Nearly a year ago I decided to find an alternative to my big bank, BOA, and since my hubby is a vet, I thought I'd try USAA. Bad move, and thank goodness I kept my BOA account. USAA has policies that are not conducive to good customer service:
I use a primary checking from one of the big banks to "fund" my USAA account. Every month, I put in a certain amount of dollars (to pay my USAA-issued credit card and general bills) into the USAA account from this primary account. Here's what happens -- if I put in $350, they put a hold on $250 of that money for up to SEVEN days. Can you imagine not having access to your funds for as long as a week? My income is strictly Social Security as I am a senior. After they did this twice, I called to try to find out why would there be a hold on a funds that come from a verified funding account -- USAA did the verification. Explanation: You're a new customer. Okay, when do I not become a "new customer"? They did not have an explanation of when my "newness" would wear off. Now, this isn't my first rodeo. I've been banking for more than 50 years, and I do not bounce checks or commit any other irresponsible or "accidental" acts when it comes to my banking relationships. After six months of still being "new" I decided that I need to find another bank that will let me access my funds when I make a deposit. Mind you, these deposits are considered cash. If I have to wait for "cash" to clear, Houston, we have a problem!
Secondly, I have a USAA issued credit card: I never charge more than I can pay in a month. Each month, (after the hold comes off my USAA deposits) I pay my entire credit card balance. It's usually in the $200 range. Here's what happens: Money to pay the card is sitting in the USAA checking account. I log on and pay the bill using my own funds. A few days later, I go to Best Buy to make a purchase. Card is declined. I tell the clerk to run it again -- must be a mistake because there is no balance. Declined again. I step away and call USAA right there in the store. I'm told that there is, you guessed it, a hold on my payment. Of course, I'm reaching for an explanation telling the USAA rep that the payment comes out of my checking account. Why would you put a hold on a payment that YOU have the funds in my account to pay? Several reasons are given: 1. You paid the whole balance; 2. You may have had payments that didn't go through, 3. It may appear as unusual that you would pay off the entire balance (similar to #1), 4. You may not have had enough in your checking account to pay for your card. Since none of these reasons applied to me, I tell her so and then ask how long will you people hold my credit card payment? Her answer was that it could be 10 business days!
There's something wrong with these business practices -- they are clearly an effort to reap interest on a customer's money at the expense and inconvenience of the customer. Understandably, they are a for-profit business, but it is ridiculous to implement stupid rules and reasons to prevent someone from having access to their own funds in a timely manner. In the day and age of electronic transmissions, USAA has chosen to use the horse and buggy method when it's advantageous to them. Putting a hold on $250 of a $350 deposit for seven business days is a real nickel and dime move.
Needless to say, I am looking for another alternative for banking. They are worse than the big boys -- at least the big banks TELL you when they're screwing you. I absolutely hate this bank, and will be closing my account with them in a few days -- they'll probably put a hold on being able to do that also!