SanFranRon
Occasional Contributor

I've been a member of the USAA community for 53 years. During that time I've consolidated my entire financial life with USAA as I've always thought USAA provides better service than any other US financial institution. Today, I'm not sure.

 

My yet unresolved problem started on the evening of July 7th; that evening I came home to an automated USAA message concerning possible fraudulent MasterCard charges during that day. When I returned the call I identified 21 fraudulent $200 charges all at the same business (Wal-Mart), on the same day and in the same location.  During the same call I identified 3 additional fraudulent charges that totaling a little less than $50.  During the same call I validated that all other charges during the previous three days were valid.  Since USAA was converting all members to Visa and since I was told that my new Visa card was to be sent almost immediately I agreed to not replacing the Master Card.  Unrelated to the fraud charges, I don't understand this forced (members have no choice) change to Visa - I've been using USAA MasterCard successfully for 20 years.  Why force members to change?  This rollover to Visa has caused many headaches as I explain later.

 

Later the same evening I identified 2 more fraudulent charges that occurred June 30th and July 1st.  Those two charges which were identical, totaled over $500, and were logged to a restaurant that provides jobs for former addicts and alcoholics- could that be the root of the fraudulent charges?  I don't know.  I immediately called USAA to report those 2 additional fraudulent charges.  At the beginning of that call I was unable to complete the first method of authentication as I didn't have my cell phone. As we continued with another authentication process I could hear that the USAA representative was frustrated - suddenly the line was dead - no return call came from USAA as I had learned to appreciate over the years.

 

So the next day I had to call again to report the additional fraud.  During that call I asked why USAA would allow so many identical charges (21) before placing a hold on my card - even if I didn't personally pay, it was an unnecessary cost to all USAA members.  Several days later the explanation I received was paraphrasing "Walmart, not USAA, was responsible for those charges and that USAA wanted members to be able to make multiple charges in the same location without a hold being placed" - but, come on, 21???. Also, that's just kicking the ball further down the road, because in the end those charges are still paid by the Wal-Mart customers (you and me).

 

I waited 10 days before receiving the Visa replacement card. Because of the change from MC to Visa, USAA posted all charges (valid and fraudulent) multiple times; first to the MasterCard then journaled out of MasterCard and debited to the new Visa card.   The person in the fraud area reversed only 20 of the $200 charges and missed crediting one of the other three fraudlent charges.  It was by chance that I noticed these errors and reported them.  To my surpise I was again debited ALL the fraudulent charges on the old MasterCard and credited an equal amount on the Visa card;  so, in the end there were still over $4,500 (approximate) of fraudulent charges remaining on MasterCard. I was told not to worry about those charges but, to my surprise, in August USAA withdrew the $4,500 from my checking account (I use auto pay). I was lucky to have that amount in my checking account. When I identified this problem to USAA I was credited for the mistake but several days later I was surprised to find (online) that because there was again an unpaid Master Card balance I was charged late fees and interest.  After a number of calls talking to various people in the credit card area a person within the fraud department called - I explained the problem to her but she seemed rushed.  She committed to send a printout of the adjustments and gave me her work number so I could call her directly with questions - well, the printout was just 2 columns of numbers, nothing more.  So I called and left multiple messages for her to please call me - over a period of approximately 5 days I left maybe 5 or 6 calls - she never returned my call.  I finally asked someone in the Wealth Management area for help - at that point I did receive a call from her.  When I asked why the 2 fraudulent restaurant charges were reposted to my Visa card she said she would look into it.  That was about 10 days ago.  The next day I saw that I now have a credit in the old Master Card for the fraudulent charges but they have never been moved to reverse the Visa charges (so net = 0 on that card).  Within a day I called and left another message asking why the charges weren't posted to Visa - again, no reply and it's now a week. 

 

In summation, this isn't the USAA I remember - the results from reversing the charges were sloppy at best - except for the call I made on the first night and the one person in the fraud department (who won't return calls) each person I worked with was very polite and tried to be helpful but nobody ever took responsibility to own my problem.

 

 In the end I spent approximately 20 hours reviewing the charges, building an excel spreadsheet, and discussing this problem with USAA. What will happen when the Master Card is closed - I don't know?  Has USAA become too large and is just another one of the many commercial banks?  I hope not!

9 REPLIES

SanFranRon,

I am sorry to hear of your experience and that it has not yet been resolved. I realize after 53 years of membership and so many products and services, this is not what you've come to expect. I am engaging a subject matter expert to reach out to you and address your concerns. Thank you for your membership and reaching out in Community. 

Cynthia,

Thanks for your reply.  Please let me know when I can expect a call

SanFranRon,

I sincerely apologize for the delayed response. I have requested a status on your account and a colleague has confirmed she will reach out to you tomorrow.

If someone 'reached out' to me today I certainly didn't feel their 'touch' - cynicism aside no one contacted me.  I will be home Monday afternoon awaiting a call.

I have had his experience in the past with USAA. Im currently out of the country and i have had my personal card charged a few times at the same establishment for a little of over $200 and the first time everything was taken care of. The service was amazing. The second and third time it happened nothing git done except for an investigation resulting to nothing but a follow-up email. Im still currently searching for a better institute, however, all of my financial needs and obligations are being met with Navy Federal. Navy Federal is very responsive, the providers make sure your needs are taken care of, and most of all they fight for your right to keep you protected from merchant fraud.

I hope this helps.
I agree Navy Federal meets my needs. Several locations in my area to speak to a live person is always great customer service
You are not alone in this! What a hassle, right?

Brother I could relate to problems with USAA, I am a severely disabled war veteran who have been trying for years to get a small loan to transfer my long overdue funds from another source.  Only to be denied a loan and I quick counting how many denials from our Bank, just to get funds transfer into my accounts with them. It become very frustrating as, if they don't care!

The way it's going I may hath to go to another bank, just to established myself financially and that is sad and I been with them a long time as well!SAM_2230.JPG

There are at least two major problems with USAA banking services.  First, USAA does not provide their own transaction servicing.  Second, USAA customer service staff do not understand basic banking processes and not only fail to provide any effective service but become an obstacle in the path toward correcting error. 

 

In my case Chase, USAA’s “back room” servicer, made a mistake.  If a similar misstep had been made regarding a Chase checking account, it would have been corrected with a single phone call.  With USAA — it took weeks to get the error corrected.  This included hours on the phone with more than eight USAA “service” representatives, including multiple hours on hold. On one call A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ORIGINATING BANK AND myself on were left hold for more than one hour. 

 

The difference between a ten-minute call with someone willing and able to assist is a far different experience than multiple hours on the phone with a series of people who know little but are quick to tell you it is not their problem.  There is, in fact, no connection between the member and USAA’s out-sourced banking service provider.  Service is the foundation on which the USAA organization was built and is marketed today.  However, selling the USAA name and abandoning the USAA member when service is actually required is deceptive and fraudulent. This experience has forever changed the way I consider USAA services.  The response includes:

 

(1) To switch all direct deposits from USAA to a banking institution that performs in-house check servicing.

(2) I don’t have a lot of money but have small investment accounts at three different institutions.  I will consolidate down to two firms, neither of which will be USAA.

(3) Auto and homeowner’s insurance will not automatically be dropped, but quotes will be requested from others before the next renewal.