Let's hear it for USAA's IT department!

So I tried to add an external transfer account.  You *used to* be able to do this on line, but now for some reason USAA requires a signed form (which can be faxed in, and is no more secure than an on line submission).  I sent in the form.  USAA tells me to go on line to verify temporary deposits made to my external account.  I do that, and the site says I have to be "fully authenticated" (whatever that may mean!) and locks up.  I call USAA.  Takes me about 10 minutes and three tries to get around the automated voice recognition system which has *never* responded correctly to a request in the years I have attempted to use it.  When I said "verify transfer account" it took me to a funds transfer, and started a transfer I had not requested.  Pressing "0" repeatedly did not help, nor did the voice command "agent".  Call in again.  "Agent" worked from the main menu, but there's a 20 minute wait.

Eventually USAA called me back and their agent was unable to complete my request, getting the same inscrutable "needs to be fully authenticated"  message I got.  Total elapsed time more than an hour.   I asked for the problem to be fixed, and for the IT department to call me.   Neither has happened, as I expected.


I don't think USAA wants to stay in the banking business any more than it wanted to stay in the brokerage business. 


I will probably get a call from the "Executive Office" after I post this.  Hint to whoever is monitoring this stream: Don't bother. They listen attentively, promise a response, and then never call back.  They are also never at the number they provide during the original oh-so-sympathetic call.  Don't patronize me!  Fix the problem or let me know why it can't be fixed.  In writing.  You have my postal address and e-mail address.  All the information you need to do that is in this message.


I'm waiting.

Please sign-in to reply


Yup.  I called it.


Within 3 hours of posting this message, I got a voice mail from "David Brown" in the CEO's office.  He sounds sincere, just as all the others who have called about previous unresolved problems.


As Mr. Brown, if he exists, cannot or will not read my posting through to its end, I will not be calling him back.  To quote Paul Simon, "I'll repeat myself, at the risk of seeming crude..."


1.  All the information needed to address my problem is in the previous posting.


2.  I want a written response, not an empty promise from another person who takes up my time listening sympathetically, does not get results, and is never available again when I follow up.


As of this morning, I am still unable to complete the task I used to be able to do in one online session.






Well my problem is not resolved, but I have learned that the only way to get a substantive response is to post on the community.  I have never had a USAA rep from the "CEO's office"  call me more than once, and never had an actual response to an issue.  Until today.  I'm pasting below what "David Brown" said, deleting from it certain sensitive personal information.


The response would be helpful if it addressed my problem, but it didn't.  The history is correct through 1/4/2022, except that USAA did not attempt to send a message to my cell phone.  I delisted my cell phone from USAA.com.  The only phone listed is a landline.   USAA *may* have attempted to send text messages to it (the website didn't indicate that it had).  But the website would not provide me any option to authenticate, and simply said I needed more authentication.  More importantly, the USAA IT system would not let USAA's agent (probably the person identified below as AA213) make the transaction.  That is clearly an error with USAA's IT system, as agents are supposed to be able to carry out transactions for customers, and AA213 thought that she could and tried several times.  Bless her for perservering.  So "David Brown" has not admitted that the problem was USAA's IT system.


I have still not heard from the IT department, as requested.  And had I remained on hold, I would probably still be on hold.


After that date, the account veers into fantasy.  I never requested to add an external account to my homepage.  That would entail providing USAA with my passwords for such accounts, and I am not about to trust that information to a patently defective information system.  I want to add an account for external transfer, and I want to be able to transfer to and from the account.  Searching for "Add an Account: Self-Service Options" did not turn up any hits on USAA's website, so if the document Mr. "Brown" alludes to exists, it is a closely-guarded secret.  But I think it would only describe a process I know about that is not germane to my needs.


I did indicate that USAA has all the information required to resolve the issue.  Mr. "Brown" confirmed that.  Instead of blaming the victim and obfuscating, simply manually approving the account would suffice.  I am waiting.




Dear "Grandpa Charlie",


USAA is committed to providing you with exceptional service. We are writing in response to your concern regarding account maintenance which you outlined in your letter.


Our records indicate

11/13/97 "Grandpa Charlie" opened USAA Classic Checking account ending in xxxx; the account was styled as an individual account. The USAA Federal Savings Bank Depository Agreement (DAD) including Fee Schedule were provided with welcome kit.

12/30/21 "Grandpa Charlie" sends an Account and Transaction authorization form into USAA to add an external account to his funds transfer list. This document is uploaded on USAA.com. The document is complete and correct as provided to USAA. The form is attached to the complaint.

