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USAA Auto Circle and Home Circle

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USAA recently flew me and several other military bloggers down to their headquarters in San Antonio to get a sneak peak at two of their new iPhone applications, the USAA Auto Circle and USAA Home Circle.

These new iPhone apps are great tools, but before I get into the details, I want to thank USAA for inviting me down to San Antonio and giving me the opportunity to work with them over the two day event, as well as meet some great military bloggers, including Hank from Military Money Might, J. Money from Budgets Are Sexy, Dan from Military Avenue, Brandy from Army Wife Magazine, Kate Kashman from The Paycheck Chronicles, and many others.

I have been a USAA member for about 10 years now and have always loved their service. Meeting several of their team members and seeing their dedication to the military and their families gave me a new found respect for what they do.

USAA Auto Circle and Home Circle

USAA-Auto-Circle-Screenshot

USAA Auto Circle

Back to the new iPhone apps… These new iPhone apps let you go through the entire car buying or home buying experience through your iPhone, including researching the purchase, financing it, and insuring it.

  • USAA Auto Circle features: Find and compare vehicles, Save money with pre-negotiated no-hassle prices (average savings is $4,508 off MSRP**), Finance your purchase, and insure it – all from your iPhone.
  • USAA Home Circle features: Search for homes for rent or sale; Personalize your experience by savings listings, uploading photos and captions to your saved entries, create map routes to see homes in order, map driving routes to/from work, school and other attractions; and save with MoversAdvantage® a USAA program that gives members a cash bonus in most states for buying or selling a home through a USAA recommended Real Estate Agent.

Don’t have an iPhone? Don’t worry – these apps are currently being developed for the Blackberry and Android platforms.

About USAA. USAA provides insurance, banking, investment and retirement products and services to 7.7 million members of the U.S. military and their families. USAA membership is open to all who are serving or have honorably served our nation in the U.S. military – and their families. For more information about USAA, check out this USAA review.

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Published or updated March 1, 2011.
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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Money Smarts Blog

Thanks for the link Ryan!

Mike

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2 Financial Samurai

Good stuff! Been a member for almost 20 years myself.

Did they put you guys up for a couple nights and treat y’all to steak dinners as well? What else did they offer you guys, as that’s a long way to fly and time spent just to review the apps!

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3 Ryan

They put us up in a hotel across the street from their headquarters in San Antonio (it’s a beautiful campus, btw) and took care of our meals while we were there. They had breakfast and lunch in the conference rooms so we could get down to business, and treated us to dinner on the San Antonio Riverwalk. There was a hellacious storm that night, which was actually a lot of fun! It wasn’t steak – it was a very good Mexican restaurant. I haven’t had Mexican food as good as that since I lived in Texas (or about 4 years), so it was a welcome meal! :)

USAA shared the apps with us, as well as their new online money manager program (similar to Mint, but easier to use), and several other apps, tools, and programs they have in he works. Some of them are still under development, so we can’t say anything about them yet, sorry! We also toured their disaster response bus, which goes to disaster locations to help assess damages, process customer insurance claims, and provide relief. It’s a sweet vehicle, and serves a great purpose. We also got to test drive some of the vehicles recommended in the USAA Auto Circle program (they have done some vehicle rankings based on independent and 3rd party assessments and created a list of recommended buys in each class). That was a fun trip around the town and a chance to see some new vehicles in action.

Overall, it was a great chance for everyone to network – I met some great bloggers and made some new friends. USAA got some good advertising, sure. But I think they got much more than that. They also tapped into the military blogging network and created customers and fans for life. All of us who attended were already members, so we got a chance to see what happens behind the scenes, which totally reinforced my impression of USAA. I always knew they cared about customer service, but after seeing it in person, I truly believe them when they say the customer comes first. Everything they do is designed to create a better customer experience.

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