Heads Up for February and March Pay

With all the excitement about the last payday, on Tuesday, February 1st, I thought that I had better mention that the next three paydays are on a Tuesday.  February 15th, March 1st, and March 15th all fall on Tuesdays this year.

I have spoken with my friends at USAA and they say that they disbursed all pay on Monday, January 31st, per their policy of paying one day early.  I have heard rumors of USAA folks who got paid on Friday, but I haven’t actually been able to have anyone say “I got paid on Friday.”  It has all been “my friend’s friend on Facebook” sort of stuff.  Honestly, if USAA says they paid everyone on Monday, I believe them until someone tells me that they actually got paid on Friday.  I feel sure that they will continue to pay on Mondays for Tuesday paydays, as is their policy.

As for Navy Federal Credit Union, I have no idea. I have heard two different stories: that they will pay a day early, and that they will pay as soon as they get the information from the Defense Finance Accounting Service (DFAS.)  Last pay, they paid on Thursday night, which was (in my opinion) ridiculous.  That is five days early!  We will have to see what they do this pay period.

Update 4 February 2011:  I have received a response from Navy Federal regarding their early release policy.  Basically, they will release pay on the day they receive it from DFAS.  However, they can not predict when they will receive it from DFAS.  Basically, your pay will come when it comes, but always at least by the actual payday.  Not very helpful for planning purposes.  You can read the complete statement at Navy Federal’s Statement Regarding Early Direct Deposit.

As for other banks, I would refer to their policies on posting military pay, and your past experience with them, to guess when you might see your pay deposited.

On that note, a word about how pay gets processed.  DFAS is responsible for paying one and a half million people, twice a month.  That is a lot of people.  As you can imagine, there is no computer capable of processing that many transactions at one instant.  That is one of the reasons that DFAS starts transmitting the information to the banks days ahead of the actual payday.  The transactions get processed in batches, and the information is sent to the banks in those batches.  I don’t know how long it actually takes to process all those batches, but it could be several days for all we know.  Once all the pay information has been sent to the banks, they then have to process it all through their system.  Again, this has to be done in batches, and it takes time.  Think of it like making cookies.  If you needed 500 cookies for an event, you wouldn’t mix up enough batter for 500 cookies at one time and put them all in the oven to bake at once.  You’d make up one batch of cookies, process (bake) them, then start on the next batch.  Bank transactions are faster than baking cookies, but it still takes time.  This is why one customer might find their pay processed at midnight, while another doesn’t see their transaction post until 3 am.  For institutions that have a lot of military customers, I think it is pretty amazing that they can process all those transactions as fast as they do.

I imagine that there is some logic to the order in which DFAS transmits pay information, and to how the banks process the batches, but I don’t know what it is.  I have absolutely no reason to believe that there is any system that targets any particular group for earlier processing.  Even if there were, we are talking about hours, not days.

The bottom line is this:  the next three paydays are Tuesday, February 15th, Tuesday, March 1st, and Tuesday, March 15th.  You might get paid before those dates, particularly if you use a financial institution that pays early.  However, be smart and budget so that your can survive until payday comes.

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.
  • Christie

    Does anyone know when the New LES posts? I have to print a copy and bring it to the housing office.

    • KateKashman

      Christie, they usually post around the 23rd…it might be earlier due to the short month. However, the housing office should accept the January LES until the February LES posts (unless they are trying to establish something from the the February LES, then they just have to be patient :)

  • Ruby

    New LES’s usually post 7 days before pay day from what I have seen in the past.

    • Ruby

      *pay day >.<

  • GM1

    Yeah but have you ever tried going into a USAA bank. HMMMM let me guess…. NO. That’s probably because there is only one and it’s in Texas. Good luck if you ever have any real issues with them. I have had nothing but problems with USAA and money came up missing from my account. I will never trust that institution again. I have had Navy Federal since I got in and have never had any issues and have had three car loans and a few personal loans with them. You ever stop and think that there are people in front of you because of how many members they have and how much their service is wanted. It’s called supply and demand. If you go to a famouse artists show it’s going to be very busy but if you go to a no names show it’s not going to be busy at all. That’s the difference between Navy Federal and USAA.

