Am I Eligible for USAA Membership?

USAA is one of the banks of choice for servicemembers due to accessibility and excellent customer service. Are you eligible for a USAA membership?
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USAA Membership Eligibility
Table of Contents
  1. What is USAA?
  2. What Products Does USAA Offer?
    1. Does USAA Offer the Best Military Banking Service?
  3. Who is Eligible to Join USAA?
  4. Can You Join USAA If You Are Not in the Military?
  5. What Documentation Do You Need to Join USAA?
    1. Personal and Military Verification
    2. Family Member Documentation
  6. USAA Member Benefits
    1. World-class Customer Service
    2. Full-service Banking
    3. Insurance Products
    4. Competitive Loan Rates
    5. Top-rated Credit Cards
    6. Other Benefits for Servicemembers
  7. A Few Things to Consider About USAA
  8. How to Join

The United Services Automobile Association (USAA) consistently earns high praise from U.S. servicemembers and their families for worldwide accessibility and excellent customer service.

Founded in 1922 by 25 Army officers who sought to insure one another’s vehicles, USAA has grown to more than 13 million members and continues providing incredible benefits to the U.S. military community. USAA has won many industry awards.

The best part is that once you join, you’re a member for life, and you can pass on membership to your spouse and children.

Here’s what you need to know to determine whether you’re eligible for membership and what benefits you’ll enjoy.


USAA: Earned through service, shared for generations.

If you’ve severed, or your spouse, a parent or grandparent are members, you may be eligible to join USAA.

What is USAA?

USAA is a member-owned insurance and financial services company primarily serving military servicemembers and their families. It is a Fortune 500 company with more than $200 billion in assets.

All members are part owners giving each one a say in company decisions and the receipt of annual distributions from surpluses in collected insurance premiums. USAA is headquartered in San Antonio and employs more than 35,000 people, including many military spouses and veterans.

It has some of the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the insurance and financial services industry, with a 96% member retention rate.

Compare Current Savings Account Rates

What Products Does USAA Offer?

USAA has a diversified portfolio of insurance and financial products and services.

  • Insurance products include auto insurance, homeowner’s insurance, life insurance, renter’s insurance, and more.
  • Banking products include checking and savings accounts, credit cards, mortgages and VA Loans, auto loans, and more.
  • Investment services with other financial services affiliates such as Charles Schwab and Victory Capital. USAA offers options for brokerage and trading, mutual funds, IRAs and rollovers, 529 education plans, automated investing, and financial planning.

Does USAA Offer the Best Military Banking Service?

USAA is one of the premier military financial institutions, along with Navy Federal Credit Union, PenFed, and several others. We have an overview of the best military banks and credit unions where you can learn more about your options for banking with a military financial institution.

Who is Eligible to Join USAA?

Eligibility guidelines ensure that USAA services and benefits are closely held within the U.S. military community, respecting the organization’s origins and mission to serve those who have served the United States.

In most cases, active duty U.S. uniformed personnel, retirees, and their family members are eligible for USAA membership. This includes:

  • Active duty military members of the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, National Guard, and Reserves.
  • Veterans who have retired or been honorably discharged from the U.S. military.
  • Pre-commissioned officers such as cadets and midshipmen at U.S. service academies, in advanced ROTC or on ROTC scholarship, and officer candidates within 24 months of commissioning.
  • Family members of current USAA members and those who have served in the U.S. military, including:
    • Spouses of USAA members.
    • Widows, widowers, and un-remarried former spouses of USAA members who had USAA auto or property insurance while married.
    • Individuals whose parents joined USAA.

Can You Join USAA If You Are Not in the Military?

Although USAA’s mission is to provide high-quality financial and insurance services to military personnel, membership is not restricted to servicemembers. Many civilians can also benefit from USAA membership.

The key to determining if a civilian is eligible is their relationship to another USAA member.

Tip: If you are a spouse, unmarried former spouse, or child of a USAA member, you are likely eligible for your own USAA membership.

So, if you’re a spouse, unmarried former spouse, or child of a USAA member, you are likely eligible for your own USAA membership. For example, you’re eligible if you have a parent who served in the military and is a USAA member.

