My husband and I have been with USAA for over a year and I just wanted to say how upset we are with them. I deposited a check today into our joint account and they put a hold on it this has never happened before so I called them to get the deposit cancelled and they refused to do it and had smartalic attitudes. Excuse me but if I have a check with my name on it and I deposit it into my account it is my money and they had the nerve to tell me it wasn't when my name is on the check written out to me. I said do something because if there's a hold I want it canceled still came up with excuses. We care about military families blah blah but yet they have attirude when you call and I said okay then cancel my account they refused to do that it . so now I'm forced with them hildig $300 of my money and a account a don't want when this is said and done I'm closing all accounts tied to this company and never dealing with them agian what a disgrace !!!!


Sounds like you were being the difficult one! Security policies are in place for a reason.
I'll bet you are a joy at parties lol

Unfortunately, Ash, check holds are becoming more the norm in the banking industry thanks to technology making it so easy to forge checks, money orders and even cashier checks, along with people who continue to fall for the various check scams. When you deposit a paper check, the actual cash is not yours until it is received from the bank that the check is written on. While the cash can be received within a few days, a bad check may take up to two weeks to be returned. Depending on the degree of risk, banks may front the funds before it is actually received.


The majority of bank account today cost the account holder nothing and normally does not require minimum balance, which increases the risk to the bank of losing money especially for those who maintain little money in those accounts. For this reason, federal law allows them to hold the funds for a specific time - normally anywhere up to 11 business days, depending on the type of check and depositing situation. When you open an account with any Financial Institution, they are required to provide you their hold policies in writing. This is usually contained in the Depository Agreement and Disclosure (DAD). You can find USAA DAD here. Banks normally use a computer logarithm to determine the risk associated with a specific check deposit and based on that assessment whether and how long the hold is required. Below are some (but probably not all) of the things a bank may look at to determine when a hold is applied, how much and for how long:


  • Credit History - Your credit history indicates your ability to repay debts and demonstrated responsibility in repaying debts. A measure of whether someone would repay the bank if the check is returned unpaid, resulting in a negative account balance.
  • Account History - New account will almost always have a hold especially for accounts less than 30 days old. History of negative account management like repeated NSF charges- this could include history reported by other banks you have or had accounts with.
  • Daily Balance - An average daily balance from all accounts. If you maintain a healthy daily balance in any of your account (Saving, Money Market, Investment, Checking) that ensures that even if a check is returned unpaid you would have the sufficient funds to for the bank to recover. This is what I believe most likely results in holds for those who live paycheck to paycheck and maintain little or no savings.
  • Type/Amount of Check - Smaller amounts present less risk than larger, Government checks provide less risk than a personal check. Keep in mind that money orders and cashier checks can be forged just as easy as a personal check, therefore, a hold can placed on them.
  • Deposit Method - Checks deposited in person is more likely to have little or no hold time, whereas, one deposited via a mobile device, is more likely to have a longer hold time. USAA DAD provides for a 7 business day hold for Mobile and Easy Deposits.

There are several things you can do to reduce the chance of a hold or at least alleviate the effects of holds on paper checks. The best is increase your account balance(s), not only does this minimize the risk of holds on checks, but it will also provide you a buffer to help prevent NSF charges and provide an emergency fund when it is really needed. If you are not able or willing to maintain a higher account balance, and will need to deposit paper checks, then I recommend using a local credit union or bank that you can make the deposit in person. This may not stop a hold, but it will minimize the chance and length of the hold. In cases where you need the funds right away, if the bank that the check is written on is local, you can always take it to them to cash (if you don't have an account with them, they may charge a fee).


Unfortunately, for those who don't have direct deposit or those who live payday to payday with little or no savings, an Internet bank with no local brick and mortar location is probably not an ideal bank. No matter which bank or credit union you use, be sure to read and understand the Depository Agreement and Disclosures so you will not be surprised when a hold happens.


Good Luck.

DS Texas,


Out of all of the USAA employees contributing to this community, you are top notch!  You always provide so much helpful information.  If USAA hasn't given you a raise lately, they are doing you a disservice.





Thank you for commenting, DSTEXAS is actually not an employee of USAA. Any employees will have the USAA after their name. :-)

Thank you DSTEXAS for posting our depository agreement.


Ash2311 - I truly do understand your frustration and I see that you have already reached out to one of our member services representatives. If you do need further assistance, I do encourage you to send us a private message here, or give us a call at 1-800-531-8722. Thank you again for taking the time to comment.

Ash, it always helps trying to read the Depository Agreement.  ;)

I've been with USAA for over a decade. They are way better to veterans than Bank of America! There are guidelines and regulations with every service these days. Learn to deal with them.