USAA is an organization created by military members for military members. It was founded by 25 army officers who couldn’t find a company that would insure their vehicles. So they decided to insure each other, thus establishing the USAA in 1922.
What started out as a small business has since grown into a huge institution offering a wide range of financial products to military members and their families. The company’s primary goal is to provide its members low-cost financial products, advice, and tools.
USAA’s products range from banking and insurance to investments and retirement. In this review, we are going to take an in-depth look at the company’s auto loans offer.
USAA auto loans
USAA offers auto loans for new and used cars. Here’s what you can expect in terms of features, costs, customer service, and eligibility requirements.
USAA makes it easy to apply for an auto loan online, or you can apply over the phone with a representative if you prefer. You will usually find out within minutes if you qualify. Upon approval, you can e-sign the loan documents and immediately print off the check.
While you can go out and find the car you want to buy independently, USAA offers a car-buying service powered by TRUECar. It allows you to view new and used cars or trucks from Certified Dealers all on one website. You can check pricing, features, performance, safety, and technical data, and more. When you find the car you want, you then make the final deal with that dealer.
Why use the service? USAA gets exclusive pricing and cash allowances from manufacturers and passes them on to its members. On average, this service saves them $3,335 off of MSRP.
Further, USAA will refund you if, within four days of purchasing a car, you find a lower advertised price for the same car. You’ll also be working with USAA’s network of certified dealers, which streamlines the buying process.
As with most car loans, you will have to pay interest on the amount you borrow. Interest rates on new cars (models two years or younger) are slightly lower than on used cars.
Beyond that, the rate will vary depending on the length of your loan term and your credit profile. You can use the USAA auto loan calculator to figure out how much the monthly payments will cost.
One plus is that, if you decide to use the car-buying service mentioned above, you will get a 0.50% reduction in your interest rate.
As for fees, you don’t have to worry about any, such as those sometimes charged by other lenders for application, prepayment, or origination.
Being that the USAA was founded by military members trying to help others in similar situations, the company is known for being very helpful and understanding.
Satisfied customer Alyce Green says, “I just paid off my second used car loan with USAA and had a pleasant experience from start to finish each time. The highlights included:
- Pre-approval via physical (blank) check sent in the mail. This was easy to endorse over to the car owner for a quick transaction.
- Competitive rate.
- Both times, after having the loan for over a year, they lowered my rate with a phone call when I saw better loan offers elsewhere.
- Easy auto-pay.
- They automatically send pay-off/title documents in the mail when all payments are completed.
Fortunately, I don’t have any negative experiences to report. I’ll likely consider USAA first for any future auto loans in our household.”
Who can qualify for a USAA auto loan?
According to USAA customer support, “Membership is currently open to active military, former military, families, cadets or midshipmen.” To get a loan, you have to be a USAA member.
Citizenship and age
Additionally, you must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, and you must be at least 18 years old.
USAA auto loan credit score requirements
You will also have to meet USAA’s underwriting requirements regarding your credit score and financial profile. The good news is that USAA will consider all credit profiles from excellent credit to those that need improvement.
Here’s how to find out if you qualify.
USAA application process
To apply for a USAA auto loan, follow these steps:
Visit the Auto Loans page of the USAA website and click the button that reads “How Much Do I Qualify For?”
You will then be asked to log into your USAA account. If you do not have one, you will need to create one.
USAA will first verify your eligibility. Click “Continue.”
Provide your personal information.
Provide contact information.
Select your military connection.
Provide more personal information.
Provide your USAA number and social security number.
Once USAA approves your service member connection, you will be able to see the auto loan rates for which you are qualified.
USAA auto loan review and summary
USAA is known for offering its members low-cost borrowing solutions with no hidden fees.
Its car-buying service helps to streamline the process of shopping for a car, removing much of the stress and haggling. You can browse cars from the comfort of your home and automatically get access to lower prices.
It’s also nice that USAA will refund the difference if you find a better deal right after making your purchase.
The downside is that not everyone can gain access to USAA financial services. You have to qualify or have a family connection who qualifies. There’s no way to gain access otherwise.
However, if you do qualify, we highly recommend this lender. By becoming a member, you can enjoy the benefits specifically designed to serve the financial needs of military members and their families.