PNC Bank Review: Competitive APYs and Many Ways To Save

GOBankingRates Score

PNC
4.7
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: PNC Bank provides one-stop shopping for banking, including checking, savings and money market accounts. It also provides credit cards, mortgages, auto loans and student loans. Through their Virtual Wallet®, it offers a combination of checking, short-term planning and long-term savings. Each account is apart of PNC Bank's Spend, Reserve and Growth model.
  • Checking Account
    4.8
  • Savings Account
    4.9
  • Variety of Products Offered
    4.5
  • Banking Experience
    4.4
How did we calculate this?

Pros

  • Variety of management and planning tools

  • 24-hour grace period for overdraft fees

  • No minimum balance for checking and high-yield savings account

Cons

  • Limited branch locations

  • High overdraft fees

  • Rates vary by location

    PNC Bank Overview

    PNC Bank has been operating for 160 years. It has $367 billion in assets and serves 12 million customers across the Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, Southwest and Southeast. The bank offers a full suite of banking and lending products for consumers and businesses. 

    However, its digital presence is just as solid as its traditional banking model. The PNC mobile app lets you do all your banking on your phone. PNC Bank’s Virtual Wallet® was named a GOBankingRates Best Savings Account for 2023, as well as rated one of the Top Banks of GOBankingRates Best Banks of 2023.

    Key Features

    Checking Accounts

    The basis of the Virtual Wallet is Spend, Reserve and Growth. The checking account would be the Spend portion of the wallet, of which there are three levels.

    • Spend: You must have a $500 monthly direct deposit into your Spend account, have a monthly balance of at least $500 in Spend + Reserve or be over age 62. If you don’t meet one of these requirements, your monthly service charge is $7.
    • Performance Spend: You must have at least one of the following qualifications for this account to avoid paying the $15 monthly fee. 
      • $2,000 direct deposited monthly
      • $1,000 for WorkPlace Banking or Military Banking customers
      • $2,000 in Spend + Reserve
      • $10,000 total in PNC deposit accounts
    • Performance Select: An option for customers who can maintain a combined average monthly balance of at least $5,000 in this account and up to eight eligible linked PNC accounts. You must have at least one of the following qualifications for this account to avoid paying the $25 monthly fee.
      • $5,000 in monthly direct deposits
      • $5,000 monthly balance in Spend + Reserve
      • A combined $25,000 in all PNC accounts, including investment accounts.

    Each of these accounts includes free access to PNC’s network of over 60,000 free ATMs, plus reimbursement of other banks ATM fees, up to $5 per statement period for Spend, up to $10 for Performance Spend and up to $20 for Performance Select.

    You also get overdraft protection from your Reserve or Growth account. These accounts also include Low Cash Mode, which notifies you if you’re about to overdraw your account.

    Savings Accounts

    GOBankingRates ranked PNC Bank one of the Best Savings Account finalists for the Best Bank rankings of 2023 for its Standard Savings Account. Here are some features that helped it earn this ranking.

    • APY
    • No minimum deposit
    • No required minimum balance if under 18 years old
    • Minimum to earn interest is only $1
    • $5 monthly service charge
    • $0 monthly services charge if meeting any of the following requirements: are under 18 years old, average a $300 monthly minimum balance, account is linked to a PNC checking account, have a monthly Auto Savings transfer set up

    PNC Bank also has the PNC High Yield Savings account has earned this ranking for many reasons.

    • APY
    • No minimum balance requirements
    • No monthly service charges

    You can add a Reserve or Growth account to your Virtual Wallet for savings. Reserve and Growth account APYs will vary depending on which type of Spend account you have and whether you qualify for Relationship Rates, which involve minimum balances and/or direct deposits. If you open a Virtual Wallet Checking Pro account, which includes Reserve, Growth and Spend accounts, then you qualify for a competitive APY.

    Money Market Account

    PNC Bank offers a Premier Money Market Account that is also part of your Virtual Wallet. Interest rates depend on your balance, the type of checking account you have and whether your qualify for Relationship Rates.

    If you have a Performance Select Checking account and qualify for Relationship Rates, your money market account will earn APY on balances up to $999,999.99.

    If you have a Performance Checking Account and qualify for Relationship Rates, your money market account will earn APY if your balance is under $1,000,000.

    Products and Services Offered

    PNC Bank has many other products and services which earned its ranking among the Top Banks of 2023 by GOBankingRates.

