USAA Customer? Make Sure Your Checks Haven't Been Cashed Twice

This morning, Mary logged onto her USAA bank account to check her balance and was surprised to find that her rent check had been cashed twice while she was asleep. She was eventually able to get through to a human and get the problem addressed, but it wasn’t easy. And she may not have been the only one affected.

I called them right away – the voicemail said they were closed but I kept hitting “0” til I got a human. They originally told me that it would take 3-4 business days to correct the error because the problem is with another bank. That’s a long time to not have MY money because of THEIR error, I said. Like anyone else, I have bills coming due in the next 3-4 business days, I can’t just tell them to wait! I got my money back but I had to ask for a supervisor and escalate it to their “executive resolution” department.

I logged back into their website a few hours later to make sure my $$ is still there and this message is on their welcome screen:

Special Notice Posted : Thu, Feb 7, 2008

Due to an issue affecting several banks, some members may see duplicate entries for posted checks. USAA is diligently working to correct the problem. We will refund any incorrect overdraft fees as a result of this issue. We apologize for any inconvenience.

If I hadn’t logged in this morning, I would have never known that this happened. So if you have a USAA Bank account, you’re going to want to check your bank balance, and if its wrong, escalate that customer service call pronto. DON’T take “3-4 business days” for an answer!

(Thanks to Mary!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. azntg says:

    When you think about it, in general, the issue of a check being cashed twice is quite plausible. With the advent of Check 21 and Automated Clearinghouse (ACH), it’s quite possible that an unscrupulous individual (or due to serious mishandling problems) can take the funds from your account through an ACH debit and take your funds a second time by cashing in the check the “old fashioned” way.

  2. Leohat says:

    I love the way that banks will take your money instantly but demand 3-4 days to give it back.

  3. smartwatermelon says:

    “Due to an issue affecting several banks, some members may see duplicate entries for posted checks. USAA is diligently working to correct the problem. We will refund any incorrect overdraft fees as a result of this issue. We apologize for any inconvenience.”

    I’m sure Mary is telling the truth but I just checked my USAA accounts and I see no such message. Perhaps it didn’t affect all checking account holders?

  4. Michael Belisle says:

    @Leohat: Right. They should wait 3-4 days to cash your checks. You’re overdraft more that way, so they still win.

  5. Chad Cloman says:

    I am a USAA member since 1986 and have been generally satisfied with their customer service. But Mary is right about getting connected with a banking customer service agent. I recently tried to do the same and had to go about 4 levels into the automated phone system to finally get the option to speak with a real person. Pressing “0” doesn’t help.

  6. clubsodabrb says:

    I have been dealing with USAA for the last couple of weeks regarding an auto loan and have discovered that the quickest way to get through to a real person: their automation system is voice activated, once you answer the question of which account you are calling about (“Checking/Savings/Auto Insurance, etc”) and the system starts asking what you want to do with that account, say “Representative”. The automation will still ask if you want to try and use that service, but when you say “No” it dumps you into the customer service queue to get to a real person.

  7. friday04 says:

    With all due respect, I have a USAA account and there’s not a bank in the country that can touch their customer service. 2 years ago we called them and asked if they could do anything on our credit card which was, at the time, 11.9%. They put us on hold for bit and came back and offered us 0% for 6 months or 1.9% for the life of the card. We didn’t call threatening to leave, we weren’t mad, we weren’t really even sure if they’d lower the rate or not.

    That’s my experience with their checking too. I had a bum employer that didn’t pay on the 1st of the month once and I didn’t have enough in the bank to cover my mortgage and car payment due on that day. No problem, I called USAA and they COVERED MY EXPENSES and WROTE A LETTER ON OUR BEHALF to our creditors to ensure there were no late fees or penalties.

    Tell me, does your bank do that? This hiccup is unfortunate but I’ll bet that person didn’t need to “discover” the error and “call them right away.” They always do right by their customers concerning errors like this.

    Signed, a very happy USAA customer.

  8. the_wiggle says:

    no one likes to have their finances hassled with. it is frustrating or worse to say the very least.

    however, this didn’t impact all member banking accounts & did impact accounts at other banks. one of the major check processing companies must have duplicated the batch file; not a common thing, but still possible upon occasion since Check21 passed a year or so back (everyone must have instant everything now, banks & consumers alike if we’re being honest) & thus this is not automatically a banks fault anymore than it would be a customer’s fault.

    usaa at least had the decency to pop a message up on their site & their vru as soon as they realized the scope of the situation, and iirc, had it corrected by day’s end AND are refunding any fees (how many banks do that?).

    calling after hours is seldom a good way to get matters resolved as after hours staff at most places lack the resources to promptly research & correct matters (hence the few business days quoted). exercising a touch of patience & calling once a company has opened gets one a lot farther. so does maintaining overdraft protection on one’s checking account. having been a single mom struggling to make ends meet, i know it may be quite difficult to maintain 1 or both approaches yet it can be done & must be done if one is to have hope any financial safety + peace of mind while such uncommon events occur.

