PNC Bank Review 2024

PNC Bank is a name well known in the eastern half of the U.S. What does PNC Bank stand for? The name is the result of a 1982 merger between Pittsburgh National Corporation and Provident National Corporation. Since both companies used the abbreviation PNC, the title was carried to the newly-merged bank.

The seventh largest bank in the United States, PNC Bank offers customers access to thousands of branches and in-network ATMs. Depositors can take advantage of checking, savings, and money market accounts, as well as CDs and investments. And as a full-service bank, PNC Bank offers loans, credit cards, and business and commercial banking services. 

Is PNC Bank the right choice for you? 

Who is PNC Bank for?

PNC will best serve those who are looking for a bank with a local branch office, at least in one of the many states in which the bank operates. It’s also a solid choice if you’re looking for a full-service bank that provides credit cards, loans, and investment services, in addition to banking. If you run a small business, you may also appreciate PNC’s wide service selections for both personal and business customers. 

However, PNC Bank is probably not the best choice if you’re looking for high interest on your deposit accounts. The bank pays competitive rates on only a handful of account balances and CD terms.

Review of PNC Bank products PNC savings account 

PNC’s Standard Savings account can be opened online with no minimum deposit required. The account also comes with unlimited deposits and transfers, and PNC’s auto savings tool so you can establish recurring savings. You’ll also enjoy online and mobile banking and a PNC Banking card, with no fees at PNC ATMs. 

The account has a monthly service charge of $5, which can be waived if you are under 18, maintain an average monthly balance of at least $300, link to a Select PNC checking account, or set up auto savings transfers of at least $25 per month from your checking account. 

The account is currently paying 0.01% annual percentage yield (APY) on all account balances. Relationship rates increase to 0.02% APY on account balances below $2,500, and 0.03% APY on balances above.

Pros:

  • No minimum deposit requirement for most depositors.
  • The monthly maintenance fee is easy to avoid.
  • The auto savings feature is an efficient way to build your account balance.

Cons:

  • The interest rate structure is well below what’s available at competing banks.

Why we don’t recommend it: With competing banks paying much higher interest on savings, PNC Bank’s rate spread of 0.01% to 0.03% doesn’t stack up. For example, CIT Bank currently pays up to 4.95% APY on its high-yield savings (HYSA) account.

PNC CDs

PNC Bank offers fixed-rate CDs with terms ranging from seven days to 10 years, and a minimum of $1,000 to open. Fixed-rate IRA CDs are available for terms of six months to 10 years, with a minimum of $250 to open.

Standard fixed rates range between 0.01% and 0.03% APY. But PNC offers special promotional term CDs paying higher rates. Even then, the higher rates apply only to select terms and balances. 

For example, the four-month fixed-term CD currently pays 5% APY on balances of $100,000 and above. The nine-month CD pays 3.25% APY on balances of $1,000 and above. The 13-month CD pays 2% APY on all balances. 

Pros:

  • High interest paid on select CDs, but the four-month fixed-term CD pays 5% APY on balances of $100,000 and above.
  • A very low initial investment of $250 on IRA CDs. 

Cons: 

  • Apart from select special promotional term CDs, interest paid on PNC Bank certificates is unremarkable.

Why we don’t recommend it: Depositors can get much higher returns on most CD terms and balances through other institutions. Depositors can earn up to 5 APY on CDs with as little as $1,000 at CIT Bank, while a comparable rate on a PNC CD requires a $100,000 minimum. 

PNC checking

PNC’s primary checking account offering is its Virtual Wallet, which provides digital tools to track your spending. Depending on which Virtual Wallet you choose, you can be eligible for a sign-up bonus of up to $400. 

There are three different combinations:

Virtual Wallet

Virtual Wallet gives you the option to set up either checking only (Spend account) or checking and savings in combination. The account requires a minimum of $25 to open. It comes with a PNC Bank Visa debit card, as well as access to both online and mobile banking. You may be eligible for a $50 sign-up bonus with this account. 

If you choose to combine checking and savings, a Reserve account will be added. It represents a secondary checking account for short-term planning. The combination also comes with a Growth account for long-term savings. That will provide your Spend account with two overdraft protection sources. 

The Spend account pays no interest, while Reserve pays 0.01% APY on all balances, and Growth pays between 0.01% and 0.03% APY. 

There is a monthly service charge of $7, which can be waived if you have a $500 combined average monthly balance in your Spend and/or Reserve accounts or make at least $500 per month in qualifying direct deposits. The service charge is also waived if you are 62 or over, or you are a PNC Bank employee.

Virtual Wallet with Performance Spend

 Virtual Wallet with Performance Spend similarly offers either checking only or checking and savings together. The latter also includes both Reserve and Growth accounts. You can earn a sign-up bonus of up to $200 with this option. 

