First National Bank Review: Robust Checking Account Options and Low Minimums

GOBankingRates Score

First National Bank of Pennsylvania
4.6
SCORE
GOBankingRates Best Banks 2023 scores and rankings are objectively determined by our research/editorial team. Our scoring formula weighs several factors that differ from category to category depending on what consumers want from varying products and banks.
Quick Take: First National Bank offers a good range of low-minimum accounts to customers in its service area. Although there is limited fee-free ATM access, the bank's monthly maintenance fees are generally easy to avoid.
  • Checking Accounts
    5.0
  • Savings Accounts
    4.5
  • Products and Services Offered
    5.0
  • Banking Experience
    4.0
How did we calculate this?

Pros

  • Good range of checking accounts
  • Easy ways to avoid most fees
  • Generally low account minimums

Cons

  • Low annual percentage yields for most accounts
  • Limited surcharge-free ATM network
  • Cumbersome website can make it difficult to find interest rates on deposit accounts

First National Bank Overview

First National Bank of Pennsylvania has a storied history, tracing its roots back to Greenville, Pennsylvania, in 1864. Since then, the Pittsburgh-based bank has grown into the second-largest bank based in Pennsylvania. With a service area now covering seven states and the District of Columbia, FNB offers a wide variety of products, from checking and savings accounts to loans, mortgages, investing, retirement, insurance and business solutions. It has nearly 340 branch locations and more than 1,100 ATMs in its service area.

GOBankingRates has ranked First National Bank among the Best Regional Banks of 2023.

Key Features

Here’s a look at four key features to consider to help you decide whether First National Bank is the right bank for you.

Checking Accounts

First National Bank offers five types of checking accounts: Freestyle Checking, Lifestyle Checking, eStyle, eStyle Plus and Premierstyle Checking. FreeStyle Checking is a finalist in GOBankingRates’ rankings of the Best Checking Accounts of 2023.

The checking accounts vary in terms of fees charged and services offered, allowing customers to choose the account that best matches their needs. Three of the accounts — Lifestyle, eStyle Plus and Premierstyle — pay interest if you maintain certain balances. The APYs for these accounts range from to , and accounts with higher balances enjoy the highest rates.

Freestyle Checking earned its spot in GOBankingRates’ Best Checking Accounts rankings because of its combination of features and fees. Customers get unlimited check writing and online bill pay without service fees — no minimum balances or transactions are required.

The bank waives the service charge on other accounts as long as customers meet certain criteria. For eStyle Plus, Lifestyle Checking and Premierstyle Checking, this means maintaining a minimum balance in the account. Customers with an eStyle account can avoid the service fee by setting up direct deposit and initiating five transactions each month.

With Lifestyle Checking, customers get a free first order of checks and a safe deposit box. All accounts come with access to mobile banking, online banking and digital payments.

Savings Accounts

First National Bank has a single savings account, called FirstRate Savings. This is a basic, no-frills savings account with low minimums and an easy-to-avoid fee. Simply maintain a $500 average daily balance, and the bank waives the $5 monthly service fee.

The minimum deposit to open a FirstRate Savings account online is $50, but there is no minimum requirement to open an account in a branch location. The account comes with a free Visa debit card with free Google Pay, Samsung Pay and Apple Pay. FirstRate Savings accounts must have a minimum balance of $1,000 to earn interest, and the interest rate is the same across all tiers — .

Products and Services Offered

First National Bank is a full-service bank that offers customers more than an impressive number of checking and savings accounts. Its product lineup also includes a range of products designed to meet the diverse financial needs of its customers, such as certificates of deposit, a money market account, IRA savings and health savings accounts. The bank also provides a variety of loans, including mortgages and home equity loans as well as personal and vehicle loans. Customers can take advantage of investing and private banking services and insurance options to protect loved ones and property.

Banking Experience

For a bank of its size, First National Bank has limited customer service options. Customers can visit a branch, call during business hours or send an email.

Its mobile app, FNB Direct, lets customers review transactions, deposit checks, transfer funds, manage debit cards and locate branches and ATMs. The app has a rating of 4.6 on Google Play and 4.8 on the App Store.