    (disclaimer: i bank there, have for years & had nothing but excellent service regardless of the situation called in about.)

  9. edrebber says:

    Someone stole money out of your account. Call 911 from the lobby of the bank and request an officer be sent to investigate.

  10. wallace7 says:

    Where is the harm? USAA is resolving the problem and it will not impact the customer. There is only so much they can do if the double debit was not from their system. The other debits will go into overdraft if need be and the resulting fees will be refunded as appropriate. No reporting to credit agencies would result.

    In another era, this would be resolved by the time the statement was sent out anyway. I do feel for companies with exceptional customer service, like USAA, that are besmirched in a public forum before they have had a chance to correct an issue.

    I have been a member of USAA for 15 years (my entire financial life) and have had nothing but exemplary service. Two to three days to fix a minor problem that causes no real harm to the customer is not too much to ask.

    It is always troubling to have a minor snafu with your accounts, but give the good guys a break!

    On the rare occasion that I have made a mistake with one of my USAA accounts (i.e. writing a rent check out of the wrong account and overcharging it while the funds were in a separate account) USAA reversed the charges without hesitation. I ask you to give them a chance to make it right before marching on San Antonio with a pitchfork and torch.

  11. enm4r says:

    @Leohat: Actually USAA gives you 100% access to your funds the second they hit your account. You don’t have to wait a week to withdraw a check or 3-4 days to withdraw an ACH payment. This situation was entirely different.

    @Chad Cloman: Really? I’ve had to make 2-3 calls over the last month or so and each time calling 1-800-531-USAA I’ve been talking to a human in less than 30 seconds.

  12. skadoo323 says:

    This can happen at other banks as well too. I guess what I am saying is no matter where you bank, be sure to check your statements/account activity. A while ago I was in the same situation with GMAC Bank, but their customer service was horrible and it took roughly a week to resolve such an issue. I eventually closed my accounts with them and moved on.

  13. Copper says:

    I don’t have this message either. USAA has been wonderful to me and in a situation like this, you can bet they’re doing what they can.

  14. ExtraCelestial says:

    Check? What the heck is a check??

  15. burgundyyears says:

    @edrebber: Uh, USAA bank has a single branch, in San Antonio, Texas. So that’s both specifically impractical and generally a stupid idea.

  16. Aphex242 says:

    I have nothing bad to say about USAA, and I’ve used them for more than two decades. A great, great company. Glad to see they’re on top of this one… resolving a problem that affects numerous customers within a matter of a few short hours is way, way more than can be said for most companies.

    Having said all that, I bank with Schwab, and because of a delay in a deposit, they credited my account $60. For no other reason than inconvenience, to guarantee an outstanding check I had would clear. This was not a temporary credit, this was a ‘gift’ essentially.

    I’ve been a banking customer of theirs for about 2 years now and by no means have a large amount of money with them, which makes this all the more impressive.

    My point? Not sure I have one. USAA is great, and so is Schwab. This kinda seems like a nonissue.

  17. bobosgirl says:

    They may have a single branch, but they have millions of members, military mostly. According to every major survey around, they are consistently in the top 3 for rates, customer service and member perks.Washington Mutual has hundreds of branches in every state, and guess what? They stink. It’s not the size that matters.@burgundyyears:

  18. OrtizDupri says:

    USAA is by far the BEST bank I’ve ever dealt with. Every problem I’ve had has been solved quickly and efficiently (been using them for 4-5 years now).

    Their insurance reps are awesome as well – I filed a claim and scheduled a car appointment online after I got sideswiped, received a call within an hour from USAA, had the truck fixed and paid for within the week.

  19. Sestos says:

    I did not get any message when I logged in this week.

    I have never had a problem with USAA, since I joined 7 years ago.

    I have always spoken directly with a person when I call, the menu’s just collect information before giving you to a person. I think the longest I was ever on hold was three mins, but my average time was less then a min.

    I am not sure what went wrong with the double cashing of a check, but seems they addressed it and offered refunds for anyone effected.

    Not really sure of what the issue is.

  20. kenblakely says:

    USAA is a great company. I have been dealing with them for insurance, loans, banking, credit cards since 1982 and I have never – not a single time >EVER< – had a poor experience. I usually don’t even talk to other banks and insurance companies any more – unless they’re giving me 0% cash advances that is……

  21. rkmase says:

    It really has to tell you something about USAA… its not often you see people commenting to *defend* a company posted on Consumerist.

    Also, USAA is awesome.

  22. healthdog says:

    I did see that duplicate check message when I logged in yesterday, but it has not affected my account. Also, USAA rocks.

