Top 5 Military-Friendly Banks

When looking to open a bank account—as civilian or military personnel—it is always important to do a little bit of research on the bank of your choice. Things like ease of access over internet or in person, convenient ATM locations, loans and credit services, etc. are important factors when looking for a good bank.

Military-friendly banks will have all those features and then some, specifically to help make banking easier for military service members. I am including a list of the top 5 military-friendly banks.

1. USAA hands down, has to be by far the best. My husband and father-in-law both use USAA for investments, loan services, etc. While USAA doesn’t actually pin itself as a bank, banking is definitely a core service provided to military and their families. One of the perks of using USAA is the fact that when payday rolls around, military personnel can access the payment while it is still pending, rather than wait an extra day when it is actually posted into the account. So, payday can actually be a day early. Checks can be deposited directly via internet by scanning them in and sending directly to the USAA account for automatic deposit. USAA also reimburses all ATM fees. While it’s tough to find a branch location sometimes, the ease of access online makes it a #1 choice for military. USAA is also very well-known for their superb customer service.

USAA Bank

Our favorite military bank!

2. Navy Federal (Credit Union) offers typical banking options, but is available to all branches of the military. They offer savings, checking, and IRA accounts and certificates, with consumer loans, credit cards, mortgages, and home equity loans. Online banking is available, making it easy to access to any account information, and offers 24/7 customer service due to the nature of the membership—mainly active duty/deployed military. They also offer services for retirees/veterans. NFCU has approximately 223 branch locations and over 450 ATMs located world-wide, making it easily accessible to its members.

3. PenFed (Pentagon Federal Credit Union) is another credit union serving members in the USAF, Army, Coast Guard, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense/defense-related companies, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and employee groups and organizations. They offer mortgages, credit/debit cards, auto loans, personal loans, checking, money market savings, and other accounts in addition to those stated. Their service is 24/7, as they also serve active duty military, online or by phone. Branches can be located in the D.C. area, Hawaii, New York, and North Carolina, as well as overseas. PenFed can be a great choice in banking services and members’ needs.

4. Armed Forces Bank is another good choice for military personnel. They offer free checking for military service members, and they are a full-service bank that provides checking/savings accounts, savings bonds, loans of all types, credit cards, and CDs. They have many branches, most of which are open 7 days a week, online banking available any time of day, and they also have the option to scan paychecks in and send them in for easy and fast deposit. This bank is geared mainly toward military personnel, but it does offer banking for members without any military affiliation.

5. Most well-known banks offer military banking plans specifically catering to the needs of military service members and their families. Some of these banks include Wells Fargo, Bank of America Military, CitiBank Military, and Chase Military just to name a few. All offer discounts on various products for military service members and retirees, and are excellent at working with the specific needs of military personnel.

I have included the top 5 military-friendly banks with the exception of #5 mainly because there are great options available just for military personnel through many banks where the majority of members are civilians. It is up to the person to research and ask questions, and choose the best option for them. If there are any other great banks that specifically fit the needs of military personnel, please feel free to include them in the comments section.

If you have any questions, you can also post them below, and we will attempt to provide an answer or lead you to the answer. Thank you.

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13 thoughts on “Top 5 Military-Friendly Banks”

  1. This is an incredible rundown of military frindly banks. My most loved military bank is USAA. They have incredible client benefit and are constantly neighborly. Best of all, they treat you like a man, not care for a number. When you require a car credit, individual advance or home advance, they work with you and consider your history with them in a piece of the giving procedure. Hands down, they are the best bank I have ever fit in with.

  2. I would take USAA off the list altogether. They are not military-friendly, although their marketing makes it seem this way. About 90% of people who file a claim with them realize this (whether it is auto, home, renters). Just ask a lawyer in a military-centric town and they will attest to USAA’s purported “goodness,” but realistic “badness” when it comes to living up to their marketing claims. Furthermore, the coverage isn’t what other coverages are and the premiums are going up very quickly. Their investment services also severely lack compared to other companies – the fees USAA charges is again, in the fine print. It cost me four times the cost of another investment account I have to make one trade. My advice: stay away from USAA. At one time they were good, but no more. Look at the fine print!

