Common Questions About the Veterans Benefits Banking ProgramUpdated May 25, 2021 Veterans Benefits
The Veterans Benefits Banking Program (VBBP) is offered to veterans and beneficiaries who receive federal monetary benefits. The program is provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in partnership with the Association of Military Banks of America (AMBA). Financial institutions within the program seek to serve the financial needs of veterans by offering financial programs specifically for military veterans.
The goal of the VBBP is to build awareness among the veteran community of the financial resources available to them to build financial security. It also seeks to protect veterans from fraud which is prevalent among the veteran community.
Frequently Asked Questions About VBBP
What is the Veterans Benefits Banking Program?
The Veterans Benefits Banking Program (VBBP) connects service members, veterans, and military families with banking institutions. Through a partnership between the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) and the Association of Military Banks of America (AMBA), the program gives a long list of banks and credit unions that provide banking services to military members.
Why was the VBBP created?
The VBBP was created to empower veterans to make informed and safe financial decisions. Not only are veterans able to open a checking account or savings account, but also have access to financial advice and educational programs offered by financial institutions that understand their unique needs. The VA created the program to give veterans financial independence.
When did the program start?
The VA started VBBP on December 20, 2019, and since then many veterans and military families have benefitted from the financial services offered by the program.
Who qualifies for the Veterans Benefits Banking Program?
To qualify for the Veterans Benefits Banking Program, you must be a veteran or beneficiary who receives federal benefits. You must agree to have your federal benefits electronically deposited.
What is the AMBA?
The Association of Military Banks of America (AMBA) is a not-for-profit association that represents banking institutions that specialize in providing services to service members and their families. They are all FDIC insured and many are located on military installations. Banks who are members of the AMBA agree to uphold the interests of the AMBA in providing financial services to the military and military families.
Is AMBA the only financial institution eligible for VBBP?
All the financial institutions in the VBBP are members of the AMBA. The VA chose to partner with the AMBA because they are a reputable organization that has a long history of serving the veteran community and their financial needs. For these reasons, all the participating banks and credit unions are AMBA members.
What’s the difference between VBBP and Direct Deposit?
When it comes to receiving payments, VBBP and Direct Deposit are very similar. Both result in funds being electronically deposited into a checking account or savings account. The primary difference is that the VBBP hopes to connect you with a participating bank that gives specialized services to military members.
What are my options for receiving VA payments?
You have a few options for receiving VA monetary benefits such as VA disability compensation. You can have funds electronically deposited into a checking account or savings account, receive funds on a prepaid debit card, or have funds issued on a paper check. The paper check option requires a waiver from the Treasury.
How do I set up direct deposit with the VA?
If you already have an account and want to set up direct deposit, you can set up direct deposit by logging in to your VA online account or giving your information to a representative over the phone. If you don’t have a bank account, you can find one through the Veterans Benefits Banking Program. The financial institution that you select can help you set up direct deposit with the VA.
How many Veterans still receive payments on prepaid cards or paper checks?
Today, there are still about 250,000 Veterans or other beneficiaries that choose to receive their VA monetary benefits through a paper check or deposited to a Direct Express prepaid debit card. While some of these veterans and beneficiaries have a bank account, some do not.
What financial services will a participating bank provide?
Participating banks and credit unions offer varying services, so comparing them will help you find the one that meets your specific needs. Most participating banks offer online banking, auto loans, VA home loans, direct deposit, debit cards, and other financial resources specific to veterans.
What is the best bank for veterans?
Selecting the best bank is a personal decision. The VBBP can help you to compare participating banking institutions to find one that meets your personal needs. When you choose a bank from the Veterans Benefits Banking Program, you’re selecting a bank that is committed to serving the unique financial challenges and goals of each veteran and their family.
How do I open a VBBP account?
To open an account through the VBBP program, you will need to select a financial institution through the Participating Banks and Credit Unions page of the VBBP website. Each banking institution has its own application process. You can contact them directly to find out how to apply for an account.
Will I be able to find a VBBP bank near me?