01/03/22 "Grandpa Charlie"'s form is processed by P5946 BPO Consumer Fufillment agent and the external account is added pending confirmation of the two deposits placed into the external account in accordance with Add an Account: Ownership Verification - Deposit Servicing PRO34315. P5946 actions were correct and in line with the procedure to process the form Electronic Funds Transfer - Account and Transaction Authorization Form - Deposit Fulfillment Operations PRO28920. No coaching opportunities were observed. This was confirmed by internal record.

01/04/22 "Grandpa Charlie" is contacted by phone at 1:28 PM by 2A313 TPUSA deposit agent. "Grandpa Charlie" expresses dissatisfaction with the phone system with 2A313. "Grandpa Charlie" indicates that he attempted to authorize the temporary deposits and was provided a hard stop due to authentication concerns on USAA.com as it was attempting to send him a text message to his cell phone. "Grandpa Charlie" indicates he does not receive text messages on his phone he has listed with USAA and prefers email. "Grandpa Charlie" explains that the website is not allowing him to authenticate by email and defaults to the phone authentication. "Grandpa Charlie" provides the two deposits that were placed in the account that was .23 and .40 in the external account. 2A313 attempts to verify the external account and receives an error. 2A313 places the member on hold and reaches out to IT. "Grandpa Charlie" does not want to wait on the line for IT to answer and the member disconnects the line.

On the same day Member complaint opened IS-[removed sensitive data]-1

01/07/21 "Grandpa Charlie" posts an additional complaint on social media. Complaint is forwarded to the Office of the CEO in IS-[removed sensitive data]-FOP-1.

On 01/07/21; Bank Advocate Advisor III (AA) / P8055 received case IS-[removed sensitive data]-1 AA P8055 attempts to contact "Grandpa Charlie" by phone and leaves a voicemail with contact information.

01/13/22 AA P8055 attempts to contact "Grandpa Charlie" by phone and leaves a voicemail with contact information. AA P8055 unable to reach member after two attempts and sends a case resolution email to "Grandpa Charlie".

Had contact been made with "Grandpa Charlie" AA P8055 would have assisted him with validating his external account. AA P8055 would have also explained that he can add accounts on USAA.com and AA P8055 would have provided the steps to not have to use the form but to use the website to add those accounts. AA P8055 would have provided troubleshooting and resolution to getting the account added on USAA.com to be eligible for funds transfers. As member did not answer AA P8055 is unable to provide resolution and is happy at any time to speak to "Grandpa Charlie" to attempt to resolve the member?s concerns. The steps for adding an account by self service are contained in Add an Account: Self-Service Options ? Deposit Servicing(No PRO number).

"Grandpa Charlie", we appreciate the opportunity to review this matter and respond to you. Should you have any additional questions, you can reach me at [removed sensitive data].

USAA Federal Savings Bank has issued the final resolution on this matter; however, if you have additional questions, we invite you to contact us.







@Grandpa Charlie, I'm sorry that your issue remains unresolved. If I understand correctly, you're attempting to complete the external account verification process by entering the trial deposit amounts. We are aware of an issue with members receiving an error when attempting to enter those trial deposits on the USAA website. As a workaround, I recommend entering the trial deposits through the USAA mobile app. I hope this workaround will help to resolve the issue. I will elevate your concerns, as well. ~DC 

If you had read the stream, you'd know I don't have a cellphone compatible with USAA.  Why won't you simply add the account as I have requested.  A USAA representative tried, and could not, so it sounds like a major issue with your banking software.   But somebody, somewhere can add a transfer account.  All the documentation is in info I sent previously.


E-mails like the one I received today (see below) are not helpful.  Nor are phone calls.  Just fix the problem or tell me why you can't.


Please Call Us


Dear Uncle Charlie,

Thank you for bringing your concerns with USAA to our attention.

Unfortunately, I was unable to reach you by phone and would like the opportunity to discuss this matter with you. You may call me, Josephine, at one of the numbers below at your convenience.

How to Contact Us

Please enter extension [removed sensitive data] when prompted.

Phone: 800-531-USAA (8722)

Mobile: 210-531-8722, Mobile shortcut #8722

We appreciate your membership and look forward to speaking with you.


Josephine Garcia

Member Advocacy

USAA Federal Savings Bank

Hello @Grandpa Charlie, I understand the seriousness of the situation. I have located your information and will engage a specialist to review the details. Thank you for speaking up today. ~Sarah

The goat rope continues. USAA-- the customer has a simple problem---just fix it !