    • Mortgage purchase and refinance: PNC Banks offers tools to help you determine the affordability calculator, home insight planner, start a preapproval process and start a refinance application.
    • Auto loans: You can find and finance your car with PNC Bank tools such as Explore PNC Total Auto, Explore Auto Loans, and apply for a refinance loan.
    • Credit Cards: PNC Bank offers a variety of personal credit cards with offer features such as cash back, low rates, rewards and travel.
    • PNC Investments: PNC Investing tools include many features for you no matter where you are on your investing journey. These features include, but are not limited to, retirement planning, brokerage accounts, education accounts, insurance, stocks, bonds and mutual funds.

    Banking Experience

    PNC offers several tiers of Virtual Wallet, including the basic and student versions, Virtual Wallet with Performance Spend and Virtual Wallet with Performance Select.  With each option, customers get a primary checking account, an interest-bearing checking account and a long-term savings account. The Virtual Wallet options offer an array of tools to help you manage your funds.

    Mobile App

    The PNC mobile app offers a Low Cash Mode feature, which notifies you when your balance is low, and gives you options for how to handle it. It is rated 4.8 stars on the App Store and 4.2 stars on Google Play.

    Customer Service

    Banking doesn’t mean you have to only visit your local branch. You can bank with PNC in a few ways:

    • Find your nearest location and ATM
    • Call 1-888-PNC-Bank
    • Visit the Customer Service Center for more options
    • Go online and visit the Secure Message Center
    • Through the mobile app
    • Tweet @PNCBank_Help

    Overdraft Fees

    If you overdraw your account, you’ll have 24 hours to bring your account at least to zero before overdraft fees are charged. If you have multiple items that, combined, will bring your account negative, you can choose which of the items you want paid and which of those you want returned.

    PNC Bank vs. Competitors

    Here is how PNC Bank compares to its competitors.

    PNC Bank vs. Wells Fargo

    PNC Bank is a regional bank with branches concentrated in 19 states. Wells Fargo has a larger network of local branches with over 4,900 locations across the U.S.

    In addition, Wells Fargo has more accounts available to fit your personal needs. 

    PNC Bank vs. M&T Bank

    PNC Bank and M&T Bank can both be considered regional banks with a big presence on the East Coast. PNC has more branches at 2,600 compared to M&T Bank’s 700.

    When it comes to interest, M&T and PNC Bank offer similar rates. However, M&T Bank offers higher interest for its CDs.

    Final Take

    PNC Bank is best for people who live in select Midwest, Northeast or Southern states where brick-and-mortar branches are located. If you live in one of the areas served by PNC Bank, or if you want to bank online only, it’s a solid choice. The breadth of product offerings and the advanced technology make it worthy of consideration if you’re in the market for a new bank.

    Besides its regional bank status, anyone interested in “bundling” multiple bank accounts to receive added benefits, such as relationship rates and fewer overdraft fees, will appreciate banking with PNC.

    FAQ

    Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding PNC Bank.
    • What are the disadvantages of PNC Bank?
      • PNC Bank has limited locations and rates will vary depending on which region you live in.
    • What is PNC Bank rating?
      • PNC Bank's Virtual Wallet was named a GOBankingRates Best Savings Account for 2023, as well as rated one of the Top Banks of GOBankingRates Best Banks of 2023. Overall GOBankingRates gave PNC Bank 4.7 stars out of 5 stars.
    • What is so good about PNC Bank?
      • PNC Bank has many financial planning tools, and is great for people who want the benefits of a combination checking account and short-term savings account.

      Karen Doyle and Cynthia Bowman 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 Nov. 29, 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 Top Banks, GOBankingRates looked at the top national institutions (excluding credit unions) with over $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 Savings Accounts, GOBankingRates looked at the following factors from all banks (excluding online, neobanks and 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 savings fee ratio (percentage based on the minimum to avoid the fee compared to the monthly fee itself); (5) minimum balance needed in account to earn APY; (6) savings APY; 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 (2) were weighted 0.5 times, factor (4) was weighed 1.5 times and factor (6) was weighted 3 times.

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      About the Author

      Caitlyn Moorhead has written content for a variety of businesses and publications. After graduating from Central Michigan University cum laude, she moved to New York City where she wrote columns, articles and plays for several years before relocating to Austin, Texas in the fall of 2020.
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