Many of the participating banks and credit unions are located on a military installation, but not all of them. There are several popular banks you may already be familiar with including USAA, Navy Federal Credit Union, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America. You can find the complete list of participating financial institutions on the Participating Banks and Credit Unions page of the VBBP website.
What is the benefit of using the VBBP?
The VBBP seeks to increase awareness within the veteran community of the financial resources available to them through participating financial institutions that are committed to serving veterans and their families. The VBBP provides a list of military-friendly financial institutions, helps veterans to compare their offerings, and provides oversight of the program to increase safety and protect against fraud.
Is the VBBP just a website with a list of banks and credit unions?
The VBBP is more than just a list of banks. It is an organization committed to helping the Veteran community to reach financial security. Financial institutions that partner with the VBBP share this commitment and are equipped to serve veterans in their unique financial challenges. The VBBP will help you choose the bank that is right for you, and help you resolve any issues you may encounter.
Does the VA help to ensure that the AMBA and its banks comply with program standards?
When banks and credit unions become members of the AMBA, they affirm their commitment to providing financial resources to the veteran community. They must be insured by the FDIC or NCUA. The VA consistently seeks feedback from veterans and beneficiaries through surveys and other communication channels. If program users have any issues with the AMBA or a participating financial institution, they can contact the VA for assistance.
Can I work with any bank that I choose?
You can receive your VA monetary benefits with any bank in which you have an account, regardless of if they are a member of the AMBA. Simply set up direct deposit information with the Veterans Affairs to receive your payment through Electronic Funds Transfer. The VBBP simply shares information on financial institutions that are known to specialize in serving veterans. You are free to choose any bank that you want.
Why do I need a bank account?
Having a checking account or a savings account provides a secure location for your funds. Setting up direct deposit for benefits you receive through the Veterans Benefits Administration allows you to access your money faster. It is also easier to receive your tax refund or stimulus payment through a direct deposit to your bank account.
What if I had problems opening an account before?
Each bank has its own criteria for opening an account. Don’t assume that because you had problems in the past, you will still have problems today. Reach out to one of the many financial institutions listed to find out if you qualify for an account. Financial institutions in the VBBP are committed to helping veterans to become eligible to open an account.
How To Protect Yourself From Fraud
There are many scams targeting veterans and their family members. Some of the most common forms of fraud against veterans are phishing, identity theft, investor scams, and rental scams. Veterans need to be aware of the ways that scammers seek to trick them and learn how to protect themselves from fraud.
One of the goals of the Veterans Benefits Banking Program is to protect veterans from fraud. Because each financial institution is vetted by the program, veterans can be assured that they are dealing with a reputable banking institution.
There are some common ways that scammers attack the military population. One is by posing as the VA and getting veterans to apply for a fake VA loan or purchase or refinance a home. Rental scams have also become popular by setting up fake listings and luring military members to give up personal information on rental applications.
Charity scams prey on the kindness of people who want to support veteran organizations. Common scams like phishing and identity theft are prevalent on the internet and target everyone.
To protect yourself from fraud and scams, you should first educate yourself on the type of legitimate programs that are offered to Veterans. Protect your personal information by logging out of the website each time and create passwords that are hard to guess. Never give out personal information without knowing who it is going to. Research any organization or offer before applying to be sure it is legitimate.
Veterans Benefits Banking Program
The Veterans Benefits Banking Program (VBBP) was established to help veterans and beneficiaries to find financial institutions that are experienced in financial issues that face veterans. The program is a cooperative effort between the VA and the Association of Military Banks of America (AMBA). Veterans can compare financial institutions to find the one that best serves their needs.
Participating banks and credit unions are often located on military installations but can also be found in the community so veterans should have no problem finding a VBBP bank nearby. Banks that participate in the program are committed to serving veterans and are experienced in offering products and services specifically designed for their needs.
Another benefit of using the VBBP is protection against fraud. Since each participating bank is vetted by the program, veterans can be assured that they are selecting a reputable financial institution.
To find participating banks and credit unions in the Veterans Benefits Banking Program, you can visit their website.