I recently began direct depositing my payroll to USAA. My roomates gave me cash for their share of the rent. I am responsable for paying the rent. Prior to depositing the cash into my account through UPS via money order, I called USAA and spoke to a representative to verify that the cash would be available for immediate payment of my rent. The representative assured me that the money would be available, as long as I dont have a negative history with USAA, which I do not.

I obtained the required money order, made the deposit through the UPS store, then went home to access USAA online banking to order a check to pay the rent. USAA refused to issue the check, even though the ammount  of cash deposited clearly is more than enough to cover the check. I immediately contacted the executive resolution department. The representative proceeded to refer back to the pages long fine print in the USAA banking agreement, basically blaming me for the issue and providing no resolution whatsoever.

The cash I deposited is subject to hold  of a week and the way I see it- USAA completely refused to acknowledge my initial call and the representative's reassurances that this would not happen, then proceeded to take my money and refused to lift the hold so I could pay my rent in a timely manner. In my view USAA bases their marketing on veterans and their families, but basically refused to extend good faith to me, even after I deposited cash with them in good faith.

It was a very bad way to start off a customer-service based relationship, especially considering this is the place I chose to direct deposit my payroll into and also trust to process insurance and other obligations through. I am highly disappointed in the resolution process and am left of the opinion that they did not resolve my challenge in the least bit.


Sorry this happened, I hope your landlord understands. 

I do see a few problems here.   You keep saying you deposited cash, but you deposited a money order.  Money orders are not the quickest way of making sure funds are available.   There is one exception to the money order hierarchy - a US Postal Service money order must be available the next business day. 


There is a federal law which governs when funds must be made available (Regulation CC -start on page 2 with subsection B) .   Generally they are: 


Next business day: 

Cash, electronic payments, official or cashiers checks, checks from a local or state government, USPS money orders, and checks from the same bank [in this case USAA checks into a USAA account] 


Other items have longer hold times:  
Personal checks (and other checks not described in the section above) have $200 available the next business day (assuming they are at least $200)  with the rest available the 2nd business day.  So if I depost $3000 Monday I can have $200 Tuesday and $3000 Wednesday.  

If a check is over $5000 you can have $200 on the next business day, $4800 the 2nd business day and the rest on the 7th business day. 


Cash- real US currency is available the same business day it is deposited in person. 


These are all maximum hold times for existing accounts in good standing with no history of depositng returned items. 


New accounts can generally add 2 days to most hold times except cash and electronic funds transfers.  Any check into a brand new account can be held 9 days.   Brand new is under 30 days old. 


Other exceptions to the maximum hold times are: 
Large deposit (as above any amount over $5K can be 7th business day)

Redeposited check - if it bounced once it may bounce again so wait 7 days

Repeated overdraft - if your account has been overdrawn for 6 days in the previous six months, or by more than $5K for two days in the last six months.  

Potentially bad check & unusual checks.- if it looks like it was photoshopped, if it is stale dated (older than 6 months) post-dated, or if you deposit a check for more than your account balance - wait 7 days. 

Emergencies - if weather takes out the computer system, somebody blows up the bank, someone cuts the internet cable connecting us to the world - wait 7 days.  Also hoard food and water. 


So in your case the money order wasn't a USPS money order (I assume since you sent it UPS.  If you were at the PO to get a money order you would have sent it from there).  Yes, they shouldn't have given you an estimate of the availability, but if you said cash and it really wasn't you can't fault USAA too much. 

So for fastest availability get direct deposit or have money wired to you. 

Second fastest is a USPS money order ($1.25 unless you get it on base PO then it is forty cents) or cashier's check. 

Deposit@Mobile and Deposit@Home are the slowest ways, but they are very convenient.  It is a toss up on that speed v. easy.   


USAA will provide free postage paid deposit envelopes if you want them. Click here (it says order checks, but this is for envelopes and they send some deposit slips too- all free, just check the right boxes).


USAA takes some getting used to because there are so few places to see a teller in person.  You'll get used to it eventually and the no fees for most things certainly helps.


Good luck.  

Hi Ada1,


Welcome to Community, thank you for you post. I have asked a bank representative to look into this matter for you, and reach out. Thank you.

It's been quite a while since I commented on the difficulties in making cash deposits; in fact I'd forgotten about the challenges of making cash deposits until I recently had another challenge. This time I deposited cash into a savings account I have in another institution. This account is on my list of approved transfer accounts. I deposited cash into an account specifically so I could transfer it to usaa. Although it was a cash deposit into an approved account, USAA held $100 of the $300 back, preventing me from paying my billl for days. Ironically, it was my USAA credit card bill I was trying to pay. 

Why put a hold on a cash transfer from an approved account in the customer's name?

In my opinion USAA has not adequately solved the challenge the company seems to have with overcomplicating cash deposits, specifically not only is it nearly impossible to make a cash deposit, but even after legitimate deposits are made- adding unecesary and highly questionable delays in making the cash immediately available to the customer. There should be no holds or limits to cash transfers from approved accounts. If I transfer $3000 cash, I should be able to pay a $3000 bill immediately with my own money, right? 

In every case I find USAA to be tops and a real class act. The company has excellent response and customer service. Overall I love the quality and versatility of their products and services. 

Im now expecting a lot more than the 'lip service' I was given  years ago regarding the cash deposit challenges USAA has. I'd like to think the company is going to solve the challenges with cash deposits and isn't ignoring their customer needs in this area for several more years. Please prove your intent with more acton and less words this time, USAA.  



Hello @Ada1, I understand concerns with this hold. The reason the funds were placed on hold was to make sure we were able to collect them from the external institutions. We are not able to see what your balance is in your external account when a transfer is made. I have forwarded your feedback regarding this situation. -Colleen