Virtual Wallet with Performance Spend comes with an interest rate of 0.01% APY on both the Spend and Reserve account balances and rates of between 0.01% and 0.04% APY on the Growth account. 

Using this option, the first two PNC fees at domestic or international out-of-network ATMs will be reimbursed each statement cycle. You’ll also receive up to $5 to cover ATM fees charged by other institutions.

There is a $15 monthly service charge, which will be waived if you have:

  • At least $2,000 in monthly direct deposits in your Spend account, or 
  • A combined monthly balance of at least $2,000 in the Spend and Reserve accounts, or 
  • At least $10,000 in all PNC consumer deposit accounts.

Virtual Wallet with Performance Select

Virtual Wallet with Performance Select works similarly to Virtual Wallet with Performance Spend. You can earn a sign-up bonus of up to $400 with this option. 

PNC currently pays 0.01% APY on all balances for both the Spend and Reserve accounts. The Growth account earns 0.04% APY on all balances up to $99,999.99. But the rate rises to 1% APY on balances between $100,000 and $999,999.99, and 1.25% APY on balances of $1 million and above. 

There is a $25 monthly service charge, which will be waived with:

  • At least $5,000 in monthly direct deposits to the Spend account. 
  • A minimum balance of $5,000 per month in the Spend and Reserve accounts combined, or 
  • $25,000 in all PNC consumer and/or investment accounts.

Virtual Wallet Student

As the name implies, this is the Virtual Wallet account for students. Similar to the adult versions, students can combine Spend, Reserve, and Growth accounts in one package. Students are eligible for the combination for up to six years, after which the plan will automatically convert to an adult Virtual Wallet. 

Not only is there no monthly service charge, but you’ll also be entitled to one automatic courtesy refund of an overdraft fee on your first overdraft. You’ll also get the benefit of one free incoming domestic or international wire transfer per statement period. 

No interest is paid on the Spend account, while the Reserve account pays 0.01% APY on all account balances, and Growth pays between 0.01% and 0.03% APY. 

Pros:

  • Requires only $25 to open an account.
  • Virtual Wallet with Performance Spend or Performance Select provides two accounts for overdraft protection.
  • The monthly service fee on the Virtual Wallet account is low at $7 and is easily waived. 

Cons:

  • Interest paid on the accounts is uncompetitive, except for the Growth account for Virtual Wallet with Performance Select, and then only on balances of $100,000 or more.

Why we don’t recommend it: The interest paid on most account options is uncompetitive with other banks. For example, Axos Bank pays up to 3.30% APY on checking account balances. 

PNC Premier Money Market

There is no minimum deposit to open PNC’s Premier Money Market account online, but you must have at least $1 on deposit to begin earning interest. 

Premier Money Market pays either 0.03% or 0.04% APY on most account balances. But balances of $100,000, up to $499,999.99, can earn 1% APY, while 1.25% APY is currently being paid on balances of $500,000 or more. 

There is a monthly service fee of $12, which is waived if you have an average monthly balance of at least $5,000, or if you are linked to a Select PNC checking account. 

Pros:

  • No deposit is required to open an account online.
  • Begin earning interest with as little as $1.
  • The $12 service charge can be waived by linking the account to a Select checking account. 

Cons:

  • Interest rates are close to zero on balances under $100,000, and only a little better on higher deposits. 

Why we don’t recommend it: There are higher returns on money market accounts at other financial institutions. For example, CIT Bank’s money market account currently pays 1.55% APY. 

Other PNC products

 PNC Bank offers the following credit and loan types:

  • Credit cards.
  • Home loans and home equity lines of credit.
  • Auto loans.
  • Personal loans and lines of credit.
  • Student loans and student loan refinancing. 

Small business offerings include:

  • Checking accounts.
  • Credit cards.
  • Merchant services.
  • Loans and lines of credit. 

In addition, the bank provides comprehensive investment products and services, including brokerage accounts and advisor-managed accounts. It also offers private banking for ultra-high net worth individuals and families. 

Review of overall features

Low Cash Mode

Low Cash Mode is a feature offered with PNC Virtual Wallet checking accounts that enables depositors to avoid overdraft fees. This is done using a combination of protections: 

  • $0 non-sufficient funds fee.
  • No more than one $36 overdraft item fee per day.
  • Customize alerts to let you know when your account balance is running low.
  • You’ll be given 24 hours to bring your balance to at least zero to avoid the overdraft. 

Bank fees Overdraft 

The Spend Account overdraft fee is $36. If the account is overdrawn by $5 or less after all transactions are posted for the day, any overdraft fees are automatically refunded. The maximum number of overdraft fees is one per day. 