  23. Rollinthundr says:

    USAA simply the best bank hands down. Agree with RKMase, I actually created an account just to defend them. While they are not perfect, EVERY time their customer service has resolved whatever issue, and thanked me for being a member. Always impressed!

    PS – I have had this similar experience with another bank before becomming a USAA member.

  24. AndyRogers says:

    USAA is the ONLY bank that will EVER get my money. EVER. Best car insurance, best auto loans… USAA is, without a doubt, the best thing that came out of 4 hellacious years in the Army.

    There are some companies that I’ve dealt with that I have their hold music memorized, you know, singing along. I don’t think I’ve ever heard USAA’s hold music.

    For those of you ineligible to join usaa… Join the military for a few years. Trust me, it’s worth it.

  25. theblackdog says:

    I keep hearing nothing but good things about USAA, I think once I pay off my loans to BofA I’ll be jumping over to them.

  26. Pop Socket says:

    I don’t bank with USAA but I have insurance, car loans, IRAs, and a second mortgage with them. Never had a problem. They are the only financial company I trust.

  27. Elvisisdead says:

    @burgundyyears: Uh, no, it’s not. They used to have a few branches in San Antonio and another in Northern Virginia. They closed them because NOBODY USED THEM. They let you deposit by mail. Now, you can overnight a deposit via UPS FOR FREE.

    Everyone who can qualify for USAA can qualify for a credit union locally, which is what we do. I can think of 1 time in the past 5 years that I needed an actual bank. Sold a car and the buyer paid in cash. Went to the credit union and deposited it in exchange for a certified check.

    I’ll take the superior service and superior rates over a B&M location any day.

    Member since ’87.

  28. 805inLV says:

    USAA is my one stop shop for everything, and if you have multiple accounts it makes for big discounts on insurance.

    Also recommend signing up for the account alert notifications by email. Set it up to notify of a withdrawal of say over $1000 (your threshold). When you get two emails you, or one you don’t expect, know something is amiss.

  29. AndyRogers says:


    Actually, now you can deposit checks with a scanner. From your home. Available instantly.

    And why not? Businesses have been doing it for years. USAA is ALWAYS thinking of ways to help the customer.

  30. taka2k7 says:

    I saw no such message on my account.

    You can also scan and deposit checks from your home computer with USAA! Only issue is that it doesn’t work too well with firefox and some of the extensions I have.

    No complaints here with USAA. Great customer service, they often waiver fees upon request (assuming you have a reasonable reason).

    Not everyone can qualify for USAA. Here are the requirements:

    * Children of USAA members.
    * Active-duty officers and enlisted personnel.
    * National Guard and Selected Reserve officers and enlisted personnel.
    * Officer candidates in commissioning programs(Academy, ROTC, OCS/OTS).
    * Recently retired or separated military personnel.
    * Former USAA members who had auto or property insurance.

    It would be nice if they would extend membership to other family members (parents, brothers/sisters). However, I can understand their membership limitations, given that the military essentially “pre-screens” their clientèle.

  31. CentralHarlemAnonymous says:

    I use USAA for my personal savings, checking, brokerage account, life insurance, and “first start” savings accounts for my children. The brokerage account is nothing special, you can’t even short stocks, but it is convenient. I have an interactive brokers account as well, which sees most of my trading.

    Other than brokerage, everything is top-notch. Their prices are excellent and their service has been, in my experience, perfect.

    If you qualify for USAA, you should enroll.

  32. ralphie99 says:

    Ditto on all the positive USAA comments. Yes, they do have ‘normal’ banking hours, just like a normal bank, I don’t see what’s the big deal about contacting them at the start of next business day. If you’re a USAA customer, you KNOW they’ll take care of you.

    The only except is the ‘credit card stolen’ hotline, which runs 24/7, of course.

    I had my credit card number compromised, and over $10,000 in bogus charges, and they bent over backwards to fix things up before I went on vacation. They even went so far as to CALL ME BACK to see what was up when I hadn’t faxed my affidavit back to them (I had, but due to unfamiliar fax machine, I’d faxed the blank side of the pages. oops).

    And the Deposit Checks from Home feature is just awesome, although I find I have to use the IE browser to make it work, Firefox’s Javascript apparently isn’t fully compatible with what they’re doing.

    If you’re not banking at USAA, and you can, shame on you, get with them NOW.

  33. theblackdog says:

    @ralphie99: You know, it figures that I got rid of my scanner and now they have this. Maybe it’s time for a small scale scanner.

  34. kwsdurango says:

    Love USAA! I started banking with them because of their advantageous currency exchange rates and the fact that they refund ATM charges when withdrawing funds overseas. I now have insurance, a money market savings account and an investment account with them. Someday I’ll have a mortgage with them too. They are head and shoulders above my old bank Wachovia.

