can help you as a client in many ways.
Disadvantages of USAA
Limited availability: This is the one thing I wish I could change about USAA, but I understand why they do it. They want to focus on their mission, but it means not everyone can join.
Brokerage services: If there is one beef I have with them it is with their brokerage services. I have seen a lot of brokerage offers in my years, and the brokerage service through USAA is a bit on the sub-par end in my opinion. They do offer prices on stock trades as low as $5.95 and offer 50 free trades when you open an account with them, but their pricing is tiered, which can lead to confusion for the investor. I’ve looked at their platform and in my opinion it’s not the most user friendly, but is not as a big deal to me as the tiered pricing or some of the higher fees they charge. That said, I do my investing elsewhere, but have full confidence in the rest of their services.
My Take on USAA
If you’ve not been able to tell thus far, I love USAA. Yes, their brokerage service isn’t the best in my opinion and they have limited membership opportunities, but those pale in comparison to the overall value and service they offer. That is also not to mention the fact that USAA offers pretty much any financial product that most families would need and they do so at a competitive rate. If you’re interested, but don’t know if you’re eligible to join USAA I would recommend giving them a call and a representative can tell you in a few minutes if you qualify for membership. If you do, then you really can’t go wrong in choosing USAA for your financial needs.
What stands out to you most when you choose a financial services company? What fun things do you have planned for this weekend?