Top secret until I spill it all here, of course ;) As I mentioned on Sunday, the USAA crew flew a handful of us bloggers out there to give us a sneak peak on some of their new products. And let me tell you, USAA Headquarters = WOW. That place is PIMP! Like, the Google Complex on financial crack! Haha…
And I gotta admit, I was feelin’ pretty V.I.P. up in there. Nothing like an all expense paid trip to the mothership to get me giggling like a little school girl ;) Truth be told it felt like home too.
Not sure if I’ve ever mentioned this before or not, but I’m a proud product of the Marine Corps family (Hooh-Rah!) and it’s been a good 10+ years since I’ve been around all that military talk. I miss it so much! When you’ve grown up immersed in it throughout 15+ moves – all around the world – it’s kinda hard to shake (and settle down for that matter). So it was pretty cool being around it again this week w/ all the military spouse bloggers that were invited along with us PF guys (Hank from Military Money Might and Ryan from Cash Money Life – who we couldn’t decide if he looked more like Justin Timberlake or old school Pacey from Dawson’s Creek, haha…) While USAA now serves non-military folks too (almost their entire banking products, not insurance), they really are becoming the provider of choice for the military community.
And before you even think it, I am not getting paid or forced to write any of this :) I honestly truly believe that USAA is the best financial institution out there or else I wouldn’t have my entire financial life with them: 15 total accounts! It’s rare finding an institution that actually CARES about their members and keeps rockin’ customer support as they do (which is HUGE for me as you know).
But back to the top secret products coming out. I’m calling it now that these tools are gonna change the way we find cars and houses in the future, and I’ll even bet on it ;) Here’s what they’ve got cooking over there:
Auto Circle: Find, Finance, and Insure
This is pretty bad ass. They’ve basically created a tool where you can do EVERYTHING you need while car shopping – both online and via iPhone/Droid. You can search for cars you like (kinda like Autotrader or Carmax), scan the ranges of prices people have actually PAID for these cars (along with MSRPs, dealer costs, available discounts, etc) and then literally lock in a price if everything looks good to you.
USAA came up with this price guarantee certificate that you can take to your local dealership in USAA’s network, or even use it to negotiate the price off other places in your area. And if you’re a fan of GMCs or Mercedes, you’ll even get some extra cash back – which will come in handy to you know who ;)
And after you’re done finding the car? You can then secure financing AND Insurance in the same freakin’ spot. So awesome! You can find, finance, and insure a car all within 20 mins if you were on a mission ;) And if you’re qualified for that last part too (their insurance) – although you can certainly use their tools to get the deals and financing and then get insured elsewhere if you like!
Auto Circle can be found starting August 4th here: http://AutoCircle.com
USAA Home Circle
Similar to Auto Circle, this is USAA’s new home finding tool. Kinda like your very own MLS system w/ all the pics and info available to realtors out there. You can search through thousands of listings, compare specs, and learn about financing rates & costs all at the same time. Making it pretty damn efficient! And great for getting ballpark ideas too if you’re only in the mod to window shop ;)
I think that’s what I like most about this new stuff coming out – they’re giving us the TOOLS to get all this information and then we can do with it as we will! Even if we never use USAA!
Home Circle will be found here starting August 4th: http://HomeCircle.com
USAA Money Manager
This is actually already live already but I hadn’t had a chance to blog about it yet. Similar to Mint, this tool will categorize your expenses and deposits giving you an overall screen shot of your financial picture (even if you don’t go in and categorize them, USAA will take educated guesses so you can get a good sense right from the start where your money’s going). And I’ve been told they specifically did NOT call this a “budget tool” because people are afraid of that word! The shame! THE SHAME! I bet if they called it the “sexy budget tracker” people would be flocking to it even more ;)
Deposit @ Home and Deposit @ Mobile
These guys are live too, and you’ve probably seen me pimping it out on Twitter before cuz it’s just so freakin’ cool! and easy! and fast!!! For those who don’t have iPhones or Droids, computer scanners also work to deposit your checks instead of having to mail them in like the good ol’ days.
And guess what else? USAA’s workin’ on new ways to deposit CASH too down the road!!! Which is huge if you’re already a member and had to open up accounts elsewhere because of this even though you didn’t want to ;)
Okay, not financially related at all but I HAD to include this here because I’m a brat myself. And us brats like to connect and find our other lost brat friends over the years from all that constant movin’ and shakin’ ;) And very smartly they’re making this a Facebook app – where many a brats are already looking for each other. This Brat Connect guy will be ready August 23rd.
UPDATE: The Brat Connect app is now live!
