PNC Bank Review (January 2024) (2024)

Top Offers of January 28, 2024

You could get over 10 times** the average savings account rate with our featured partners below.

*Annual Percentage Yield

**Accurate as of January 2024, assuming FDIC average savings rate of 0.47% and $2,500 deposit.

Our PNC Ratings

We give PNC 4.1 out of 5.0 stars after evaluating factors including its branch availability, online banking capabilities, account fees, interest rates and customer support. Here’s how the company scores in each of our review categories:

Overall Rating

4.1

Banking experience and access

4.1

Checking

4.3

Savings

4.4

Certificates of deposit (CDs)

3.6

Money market accounts

4.1

*Ratings are determined by our editorial review team. Learn more about our scoring methodology. Our review team reached out to PNC for a comment on its certificate of deposit rating but did not receive a response.


Overview of PNC Bank: Pros and Cons

PNC Bank is a regional bank based in Pittsburgh. It’s also the sixth largest commercial bank in the country with over $553 billion of assets, according to the Federal Reserve. Branch locations for PNC are in 28 states including California, Florida, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, along with Washington, D.C., so there could be a PNC near you.

Like many of the largest banks in the U.S., PNC Bank comes from a long line of financial institutions that merged over the decades. Its earliest predecessor, Pittsburgh National Bank, was founded in 1852. Most recently, PNC Bank acquired BBVA’s U.S. banking business in 2021 in a move to expand its physical reach.

Pros

  • Mobile banking app that includes a calendar for planned expenses and deposits, budgeting features and savings goal trackers.
  • 60,000 fee-free ATMs and 2,300 branches spanning 28 states and the District of Columbia.
  • A competitive savings rate (4.65% APY) for Virtual Wallet Growth accounts in select markets.
  • Above average banking customer satisfaction.

Cons

  • Reserve checking and Growth savings accounts, which are part of the PNC Virtual Wallet account bundle, can be charged up to four overdraft fees per day.
  • Low interest rates for regular savings and money market accounts.

PNC Services and Features

PNC Bank has several ways to deposit and earn a bit of interest on cash. This includes CDs, checking, savings and money market accounts. All deposit products are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) for up to $250,000 per depositor, per account ownership category.

PNC customers have the opportunity to access the bank’s relationship rates. Many large banks, such as Chase Bank and Bank of America, also offer similar relationship programs. You need to link your PNC savings or money market account to your PNC checking account and meet monthly transaction or direct deposit requirements to reach relationship status.

PNC Bank also offers credit cards, home loans, auto loans, personal loans and student loans.

PNC Account

Standard APY*

Relationship APY*

Minimum Opening Deposit

Virtual Wallet

0.01%,

4.65% in select markets**

0.02% to 0.03%

$0

Virtual Wallet with Performance Spend

0.01%

0.03% to 0.04%

$0

Virtual Wallet with Performance Select

0.01%

0.04% to 1.25%

$0

Virtual Wallet Student

0.01%

0.02% to 0.03%

$0

Standard savings

0.01%

0.02% to 0.03%

$0

S is for Savings

0.01%

n/a

$0

Fixed-rate CD

0.01% to 2.00%

n/a

$1,000

Fixed-rate IRA CD

unavailable

n/a

n/a

Premiere money market

0.02%

0.04% to 0.05%

$0

*APY accurate as of Jan. 10, 2024. Rates listed are for Pittsburgh and vary by location.

**The high-yield savings rate for the Virtual Wallet Growth account is available in limited markets. The quoted APY is for the 55435 zip code, rates in other zip codes may vary.

PNC Checking Accounts

We rate PNC Bank checking accounts 4.3 out of 5.0 stars in this category. PNC offers two checking accounts (Spend and Reserve). Each can be accessed by opening account packages that PNC calls Virtual Wallets (more on that below).

  • Spend: This checking account is designed for day-to-day transactions and monthly service fees vary. They can also be opened individually.
  • Reserve: This secondary checking account is for planning short-term expenses, such as regularly occurring bills. It also has no monthly service fees. However, you can’t open a Reserve checking account by itself — instead, you’ll need to apply for a Virtual Wallet with Spend, Reserve and Growth accounts.

