Overseas banking, credit card, and address change service complaints

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Contributor

To USAA,

 

How is it that your bank, which supports military members and their families exclusively, provides surprisingly poor service to members stationed overseas.  I am specifically talking about three complaints I have following a PCS to Germany:

 

1.  Banking:  some basics that service members sign-up for overseas, such as host-nation internet service, do not accept USAA banking accounts, and instead require you to use a German bank or one of the banks on base (in this case Community Bank operated by Bank of America, or Service Credit Union.  Why has USAA failed to become one of the standard banks accepted by businesses surrounding US military bases overseas?

 

2.  Credit Cards:  How is it that USAA charges its members a transaction fee of 1% for using their credit cards overseas?  My solution:  I will not use my USAA credit or debit card, and I will likely sign up with a different bank for my time overseas.

 

3.  Why does USAA's online change of address system not allow the proper input of an APO address?  Instead of APO AE, the system produces APO NY.

 

For a business that is amazing stateside, I am shocked that it hasn't gotten its act together for those of us stationed overseas.  There is room for improvement.

2 REPLIES

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I spent 11 years in Germany and had USAA as my primary bank the whole time.  I used Service Credit Union for paying my German bills.

 

1.  Banking:  some basics that service members sign-up for overseas, such as host-nation internet service, do not accept USAA banking accounts, and instead require you to use a German bank or one of the banks on base (in this case Community Bank operated by Bank of America, or Service Credit Union.  Why has USAA failed to become one of the standard banks accepted by businesses surrounding US military bases overseas?

 

Community Bank and Service Credit Union are contracted by the Department of Defense to provide those specific services for members stationed in Germany.  USAA Federal Bank does not have a contract or presence in Germany.

 

2.  Credit Cards:  How is it that USAA charges its members a transaction fee of 1% for using their credit cards overseas?  My solution:  I will not use my USAA credit or debit card, and I will likely sign up with a different bank for my time overseas.

 

The 1% foreign transaction fee is not charged by USAA, but is paid to VISA/MASTERCARD, banks can actually charge up to 2% more for their own profit.  Some larger credit card companies such as Capital One and Chase provide cards without the charge (the bank pays it instead), but they normally recoup it by charging higher interest rates on their cards (just don't keep a balance and your good).  I used a Capital One card for any off-base transactions while in Germany where a credit card was accepted.  When I PCS'd each time USAA dropped my interest rate to 4% and has never gone higher than 6%.  No other card I have is anywhere close to that. 

 

3.  Why does USAA's online change of address system not allow the proper input of an APO address?  Instead of APO AE, the system produces APO NY.

 

Probably left over from when it was NY instead of AE.

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germanusmc,

 

Thank you for taking the time to comment, I have passed this along to our banking team for review. Someone will be reaching out to you to discuss. Thank you.