Holds are a scam
I too was unaware of USAA's new "hold" policy until today. I have several USAA accounts and one of them is a joint account with my out of town college kid. He deposited a refund check from his financial aid using his smart phone app. I hadn't deposited any funds into his account as I new that he would have funds for food and laundry using his deposit. Today he called me and said there is a hold on his account until the 16th! His account has not been overdrawn but, granted, his account never has an overabundance of funds. When I called USAA to find out the reason for the hold, I was given generic reasons for holds, but not one specific reason for this specific hold. Nor was I told if this was going to happen every time he made a deposit. After thinking about this for several hours, I feel that USAA is using our funds to make interest for themselves. I find it rather frustrating and I am not sure what we plan to do.
I'm not sure why you call it a scam, the holds are disclosed in the informaiton presented to you ( https://content.usaa.com/mcontent/static_assets/Me
The deposit @ mobile and deposit @ home do have some longer hold times than things presented at the bank or by mail.
I posted some time ago and compared two other banks (TD and BOA) and their hold times were similar, but neither offered scanned deposits.
So it really is a toss up, do you want USAA convenience and stability or do you need to go into a branch to have your deposits available quicker?
You can always mail deposits in (USAA provides envelopes still) or FedEx them (USAA members can sign up for discounted FedEx) or go to the bank in San Antonio if you're nearby.
I got some $4 rebate check on April 2nd after I bought an air filter for the car. I wasn't going to scan it a little postcard check so I popped it in an envelope with a deposit slip and it was credited on the 7th (I didn't actually mail it until the 3rd and there was a weekend when the bank was closed) Sure that is only four bucks, but if held it would be until the next business day when they have the actual check even if you mail or FedEx it in. (see page 19 of the link above).
So if you need the money on Monday you should FedEx the check to be there by Friday. If you use the deposit@home or deposit@mobile it may be held for 10 days or so.
If you want free postage paid deposit envelopes (or just the best address to send a deposit - if you send it to the general address it may take longer) go to https://www.usaa.com/inet/pages/faq_BankWS_Deposit
I used my own envelope and stamp and send my $4 rebate check to 9861 Attn: Bank Priority Mail (the important part) and it was in my account on Monday.