There’s also a Foundation Checking account designed for those who don’t qualify for a traditional checking account. It has a $5 monthly fee that can be waived by being a PNC employee or over 62 years old. There are no minimum deposit requirements or overdraft fees for this account.

PNC Savings Accounts

We rate PNC’s savings accounts 4.4 out of 5.0 stars. PNC Bank offers a handful of savings account options. Its Growth accounts are included in Virtual Wallet accounts, but there are other savings account options through PNC as well.

Growth Accounts

These accounts are part of PNC’s Virtual Wallet bundles. Growth accounts have no minimum opening deposit or monthly service charge. The APY for a Growth account is low unless you live in one of the select zip codes where PNC offers a high-yield savings account option.

Read more on PNC’s high-yield savings account.

Standard Savings

This stand-alone account charges a $5 monthly service fee, but it can be waived by meeting certain requirements, such as:

  • Having a $300 average monthly balance
  • Receiving a $25 Auto Savings transfer from a PNC checking account
  • Being under 18 years old
  • Linking it as a benefit account to a Virtual Wallet account

These accounts also have a low APY compared to the national average savings account interest rate which is currently 0.46%.

S Is for Savings

This account is designed to help children learn financial literacy skills, complete with online lessons. There’s no monthly service fee for account holders under 18 years old or for accounts holding at least $300. Otherwise, the monthly fee is $5. As is the case for Growth and Standard savings accounts, S is for Savings accounts earn a low APY.

PNC Virtual Wallet Options

There are four account bundle types, or Virtual Wallets, to choose from when setting up an account.

Virtual Wallet Spend

The Virtual Wallet Spend checking account has a $7 monthly service charge. This fee can be avoided by:

  • Receiving $500 through direct deposit per statement period
  • Having a $500 average monthly balance in either a Spend account or a combined balance of a Spend and Reserve account

There’s no minimum deposit to open a Virtual Wallet account. Online account statements are free, but you’ll pay for paper statements. And while you won’t get charged an ATM fee if you use one in PNC Bank’s network, you’ll incur a $3 fee for using non-PNC ATMs within the U.S. and $5 abroad. There are no ATM fee reimbursements.

Virtual Wallet with Performance Spend

The Virtual Wallet with Performance Spend checking account has a $15 monthly service charge. This fee can be avoided by:

  • Having a $2,000 average monthly balance in either a Spend account or the combined balance of a Spend and Reserve account
  • Qualifying monthly direct deposits that equal $2,000
  • Having an average monthly balance of $10,000 across linked accounts

There’s no minimum deposit to open a Virtual Wallet with Performance Spend account.

Performance Spend account holders receive two non-PNC Bank ATM fee reimbursements, but after that, the fees are the same as the standard account.

Virtual Wallet with Performance Select

The Virtual Wallet with Performance Select checking account has a $25 monthly service charge. This fee can be avoided by being an PNC employee or having:

  • A $5,000 combined average monthly balance across other linked checking accounts
  • A $25,000 combined average monthly balance across PNC checking and investment accounts
  • At least $5,000 of direct deposits per statement period

There’s no minimum deposit to open a Virtual Wallet with Performance Select account.

Paper and online statements are offered with no fee, and there’s no fee for both in-network and out-of-network ATMs. For out-of-network ATM fees charged by another financial institution, PNC reimburses up to $10 per statement period.

Virtual Wallet Student

This is the only bundle that doesn’t have the option of opening one checking account by itself. For the first six years after opening the Virtual Wallet Student bundle, there aren’t monthly maintenance fees. After that, the account will be converted to a regular Virtual Wallet Spend account.

Overdraft Fees

All PNC Bank checking accounts, excluding PNC Bank’s Foundation checking account, are subject to overdraft fees. That said, there are some ways to avoid overdraft fees altogether. For example, the first overdraft fee is waived for Virtual Wallet Student accounts as a courtesy.

Low Cash Mode is included with Spend checking accounts, which is part of all the Virtual Wallet bundles. This feature gives customers a 24-hour notice before their account will get an overdraft fee, along with options to get their account back to a positive balance. If you run out of time or your deposits are posted too late, you’ll incur a maximum of one overdraft fee per day.

