USAA Investments Review 2017

3-star brokerage firm rating

USAA Investments brokerage firm review. Fees & commissions, advantages & disadvantages, minimum requirements & promotion offers for opening a new online account with the online discount stock broker.

  • Stocks & ETFs: $8.95
  • Options: $8.95 + $0.75 per contract
  • Mutual Funds: $45.00

Minimum to open: $0 for a cash account.

USAA Investments Review

For more than 40 years, USAA Investments has been serving investors with a discipline approach, born in the military values of its parent company. Unlike many USAA banking products (free checking, high yield savings accounts, and other banking products), a USAA brokerage account is open to both the military community and the general public. USAA Investments offers a wide selection of investments: stocks, ETFs, options, USAA and non-USAA mutual funds, CDs, bonds and other fixed income products are available to customers.

USAA Investments Fees, Commissions & Minimum Requirements

USAA Investments cost per trade is $8.95, which is above the cost charged by majority discount online brokerages. For instance, the lowest commissions you can get today is $4.95, which is what Ally Invest and Fidelity charge.

Options trading fee is a base charge of $8.95 plus $0.75 per contract.

USAA commission for trading mutual funds is $45, which is considered the average among firm's competitors. To compare, Schwab's mutual fund commission is $76, TD Ameritrade charges $49.99.

Commissions for U.S. Treasury Securities at auction are $45.

There is no minimum deposit to open a standard brokerage account. For a mutual fund account the following initial investments required: $1,000 or $0 with $50 a month for First Start Growth Fund and Money Market Fund, $1,000 or $500 with $50 a month for Cornerstone Funds and Target Retirement Funds, and $3,000 for any other fund.

USAA Investments Trading Tools & Research Review

USAA Investments review

USAA offers a selection of trading tools that are basic comparing to the best trading platforms, yet very clean and easy to use. Charts, analyst ratings, real-time quotes along with company news headlines and a snap-shot of their financials, watchlists, stocks and funds screeners are available to help customers make better decisions.

USAA Investments provides customers with in-depth reports and ratings from Argus, MarketGrader and MarketEdge.

Mobile app provides access to investor's trading account, investment research, customer service and news. Stocks, mutual funds, ETFs and options can be traded through the app. The interface of the mobile is clean and easy to navigate. The app is available for iPhone, iPad and Android users.

USAA Brokerage Education & In-Person Guidance Services

There is an Education Center for beginners, intermediate and advanced investors. Customers have access to educational articles from Morningstar and USAA itself. For a fast and easy access, all materials are put into six categories -- Retirement, Education Savings, Investing Principles, Taxes and Personal Finance. Also, there is a Classroom Section powered by Morningstar on trading stocks, funds and ETFs.

Although USAA provides education on investing, it is very simplistic and limited.

USAA has network of local branches, USAA Financial Centers, which is constantly growing. At the centers any banking and investment services can be done with the help of USAA representative. In-person meetings with USAA Wealth Advisors are available by appointment.

USAA has branches located across several states across the United States - California, Texas, Colorado, Washington DC, Georgia, Kansas, New York, North Carolina, Maryland, Tennessee and Virginia.

USAA Brokerage Account Advantages

  • Clear, straightforward fees
  • No account set up, maintenance or inactivity fees
  • No-fee IRAs
  • Selection of commission-free ETFs
  • Commission-free NTF funds
  • Free Dividend Reinvestment Program
  • Low-cost trading for active investors or accounts with $50,000+ in total assets
  • Local branches at some states
  • Competitive rates on banking services, auto loans and insurance products for military members

USAA Brokerage Account Disadvantages

  • Basic trading platform and tools
  • Limited research and educational materials
  • Additional charges for each share over 1,000

USAA Investments Review Summary

There is no doubt that USAA brokerage's trading tools are power and sophistication Yet, there are some advantages that make USAA Investments very attractive for many investors.

USAA Investments is a well-established brokerage that is committed to providing good investment services, loyalty, integrity and honesty to the military members and the general public. There are no hidden fees, and no additional charges, except for a surcharge of $0.01 (Gold members) and $0.005 (Platinum members) for each share over 1,000.

The company provides a broad selection of investment products, including 4- and 5-star Morningstar rated USAA mutual funds, a small selection of commission-free mutual funds and 18 commission-free ETFs from Fidelity.

Another advantage is a wide selection of fees-free individual retirement accounts for individuals, small businesses and the self-employed. USAA Investments does not charge a set-up fee or an annual account fee.

In 2016, USAA Investments was ranked very high in the annual U.S. Self-Directed Investor Satisfaction Study by J.D. Power. USAA Investments received the highest point score among all the other 12 brokers that participated in the study, yet the broker was not included in the final rankings as it is noted by the JDPower.com that "it is open only to U.S. military personnel and their family members and therefore not included in the rankings." In fact, by the total point score, USAA Investments is further ahead of Scottrade, which officially took the first place in the study last year.

In summary, low volume, fairly active traders, and high net worth investors ($50,000+) can benefit from USAA brokerage services.

Open USAA Brokerage Account

Streamline Your Investing with USAA Brokerage Services’ Online Tools

USAA Investments Commissions and Fees

InvestmentsPrice
Stocks and ETFs $8.95 for Gold members (an additional $0.01 and $0.005 is charged for each share over 1,000)
Stocks and ETFs broker assisted $50 (an additional $0.005 is charged for each share over 1,000)
Options $8.95 + $0.75 per contract
Mutual Funds $45
U.S. Treasury Securities at Auction $45

USAA Investments IRA & Account Fees

FeeAmount
IRA Setup Fee$0
Annual IRA Fee$0
IRA Termination Fee$25
Full Account Transfer Out$70
Partial Account Transfer Out$20*
Outgoing Wire Fees$20
Outgoing Wire Fees (International)$35
* - transfer a security through the Direct Registration Service (DRS).

Open USAA Account

Last updated: 1/12/2017.