Top secret until I spill it all here, of course ;) As I mentioned on Sunday, the USAA crew flew a handful of us bloggers out there to give us a sneak peak on some of their new products. And let me tell you, USAA Headquarters = WOW. That place is PIMP! Like, the Google Complex on financial crack! Haha… (you can find my pictures here)
And I gotta admit, I was feelin’ pretty V.I.P. up in there. Nothing like an all expense paid trip to the mothership to get me giggling like a little school girl ;) Truth be told it felt like home too.
Not sure if I’ve ever mentioned this before or not, but I’m a proud product of the Marine Corps family (Hooh-Rah!) and it’s been a good 10+ years since I’ve been around all that military talk. I miss it so much! When you’ve grown up immersed in it throughout 15+ moves – all around the world – it’s kinda hard to shake (and settle down for that matter). So it was pretty cool being around it again this week w/ all the military spouse bloggers that were invited along with us PF guys (Hank from Military Money Might and Ryan from Cash Money Life – who we couldn’t decide if he looked more like Justin Timberlake or old school Pacey from Dawson’s Creek, haha…) While USAA now serves non-military folks too (almost their entire banking products, not insurance), they really are becoming the provider of choice for the military community.
And before you even think it, I am not getting paid or forced to write any of this :) I honestly truly believe that USAA is the best financial institution out there or else I wouldn’t have my entire financial life with them: 15 total accounts! It’s rare finding an institution that actually CARES about their members and keeps rockin’ customer support as they do (which is HUGE for me as you know).
But back to the top secret products coming out. I’m calling it now that these tools are gonna change the way we find cars and houses in the future, and I’ll even bet on it ;) Here’s what they’ve got cooking over there:
Auto Circle: Find, Finance, and Insure
This is pretty bad ass. They’ve basically created a tool where you can do EVERYTHING you need while car shopping – both online and via iPhone/Droid. You can search for cars you like (kinda like Autotrader or Carmax), scan the ranges of prices people have actually PAID for these cars (along with MSRPs, dealer costs, available discounts, etc) and then literally lock in a price if everything looks good to you.
USAA came up with this price guarantee certificate that you can take to your local dealership in USAA’s network, or even use it to negotiate the price off other places in your area. And if you’re a fan of GMCs or Mercedes, you’ll even get some extra cash back – which will come in handy to you know who ;)
And after you’re done finding the car? You can then secure financing AND Insurance in the same freakin’ spot. So awesome! You can find, finance, and insure a car all within 20 mins if you were on a mission ;) And if you’re qualified for that last part too (their insurance) – although you can certainly use their tools to get the deals and financing and then get insured elsewhere if you like!
Auto Circle can be found starting August 4th here: http://AutoCircle.com
USAA Home Circle
Similar to Auto Circle, this is USAA’s new home finding tool. Kinda like your very own MLS system w/ all the pics and info available to realtors out there. You can search through thousands of listings, compare specs, and learn about financing rates & costs all at the same time. Making it pretty damn efficient! And great for getting ballpark ideas too if you’re only in the mod to window shop ;)
I think that’s what I like most about this new stuff coming out – they’re giving us the TOOLS to get all this information and then we can do with it as we will! Even if we never use USAA!
Home Circle will be found here starting August 4th: http://HomeCircle.com
USAA Money Manager
This is actually already live already but I hadn’t had a chance to blog about it yet. Similar to Mint, this tool will categorize your expenses and deposits giving you an overall screen shot of your financial picture (even if you don’t go in and categorize them, USAA will take educated guesses so you can get a good sense right from the start where your money’s going). And I’ve been told they specifically did NOT call this a “budget tool” because people are afraid of that word! The shame! THE SHAME! I bet if they called it the “sexy budget tracker” people would be flocking to it even more ;)
Deposit @ Home and Deposit @ Mobile
These guys are live too, and you’ve probably seen me pimping it out on Twitter before cuz it’s just so freakin’ cool! and easy! and fast!!! For those who don’t have iPhones or Droids, computer scanners also work to deposit your checks instead of having to mail them in like the good ol’ days.
And guess what else? USAA’s workin’ on new ways to deposit CASH too down the road!!! Which is huge if you’re already a member and had to open up accounts elsewhere because of this even though you didn’t want to ;)
Okay, not financially related at all but I HAD to include this here because I’m a brat myself. And us brats like to connect and find our other lost brat friends over the years from all that constant movin’ and shakin’ ;) And very smartly they’re making this a Facebook app – where many a brats are already looking for each other. This Brat Connect guy will be ready August 23rd.
UPDATE: The Brat Connect app is now live!
That about covers it! Hopefully I didn’t bore you with overpowering USAA love. You’ll find many of us members are pretty hardcore about ’em ;) And I just wanna share them with as many people as will listen! They truly are on top of their $hit. Unlike the dirty dirty Bank of America (*shiver*).
So look out friends! They’re cookin’ up some game changing tools out there, and they may be worth a shot if you haven’t considered them before. ‘Till next time,
PS: Have to give a shout out to all my other new friends too: Kate from Military.com’s Paycheck Chronicles, Janet at Military Money Matters, Evette at Military Money Magazine, Andi from SpouseBUZZ, Beth of Enlisted Spouse Radio/Homefront in Focus, Brandy of Army Wife Magazine, Wendy from My Military Life, Star of Army Wife Network, Dan of Military Avenue, Greta of Hooah Wife and Friends, Vivian from Blue Star Families, Kathie from Military Spouse Help, and the feisty Mrs. G from Mudville Gazette. It was a pleasure being in your company!
Bonus tip: Find a good "balance transfer" offer to help pay off debt faster!
If you’ve been making payment after payment (on time) and still haven't been able to get your debt under control, snatching up a good balance transfer credit card offer may be the ticket to try. That’s where in order to gain your business - credit card companies will let you transfer your existing debt to a new card and let you pay ZERO PERCENT interest on it. Saving you tons every month!
What's the catch? Usually balance transfer cards charge a fee (around 3% of your debt balance) to let you transfer your balance to their 0% interest offer. But we've found a great credit card that will let you do a balance transfer absolutely free. Click here to learn more and see if you qualify!
PS: If you don't trust yourself with another credit card, ignore this! This strategy is to help you get out of debt quicker, not risk adding more to it.