That about covers it! Hopefully I didn’t bore you with overpowering USAA love. You’ll find many of us members are pretty hardcore about ’em ;) And I just wanna share them with as many people as will listen! They truly are on top of their $hit. Unlike the dirty dirty Bank of America (*shiver*).
So look out friends! They’re cookin’ up some game changing tools out there, and they may be worth a shot if you haven’t considered them before. ‘Till next time,
PS: Have to give a shout out to all my other new friends too: Kate from Military.com’s Paycheck Chronicles, Janet at Military Money Matters, Evette at Military Money Magazine, Andi from SpouseBUZZ, Beth of Enlisted Spouse Radio/Homefront in Focus, Brandy of Army Wife Magazine, Wendy from My Military Life, Star of Army Wife Network, Dan of Military Avenue, Greta of Hooah Wife and Friends, Vivian from Blue Star Families, Kathie from Military Spouse Help, and the feisty Mrs. G from Mudville Gazette. It was a pleasure being in your company!
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You know I love me some USAA, love them, but I have beef with Deposit @ Home.
Last time I tried to sign up for it, I called… got a CSR right away (of course!) and said “Deposit @ Home?! Sign me up!!!”. The lovely CSR said “Yeah, buddy! Let me pull up your account…………….. Oh, very very sorry to tell you, but you need to have a home loan (line of credit, equity loan, etc.) product in order to access that service.” At the time, I had mortgage, banking/savings, home insurance, & auto insurance!
So… I don’t know if they changed the rules, but until then I will still have beef (with much, much love to the rest of the company!).
Love USAA. I laugh at the BOA commercials about deposit by phone. I have been depositing by scanner for over a year, and my iphone recently. Plus with the line of credit, my deposits are available immediately. Love it.
Tom, you need a line of credit because they are giving you immediate access to your funds, so they are loaning you the money, interest free for a few days. But should the check bounce and you spent the money, they need a way to collect it back.
Candice, USAA does that with external transfers. I get immediate access to funds and I don’t have a line of credit. If the transfer fails, then they pull that $$ back out of my account. If I used it all, then it is overdraft and I’m charged.
Tom, give us a call back. If you had a mortgage with us you should have been eligible. You also don;t have to carry those products you mentioned, you just need to be eligible for them. Without knowing all the specifics, it’s tough to say what happened. Feel free to email me at email@example.com.
I definitely have to get my hands on some of these tools sooner than later
I am still hesitant about USAA because of the check deposit options. Yes, I still deal with dumb checks because of roomates. I do not have any military affiliation so I would not be able to deposit checks via iphone, unfortunately.
Oh yeah, my man John Hancock has got your back. Be sure to reach out to him! And any others who have questions/concerns too. He’s pretty quick with this stuff. And if you’re lucky, he may even buy you a beer one day ;)
@Leslie – It took me a while to get used to it, but now it’s actually so much FASTER than going to the bank and depositing/etc. I sometimes miss the physical branches, but I never really went into them anyways except to get cash and deposit checks (and w/ all the free atm reimbursements I can take cash out anywhere, and I can deposit a check within 2 mins of receiving it :)) It’s def. not for everyone, but once you’re used to it it’s very very hard to go back to the old-school ways.
hoo-rah, J! fellow marine product here (although my dad had been honorably discharged by the time I was born; he never lets me forget that he is a marine and tells me war stories AAALLLLLL the time.). :)
when i move back to the US (DC) I am SO signing up at USAA–you have sold me.
p.s.? one of your ads is blinking red and white at me like crazy and it is really hard to concentrate on your fantastic prose with that happening!
So jealous you met Gary Quesenberry! That’s my dream to meet him! :) And! I’m super jealous that you got to pilot the auto circle..tons of talk about “the circles,” as I like to call ’em and can’t wait to play w/them on Aug 4th!
Love, LOVE USAA. I sing their praises all the time. And as a former military brat and a current State Department employee, they rock. They make things so easy for us folks who move, like, every 2-3 years.
I’m totally jealous that you got to go on this tour! Those product sound amazing, though I do wish their Money Manager allowed you to split categories on line items. Sometimes I buy from more than one category at a store (gifts, groceries, personal, etc) – I mean, hello!
@Sense – Haha. Once a Marine, Always a Marine! And you better let me know when you do make it out to DC. I’ll buy you a beer or coffee :) Sorry about that ad too, not sure what it was as it’s on rotation via Adsense. Sometimes they serve up weirdness, but usually if you refresh the page they’ll go away and be swapped out with another :)
@Trinnie Schley – Really?!! Haha….he was a pimp from what I remember :) The Circles are gonna be hot for sure – esp the iPhone app version. I play with similar ones all the time but it’ll be MUCH nicer having one that a) gives me back info on financing and insurance (which fluctuates like crazy depending on what car you’re trying to buy) and b) that’s from USAA. I hope they control the entire financial market like Google does search ;)
@Katy – Yup, you got that straight!