  • skip

    TI use Navyfed and since they are paying a day early the last pay cycle fell on a Tuesday and I got paid Friday morning on the dot 12 A.M. being that I’m based out of cali it hits my account at 9 p.m. (because of the 4 hour difference in time zones). I’m not sure how USAA works but figured that may be some useful information for some service members. So if the pattern follows it.should do the same the next 2 weeks. Hope this was helpful

    • Ed

      What paygrade are you though. I got e4 and below gettin early checks but the rest of us have to wait. I am trying to figure it out. Thanks

      • KateKashman

        Ed, there is no relationship between rank and when you get paid. Payday is Tuesday, 1 March. DFAS releases the funds at basically the same time for everyone (though it does take a while to transmit all that information.)

        Some banks and credit unions have early release policies that apply to some or all of their accounts. If a customer uses that bank or credit union, they may have access to their funds early. Their rank has no impact on their bank’s policies.

      • skip

        I’m an E3 but at times and although it is kind of weird some even with the same bank do not receive funds at the same time. I don’t think its a rank thing but I really only hear payday conversation around the barracks which is E4 and below. Any other questions ill be glad to answer or find out for anyone. I’ll also post tonight if navyfederal followed the same payout as they did for the 15th of Feb. If it does I should have that beloved direct deposit at 12 a.m. (Eastern Time)

  • stepfnycooper

    Navy Federal does not run deposit tapes on Sunday for Monday paydays, so payments are usually paid by the Saturday before.

  • Cynthia

    So I just checked my navy federal & my check is pending right now, & says the funds will be released tomorrow. Hope this helps!

  • Rae

    Has anyone else heard that we might not get paid on the 15th of March because the military has not decided funds for this year and runs out of money on the 4th?

    • Kate

      Rae, it is unlikely that military pay will be affected if the government shuts down due to the the lack of a federal budget. The last time this occurred, DFAS remained open and the military was paid as usual. DFAS has already warned its union that it will remain open if the federal government shuts. Because of the way it is funded, it does not fall directly under the government shutdown.

      I’m going to try to get an article on this out today. Thanks for the idea!

  • qtpiecassy924

    We have Bank of America and haven’t gotten paid. Anyone else having this problem? Could it be due to February being a short month?

    • KateKashman

      qtpie, it should not have anything to do with the length of the month. I would look at two things: your LES, and Bank of America’s historical posting pattern. If they post deposits on payday, and then process them that night, it is possible that you wouldn’t be able to see the deposit until tomorrow morning. (I’m not saying that is what happened, I’m just saying it is possible.)

      When you look at the LES, check the end of month payment amount on the far right hand side, and also check the bank that is listed down in the notes. If that all looks right, and BofA usually posts earlier, I would give them a call and see what’s happening. It can’t hurt!

  • jerry

    well we just got paid for anyone that needs to know

    • HolymolyMP

      No way??

  • ekm

    I’m sorry to hear that. I LOVE Navy fed and have banked at a few other banks including usaa. With going in it all depends on the branch I’ve been to a few and even one that instead of a teller you went to a booth and picked up a phone and saw the teller on a screen. They have always been super helpful to me when i called about problems and will fix them with no problems and worked with me when I lost my job this past year and was unable to pay my loan for a few mths and as a matter of fact dispite that laps in payments have offered me more credit with them since. Also love the fact that even when my account has not actually been compromised but could possibly have been or they can’t explain why there is a charge when there shouldn’t be I get issued new cards and all unexplained charges are removed, I’ve even gotten the cards and letter stating why in the mail and never knew there was a problem until after it was fixed.

  • Shell

    NFCU~ if you have an “active duty” checking account you will get your pay early. If you have a normal checking you will get paid on the 1st & 15th.

    • EJT

      How early is early? Payday is this coming Friday and still not showing any pending deposits. Last pay day fell on a Tuesday and active duty checking accounts got paid 5-6 days earlier. Not sure how this NFCU posting works now ,since it is already Tuesday and the bank not even showing a pending deposit yet.

      • KateKashman

        The definition of early depends on your bank. NFCU claims that it is releasing the funds on the day that it receives the information from DFAS. However, last pay, our deposit was posted as pending on Thursday and was actually posted at the Close of Business (COB) on Friday. We can only guess when NFCU will post Friday’s deposit, and it isn’t completely in their control as they have to receive the files from DFAS and process them.

  • Dependent

    You’re a dumb ass and it’s really not the time or the place for you to say anything about budgeting. It’s not called for.

  • Ayana