Comparable Regional Bank Options

Here’s a look at how First National Bank stacks up against other regional banks in the area.

PNC

PNC has a larger service area than First National Bank and more surcharge-free ATMs, but First National makes up for the lack of branches with an impressive menu of services. First National customers can choose from five checking accounts, compared to three available at PNC — and all of them come with service charges that cannot be waived easily. First National also offers a greater variety of certificates of deposit with a lower opening balance than PNC.

Citizens Bank

Rhode Island-based Citizens Bank has 265 branches in Pennsylvania, mostly concentrated in the eastern half of the state. Like First National Bank, Citizens offers five checking accounts, but only one has no monthly service fee, and one account has no option for waiving the fee. Citizens has three savings accounts and a limited number of CD options, giving First National an edge.

Final Take

First National Bank is a decent option for customers in the bank’s service area. All of the basic banking account types are available, and checking accounts offer a good range of options. Although most account maintenance fees can be waived, APYs for interest-bearing accounts can be quite low.

The bank is best for customers who live in the bank’s service area and want an excellent fee-free checking account. However, if you’re looking for a low-fee, high-APY institution, there are better options available.

First National Bank FAQ

Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions about First National Bank.
  • Is First National a good bank?
    • First National is a good bank for customers who want the products and services it offers and who live in the bank's service area. The bank manages nearly $34 billion in deposits, and its product line includes consumer and commercial banking, insurance and wealth management.
  • Is First National Bank trustworthy?
    • First National Bank has been in business since 1864. It has more than 300 branches in its service area and total assets valued at almost $43 billion. The company trades on the New York Stock Exchange. Its lengthy history and reputation for customer service are why its customers consider it a trustworthy bank.
  • What credit cards does First National Bank issue?
    • First National Bank has four personal credit cards: FNB SmartCash, FNB SmartRewards, FNB SmartRate, and Penguins Cash Back. The cards come with perks like an introductory APR, cash back and points on qualifying purchases.
  • Is First National Bank the same as Bank of America?
    • No, First National Bank and Bank of America are separate financial institutions. First National Bank is a regional bank headquartered in Pittsburgh. It operates in seven states. Bank of America is a national bank based in Charlotte, North Carolina. It operates across the country.

John Csiszar and Vance Cariaga contributed to the reporting for this article.

Rates are subject to change; unless otherwise noted, rates are updated periodically. All other information on accounts is accurate as of Dec. 17, 2022.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by any entity covered in this article. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, ratings or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any entity named in this article.

To discover the Best Regional Banks, GOBankingRates looked at the top regional institutions (excluding credit unions, online banks and neobanks) with under $100 billion in total assets. To determine rankings, GOBankingRates looked at the following factors: (1) checking product minimum deposit; (2) monthly checking fee ratio (percentage based on the minimum to avoid the fee compared to the monthly fee itself); (3) savings product minimum deposit; (4) savings product APY; (5) Bauer rating (out of 5 stars); (6) products/services offered (auto loans, mortgage loans, credit cards, investment services and insurance); and (7) the average mobile app rating between the Android and Apple app stores. All factors were then scored and combined, with the lowest score being best. Factors (1) and (3) were weighted 0.5 times, factor (4) was weighted 2.5 times, and factor (6) was weighted 1.5 times.

To determine rankings for the Best Checking Accounts, GOBankingRates looked at the following factors from all banks (excluding credit unions): (1) total assets as sourced from the FDIC; (2) number of branch locations as sourced from the FDIC; (3) minimum deposit to open an account; (4) monthly checking fee ratio (percentage based on the minimum to avoid the fee compared to the monthly fee itself); (5) APY on the checking account; (6) overdraft fee amount; and (7) the average mobile app rating between the Android and Apple app stores. All factors were then scored and combined, with the lowest score being best. Factors (1), (2 and (5) were weighted 0.5 times, and factor (4) was weighted 1.5 times.

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About the Author

With more than 20 years of experience as a freelance writer, Allison Hache knows a thing or two about creating quality content. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Florida Southern College and a master’s degree from the University of Florida. Her work has been featured on national and local websites.
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