Military Banks

Military banks offer banking, investing and insurance services to active and former Armed Forces members. These institutions provide perks such as free ATM withdrawals worldwide and competitive rates on loans and insurance. Many service members and veterans list branch and ATM availability, ease of access and factors such as bank fees as primary concerns when choosing a bank. These banks have a reputation for serving the military community well.

A military bank is a financial institution that specializes in the unique needs of service members and their families. These banks are often located on military bases, offer special perks for service members, and provide access to military-specific products and services. Military banks are a popular option for military families because they can help them manage their budgets and save money.

Many traditional banks also offer products and perks that can be beneficial to military families, but military-affiliated banks may have more in-depth knowledge of the lifestyles and budgets of service members. For example, many military-affiliated banks offer special rates on mortgages and credit cards for military members. They also often waive monthly fees for service members, Horrell says.

Additionally, military-affiliated banks offer a wide range of other services for military families and veterans. For instance, USAA provides a variety of banking services, including direct deposit for VA benefits and stipends, financial counseling, and military deployment loans. The company also offers a number of discounts and deals on things like theme park tickets and hotels. It also has a team of professionals who assist service members and their families before, during, and after deployment. These services greatly benefit military families, particularly those who live far from home or in remote areas. Here is the list of some well-known military-affiliated financial institutions:

  1. Navy Federal Credit Union: One of the largest credit unions in the world, serving members of the Navy, Marine Corps, Army, Air Force, Department of Defense civilians, and their families.
  2. USAA (United Services Automobile Association): While not exclusively for military members, USAA provides financial services primarily to military personnel and their families.
  3. Armed Forces Bank: A military bank that serves active and retired military members and Department of Defense civilians.
  4. Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed): While not exclusively for the military, PenFed serves a large number of military members and their families.
  5. Air Force Federal Credit Union: Provides financial services to Air Force personnel and their families.
  6. Army Aviation Center Federal Credit Union: Serves military personnel associated with Army aviation.
  7. Fort Hood National Bank: A financial institution serving the Fort Hood military community.
  8. Marine Federal Credit Union: Offers financial services to Marine Corps members and their families.
  9. Andrews Federal Credit Union: Serves military installations in Washington, D.C., and beyond.
  10. Service Credit Union: Though not exclusively military-focused, it has a significant military membership base.

How to Choose a Military Bank?

Military banks are financial institutions that offer special services to active duty service members, veterans, and their families. They typically have a wide network of in-person branches and a robust online presence that offers access to deposits and loans anywhere. They also have a strong customer service track record, as noted by research firm NerdWallet.

When selecting a military bank, it’s important to focus on the most relevant features to your needs. For example, if you travel often, then it’s likely that fees will be the last thing on your mind, so you may want to prioritize an account with no service charges. Likewise, you may want to select an institution with a great savings rate and a robust ATM network.

Another consideration is the type of membership eligibility, as some institutions require a direct military affiliation to join (either through current or former servicemembers, their spouses or dependent children). USAA, for instance, accepts current and former members of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, National Guard and Coast Guard, as well as their spouses and children. Other military-specific banks only accept those with a valid Department of Defense ID, as is the case for Navy Federal Credit Union. This credit union is the largest in the nation and has an impressive international presence.

The men and women who serve our country have unique banking needs that military banks and credit unions are set up to meet. They may live overseas, travel often, and move around a lot. These circumstances make it important to find a bank that understands their financial needs and offers features like fully refundable out-of-network ATM fees, remote check deposit, and bill payment services.

When looking for a military bank, look for one with an excellent APY and no hidden fees. You also want a bank that is close to your base or current residence and has a good reputation in the community. Some military banks focus on specific products, like loan programs, while others offer a broad range of services to the general public.

PenFed, for example, is well known for its low-fee checking accounts that earn rewards and for offering great APYs in its savings account. It also has branches located near most bases and offers a wide range of products, including home, auto, and VA loans. Its branch network is expansive, and it has a mobile app to give members convenient access to their accounts from anywhere. If you’re interested in learning more about PenFed, you can read our complete review. Similarly, Service Credit Union is another great option with an APY of up to 10% in its Deployed Warrior Savings account.

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