If you get married after joining USAA, your spouse would also be eligible. And in the future, their children will become eligible for USAA membership, too.

It’s also possible to lose USAA membership eligibility. For example, if an eligible servicemember separates with a less-than-honorable discharge or a former spouse remarries, they lose eligibility.

However, if either of these individuals obtained membership before this status change, they can retain membership.

USAA membership eligibility cannot ‘pass on’ posthumously, meaning that if parents eligible for USAA membership are deceased but not members, their children are no longer eligible for USAA membership.

Also, membership passes down but not up. That means a current USAA member cannot pass eligibility ‘up’ to their parents or ‘across’ to their siblings.

If you think you may be eligible for membership but are unsure if you qualify, contact the USAA New Member Team at 800-531-8722 and outline your personal situation.

What Documentation Do You Need to Join USAA?

If you’re a servicemember or an eligible family member who wants to become a USAA member, you’ll need some documentation to get started.

The application process is usually completed online or over the phone. Applicants must upload, email, or mail copies of the necessary documents.

Personal and Military Verification

You must supply a Social Security number and a valid government-issued ID such as a driver’s license, passport, or state-issued ID card.

Proof of military service is crucial for those directly associated with the military. Active-duty military members are typically asked for their current military ID or orders, while veterans might need to submit a copy of their DD Form 214.

Pre-commissioned officers can provide proof of commissioning status, such as a statement from their commanding officer or current orders if they are within 24 months of commissioning.

If you apply for banking services, you may need to provide financial information such as proof of income or credit history, depending on the specific products you’re interested in.

USAA may also ask for consent to perform a credit check or other background checks as part of the application process for certain services. Depending on specific circumstances or the services you apply for, additional documents or information might be requested to comply with federal regulations.

Family Member Documentation

Eligibility for family members depends on proving a familial relationship to someone who has served. Spouses need to present a marriage certificate.

Children of USAA members must provide a birth certificate that lists the name of the parent who is the USAA member.

For widowed or divorced spouses seeking to maintain or initiate membership, a marriage certificate along with a death certificate of the USAA member or a divorce decree that mentions USAA insurance coverage during the marriage may be necessary.

Learn More

Visit the USAA Website to learn more about USAA eligibility.

USAA Member Benefits

There is a lot to like about the USAA member benefits. You’ll enjoy low interest rates and insurance premiums, free checking, excellent customer service, and no ATM fees.

USAA members can use free bill pay and online transfer features, including those for non-USAA banks. The bank also offers credit cards with cash rewards, some unlocking unique benefits for military members.

Beyond traditional banking services, USAA offers various insurance products, including its signature auto insurance, life, property, renters, and umbrella policies.

USAA members can get especially low rates if they bundle USAA insurance products. USAA will adjust auto insurance rates for deployed personnel if your vehicle is garaged and offer special APR for up to a year during deployment.

Here’s a closer look at some of the more noteworthy benefits.

World-class Customer Service

USAA has a well-earned reputation for the best customer service of any bank. Industry ratings consistently confirm its standing, with accolades dating back several years.

Full-service Banking

USAA offers many premium services as a standard feature for all accounts. These include free checking and savings accounts with no minimum balance fees, free checks, free rewards debit cards, free overdraft protection, free web bill pay, and much more.

USAA also offers:

No ATM Fees. One of my favorite benefits USAA provides is no ATM fees. USAA doesn’t have many local branches, so they don’t charge fees for members to use non-USAA ATMs, and they refund the fees other banks charge. This applies to the first ten ATM withdrawals and refunds up to $15 in other banks’ ATM usage fees each month).

Investment Products, Services, and Advice. USAA offers brokerage accounts, Certificates of Deposit (CDs), IRAs, and mutual funds. They also offer financial planning advice through salaried financial advisers to help you understand your investment options.

Internet, Smartphone, tablet, telephone, and mail banking. USAA has only a few physical locations, but it makes it easy to bank online or with a smartphone or tablet, a telephone, or the postal service.

Deposit checks from your phone or your home. You can deposit a check by taking a picture of it with your phone and uploading it to USAA. They have apps for iPhone, Android, Microsoft, and Amazon, or you can do the same thing with a scanner from your home. You can also mail your checks to USAA with postage-paid envelopes USAA provides members free of charge.

