Banking for new plebes

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by NV_USMA_Mom, Jun 9, 2010.

  1. NV_USMA_Mom

    NV_USMA_Mom Member

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    My appointee is in the process of setting up his accounts for his new life and we have a few questions for those of you with more experience.

    Does he have to use Pentagon Federal Credit Union? We have had accounts for him at our local credit union and our local bank for several years. When I went to our local credit union this week they said that they could process deposits or withdrawals for him through the 'share' accounts that most credit unions use. So couldn't my son use the credit union account he already has and just get a debit card to access the ATM on base? Would his regular Wells Fargo account and debit card work or does it have to be one of the military institutions?

    Thanks for any advice you have to offer!
     
  2. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Personally, I say get him on USAA ASAP. It's generally the gold standard for military banking, and they're totally online. Very convenient. I closed my PenFed account finally.

    To each his own, but USAA has been very good to me.
     
  3. NV_USMA_Mom

    NV_USMA_Mom Member

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    Thanks, Scout Pilot! Can you tell me what the differences are?
     
  4. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    I just found PenFed to be less convenient. USAA pretty much does it all for me: banking, investment accounts (money market, brokerage, Roth IRA), auto insurance, home insurance, personal property insurance, credit cards, etc. And they have Deposit@Home which allows you to scan a check rather than mail it. If you've gotten him an iPhone (this is my favorite) he can do Deposit@Mobile and use the phone to deposit the check.

    The thing is, he'll more than likely have to become a USAA member as a cow to get his loan anyway, since they are almost always the loan originator and it's a term of the deal.

    So, I know I sound like a spokesman, but this route has treated me well. PenFed was never bad...they just didn't offer everything.
     
  5. another13mom

    another13mom Member

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    We used USAA for our son -- got him signed up over the phone, they sent the direct deposit form all filled out for USMA which we mailed in; he has a checking account, a credit card (with a nominal amount for charging in the event of an emergency) and he can get a renter's policy to cover his stuff in case it gets stolen or damaged. Awesome service over the phone. The Deposit@Home feature is awesome -- he can scan a check in so need need for an ATM other than to get $$, and he gets reimbursed for all ATM fees charged by other banks.
     
  6. NV_USMA_Mom

    NV_USMA_Mom Member

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    Thank you again, scoutpilot! I immediately got on the USAA website, got my son on the phone with them and his 2 accounts are already set up! Much, much easier than the other credit union was!
     
  7. Maximus

    Maximus Member

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    We've had DS in USAA since last year when he started Prep, it's been fantastic including their insurance. From setting it up for the first time on the phone, to sending DS his first real credit card.
     
  8. PotentialParent

    PotentialParent Member

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    Looks like you have gone with USAA, which is what we did for our son. We were originally a little hesitant due the fact that they are an "online" bank, but it has worked out well, and with little hassle. Biggest thing we learned was that to utilize their online deposit function you needed to have one of their credit cards. My son got his first credit card, and the rest has been easy. When we want to get money into his account, we write him a check. He moves over to our printer/scanner, after logging in to their site, scans it in, and it hits his account pretty quickly. You write void across the check and it is done. Pretty cool.
     
  9. Dixieland

    Dixieland Member

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    This is what we found with PenFed as well. The online PenFed folks messed up something on my kid's account and it was nice to walk into the PenFed office in Highland Falls and have a real, live human fix the problem. They also got his paperwork to the proper office so it was "one-stop shopping". Someone correct me if I am wrong, but I think PenFed also has a tiny office across from Grant Hall that a human works in.
     
  10. Bill

    Bill New Member

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    Our 2012 WP cadet has his account with PENFED. A big plus with them IMO is PENFED allows you to e-transfer funds from a non-PENFED bank account to your cadet's PENFED account at any time via online - and it's immediate. We found this out late one night while he was traveling to Fort Huachucha and needed emergency funds.
     
  11. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    As will USAA.
     
  12. armybratkl

    armybratkl Member

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    I've used USAA for about four years now, since my mom first set me up a joint account back when I got my first summer hire job. Although USAA does not have actual banking locations, their phone service is exemplary. A few months ago, I called to set up my checking account to use for the direct deposit. Within probably ten minutes on the phone, I had changed my joint savings account into a single savings, had a new checking account, and also received a congratulations for my appointment.

    I know my parents also use USAA for our car insurance. They renew it every year completely online, and then all we have to do is print out the page and we're good to go. Every time my dad has to do something with his banking, he always remarks about how easy it is. Although I'm not sure exactly how he feels, I'm pretty certain he prefers the service of USAA over that of PenFed.

    However, I am also opening up a PenFed account for myself, merely because of their locations in Highland Falls. While I do like being able to do everything with USAA completely online or over the phone, I can't deposit any cash I have without risking mailing it to San Antonio. Granted, from what I looked up on their website, PenFed does not have very many locations (about two dozen, a quarter of which are in the D.C. area alone), but it will come in handy over the next four years.
     

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