PNC Bank Review: Options for Saving, Investing and More

GOBankingRates Score

4.8
Quick Take: PNC Bank has a wide variety of banking products, including specialized products for students and the military. Once you decide which products are right for you, you combine them in a Virtual Wallet where they all work together. PNC Bank was rated a Best National Bank by GoBankingRates, and was ranked No. 43 on the list of Top 100 Banks.
  • Virtual Wallet
    5.0
  • Low Cash Mode
    5.0
  • Mobile App
    5.0
  • Fees and Rates
    4.0
How did we calculate this?

Pros

  • Wide variety of products
  • Virtual Wallet groups products together
  • Specialized accounts for students and military
  • Strong digital tools for money management

Cons

  • Requirement to waive monthly fees are stringent
  • Interest rates are low

Overview

PNC Bank, with $454 billion in assets, serves 9 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.

PNC Bank made several of GoBankingRates’ Best of 2022 lists, including Best Checking Accounts (for Virtual Wallet), Best Money Market Accounts (for Premiere Money Market Account), Best National Banks and Top 100 Banks, where it came in at No. 43.

Offerings

PNC Bank provide one-stop shopping for banking, including checking, savings and money market accounts, plus credit cards, mortgages, auto loans, student loans and more.

Checking Accounts

PNC Bank’s Virtual Wallet was named a GoBankingRates Best Checking Account for 2022.

PNC Bank combines each customers’ accounts into a ‘virtual wallet.’ The basis of this wallet is ‘Spend,’ which is the checking account. There are three levels: Spend, Performance Spend and Performance Select. Each of these accounts has an option for waiving the monthly service charge if certain requirements are met.

For Spend, you must have a $500 monthly direct deposit into your Spend account or have a monthly balance of $500 or more in Spend + Reserve or be over age 62. If you don’t meet one of these requirements, your monthly service charge is $7.

For Performance Spend, you must have at least $2,000 direct deposited monthly (or $1,000 for WorkPlace Banking or Military Banking customers), or $2,000 in Spend + Reserve, or $10,000 total in PNC deposit accounts. If not, you’ll pay $15 a month.

Your Performance Select account will cost you $25 per month unless you have at least $5,000 in monthly direct deposits, or a $5,000 monthly balance in Spend + Reserve, or a combined $25,000 in all PNC accounts (including investment accounts).

Each of these accounts includes free access to PNC’s network of over 18,000 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.

Spend accounts do not earn interest.

Savings Accounts

You can add a Reserve or Growth account to your Virtual Wallet for savings. Reserve is intended for short-term savings for an upcoming event or bill. Growth is intended to be for longer term savings for a specific larger goal.

Reserve and Growth accounts earn between 0.01% APY and 0.05% APY, depending on which type of Spend account you have and whether you qualify for Relationship Rates (which involves minimum balances and/or direct deposits). But if you open a Virtual Wallet Checking Pro account — which includes Reserve, Growth and Spend accounts — then you qualify for a competitive 0.50% 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 0.05% APY if your balance is up to $999,999.99, and 0.06% APY if your balances is over $1,000,000.

If you have a Performance Checking Account and qualify for Relationship Rates, your money market account will earn 0.03% APY if your balance is under $1,000,000, and 0.04% APY if it is $1,000,000 or more.

Standard money market rates are 0.02% for balances of any size.

To qualify for Relationship Rates, you must have a linked checking account or Virtual Wallet, and make one of these qualifying transactions:

  • 5 or more point-of-sale transactions from your checking account using your linked PNC debit or credit card.
  • $2,000 or more ($1,000 for WorkPlace or Military banking customers) in direct deposits in your Virtual Wallet Performance Spend or linked checking account, or $5,000 in direct deposits in your Virtual Wallet Performance Select Spend or linked Performance Select Checking account.

If you meet the qualifications for Relationship Rates from the prior month, you’ll get that rate the next month. Any time you do not qualify, your rate drops to the Standard rate the next month.

PNC Bank’s Premier Money Market Account was rated a GoBankingRates Best Money Market Account for 2022.

PNC Bank Features

Virtual Wallet

The concept of the virtual wallet is that all your accounts work together to help you manage your money. You can select your checking account and one or more savings accounts, and they work together to help you reach your financial goals. There’s also an incentive to open a Virtual Wallet — new customers can get up to $300, depending on the type of account.

Low Cash Mode

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

Mobile App

The PNC mobile app lets you do all your banking on your phone, if that’s how you prefer to do it. You can deposit checks, check your balance, transfer funds, send money with Zelle and get cash back on debit card purchases with PNC Purchase Payback.

The PNC mobile app gets high marks from users, with a score of 4.5 on the Apple App Store and 4.7 on Google Play.

Fees and Rates

You can waive the monthly statement fees on PNC Bank’s checking accounts, but the requirements to do so are pretty stringent. If you change jobs, for example, you may miss a month of direct deposit, so you’ll get charged a statement fee that month.

The requirements for the ‘Relationship’ interest rates are similar — you have to have certain qualifying events each month to qualify for the better rate the following month.

Other Factors To Consider

PNC offers specialized checking accounts for students and members of the military. These accounts cater to the specialized needs of these customers to help them get the most from their banking relationships.

Editor’s Favorite

The Virtual Wallet is a great concept that helps consumers look at money management in a more holistic way. By linking accounts together and providing benefits based on your total account balances, you can begin to understand your complete financial picture.

PNC Bank vs. Competitors

You don’t get to be the seventh largest bank in the country unless you’re giving customers what they want. That said, there are other large banks that provide similar products and services. The decision of which bank to choose often comes down to how much help they provide with managing your money. PNC Bank’s money management tools and Virtual Wallet put them at the top of this list in this area.

Final Take

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.

FAQ

Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding PNC Bank.
  • Where is PNC Bank located?
    • PNC Bank has its headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and has locations throughout the mid-Atlantic, Midwest, Southeast and Southeast.
  • Is PNC a big bank?
    • PNC Bank is the seventh-largest bank in the U.S. and has 2,700 branches. PNC bought BBVA in 2021 to expand its presence in the Southeast.
  • Is PNC Bank FDIC insured?
    • Yes, PNC Bank is a member of FDIC.

This article was updated on March 1, 2022 to reflect the new APY for the Virtual Wallet Pro product.

Rates are subject to change. Information on accounts is accurate as of Dec. 29, 2021.

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

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About the Author

Karen Doyle is a personal finance writer with over 20 years’ experience writing about investments, money management and financial planning. Her work has appeared on numerous news and finance websites including GOBankingRates, Yahoo! Finance, MSN, USA Today, CNBC, Equifax.com, and more.

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