130 Comments (130 New)

USAA Community w9 request.jpg

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?


So, my husband just got the same email. Like many households, I (the wife) manage the finances. I’m a bookkeeper by profession.  In my profession, we require private contractors to fill out W9s. Filling out a W9 for USAA is absolutely unnecessary. We receive less than a dollar a year from interest.  Kind of odd that USAA would send such a threatening letter right after they deposited a decent check into our bank to pay for our new roof. I requested they pay the roofer directly multiple times which they stated they could not do. Now, I’m forced to pay the roofer a decent amount of money only to feel as though USAA is going to claim that we were paid for the roof.  I called USAA and got the same vague response everyone else got.  We won’t be signing any W9. USAA cannot legally withhold any of our money.  #finalstraw #leavingUSAA #notcomingback #USAAhaschanged #andnotforthegood ... I’d say for a first time hashtagging I #nailedit

The USAA process filing a claim for the hail damage on our roof was awful.  After the multiple phone calls and emails, I received one helpful agent. The others were rude and too put out or bothered to answer my questions.

We applied for auto loans only to receive ridiculous interest rates, even though we have credit scores in the mid to upper 700s.

Our homeowners insurance has went up $1000 a year, and their explanation was because they are member owned. Really? That’s  lovely.  The loyalty ends here. We are done USAA. We will take our business to an eager competitor. 


I have read all the comments and am relieved to know I wasn’t the only one confused and angered by this.  And the answers from USAA are so condescending and useless!  I have accounts with three or four other financial institutions and not one of them has asked for this.  Like USAA, every account was opened with my SSN and it hasn’t changed.  Why would it?  I hate doing it but I will be closing my accounts with USAA and going to my credit union.  

Occasional Visitor

I've read nearly all of the messages to USAA about this W-9 / 1099N issue and USAA's answers consistently sound like "We'll get back to you later..." redirections.


I've lived overseas for about 12 years; six years during my 10-year enlistment, and the rest as a veteran.  I didn't have the option to retire, so I don't get funds from the military or TSP.  I file my taxes every year.  I've never owed the IRS a dime, and have always gotten my tax money back since junior enlisted get paid less than most fry cooks.  Not once have I ever been threatened to complete a W-9 or my accounts will be frozen before now (that may not be USAA's intended message, but it sure sounds like it).


What I find the most interesting is that shortly after I was upgraded to 100% Totally & Permanently disabled, I received this very threatening email saying that I'm defrauding the government.  VA deposits are the only ones going into my USAA checking account anymore, and there's less than $10 in savings... what am I hiding from the IRS and where?


I don't own a business, stocks, bonds, property in the U.S. or foreign countries.  The only deposits made to USAA anymore are for my VA benefits.  The only dividends I receive are the $100 or so annual kick-backs from USAA for my membership benefits.  When logging into my checking account to complete the form, your website states my accounts aren't eligible for online W-9 completion and submission.  I have to call USAA to request a snail-mail copy and then deal with the upselling hassles which consistently occur since USAA became available to the general public.


Please, USAA, post an understandable explanation out in the open of why ordinary members need to complete this form.  I've been to the IRS website, as you directed another customer to do, and there's not much there which explains what is going on.  We trust you with our money and insurances, and I believe that USAA is just trying to comply with some B.S. regulation put into place by politicians who make more in one year than I have in my entire life, and who are hiding money to avoid paying their taxes.  


Help us to understand what this is all about and why we have to give the IRS our social security and bank account numbers, which we've already provided them when filing our taxes. 

Occasional Visitor

Unprofessional execution. The notices and emails scared members of my family. They believed they had done something wrong. The email is very threatening. "This is our only communication to inform you..."; otherwise you will be placed into backup withholding." How many of your customers understand what that means. The entire message does not give a deadline to comply nor advice on consulting an accountant.

New Member

I logged in today & was notified my accounts were now in "backup withholding", however back when I was asked to update my w9 form- I did & I have not received any information from the IRS. I checked my online account with the IRS today & it does not state anything regarding this. I am very unhappy with this and would like answers immediately.  I have been a USAA customer for close to 10 years, and like the others on this thread, I have never been asked to do this. Please contact me immediately regarding this.