Apparently Sarah and the bank aren't on the same wavelength.  Here's the snotty communication I got from Banking today.  They've "closed the case," even though they admitted there's a problem.  Instead of palaver, why not simply *solve the problem*? 


They say they need "additional information," but I have provided by secure e-mail proof that I own the account from which I want to transfer, and proof that USAA's test deposits were received.  What "additional information" do they think they need? I don't care if USAA fixes its bug-laden software, but I do care whether I can make the transfers I need to, and that would appear to require somebody in Banking to make a manual entry.  Or are they trying to say that nobody can override the IT system's errors?  Hmmm.  Maybe I need to talk to federal banking regulators about this.




Dear Grandpa Charlie,

USAA is committed to providing you with exceptional service. We are writing in response to your concern regarding account maintenance which you outlined in your letter.

Our records indicate It has been determined that additional information is needed to further research the concern about our authentication processes to provide the appropriate resolution.?This issue has been closed with no action due to the lack of response.?Please note the information in this correspondence is only in relation to your USAA Federal Savings Bank products and does not address any outstanding concerns for any other product or service

Grandpa Charlie, we appreciate the opportunity to review this matter and respond to you. Should you have any additional questions, you can reach me at [removed sensitive data].

USAA Federal Savings Bank has issued the final resolution on this matter; however, if you have additional questions, we invite you to contact us.

Thank you for allowing us to serve you and your banking needs.


Josephine Garcia

Member Advocacy

USAA Federal Savings Bank

The good news is that USAA finally fixed the problem I reported weeks ago.  Which I appreciate.  Thanks to whomever may have done it, and if you would identify yourself, I'd thank you publicly.


The bad news is it took more than two weeks of steadily-escalating complaints to get a simple transaction completed, and when it was, *nobody told me*.  I discovered that I could enter the transactions on line today.  In spite of numerous requests for assistance, *nobody actually did what I wanted, and just activated the account manually.*


So for USAA's customer "support," I'd have to cite the Buddhist query: "What is the sound of one hand clapping?"






Is this something new, or just this one customer?


I've added multiple accounts without issue, but haven't tried one in the last couple of months.


The process outlined here is not one I would I would complete.



That was my experience, prior to my last attempt to add (described in this chain).  Don't ask me why things went sour--I just followed instructions.  Ask USAA what went wrong (they haven't said) or why it suddenly started to work (they never told me).  I got what I needed, but the transaction costs were pretty high.


If I hadn't had a steady stream of IT-related failures on USAA, I would not have made so much noise.  But it *is* curious that I haven't have similar issues with the numerous banking accounts I have or have had on other platforms.  Can't say if it's just one customer.  I have no way of knowing, and as I said, USAA isn't saying.


Again, thanks to whomever fixed it.

@Grandpa Charlie, We appreciate your continued engagement in unraveling what happened to cause such difficulty in what is normally an easy task. In this channel we forward posts with concerns to the appropriate area to be reviewed. I must do the same with this post. Thank you for responding. You are a valued member. ~Suzy

I wouldn't post twice, except that "David Brown" threw gasoline on the fire with the following e-mail (edited for confidentiality, but otherwise verbatim).  The response shows that "Brown" has either not read or my messages or does not understand what happened. 


First, as Mr. "Brown" should know, I did not refuse transfer to the IT team on January 4.  The representative attempted to transfer me, but the IT team never picked up.  After waiting 20 minutes, I asked the representative to have the IT team call me, which they didn't.  Listen to the recording of that call if you doubt what I am saying, but be prepared to listen for a long time.


Second, Mr. "Brown's" "explanation" does not fit the facts.  Maybe it's a standard line the IT department gives, kind of like the "reboot your computer" command one always receives when reporting trouble to a help desk.  There was no "lag time."  The deposits appeared in my external account within a day.  So much for the gobbledegook about "access protocols."  No, the problem was with USAA's IT system, which would not allow me or a USAA representative to enter the transactions into USAA's computer to activate the account.  It had nothing to do with any systems in external banks.


USAA should have its IT department actually investigate complaints, and if it offers an explanation, offer one which fits the facts.  Stop assuming that customers are stupid, and stop patronizing us.


I will *never* answer a call from the "CEO's office" again.  As I have noted, it's a whole lot more effective to scream on social media, and I encourage other members to do the same. 


But gee, guys, couldn't you have saved a lot of time and money by fixing the problem a month ago?



USAA is committed to providing you with exceptional service. We are writing in response to your concern regarding a service experience on your USAA deposit account ending in xxxx, which you outlined in your email.

