USAA offers many financial services to members of the military and their families, including checking, credit cards and money transfers. When it comes to connecting outside banks to your primary account, some financial institutions will ask you to enter the confirmation code that appears on your external account registration notice, but USAA takes a different approach. Account verification, however it is achieved, is an important way to keep your assets secure.
How Does USAA Verify My Account?
When connecting your USAA account with an outside bank, you'll submit the account information either electronically or by mailing in an Account and Transaction Authorization form. After this, USAA will make two small deposits, each less than $1, into the target account. Once you've seen these deposits clear in the designated account, you can go back to the USAA external account verification page and enter the amounts.
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After the verification has been completed, USAA will withdraw the two deposits to return your account to its original balance. This process is a form of two-factor authentication that aims to prevent someone from gaining access to one of your accounts. In the unlikely event that someone is able to hack into your accounts, the two-factor authentication makes it unlikely they can easily drain the account or transfer the money to an unknown account.
Some institutions and programs require more than one verification like this. Anything requiring more than one password to gain access is considered MFV, or multiple-factor verification.
Other Forms of Protection
Another form of protection USAA has in place is an upper limit on electronic funds transfers. According to USAA, at most $5,000 can be transferred at one time. However, if you need to transfer a larger amount, you can arrange that by directly calling 1-800-531-8722 and speaking with a USAA representative. Any larger transfer will also undergo review and have to be approved by a banker to further ensure legitimacy. While this might seem frustrating in the moment, it also protects you.
This covers electronic transfers, but what about other forms of fraudulent transfers? Can USAA verify checks, and can you verify a check from USAA to be legitimate?
USAA Check Verification
By the nature of how checks work, they are verified at each stage of use. Upon receipt of a check, USAA will contact any external bank or financial institution to verify that the account exists under the name on the check and that the amount listed on the check is available in the account. If both of these factors are verified, the check is scanned, and the image is stored for a period of up to six or seven years (against the possibility of an audit).
If you believe that someone has fraudulently used your checkbook, most banks will allow you to view the images of all your written checks from the past two to three years online. Older checks may have to be printed at a physical bank location.
If you have been given a USAA bank check as payment, you can verify the legitimacy of the check by calling the phone number on the front of the check. Some scammers will use accurate account information but change the bank's address or phone number to direct verification requests to an accomplice call center. USAA's verification phone number is 1-210-456-9037. If in doubt, always take the check to a brick-and-mortar bank location to have a teller verify the check before completing a transaction.
Consider also: USAA Facts