USAA Brokerage Account Review: Brokerage Fees, IRA Investing, Pros and Cons, Mutual Fund Offerings



USAA Review - Pricing


  • Stocks/ETFs: $8.95
  • Options: $8.95 + $0.75 per contract
  • Mutual Funds: $45
  • U.S. Treasury Securities at Auction: $45
  • All Listed Corporate Bonds: $25 + $3 per bond


USAA Brokerage Overview


USAA (United Services Automobile Association) is a full-spectrum financial services institution with banking, insurance, investing, mortgage, and financial advisory operations in the United States. Eligibility is restricted to U.S. military service members, Honorably discharged veterans, and their eligible family members. However, the brokerage is available to anyone who meets the financial requirements necessary to open a trading account.


USAA Website and Tools


USAA Investment Review


The brokerage website is cleanly laid out and easy to comprehend. The obligatory stock and mutual fund screeners are available, plus tabs for news, watchlists, alerts, and market information. Research is limited and trading tools pale compared to the best online brokers. The screeners are simple to use but not easy to modify. There isn't an active online community for exchanging knowledge or getting investment ideas from experienced traders. USAA doesn't offer virtual trading environment.

USAA mobile apps are highly rated by the users and allow clients to get real-time quotes, place trades, read articles, and watch investment-related videos.


USAA Brokerage Review


Cost


USAA standard commissions on stock and ETF trades are higher than average - $8.95 per trade. However, unlike many of its competitors, USAA has only one annoying fee: surcharge of $0.01 per share for stocks priced under $1. This "no-fee policy" is in sharp contrast to many low-commission houses that offset their low commissions with fees on nearly every non-trading transaction imaginable.

The $45 mutual fund transaction fee at USAA can be avoided by purchasing NTF funds. USAA offers more than 6,000 funds from all the major fund families as well as their own stable of more than 80 funds. Of these, 19 USAA funds and more than 2,200 other funds are no-load NTFs.

USAA also offers 12 Fidelity index ETFs commission-free. A few large brokers offer around 100 commission-free ETFs but most firms do not provide this service.

USAA is strong when it comes to associated products like insurance, banking, credit cards, and mortgages. Their banking and insurance products are available to the general public as well as military members and their families. Because of this, USAA might be a good choice for someone who wants the simplicity of having all their financial assets and products sold and administered by the same company.


Investor Education


We all have different financial objectives and goals - retirement, college, travel, and major purchases. But there are so many ways to go about achieving those goals, and countless other factors to consider when making investment decisions.

Fortunately, USAA offers a few different ways to learn about a wide variety of financial matters, from retirement planning to taxes to investing principles. In the Investments section of USAA.com, clients will find a number of articles from USAA, Morningstar, and other companies with the latest insight and analysis. The Classroom feature lets users learn about different aspects of the stock market and investments.


The Good


  • No-fee IRA accounts
  • No minimum investment to open account
  • Full range of banking services
  • Highly rated mobile smartphone trading apps for iPhone, Windows, Android, and Amazon Fire


The Bad


  • $8.95 stock and ETF commission
  • Big surcharge on stocks under $1
  • Poor trading tools
  • Few research amenities


Conclusion


USAA is a good brokerage for military members who want to access USAA's broad array of financial services along with the brokerage arm of the company. For serious traders who want the highest number of investment products, state of the art trading platforms and tools, and more competitive commission rates, USAA is not the best choice. For buy-and-hold investors who don't need a lot of high-tech tools or aren't concerned with getting rock bottom commission prices, USAA is an attractive option, especially if those investors have a military connection and can take advantage of the vast array of products and services that USAA offers outside its brokerage business.


USAA Brokerage Promotion Offer










USAA Brokerage Reviewed by Savings-Secrets.com on . Rating: 3
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