Our records indicate 11/13/97 Grandpa Charlie opened USAA Classic Checking account ending in xxxx
12/30/21 Grandpa Charlie sends an Account and Transaction authorization form into USAA to add an external account to his funds transfer list. This document is uploaded on USAA.com.
01/03/22 Grandpa Charlie's form is processed
01/04/22 Grandpa Charlie contacts USAA by phone and provides the correct temporary deposits to a USAA representative however a system error does not allow the amounts to be processed fully. Grandpa Charlie is offered a transfer to the IT team and declines.
Between 01/04/22 and 01/22/22 Grandpa Charlie posts multiple times on social media regarding his complaint.
02/08/22 AA David Brown attempt to contact Grandpa Charlie and leaves a voicemail.
02/09/22 AA David Brown is successful at making contact with Grandpa Charlie however Grandpa Charlie refuses to authenticate him self and AA David Brown is unable to provide findings from the IT team. AA David Brown explains that he will send the response by email.

Based on a review of the concern from the IT team they found the following:

In order for USAA to share account information with external banks, it's necessary to maintain a sort of subscription system where each participating bank shares protocols with the other banks allowing them to access the account data. If any of the access protocols change, such as when an external bank might update sign-on procedures as a matter of maintaining customer security, it can disable the other banks' ability to share account information---until the new protocols are recognized and adopted. So if a participating bank makes a change, and doesn't notify the other banks, they won't be able to do things like link-up internal and external account information. Unfortunately, not uncommon. This is not actually a technical failure, and it's usually temporary unless the external bank is "small" and behind the technology curve. Based on the member's external bank it appears there may have been a small lag time between when the deposits were sent and when they were able to be authenticated by the USAA system..

Grandpa Charlie, we appreciate the opportunity to review this matter and respond to you. Should you have any additional questions, you can reach me at [removed sensitive data].

USAA Federal Savings Bank has issued the final resolution on this matter; however, if you have additional questions, we invite you to contact us.

Thank you for allowing us to serve you and your banking needs.


David J Brown

Member Advocacy

USAA Federal Savings Bank

Well Suzy, you are much better than the "David Brown," who may or may not be a USAA representative, who has called me a couple of times in the past week.  Today, I decided to answer the phone.  Bad choice.  Mr. "Brown" first asked me to state the problem I'd had with USAA.  Uh...can't he read?   That did not reassure me that the call was legit.  Then he demanded that I "authenticate" myself, although he had called me on a phone number registered with USAA. 


I told Mr. "Brown" that there was only one thing I wanted: the identity and contact information of the person who fixed my problem so that I could express thanks.  Mr. "Brown" refused, and when I pointed out that I could not authenticate him, he became rather huffy.


I would still appreciate it if someone would thank the person who fixed the problem I experienced.  Because I am grateful.


@Grandpa Charlie, thank you for the update. I'm pleased to learn the issue has been resolved. At the same time, I'm saddened to learn that you did not receive the support you needed from USAA. I will share your post with the team that has been assigned to review your concerns, and I sincerely hope that future contacts will help to restore your confidence in USAA. ~DC 

Grandpa Charlie - I am sorry that you had this experience and that you did not receive the outcome you had hoped. I am forwarding the details for review. Thanks for following up.  - Jason

This is in accordance with USAA's recent push towards becoming a standard corporation instead a true user oriented service for military folks like it used to be.   This means  they want to do a better job of APPEARING to do something while actually doing less.   Mostly it's about treating their customer a little more like Comcast each year (little by little the frog boils)  and making sure they have a clean appearance.   

I remember when they changed this forum so that it would be harder and harder to see anything negative or problematic and show a more PR oriented face when people come here.   


USAA still does some things well, in spite of all that they have done to sabotage their customer loyalty, they still have a ways to go before the job is finished and they are just another Wells Fargo that sells insurance.  By then, the current people working to undermine the company's legacy will have cashed out.   

Why do people stay at banks that treat them like this?  Dump USAA, they're not worth the aggravation.

For one thing, because USAA is partly owned by its members, and as a 40 year plus member I feel some obligation to try to make things better for others by demanding improvement.


I don't have infinite patience. but as a retiree I do have the time to pursue what probably will prove to be a lost cause.  At my consulting rate, I'm already out over $200.


I'm not sure I know any other large multistate bank that treats customers better.  If you do, posting its name could help a lot of members.


Thanks for your comment.





To my knowledge--USAA "MEMBERS" don't own any part of USAA. USAA is a private company with no stockholders. If you could enlighten us it would be appreciated and helpful. It seems the "MEMBERS" term is just a feel good marketing term. Thank you.