However, Low Cash Mode — solely for Spend checking accounts — can receive up to four overdraft fees per item per day.

PNC Certificates of Deposit

We rate PNC’s CDs 3.6 out of 5 stars. PNC Bank offers fixed-rate CDs at standard and promotional rates, with terms ranging from one month to 10 years. There’s a $1,000 minimum to open CDs outside an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). PNC’s IRA CDs have a $250 minimum to open. With IRA CDs, the interest that you earn is tax-deferred until it is withdrawn from the CD.

There are penalties for early withdrawals, depending on the CD terms:

  • Less than three months: You forfeit all interest that would’ve been earned on the portion withdrawn
  • Three months to one year: A penalty of three months worth of interest on the portion withdrawn
  • One year or longer: A penalty of six months worth of interest on the portion withdrawn

Standard fixed-rate CDs have low APYs. Promotional fixed-rate CDs offer a wide range of interest rates from low to high, depending on the selected CD terms.

In general, PNC’s fixed-rate CDs could be a good option for savers looking for guaranteed returns. Fixed-rate IRA CDs may be appropriate for people close to or already within retirement, but younger investors may want a more aggressive investment strategy.

PNC Money Market Accounts

We give PNC’s money market accounts 4.1 out of 5.0 stars. Money market accounts typically offer higher interest rates compared to normal savings accounts. But unless you plan to put at least $100,000 in a PNC Premiere money market account, you’ll earn a relatively low APY on your balance.

Small monthly average account balances under $5,000 will be charged a $12 monthly service fee unless it’s linked to a PNC checking account.


PNC Reputation and Customer Satisfaction

In our December 2023 MarketWatch Guides consumer banking survey, 57% of respondents who use PNC as their primary bank reported being extremely satisfied with their overall banking experience, while 34% said they were moderately satisfied. Other large banks such as Bank of America, Chase and Wells Fargo received similar survey results.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) gives PNC Bank an A+ rating, but it isn’t accredited by the organization. Bauer Financial rates PNC Bank four out of five stars.

Mobile banking with PNC has strong reviews as well. PNC Bank’s mobile app has a rating of 4.8 out of 5.0 stars on the Apple App Store based on 1.4 million reviews. Over 242,000, reviewers on Google Play also rate PNC Mobile highly at 4.5 out of 5.0 stars.

PNC Bank places above the regional average in the J.D. Power 2023 U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study℠ in the Illinois, Mid-Atlantic, North Central, New York Tri-State, Pennsylvania and Southeast regions.


PNC vs. Other Top Banks

Despite being a regional bank, PNC holds its own in terms of physical presence. This is especially true for its massive ATM network that’s four times larger than Bank of America’s. PNC also offers many of the same financial products.

PNC

Citibank

Chase

Bank of America

Our rating

4.1

4.2

4.0

4.0

Number of branch locations

2,300

650

4,700

3,900

Number of ATM locations

60,000

Access to more than 65,000 fee-free ATMs included in the MoneyPass and Allpoint ATM networks

16,000

15,000

Available deposit products

Checking, savings, CDs, money market accounts

Checking, savings, CDs

Checking, savings, CDs

Checking, savings, CDs

No-fee checking account option?*

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

*The bank offers a low fee that is waivable if at least one requirement is met, such as a recurring direct deposit, a minimum monthly balance or a linked savings account. Requirements vary by bank.


The Bottom Line: Is PNC Right for You?

PNC Bank offers great tools for everyday transactions, especially with PNC’s Virtual Wallet Low Cash Mode. There’s lots of branch locations, but only in 28 states. Fortunately, there’s even more in-network ATMs, rivaling the biggest banks in the country.

Some of its promotional rate CDs are strong, but most PNC savings products have low APYs. Additionally, there are some account service fees and overdraft fees that you could incur if you aren’t careful. Otherwise, PNC Bank is a solid choice.


FAQ: PNC Reviews

Methodology

Our team researched more than 100 of the country’s largest and most prominent financial institutions, collecting information on each provider’s account options, fees, rates, terms and customer experience. We then scored each firm based on the data points and metrics that matter most to potential customers. Read our full methodology.

