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Tuesday, April 11, 2006 

Checking Account Solution

Last week I wrote about my frustration with my local bank, and that I'm looking for switching to an Online Checking Account with "decent" services. After looking and comparing a few of them I found a checking account with USAA should meet my requirements. I have known about them for a while, but always thought their services are for the people with military affiliations. But based on information from one of FW forums, "anyone can bank with USAA, even those with no military affiliation at all". I called their number 1-800-531-2265 and after answering several questions including personal information, I got my member number. You need the member number to access their website and get details about different type of accounts. Some of the things that make USAA checking account stand out are:
  • No minimum or average balance requirements.
  • No monthly service fees.
  • Free bill pay (no balance or direct deposit requirements).
  • Free checks for the life of the account (custom blue USAA non-duplicate checks, one box per order).
  • ATM card and Debit MasterCard both available, Debit MasterCard gives you 0.5% rebate on all non-PIN purchases.
  • No ATM fees or charges.
  • Automatic ATM fee refunds, when using other banks' ATMs — up to $15 a month.
  • Free postage-paid deposit envelopes and slips.
  • Online ACH transfer system to move money to/from other banks.
  • Last but not least I heard really good things about their customer service.
I haven't opened the account yet, but thinking about it. I don't think they pay any interest on balance in checking account, so if I keep an average balance of around $2000.00 with them it'll cost me somewhere between $60.00 and $75.00 (compared to other banks which offer interest checking accounts). But I think not having many of the hassles will be priceless :)

Note: Let me know your experience in banking with USAA.


I use Wells Fargo. I went in just a month and a half ago and the account manager was able to set me up with a sweet deal. I work at a tiny office so we don't have direct deposit, which is normally what you need to get free checking. Well, she got me a free checking with free boxes of checks, free ATM, and free online bill pay. The only catch is that I had to set up a savings account with Wellsfargo and schedule a monthly withdrawal of $25 from checking that'd go into savings. I guess as long as I have this set up, the checking service will remain free. The $25 thing is a bit annoying but you can also set up an automatic deposit of $25 from your savings to checking (which is what I did).

I have a pf blog that's fairly recent (i started one and then took a little hiatus). It is basically about my experiences budgeting, investing, playing the 0%BT game, etc. I would love it if you could visit, leave feedbacks, and also add me to your blogroll. Thanks.

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