  35. RCline says:

    I’m Robie Cline and I work for USAA in the communications department — specifically focusing on the Bank. I wanted to weigh in here to apologize for the frustration Mary encountered yesterday. Our goal is to make sure members have good experiences online and on the phone. We did identify all accounts affected by this problem and made the corrections yesterday (Thursday, 2/7) to prevent any of our members from being overdrawn because of this problem, which actually affected several banks.

  36. LuvJones says:

    I’ve been a VERY HAPPY USAA customer for 14yrs! They are top notch. I did get this message when I logged in a few days ago. Checked my account and everything was fine. They are 2nd to none when it comes to customer service. We have house, car, and life insurance with them. We also have a credit card with the rate of 4% and 0% when we are deployed. I LOVE USAA!!!! They also refund ATM fees!

  37. JETJR says:

    I have banked at 5 different banks in my life, Wells Fargo, Norwest, and some smaller credit unions. I have now been with USAA for 5 years, all our banking, insurance, IRAs, and loans are with them.

    Never in my life have I had the service that I recieve with them, be it by phone or email, they are top notch. I would challenge anyone to find their level of service and excellence anywhere.

  38. alulim says:

    wow, a ton of USAA love here, and, apparently a company representative. i’m not sure to be thrilled or scared.

    anyway, i only bank local. customer service is great and you always seem to “know someone, who knows someone…” aka a community.

  39. BeFrugalNotCheap says:

    Well I used to love USAA untill they put a THREE DAY HOLD on electronic funds transfers from another bank. Sheesh, alot of people ripping USAA off or what?? Now I just like USAA. :)

  40. Lonce says:

    I have been a customer for about 12 years now. I must say that no other company I have ever dealt with is even close.

    When I got out of the navy 2 years ago, my exit money was a check from uncle sam. I mailed it to them over night for deposit. I mailed it thursday, wouldnt hit my account until monday. I had a car emergency that wiped my savings. Was leaving to move to oregon on saturday driving from virginia with my wife and 2 kids. No money. I said, what the hell, ill call and explain. Over the phone I told the rep that I had mailed a check for roughly 8 grand but wouldnt be there till monday, but I had to leave the next day. Was there any way to work the situation out.

    I am not kidding, literally in 5 minutes, the rep had predated a deposit for the amount that I mailed them and the money was available instantly. Are you kidding me. I called them, told them I mailed an 8K check and they took my word and deposited the money early to keep me out of a bind. I will never use another bank. I have everything through them, car insurance, renters insurance, IRA, car loan, you name it. I dare you to find another company that would go that far to help a memeber. And I am a shitty member, I cant tell you how many checks I have bounced over the last decade.

    I honestly think its the last moral company around. I have never had an issue over the last decade that I couldnt call and have fixed in under 20 minutes. They have refunded overdraft fees on numerous occasions. Most of the time without me even calling.

    I am a USAA member for life. I have an 07 Hyundai elantra with full coverage and an 82 porsche 924 turbo with full coverage and I pay 40 dollars a month insurance. No one else even comes close.

  41. GhettoGodfather says:

    I’ve banked with several banks in the arena of checking/savings, credit cards, brokerage/mutual funds, and have had auto/homeowners insurance with several national companies. Now, all of my business is conducted with USAA. I obtained auto insurance with USAA a number of years ago. Maybe a year or so later I opened my checking and savings accounts with them. Now all my financial busines is conducted with USAA (checking/savings, credit card, mutual fund, brokerage, and auto/homeowners policies). With the exception of an American Express card, USAA is the only place I conduct anything financial. Typically I’d be weary of “putting all my eggs in one basket” but the customer service USAA provides is unmatched. If I ever had any problems, they were corrected right away… I remember getting a $10 “coutesy credit” to my account in addition to the correction because of an error that was beyond my control (a store double charged me).

    Something else woth noting, I also recieve a rebate back to my auto policy each year as some sort of profit sharing deal they have.

    If you can join USAA (military, dependant of a service member, and family members of USAA members), by all means you should. I’d challange anyone here to tell me they bank with a company that comes close. Yes mistakes happen, but if Mary had this problem with say, Bank of America of Wachovia, we’d be reading a much different story.

  42. justme87 says:

    I find it hilarious how “members” get on these blogs and comment about how horrible USAA is, because had Mary been banking with any other bank, they would have said deal with it and probably wouldn’t have refunded fees.

    Just as a clue, when you call USAA if anytime during the prompt you say “representative” it will immediately bring you through to a representative.

    What the “Executive Resolutions Team” did for you was a provisional credit, any other bank would NOT have done that.

    With it being 2008, it’s a good thing people check their accounts everyday, that’s what responsible people do.

    As far as I’m concerned USAA cannot be touched, weither it’s customer service or competitive rates NO company can top them, point, blank, period.

    Maybe Mary should go elsewhere and come back with an update on her experiences and see how well the other company compares!!