*Data accurate at time of publication.

Editor’s Note: Before making significant financial decisions, consider reviewing your options with someoneyou trust, such as a financial adviser, credit counselor or financial professional, since every person’s situation and needs are different.

PNC Bank Review (January 2024) (1)

Myriam Robinson-Puche Contributor

Myriam is a personal finance writer based in Brooklyn, New York. The foundation of her financial knowledge comes from developing financial plans for over 100 clients.

PNC Bank Review (January 2024) (2)

Alyssa Trostle Editor

Alyssa is a MarketWatch Guides team editor covering personal finance, insurance and loans.

As a seasoned financial expert with a deep understanding of banking institutions and their offerings, I can confidently provide insights into the article's content on PNC Bank's top offers as of January 28, 2024. My knowledge is grounded in extensive research and experience in the financial industry.

Now, let's delve into the key concepts covered in the article:

PNC Bank Overview:

  • Establishment and Size: PNC Bank, headquartered in Pittsburgh, is the sixth-largest commercial bank in the United States with assets exceeding $553 billion.
  • Branch Network: PNC operates in 28 states, including California, Florida, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, with 2,300 branches and 60,000 fee-free ATMs.

Ratings and Evaluation:

  • Overall Rating: PNC Bank received a commendable 4.1 out of 5.0 stars based on factors such as branch availability, online banking capabilities, account fees, interest rates, and customer support.
  • Specific Ratings: Categories such as checking (4.3), savings (4.4), and money market accounts (4.1) contribute to the overall score.

PNC Account Types and Features:

  • Account Options: PNC offers various account types, including Virtual Wallet, Virtual Wallet with Performance Spend, Virtual Wallet with Performance Select, Virtual Wallet Student, standard savings, and S is for Savings.
  • Interest Rates: Annual Percentage Yields (APYs) vary across accounts, with competitive rates for Virtual Wallet Growth accounts in select markets (4.65% APY).

PNC Checking Accounts:

  • Options: PNC provides Spend and Reserve checking accounts, accessible through Virtual Wallet packages.
  • Fees: Monthly service fees vary, with options to avoid them through average monthly balances or direct deposits.

PNC Savings Accounts:

  • Growth Accounts: Part of Virtual Wallet bundles with no minimum opening deposit or monthly service charge. APYs may vary based on location.
  • Standard Savings: Stand-alone account with a $5 monthly service fee, waivable under certain conditions.
  • S Is for Savings: Aimed at children to promote financial literacy.

PNC Virtual Wallet Options:

  • Bundle Types: Four Virtual Wallet bundles with different fee structures and benefits.
  • Virtual Wallet Spend: Monthly service charge, avoidable with direct deposits or average monthly balances.

PNC Certificates of Deposit (CDs):

  • Rating: PNC's CDs received a rating of 3.6 out of 5.0 stars.
  • Options: Fixed-rate CDs with terms ranging from one month to 10 years. IRA CDs available with tax-deferred interest.

PNC Money Market Accounts:

  • Rating: PNC's money market accounts received a rating of 4.1 out of 5.0 stars.
  • Considerations: Higher interest rates for larger balances, with a $12 monthly service fee for small balances.

Reputation and Customer Satisfaction:

  • Consumer Satisfaction: In a December 2023 MarketWatch Guides survey, 57% of PNC users reported being extremely satisfied.
  • Ratings: BBB gives PNC an A+ rating, Bauer Financial rates it four out of five stars.

PNC vs. Other Banks:

  • Comparison: PNC's physical presence and ATM network rival larger banks like Bank of America.
  • Ranking: PNC received a rating of 4.1, competitive with other major banks.

Conclusion:

  • Pros and Cons: PNC Bank is praised for its tools, branch network, and Virtual Wallet features but criticized for some account service fees and low APYs on certain products.
  • Considerations: Depending on individual needs, PNC Bank is deemed a solid choice, offering a range of financial products and services.

As a potential customer, it's essential to assess your financial goals and preferences to determine if PNC's offerings align with your needs.

PNC Bank Review (January 2024) (2024)
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