As I mentioned in my last post, I spent a couple of days at USAA HQ last week. As part of that blogger's event, we were given a tour of USAA's innovation laboratory, where USAA is currently working on 600 innovations. If what we saw is any indication, you can bet that all 600 will be huge leaps forward for USAA members.
One of those innovations will be unveiled on August 4 and will make purchasing an automobile a fantastic experience. In just two days, USAA members will be able to use "Auto Circle" from the web or via an iPhone app (apps for Blackberry users are coming, too) . I used Auto Circle to faux-purchase a Buick Enclave, my dream car.
From an iPhone, I selected the best deal in my area (the program gives you prices from preferred dealers based on the zip code you enter), applied for the loan, secured my insurance and before I could say "I love shopping for a car on my iPhone," I had purchased the car, got financing and insurance in place and was ready to pick up the keys to my new Buick Enclave. It was fast and painless, and it's certainly going to revolutionize the way USAA members purchase cars. Most USAA members don't know that USAA handles more than just auto and property insurance, so I'm sure many of them will be pleasantly surprised to find that they can do everything under one roof by using Auto Circle.
USAA has their own slate of "preferred cars," tested for safety, etc. We were able to test drive some of these cars. I drove the Ford Edge, which I really liked.
I'm not naming names. I'd never, ever do that..... But., a few of the gals tried to make off with the Mercedes Benz. There was a fair amount of hand-wringing going on among the USAA contingent as they wondered if they'd ever see the luxury car again. There was some communication back and forth as the white mercedes raced down the highway for the Mexican border. I had flashbacks of the OJ Simpson Bronco chase. I was ready to get on the phone with them and say, "Look, your familes need you. It's not worth it. Please turn around now." But just as I picked up the phone, word came that, like OJ, the ladies decided they shouldn't run for the border. They would come back and face their just sentence. Which was having to leave the Mercedes with USAA. The fact that they looked like Bond girls saved them from handcuffs.
In case someone can't spot humor, the Bond girls didn't really try to make off with the Mercedes.....
For the buyer, purchasing a home is a bit more complicated than buying an automobile. USAA realizes the dynamics behind such a large investment. That's why they have loaded another great offering, Home Circle, with all the ease and convenience of Auto Circle, but there are many additional bells and whistles in place to help make your home purchase as pleasant as it can be.
Yes, USAA paid our expenses to test their new offerings and tour their facilities, but they can't force me to praise something I believe unworthy of praise. I am truly impressed with their forward-thinking, and equally impressed with their commitment to serve the military community in every way possible.