I've been hearing more and more about USAA bank on the radio. I've asked around and some friends have indicated to me that their rates are the best around the US for any type of personal lending. Their rates are extraordinarily low. Is this true?

Also, from my understanding membership doesn't come by easily. You have to have served in the military. How would one obtain membership from USAA? Do you have to be related to the person who has a membership?

Their website seems to imply that you must be in the miltary, but I can't find explicit requirements on their website, especially the membership page. Could someone help clarify?

3 Answers 3


Their contact page links to what looks like a detailed run down of USAA membership eligibility requirements.

Taking my own advice, here is a quick summary:

1) All products are available to:

  • Active military
  • Military veterans (honorable discharge required for former military personnel)
  • Widows, widowers and un-remarried former spouses USAA members who have or had USAA auto or property insurance while married
  • Individuals whose parents are or were USAA members
  • Former members who had purchased auto or property insurance, while in an eligible category (presumably the ones listed above)

2) Spouses of members are limited in the insurance products available to them. Namely life insurance is available to them and auto & property insurance is available to them through their eligible spouse.

3) Otherwise:

USAA's investment products, most checking and savings products, credit cards, life insurance, and shopping and discounts are available to other individuals.

If that isn't enough for you, I suggest you call and ask. (Or, apply and see what happens. I doubt that black helicopters will be circling overhead if you're not eligible.)

  • I will add to this, USAA insurance is among the better insurance providers around. They have cool features as well like cashing checks from your smartphone, etc. But all of this is build around a web of trust, hence their strict demands. Commented Aug 21, 2011 at 0:23
  • 2
    I'm the son of a veteran, but not eligible for USAA despite their catch phrase. I'ts more accurately "military, veterans, and families of current members who are military or veterans."
    – Alex B
    Commented Aug 22, 2011 at 17:27
  • 2
    From my understanding you would be eligible if your parent that served joined you could then join because they are members.
    – stoj
    Commented Aug 23, 2011 at 3:11
  • For the record, I am not familiar with USAA (other than having seen some ads or something, as their logo seems familiar). This was mostly an exercise in interpreting marketing-speak/fine-print and a bit of research. On a side note, that is some poor Information Architecture, at least as the membership eligibility page is concerned. I don't know why they buried it in the contact page. Commented Aug 23, 2011 at 14:25
  • Please note that this has changed -as of 2013, and continuing to the present (2019), 3) is no longer valid - banking at USAA is only allowed to members (who fulfill 1 or 2).
    – Joe
    Commented Apr 16, 2019 at 21:53

Their bank and investment accounts are open to anyone. So you are eligible to join but there are some caveats to keep in mind.

  • Everything works on a tiered structure there are different insurance rates and banking features depending on your military status and rank. The order is roughly Officers, NCOs, enlisted, descendant of member.
  • The mobile check deposit is still limited to insurance eligible members as far as I know.
  • The officer and NCO insurance rates are very very good enlisted and below are average in my experience. They still have very good customer service it's just that their rates are just average.
  • Insurance is only available to military members and their family members.

Overall USAA is really good I have used them for banking and insurance for years. They have the really good customer service and most of their products are competitive.

  • 2
    USAA has recently changed their requirements. Now all products (including banking and investment) appear to be available to military and affiliates only.
    – Jeff
    Commented Oct 5, 2013 at 2:41

As noted by Jeff in the comments, as of 8/27/13, USAA no longer permits members who do not have some military affiliation - at least a spouse who is a member (such as a spouse who is a child of a member/veteran and has had property or casualty insurance with them).

If you attempt to open an account, and are not able to answer yes to one of these questions:

  • Have you or your spouse served in the U.S. Military?
  • Did your parents serve in the U.S. Military?
  • Has your parent or spouse ever had insurance with USAA?

then you will get the following message when you attempt to open a bank account:

USAA Bank products are only available to military members, veterans who have honorably served and their eligible family members.

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