USAA is best known for its insurance coverage, but it has been offering brokerage services since 1980. Unlike its other financial services, such as loans and auto insurance, USAA’s brokerage services are available to both military and non-military families.
USAA brokerage stands out for its excellent customer service, competitive rates, low account minimums, and the speed and reliability of its trades. USAA has over 25 funds whose performance has earned a four or five stars from Morningstar.
Who Is USAA Brokerage For?
USAA is designed for active investors that prefer income over capital gains. USAA’s fees are competitive, but it is not a discount brokerage and is best suited for investors who value having access to a responsive and knowledgeable customer service staff.
USAA’s investment products are partial to shareholder friendly companies in a strong financial position that are undervalued and offer sustainable earnings growth.
What Account Features Does USAA Offer?
- Free research reports, access to real-time data, and sophisticated analysis software.
- Automated phone trades are free
- Investors can access physical branches, use USAA’s 24/7 customer service, and pay via check or debit/credit card.
- Mobile investing. USAA’s mobile app allows you to invest, research and move money from your smartphone.
USAA brokerage offers investments in the following asset and account classes:
- Mutual Funds
- Margin and option trading
- Roth, IRAs, and corporate accounts
- 529 College Savings
- Youth Investing
USAA has recently started to offer commission free exchange-traded-funds (ETFs), which attract budget-conscious investors looking for a simple way to diversify their portfolio.
How Does USAA Work?
USAA has a two-tier online trading platform and the option of broker-assisted trading.
All members qualify for USAA’s Gold rate, but account holders must execute 25 trades within a 90-day period or have $50,000 in eligible assets to be eligible for Platinum level perks.
What Fees and Commissions Does USAA Charge?
USAA has a surprisingly short fee schedule.
- It has no minimum initial deposit.
- Stock and options trading fees are as low as $5.95 per trade with an additional $0.075 per option contract. Low-volume traders (less than 25 trades within 90-days) pay $8.95 a trade.
- There is a $25 minimum commission for broker-assisted option trades.
- New customers receive up to 90 days of free trades (up to 50 trades).
- Domestic wire fee of $20
- No fees for a full brokerage transfer-out
- Free historical statement and research
- International wire fee of $25
- Late payment fee of $25
- An Asset Management Account (AMA) stop payment fee of $29
Investors who keep a balance of $5,000 receive an upgrade to an Asset Management Account, which gives them free check writing, debit card, and online bill pay.
- There is a $70 additional fee for the purchase or sale of foreign securities.
How Is USAA Brokerage Better than Other Brokerages?
USAA Brokerage offers the following benefits:
- Excellent customer service. 2015 Bloomberg Businessweek’s Customer Service
- Available to everyone, not just military members and their families
- Offers broker-assisted market orders
- Competitive stock and option trades
- No account minimum
- Now offers commission-free