Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few commonly-asked questions about VA benefits and the VBBP.

Frequently Asked Questions for Beneficiaries

Neither VA nor AMBA endorses any particular bank, credit union, or financial product. Nor do we seek to require Veterans or other beneficiaries to use any particular approved method of receiving benefits. The VBBP is simply a list of participating banks and credit unions familiar with Veterans’ unique financial needs and willing to work with them to achieve financial independence. The financial institutions participating in VBBP are offered by VA and AMBA as options Veterans are free to explore or ignore.

The Veterans Benefits Banking Program seeks to provide Veterans with banking options, support, and access to education necessary for them to achieve greater financial independence, resiliency, and literacy. Providing banking options for our Veterans and other beneficiaries will give them secure ways to electronically receive VA benefits, manage their monetary benefits, and reduce the number of fraud cases reported to VA.

VBA’s partnership with AMBA highlights for Veterans and beneficiaries potential access to banks and credit unions that they may otherwise not have access to due to lack of awareness or individual credit history and/or legal history.

Mechanically, there are no differences. The VBBP partnership seeks to highlight for Veterans and beneficiaries the opportunity to open an account with participating banks and credit unions and receive their funds electronically. Furthermore, we hope to inform Veterans that bank or credit union customers may have access to other financial products and benefits not available to individuals who receive their benefits on prepaid cards or paper checks.

Veterans face increasing challenges from a variety of predatory marketplace actors. For example, scams and unsavory business practices often target military members and Veterans. A recent report sponsored by AMBA, conducted by the Better Business Bureau Institute of Marketplace Trust and is available on the AMBA VBBP website, identifies many of those threats. Under these circumstances, it’s critical that Veterans receiving VA monetary benefits have access to the kinds of regulated, safe, and reliable financial services banks and credit unions can provide.

Currently, VA benefits can be deposited into any bank or credit union account via Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT), deposited on Direct Express prepaid debit cards, or issued on paper checks (waiver approval required by Treasury).

Effective December 20, 2019, Veterans and their beneficiaries may use the VBBP to identify and apply to open an account at a participating bank or credit union.

The Direct Express card is a prepaid debit card offered to federal benefit recipients who receive monetary benefits electronically.  Veterans do not need to have a bank account to sign up for the card. There is no credit check or minimum balance requirement.  Visit the VBBP website to view a comparison of Direct Express to other methods of receiving federal monetary benefits.  See the comparison chart on this page.

Anyone who receives federal monetary benefits and who wish to receive funds electronically can participate in the VBBP.

There are approximately 250,000 Veterans and beneficiaries who receive their VA benefits through a Direct Express pre-paid card or US Treasury-issued paper check.  These Veterans may or may not have a bank account.

Receiving monetary benefits by Direct Deposit is available to all federal beneficiaries with accounts at banks or credit unions.  The VBBP lets veterans know that this service is also available for those receiving VA or other federal monetary benefits.

No.  Although any Veteran with an account at any bank or credit union may participate in the Direct Deposit program, VBBP participating banks and credit unions have particular experience dealing with the unique financial issues facing military and veteran communities and have undertaken an additional commitment to open accounts for any qualified veterans and to help veterans who may not qualify immediately to become qualified.  Veterans may also enjoy competitive deposit products and other financial products at banks or credit unions not participating directly in the VBBP and still receive their VA benefits electronically.

The Association of Military Banks (AMBA) is the only trade association representing banking institutions specializing in providing banking services for military personnel, Veterans and their families around the world. AMBA has a long history of partnering with the Department of Defense for the benefit of military members and their dependents. AMBA’s membership includes large and small national- and state-chartered banks, most operating on military installations and all insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). AMBA represents the interests of banking institutions serving the military and Veterans.

Veterans may receive their monetary benefits in an account at any bank or credit union that offers direct deposit.  However, members of the VBBP bank and credit union coalition are financial institutions that are very familiar with the financial challenges and needs of service members, Veterans, and their families.  As such, they understand and can provide the kinds of financial services that are appropriate for our Veterans based on their individual circumstances.

Yes, all VBBP participating banks are FDIC insured and all participating credit unions are NCUA insured.

You can set up direct deposit to manage your VA monetary benefits at any bank or credit union.  VBBP bank and credit union coalition participants are financial institutions that are very familiar with the financial challenges and needs of service members, Veterans, and their families.  As such, they understand and can provide the kinds of financial services that are appropriate for our Veterans based on their individual circumstances.

The link, www.veteransbenefitsbanking.org, will provide assistance on choosing a VBBP participating bank or credit union that fits your needs.

All banks and credit unions have an application process. AMBA’s Veterans Benefits Banking Program website provides links to participating banks and credit unions. Each of those financial institutions has its own account application process.

Veterans will have to work with each VBBP participating bank or credit union to apply. Each financial institution participating in the VBBP is committed to helping Veterans and their families find banking services that fit their needs.

AMBA itself is not a bank.  However, we believe we can help Veterans and participating financial institutions in the application process. For example, we can help Veterans compare the benefits of banking to other ways of receiving VA monetary benefits. We can also help banks and credit unions understand the unique financial challenges Veterans routinely encounter so that they can consider those challenges in their decisions to offer specific financial services.

VBBP participating banks include large and small national- and state-chartered banks, all of which can accept customers regardless of where they live.  Most VBBP banks operate on military installations and all insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.  VBBP participating credit unions have “field of membership” criteria Veterans must meet before becoming customers.  Some credit unions may accept Veterans wherever they live while others may accept only Veterans who live in the geographic areas they serve.  Visit the VBBP website to find a financial institution that fits your needs.

VA’s toll-free number is 1-800-827-1000.

VA needs to streamline the feedback process for our Veterans. Questions about the VBBP should be directed to VA because it supervises the program. Questions about specific bank services should be directed to individual banks. AMBA serves as a bridge between the two and exercises its role by maintaining a robust website that it will update regularly based on feedback from VA and participating banks.

The services available to account holders varies among financial institutions. One of the reasons we have included a number of banks and credit unions in the VBBP is because we want veterans to have choices. Veterans will select financial institutions based on their services and attributes.

AMBA provides education on its website and through its participating banks to help Veterans avoid these issues and to resolve them when they occur.

AMBA has agreed to assemble a coalition of VBBP participating banks and credit unions – not necessarily confined to AMBA member banks or DCUC member credit unions – that are familiar with the challenges faced by service members, veterans, and their families.

Many Veterans who currently receive their VA monetary benefits via a prepaid card may be unaware of the kinds of financial services banks or credit unions can offer or could be wary of them, perhaps as a result of a past negative experience. The VBBP participating financial institutions AMBA has assembled for this program have extensive experience providing financial services to military members, Veterans, and their families. AMBA is confident that the VBBP will provide Veterans and participating banks and credit unions a new look at each other and a new appreciation for the many and varied financial services Veterans need and banks can provide.

AMBA hopes to educate Veterans on the benefits of banking as a way of receiving and managing their VA benefits. Each bank participating in the Veterans Benefits Banking Program is regulated by federal and/or state banking regulators and insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. VA will continue to seek feedback from Veterans to resolve any issues with VBBP participating banks through AMBA.  Any bank’s continued participation in this program will be based on its safety, reliability, and customer service.

Find the right bank for you.