@Sarah Smith – Funny you should mention that – I believe it’s on their list of upgrades soon ;) Seriously, they got their $hit together like none other. We only got a very very little peak into the big pie over there so I can’t even imagine what else they’ve got up their sleeves. They literally have like 600+ ideas or projects in the works – it’s insane. Maybe they’ll invite you during their next social media event?! I might be able to place a bug ;)
Just got this email from another USAA Member — they’re not hard to love!:
“My wife and I just opened our first joint account with USAA and we LOVE all the features that they offer! See if you can talk them into allowing the iPhone or scanner deposit feature for non-military members! And, we were just talking last night about consolidating down to one vehicle from two, so the Auto Circle is EXACTLY what we need right now! We are both totally stoked to be involved with THE best bank in the entire country! Thanks for the sneak peak on the new features!”
the only thing I don’t like about their budgeting/tracking tool is that you cannot customize the “master” budget categories – though you can add subcategories. There are not categories for debt-payments other than credit card/mortgage. I would prefer a DEBT category that I could then sub-divide into the types of debt I hold!
Did you do any transactions in person at the branch? I’m in Austin and just so tempted to drive to San Antonio or Fort Hood for the novelty of it!
Hah! No, I didn’t but we did drive by it and I was REALLY tempted to go deposit something :) Even if it was like 5 bucks, haha… I should have now that you brought that up. Oh well, the next time! (And yes, you should without a doubt drive over there! it’s only like an hour or two from you right? I think someone from our group had driven over from Austin)
My friends think I secretly work for USAA with the amount of raving I do about them. All the way out here in Chicago we don’t have any physical branches but there have only been a few instances where that has been an issue. So my husband and I opened a savings account at a local bank and a safety deposit box, this also allows us to do something with the insane amount of coins we collect….
On our last family vacation my husband (quasi jokingly) asked if I wanted to drive through San Antonio on our way just so I could drop in and say hi. I’m not sure what he would have done if I said ‘OH YES PLEASE.’
I am looking for a young lady who went to school in Zaragoza, Spain, in 1959-1960. Her
name was Kitty Bush and she lived down the street from me. Her parents and mine were good frieds and kept in touch for a long time, but lost track somewhere along the way. My parents are deceased now and so are hers and I don’t have and address for her. If anyone reads this knows Kitty, please contact me and put me in touch with her as there are alot
of people who would like to see her again.
Try out USAA’s facebook app: Brat Connect. Good luck!
I have been a member of USAA since the late 90’s, and I will NEVER have another primary bank account. I am due to PCS to FT Hood in September 2012, and am thinking it’s time to dissolve all secondary accounts (due to no USAA branch when opened). My wife has an account with a credit union she has been a member of, almost since the day of her birth, so we will probably keep that one; however, that is purely out of HER loyalty.
I have a recommendation/request for a feature upgrade. The military is now using CAC (Common Access Card) readers for CAC (ID) cards to access secure information (personal), and for easy access to DFAS mypay, AKO/DKO, Army publications, etc. These devices with the CAC card can also be used to digitally sign documents.
My recommendation/request is that USAA also use this technology for their active duty members to be able to securely access their USAA account(s). I bought a personal CAC reader for $25, and am able to access all things CAC related from the comfort of my own home. I think this would be a huge security/identity protection asset.
Any thoughts from USAA officials?
Glad to hear it, Jim! They’ve got a strong fan base for sure :) I’ll pass on your note to my contact over there and see if anything comes of it. Thanks for stopping by!
Jim, I saw your post yesterday and have already sent it over to one of my connections on USAA’s innovations team – Mick Simonelli. While we like the CAC idea, we’re actullay exploring easier, more secure ways. As soon as I get some more info from him and his team, I’ll be sure to share it with you and all the other J. Money peeps.
Thanks John! Good lookin’ out.
Thank you both! I look forward to the new, easier, and more secure way of doing things.
Have I mentioned how excited I am to be soooo close to my first USAA branch? I’ve actually seen ATMs and Financial Centers near FT. Hood where I’ll be stationed. I hope I don’t bother them too much…nothing like being able to FINALLY shake a hand of the greatest customer service team…
Hah! You are one lucky man – there are none near me :(
Be careful using the car buying certificates. If you use them at another dealer USAA will not honor the advertised APR! The certificate they sent me said take to any dealer, I did and bought a new car and then USAA says it does not count for the interest rate reduction.
Feels like a bait and switch, not expected from my primary bank. Time for a change!