  3. Hmmm, banks and friendly….Seems like an oxymoron if I have ever heard one.

    All right, just a joke to lighten everyone up!

    I do agree that USAA offers great benefits for military and ex military. Personally, living in Puerto Rico, the banking is a bit different here. I have did some hard-core research for my banking needs here. Many of you may know, there is a huge amount of service members in Puerto Rico.

    I have discovered that the largest bank on the island does offer the best deals for both civilians and military. I choose Banco Popular and have been quite satisfied. I have also been told that Oriental Bank also offers good deals to military.

  4. Having been a military member for six years, I was ready for a new bank. My husband has close to 20 years in the service and agreed. As we searched through banks, we became clients of USAA, Navy Federal and Fort Knox Credit Union. It was not until we did our own research (instead of relying on the banks to be honest with us) that we realized the following: USAA has a pretty website, and awful customer service since they went public. Navy will sell their soul to save a few bucks. FKFCU charges you $1 each time you use your debit card. No joke. We have finally landed on Chase. Chase is extremely great to military members, although they do not publicize this fact. Chase pays you a day-two days early like USAA and Navy too! If payday falls on a Saturday, Sunday or Monday, you will get paid on Friday. They are extremely easy to work with, personable, and have great customer service. Overall, the nicest bank we have ever dealt with.

  5. This is a great article and really helpful for young people in the armed services. With a little research you can set yourself up for a lifetime of solid banking. I would advise away from big banks like Bank of America and the like. They have a history of not caring for their customers. Those bank fees exist so that the bank can make a profit. Credit unions are far better which is why USAA is such a great choice. Do your research and keep your money!

  6. Navy Federal (Credit Union) not only deserves to be in your top five military friendly banks, but it also was one of the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For 2012. Very impressive. When the employees enjoy where they work, productivity increases, customer service improves and the overall atmosphere is welcoming. Being able to secure credit cards, loans, a variety of investment account such as IRA are important. Take care of the money, and you take care of much.

  7. Aside from these banking institutions, I would suggest that military personnel look into local credit unions for their banking needs as well. These smaller financial institutions always seem to me to be more customer-oriented. I specifically like how staffs at credit unions seem more receptive to taking time to helping customers find the best options for loans and other banking needs. I imagine the complexity of a military family’s needs would be better suited by this type customer outreach.

    1. Local Credit Unions are another great banking source for military members. I banked at a local Credit Union before I joined the military and I really enjoyed the experience.

  8. I’ve used USAA since after about a year of being in the military. I still bank with USAA today and I don’t plan on switching anytime soon. Not only are they a good bank that cares for veterans, but their rates and costs are very low. I got insurance through USAA while I was in the military as well and they beat every other companies prices by a landslide.

    I don’t know much about the other banks on the list, but for my money, USAA is by far the best.

    1. I agree with you totally. Whenever I shop around for insurance quotes for automobile insurance, life insurance and home owner’s insurance, no one comes close to USAA. Plus, they give you a nice check every December just for being a member, because USAA is member owned! That’s like icing on the cake!

      Chuck

  9. This is a great list of military friendly banks. My favorite military bank is Navy Federal Credit Union. They have great customer service and are always very friendly. Best of all, they treat you like a person, not like a number. When you need an auto loan, personal loan or home loan, they work with you and consider your history with them in part of the lending process. Hands down, they are the best bank I have ever belonged to.

    Willard

    1. Willard,

      I have two friends who bank with Navy Federal Credit Union and they say the same thing. They absolutely love the customer service and products. Personally, I’m pretty loyal to USAA, but if I wasn’t a USAA Customer, I would bank with Navy Federal Credit Union.

      Chuck

  10. Great post Lauren. I’ve banked with USAA since 1999. They are without a doubt the best bank and best business I had ever had the pleasure to do business with. Their products and prices are unmatched, but what makes them exceptional is their world class customer service. I plan on staying with USAA the rest of my life. When you find a good thing, you stick with it. Thanks for sharing this list with our audience.
    Chuck

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