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Community users have been posting about a request to update their W-9 forms and we wanted to provide some additional information.


What is a Tax Certification (W-9 form)?

A Tax Certification (W-9 form) is a form that certifies member’s tax payer information (name and social security number). For more information on W-9 form, visit website.


Why am I being asked to update my W-9?

To ensure our members’ tax reporting information is up to date, accurate and reported correctly to the IRS, USAA may ask members to update their W-9 forms. We want to make sure we have the most accurate tax information on file. To assist with completing the W-9, we have created a digital option which allows for the document to be easily and quickly completed online.  If your account is eligible for the digital option, you should be prompted when reviewing your transactions on


Where can I update my information?

When reviewing your transactions on you should receive a “digital detour” that will prompt you to sign the required form. This is also available on mobile. If you do not see the prompt on mobile, make sure to update your device with the latest version of the USAA mobile app.


What if I do not see the prompt?

Not all members are being asked to update their W9. Those members will not see the “digital detour”.

Or, your account is not eligible for digital detour. If your account is not eligible for digital detour, you will receive a W-9 form in the mail. If you prefer the W-9 form mailed to you, please call us at 800-531-USAA (8722).


Do you have any other questions we can help answer regarding the W-9 update request?

Prestigious Contributor

I received a W-9 in the mail for updating - unfortunately from the letter and the W-9, it is not real clear what account/accounts is/are being updated.  The initial W-9 received was not correct per discussion with USAA (individual vs trust).  Then I received a second W-9 with an incorrect address on it and then a 3rd W-9 substantially correct.  With each of the W-9s there was an pre-addressed return envelope.  I have the following questions since you asked mixed in with the following comments.

  1.  There seems to be confusion as to whether one updated W-9 is being used for both checking and savings accounts or if an updated W-9 has to be filled out for each checking and each savings account.  I have been told both scenarios by different USAA representatives.

  2.  When speaking with a couple of representatives, I am surprised that they would tell me that I have never had a W-9 on file.  How could that be????    It tells me that the representative does not understand the purpose of the W-9 and how it relates to the year-end 1099s.  I have copies of the W-9s previously sent to USAA.

  3.  Since I was told by a representative of the "President's Office" that I had to have a W-9 for each checking and savings account, I made of copy of the best W-9 received and filled one out for each account.  I then labeled the W-9 for the accounts.  Since there was too much information to put into the pre-paid pre -addressed envelope, I addressed a large envelope to USAA using the information from this pre-paid, pre-addressed envelope.  HOWEVER, THE ZIP CODE ON THE ENVELOPE IS INCORRECT AS I AM FINDING OUT BECAUSE THE POST OFFICE HAS NOT DELIVERED THESE W-9S AFTER 2 WEEKS.  I confirmed by calling USAA that the zip code is not correct.  (I do understand that maybe the bar coding may be correct, but STILL why wouldn't USAA have the printed the zip code correctly).   So please explain why USAA would send out pre-printed, pre-addressed envelopes with an incorrect zip code on them.    

  4.  My daughter just received her W-9 to complete and yes the envelope has the incorrect zip code on it also.  

  5.  The "Executive Office" told me that this was a federal law in 2018 to update the W-9s.  She then corrected herself when I pointed out that none of our other brokerage or bank accounts (9 besides USAA) were asking for W-9s.  It would have been a much more productive conversation if the "Executive Office" had just said that USAA is just updating accounts and we were selected.  If there had been a change in the law, I would have probably known since I work in finance/accounting and it would have affected all of our business clients also.  

   In conclusion, it would be amazing if USAA would put into writing why the envelopes have the wrong zip on them and is one W-9 good for all accounts or is a W-9 needed for each separate account.   Since it appears that my large envelope will not make it to USAA, I have no choice but to copy my copies and resend to USAA, this time using the right zip code.  

   It is unfortunate that so much time on my part has been spent on something that really should take about 15 minutes.  


Thank you

Briana Hartzell USAA

Thanks for commenting @NSueZ. I am looking into the pre printed zip code and tracking down an answer to your other questions. I will post an update as soon as I get one. Thanks again for posting.

Prestigious Contributor

Brianna - It has been a couple of weeks now and no response.  In fact, it is hard to even find this post to see if you have answers for me (and all USAA members who are being asked to update their information using envelopes that are using a zip code that is non-existent according to the post office).   Again, why is it so hard to get answers to what I would consider fairly straight forward questions? To be honest, it does make USAA look like they are incompetent.  If USAA cannot handle the simple stuff, how can members trust them with the more complicated stuff?       

Established Member

NSueZ. I couldn't agree more. In the last week when I tried to access my checking account online, I received a screen that says "pardon the interruption" you need to fill out and sign a new form W-9 and verfit your social security number, with ZERO explanation as to why. I immediayedly thought it was a phishing attempt, why wouldn't I? A simple, sign ZEE papers please is a bit insulting. I have banked with USAA since the 1970s and have recieved tax documents every year. If a new tax law mandates this verification, we should be told and asked to help meet the new mandate. with assurances that the information being provied online is safe.  USAA should have used a mass mailing to its members explaining this in detail ahead of time so we wouldn't have been surprised, and confused, when fisrt confronted out of the blue.  Brianna needs to respond. Does USAA not have a PR department to advise them on how to treat members? I love USAA, I'll be a member for life (like the commercial says :-)), but they are dropping the ball on this issue.

USAA Social Service
USAA Service
USAA Service

I appreciate you sharing your concerns with us today @Dowelldad and was able to locate your profile. I will share your concerns with a subject matter expert for further review. Once reviewed they will contact you, we appreciate your patience in advance. -Emily

Occasional Visitor

I just received an email about this today. It doesn't look like much is being done to clarify the reasoning behind it, and the way it comes across definitely sounds like a phishing scam since it's got an air of a threat to it (see below). USAA, please get someone to make a clear, straight-foward statement public statement on this.

Thank you for choosing us for your banking needs. To remain compliant with IRS regulations and avoid placing your account into backup withholding, we need you to complete a new Tax Certification (W-9) form. This will be our only communication to inform you that a new W-9 form is needed. All deposit accounts you are the primary account holder on will be placed into backup withholding if we do not receive your completed, valid W-9 form.
New Member

So if I don't fill this out my deposit accounts will be placed into backup withholding? What is backup withholding? 

USAA Social Service
USAA Service
USAA Service

@Mom-pants, Back up withholding happens when you earn interest on your banking accounts to include Certificates of deposit, we would have to withhold tax on the interest you earned in the event the W-9 is not on file. It is the IRS's rule and you can read more about it on I hope that helps. ~ Suzy


The message is unprofessional.  It is written in a threatening manner with little or no justification other than IRS wants it and if you don't then we will xxxxxxx.   I've spoken with other USAA account holders and we agree USAA has become a faceless, uncaring, and often unprofessional financial institution forgetting why they're in business, which is to serve their customers who have and continue to sacrifice daily to keep this nation free and protect our way of life.  

USAA Social Service
USAA Service
USAA Service

@Unimaginable, Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the "Why am I being asked to update my W9" post. We certainly did not intend to sound unprofessional or threatening. I'll share your feedback with the appropriate folks at USAA. ~DC