USAA Service
USAA Service

Hello @Dolittedy, I understand your concerns. In order to answer account specific questions we would need you to call us at 210-531-8722 or chat online with us online. To initiate a secure online chat, please select ASK USAA near the top of your account page, or from the HELP tab, select Chat from the Contact Us Chat options. Our chat team is available 24/7. -Colleen

New Member

Been doing businss with USAA for a long time. This is the first time I've ever received an email asking for a W-9 update.

It has "phishing scam" written all over it.

  • Has vague language
  • Doesn't explain which exact account is at stake
  • Says it's the only notice I'm getting on the matter
  • If I don't respond, then threat of holding my account hostage

I mean.. just read this first paragraph of the email

"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.

That's what phishing emails sound like.

So, I investigate...

  • Log onto USAA in a new tab (IE: not clicking a link in the email). Go online to see if this communication showed up in the communications log.. nope. The whole point of having a communications log online is to VERIFY VALID COMMS FROM USAA. This communication not showing up is a huge red flag.
  • I never got a "detour" window. I get a small red ! next to my account info asking me to verify my info and click "it' sall fine" if it's fine. So, reading up on this W9 fiasco, I just assume the W9 email was blind-fired off to a bunch of folks, some of which do not even need to address anything. So, that's sloppy.

All of this is a huge red flag. It screams "someone at the company dropped the ball doing something, so they expect customers to just quickly knee-jerk react to some damage control measure the company rolls out without question."

Again... I've never, over DECADES of doing business with USAA, had a request for W-9 information. I should not be getting this now. Since I am, it just red flags me that you guys aren't doing your job right.

New Member

As others have stated, W-9's are for contractors working for businesses to validate their tax status, etc.

I'm not a contractor of USAA.

YOU work for ME!

If anything, I should be asking YOU to validate yourself to ME.

Why are you asking for this?!

The more I research this, the more livid I'm getting.

I just graduated college, and my bank account is my sole means of survival right now. So, you, my financial institution, threatening to lock that up unless I give in to some ludicrous demands you're making.. just TICKS ME OFF!

New Member

Ok, so here's a nice hyperlink that explains the W9 in better fashion then USAA is doing it...


Now then... don't get hung-up on the "contractors & freelancers" part of the explanation.. focus on the dividends, etc part.


USAA treats customers like investors; IE: sometimes they will pay out a dividend or profit-sharing to customers if they've had a good financial year. Often it's a small amount (like under $100). Honestly, I haven't seen one in years, so I thought they just stopped doing it. But, I have seen them in the past.. just a letter in the mail with a check saying "hey, we had a great fiscal year, and we're paying some back to you as our company grows."


So, this is where they'd like to have a W9 on you in order to verify who they're potentially paying money to, and then when they report it to the IRS, the IRS can validly track it back to you. (Most people aren't going to report a paltry amount of dividend "windfall" from some company they do business with as a customer, so, a lot of folks are commiting very, VERY petty tax evasion by not reporting this paltry amount. But, since the main financial institution is paying out a massive sum of money, they need to fully dot their i's and cross their t's to keep it valid with the IRS. The IRS isn't going to go after a ton of customers that forgot to report $20 divident pay-out to them from USAA. But, it would go after USAA for not following proper procedure when handing out that cash to individuals.)




Long story short...

there is a valid reason why USAA is asking customers to fill out the W9

If you're super paranoid (like me), just log onto their site directly, click one of your accts (eg: savings) and fill out the "padon our interrruption" W9 directly online


Lastly... I should not have to look up detailed information like this myself from third-parties in order to clarify what's going on, and put two-and-two together on why you're (USAA) doing it. I should not have to write a comment that explains all this in detail so others can understand it, because it really does make sense when you DO understand it.. but you guys have done a miserable job of helping people understand it.


I'm not paid by you to be your PR person, your research analyst, online marketing agent, etc. I should not have to do this. The only reason I'm doing this is becasue I'm a customer, and I sympathize with other customers who are going through this. I just wasted an hour of my life, which you are not paying me for. But, if it saves any other USAA customer time and sanity, then I'm more then happy to do it.


However, I'm not happy with you, USAA, on how you handled this, nor with wasting my time on it.


Get your act together.

New Member

I completely agree about feeling threatened by that E-mail. Basically it says "This is your only warning, comply or suffer". Really? After 38 years this is how I'm treated? I called today and was told that if I didn't fill out the form, my accounts will be closed! Again, really? I'm not filling it out . Do your worst ...