USAA Auto Circle – Car Buying Made Easy

USAA recently flew me and several other military bloggers out to their headquarters in San Antonio to get a first look at two new programs they recently developed as iPhone Apps (and a sneak peek at some other things they have in work – sorry, I can’t share everything!).

Before I get into the new USAA iPhone apps, I’d like to give them a big thanks for bringing me out there to see their headquarters and meet some great military bloggers. They run a top tier bank and insurance company (along with many other services they provide), they have a beautiful campus, and everyone I met was first rate. I truly enjoyed meeting everyone, and the fact that they care so much about military members and their families means a lot to me and millions of other people.

Now let’s take a look at what USAA is offering with their new iPhone apps, USAA Auto Circle and USAA Home Circle.

USAA Auto Circle – Car Buying Made Easy

USAA Auto Circle

USAA Auto Circle iPhone App

USAA Auto Circle is a new app for the iPhone that allows people to research, buy, and insure a car all in one stop. Really, you might ask? Yes, really. And it gets better. You can actually get a pre-negotiated price guaranty and compare the dealership price to the amount people actually paid, using the TureCar service.

USAA Auto Circle Experience:

  • Find. Compare cars and reviews from several major databases, including, Kelley Blue Book, and, then compare the price pre-negotiated by USAA to the prices people are actually paying.
  • Save. Buy a car at one of over 3,000 USAA certified dealerships and save an average of $4,508 off MSRP**.
  • Finance. Get a loan through USAA auto loans. You can apply for a loan and send the funds directly to the dealership through your iPhone.
  • Insure. Members who switch to USAA save $461 a year on average. You can get insurance quotes and update your policy directly from your iPhone.

How to get the Auto Circle Experience. Auto Circle launches today, August 4th. You can find it at, or by downloading the USAA – Mobile Banking. You will also need to be a USAA member to access all features.

About USAA. USAA provides insurance, banking, investment and retirement products and services to 7.7 million members of the U.S. military and their families. USAA membership is open to all who are serving or have honorably served our nation in the U.S. military – and their families. For more information about USAA, check out this USAA review.

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Date published: August 4, 2010. Last updated: January 31, 2013.

Article by

Ryan Guina is the founder and editor of this site. He is a writer, small business owner, and entrepreneur. He served over 6 years on active duty in the USAF and is currently serving in the IL Air National Guard. He also writes about money management, small business, and career topics at Cash Money Life. You can also see his profile on Google.


  1. Jacquelyn Nasca says

    Now – don’t get me wrong… we have our insurance with USAA – but don’t, for even a second, think that that trip wasn’t in their best interest… Just look at all the advertising they just got from you… and, again, don’t even, for one second, think that that app isn’t in their best interest. Not that any business isn’t focused on making a profit, but is buying a new car REALLY that great a deal… no – new cars drop too much value after you drive them off the car room floor – and too many military members ‘buy’ into it… and have too much of their income tied up in a sinking asset, and the loan – gee… let me think… last time I checked they were charging interest on that loan and then, they offer you insurance, but are now basing their rates on your credit score – Not a true reflection of a person’s credit worthiness if they are living without the use of credit in their life…. so I’m skeptical… and you should be too… Remember you are serving the military – so don’t be so quick to buy into their offer… give us unbiased opinions…
    from a Military Spouse and a Retired Army Officer

    • says

      Hello Jacquelyn,

      Thank you for contacting me, and bringing the commenting issue to my attention. I wasn’t aware my comment form was broken (I was not able to use it just now either, so I will have to look into that).

      Regarding the trip sponsored by USAA – I agree, it benefits USAA to bring people to their headquarters and generate buzz, and there is profit potential with this product. USAA was also very clear that we were not required to write about anything we experienced on the trip, but that if we chose to write about it, we should clearly state USAA sponsored our trip. How we mentioned it, whether or not we wrote about it, and what we wrote was 100% up to us.

      However, I wouldn’t mention it to readers or write about it if I didn’t think it would benefit readers. And I would not be afraid to let them know I didn’t like it or wouldn’t write about it. But as someone who recently went through the car buying process, and is currently going through the home selling/buying process, I believe these tools are useful and provide value. Do they benefit USAA? Sure. Can they benefit users? You bet.

      These tools can save both time and money. Can better deals be had? Possibly. But it would take a lot of legwork and negotiation, which is a skill many people don’t have. I went into the car buying process with this thought: “Car salesmen are professionals and to think I can get one over on them when they do this every day and I do it once every 5 years is asinine. They hold all the cards and the only thing I could do in my negotiation is make an offer I think is fair and that I can live with.” The no-hassle car buying approach removes the guess work and much of the time factor and can be a great benefit for many people.

      USAA Auto Circle also offer this service for used cars, as it is mentioned in the article. But I don’t see why that is an area of contention regarding their product. I agree that used cars are almost always a better financial option (I recently bought used and paid cash), but many people prefer to buy new and keep them until the repairs cost too much and it makes sense to buy another car instead of continuing to pay repair costs. To each his or her own when it comes to buying a car.

      Regarding insurance rates: using credit scores as a basis for insurance rates is a common practice in the industry. If you are living without credit and you feel your lack of a credit score is increasing your rates, then contact the insurance company and explain your situation and financial standing. Or shop around and try using other insurance companies. If other insurance companies come in at a lower rate, then go with them. If not, then you got the best rate you could get.

      Finally, your last comment: “Remember you are serving the military – so don’t be so quick to buy into their offer… give us unbiased opinions…”

      I always remember who I am serving. The reason I started this website is because I noticed a gap in financial education geared toward military members when I was enlisted in the USAF. Personal finance and money management have long been hobbies and passions of mine, and I have always made it a point to try and help people when possible. I helped many people with debt and other financial issues while I was in the military.

      Am I being unbiased? I am reporting the facts about this application – and there is no other application like this on the market. You can also compare it to CNN Money’s story on USAA’s new iPhone App.

      I think USAA is a great financial company and have been a member for over 10 years. But I will freely admit there are dozens of other great financial companies out there, some of which offer better interest rates, or cheaper investment options, or similar insurance rates. But the one thing that always brings me back to USAA is their competitiveness in each of these sectors and their top notch customer service.

      As with all major financial decisions, I recommend researching your options and making the best decision for your needs, regardless of the company involved.

      Thank you for sharing your point of view, and thank you for your service.

    • says

      Melinda, it looks like the link requires a “www.” in the url. I have fixed it in the article. You can also access Home Circle and Auto Circle from the various USAA smartphone apps. I hope that helps!

  2. Melinda Taggart says

    Thank you so much. I feel like a ditz now. However with your help; I am having a nice time looking at all these autos!! Thanks once again.

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