ROTC and USAA/Navy Federal


Mar 13, 2018
Good Afternoon,

I have questions in regards to when and how a contracted Army ROTC cadet can get USAA and Navy Federal. What are the benefits that come with each.
I always hear about the advantages that come with both and it would be great to get an understanding of what I can expect.

There are many threads throughout the SAF forums here on both, which can be found using Search.

Many have both and use one primarily, or complementarily. Both firms have been in business a long time with good reputations. Some use all of their services, some a few from each and do other business elsewhere. Both work hard to offer mobile apps and expanded support to military members and families around the world. They “get” deployments, geographical separations (household goods in storage in 1 state, 1 member at a TDY school in another state, spouse staying with family in another state, cars in various states, etc.), crazy military situations.

NFCU is a credit union which has grown to offer a broad range of financial services.

USAA (started by a handful of Army officers in 1922) started out as a property insurance company and has grown to offer a wide range of financial services, including a Bank.

Since I can’t usually post .com links, google:

“USAA for ROTC cadets” to get to cadet/midshipman ROTC eligibility and programs

For NFCU, try “NFCU for ROTC cadets”

Both are fine, and most posters on here are positive about both. You won’t go wrong. Generally speaking, USAA has been ahead of the pack with mobile and app-based innovation, but NFCU and others quickly follow. USAA is internet, mobile and app-based in nature, with walk-in offices near USNA and USMA, don’t know if they still have the one near USAFA. Many are just fine with doing things that way and have no need of brick and mortar. NFCU usually has brick and mortar locations near military bases. Both offer ATM cards that can be pretty much used at anyone’s ATM with no fees, with a monthly cap on usage. I use my USAA ATM card in all kinds of ATMs and have never exceeded the cap. I occasionally go into the NFCU branch to get bills in certain denominations for cash gifts around the holidays to service providers, get rolls of quarters for when our washer died this past year, or turn the family change jar into paper currency.

Over the last 15 years, NFCU has expanded from “just Navy” to all Services. As a credit union with millions of members, their bread-and-butter mission is banking services and very competitive loans of all kinds, which is why CUs were created.

Both are known for customer service.

I personally have used USAA, NFCU, Navy Mutual Aid Assn, Armed Forces Benefit Assn from the start of my military career through civilian life, with some carefully-selected other providers, for additional investments. The last two are long-established life insurance firms which cater to the military, especially those uninsurable by mainstream life insurance companies, due to high-risk occupation. You don’t have to think about any additional life insurance for awhile, because you will have SGLI - but there will probably come a time when you do.
Last edited:
DS uses USAA on Okinawa. He loves it's mobile apps. Except for the branches Capt MJ mentioned, I believe they are closing all their brick and mortar operations. They certainly closed their large branch in Jacksonville, NC. I'm sorry about that as they could help the wife and I on the occasion we needed to make a deposit to his account. Extremely rare to do that though and I expect I could have done it electronically if I felt like investigating it. Navy Federal still has branches outside Lejeune (and probably on base as well) and plenty of ATMs in our area. They are a "sister" institution with my credit union so I use them when I need to make a deposit that I can't handle with my mobile app. I've always thought both institutions had great customer service.
I'm a Navy MIDN on scholarship. Took about a week to get approved, took 5 minutes to apply for a credit card. They ask to see online pay stubs in PDF form to prove that you're on contract. Was a super easy process!