Veterans Benefits Banking Program

What to Know Before Choosing a Bank or Credit Union

VBBP banks and credit unions have made a commitment to provide no-minimum-balance, low-to-no-cost checking accounts for Veterans with a qualifying direct deposit and to help Veterans become banked.

Neither VA nor AMBA endorses any particular banks, credit unions, products or services, or requires Veterans or other beneficiaries to use them.

The information below is provided to help you better understand your needs and how to choose a financial institution that is right for you.

Know your options when it comes to how you receive your VA monetary benefits…

VBBP participant banks and credit unions will provide no-minimum-balance, low-to-no-cost checking accounts to direct deposit customers.

VBBP helps Veterans and other VA beneficiaries choose among the three available options for receiving VA monetary benefits:

  • Direct Deposit into an existing or new bank account
  • Electronic funds transfer to a Direct Express® prepaid or other prepaid card
  • Mailing of paper checks to pre-approved beneficiaries

Know about your qualification requirements…

All banks may accept all Veterans, but some credit unions with limited “fields of membership” may not be able to accept Veterans who do not fall within those fields.

All of the banks and credit unions participating in VBBP are committed to providing accounts to all qualified Veterans. If a Veteran is not qualified, they have also agreed to help the Veteran become qualified.

Know the difference between banks and credit unions…

VBBP participating banks include large and small national and state-chartered banks, most of which can accept Veterans, VA beneficiaries, and caregivers as customers regardless of where they live. Many VBBP banks operate on military installations and all are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

VBBP participating credit unions include large and small national or state-chartered credit unions. Credit unions have “field of membership” criteria Veterans, VA beneficiaries, and caregivers must meet before becoming members.

Credit unions are member-owned and require share accounts by members. Most share accounts require a $5 to $25 deposit, which is generally the cost of purchasing one par value share at a credit union in order to establish a membership account. Some credit unions may also charge a nominal membership fee ($1 to $5) to join as well. All participating credit unions are insured by the National Credit Union Administration.

Know your banking preferences…

Most banks and credit unions maintain an online presence and their products and services are generally accessible to any current customer with internet access.

However, sometimes – especially when you need to resolve a problem with your account or when a caregiver or family member also has access to your account – being able to talk face-to-face to a person makes a difference. If that’s your preference, choose a financial institution with physical branches nearby.

Know what additional financial products you need or want…

A relationship with a bank or credit union can be limited or extensive, depending on your needs and whether you qualify for certain products.

Before choosing a financial institution, make sure it has the products and services you need or want.

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