One especially nice perk is if you use a non-USAA ATM, the bank will reimburse you up to $15 per billing cycle. That’s worth noting since USAA has relatively few brick-and-mortar locations.

USAA members can access online tools to help them understand their options and make financial decisions. These include free credit scores through USAA, financial health tools, and more.

Insurance Products

USAA currently offers:

Rates tend to be competitive, but it pays to shop around since costs vary by location, personal circumstances, and more.

Here are some tips for saving money on military auto insurance.

Competitive Loan Rates

USAA offers mortgages, VA loans, home equity loans, auto loans, and more. This lender doesn’t always have the best rates, but they are usually competitive, so it pays to shop around. However, the USAA is worth checking in all cases.

Check out the USAA Car Buying Service if you are in the market for a new car.

Top-rated Credit Cards

USAA has multiple credit card options, including cards for people who are just starting to build or rebuild their credit ranging up to those with excellent credit. Many cards offer low interest rates, travel rewards, and cash-back credit cards.

Deployed servicemembers also will enjoy cards with no foreign transaction fees and reduced interest rates while overseas.

Other Benefits for Servicemembers

USAA customers have access to USAA’s car buying service, USAA Auto Circle, and USAA Home Circle, a home buying and selling service.

USAA Auto Circle makes it easy to buy a new or used car at a pre-negotiated price, which is very similar to what you would get if you were to use TrueCar or a similar service. You can log into your USAA account, navigate to the car buying service, and search for new and used cars in your local area.

Find a car you like, print out the offer, and the price you see on the page will be guaranteed when you arrive at the dealership.

USAA Home Circle connects home buyers and sellers with local real estate agents who are part of the USAA Home Circle network. USAA members who use this service will receive a reduced rate on their buying or selling costs.

A Few Things to Consider About USAA

USAA offers world-class customer service and is highly competitive for many products and services. They make it easy to integrate most aspects of your finances, but in some cases, you may be better served going elsewhere to save money.

There are a few drawbacks you should be aware of, including:

Few Local Branches. USAA keeps its costs down by handling transactions from centralized locations. This results in lower overhead costs, enabling them to provide better deals to their members. However, this can be a hassle if you are used to banking in person.

You will need to do your banking over the Internet, telephone, or by mail. If you have concerns, a good way to augment a USAA account is to also open an account with a local bank, so you have another option if you need access to a physical banking location.

Insurance Rates Vary By Location. You may do well when you’re stationed overseas, but when you return to the US, it’s a good idea to shop rates competitively. Some people find that USAA may not offer the best insurance where they live, and they may not offer some types of insurance in all locations.

Savings Account Interest Rates. USAA’s current savings account interest rates leave something to be desired. The highest interest rates at USAA are in the USAA Performance First Savings, which requires a minimum of $10,000 to open, and the highest rates don’t kick in until you have $50,000 in savings. You would likely do better opening a high-yield savings account at an online bank.

How to Join

Go here for more information, or call 800-531-8722 to open an account.

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  1. Scott.D.Smith says

    I’m a Canadian Military Vet,

    Now living in Texas with my family. Would I qualify to join USAA ?



  2. Cliff says

    My wife’s father was in the military years ago, he was honorably discharged and still living. He is not a member of USAA is she still eligible to join. Or does her father need to be a member before she can join.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Cliff, I believe your father-in-law would need to be a member in order for your wife to join USAA. But the USAA customer service office can clarify eligibility.

  3. Aiden says

    I am a cadet in the Civil Air Patrol and have heard that cadets and senior members can qualify for USAA memberships. I am not sure if this id true. Do you have any info on this?

  4. Barbara R Valentine says

    My father was killed in 1943. He was in the army air corp. at the time of his death. I’m his daughter. I have no idea if he was a member at the time of his death. I can’t find his social security # . I was told I have to have same in order to confirm his membership. How do I find out his S.S. number?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Barbara, I recommend contacting the Social Security Administration. You could also try contacting the National Archives in St Louis for his military records, if they still exist. Best wishes!

  5. Sam Alberto says

    I had a father and a grandfather in the service both are deceased would they have had to sign up prior to passing or would my family be eligible?

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