For the Reserve and Growth accounts, the maximum number of overdraft fees is four per day. 

Non-sufficient funds

PNC Bank eliminated non-sufficient funds fees on all accounts on Aug. 11, 2022. 

Monthly maintenance

Monthly maintenance fees depend on the specific account you have. They are as follows: 

  • Virtual Wallet: $7.
  • Virtual Wallet with Performance Spend: $15.
  • Virtual Wallet with Performance Select: $25.
  • Virtual Wallet Student: $0.
  • Premier Money Market: $12. 

Wire fees 

Domestic wires: 

  • Incoming: $15.
  • Self-service outgoing: $25.
  • Agent assisted outgoing: $30. 

International wires:

  • Incoming: $15.
  • Self-service outgoing: $40.
  • Agent assisted outgoing: $45.
  • Self-service international money transfer: $5. 

CD early withdrawal fees

The following fees apply to the early withdrawal of CDs: 

  • CD terms less than three months: three months’ interest.
  • CD terms from three months to less than one year: three months’ interest.
  • CD terms of one year or more: six months’ interest. 

Other fees 

  • Non-PNC ATM fees in the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands: $3.
  • Non-PNC ATM fees in all other countries: $5.
  • Return item fee: $0.
  • Paper statement: $3.
  • Paper statement with check images: $5.
  • Collection items: $25.
  • Counter checks: $1.50.
  • Over-limit transaction fee: $3 per transaction.
  • Return of the deposited or cash item: $0.
  • Stop payment: $33.
  • Cashier’s checks: $10.

Customer experience

Customer support

Support is available by phone Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (all times Eastern). 

Accessibility

All PNC Bank accounts and products are accessible via online banking and the mobile banking app. 

UI/Technology

The PNC Bank mobile app has all the functionality of the online version. That includes checking balances and transactions, transferring funds between accounts, making mobile deposits, paying bills, and locating PNC Bank branches and ATMs. You can also use the app to send money to people using Zelle. 

The mobile app has a rating of 4.8 out of five stars from 1.4 million iOS users on The App Store, and 4.5 out of five stars among nearly 230,000 Android users on Google Play. 

Security

PNC Bank employs some of the highest security standards on the internet. That includes using EV SSL certificates to help identify legitimate PNC Bank customers. Firewalls are also used to limit entry to the system by unauthorized parties. 

The bank makes a security question a requirement for customers to log into their accounts. This will be required for accessing both the online and mobile platforms when the platform is not recognized by the bank. There is also an optional additional sign-on feature, which will generate a one-time passcode that will be sent to your phone via text.

More about PNC Bank

History and reputation

PNC Bank, which traces its roots all the way back to 1845, weathered the 2008 financial crisis better than many financial institutions. The Associated Press reported in 2010 that “PNC was among the better regional bank performers during the financial crisis, buying struggling rival National City Corp. in a 2008 deal…” PNC Bank was one of the first to begin repayment of TARP funds received from the U.S. Treasury during the crisis. 

Is PNC Bank FDIC insured?

PNC Bank is a member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). As such, deposit accounts are protected up to $250,000 per depositor. 

World presence

PNC Bank is headquartered in Pittsburgh. The bank has total assets of $557 billion and a network of more than 2,600 branches in the U.S. spread across 27 states and the District of Columbia. It operates more than 9,500 ATMs and provides customers with fee-free access to a network of more than 60,000 ATMs nationwide. 

How does PNC Bank compare?

Review methodology

Our evaluation is based on the primary products offered by PNC Bank. These include checking, savings, and money market accounts, as well as CDs. Consideration was also given to other financial products, including loans, credit cards, and investment services.

More specifically, we considered interest paid and fees charged on all products, as well as the number of branches and in-network ATMs. 

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

How do I close a PNC bank account?

You can contact customer service for the specific account you wish to close (see below for the list of 800 phone numbers to contact). Alternatively, you can close your account online. If you live in a location that has a PNC Bank branch, this may be the most efficient way to complete the process. 

Before you close your account, be sure to cancel any recurring transaction arrangements connected to it. That includes both direct deposit and automatic bill payments and transfers. 

Next, be sure there is sufficient cash in the account to cover any outstanding checks or payments. Ideally, it’s best to close an account when no such payments are outstanding.

Finally, be prepared to cover any outstanding balance in a closed account. Failure to do so could result in the bank reporting the account shortage to a credit reporting agency. 

Is PNC Bank in financial trouble?

No. According to a 2022 Resolution Plan issued by the FDIC, PNC Bank is not in financial distress or in danger of failing.

What is the 800 number for PNC Bank?

PNC Bank has several 800 numbers based on product categories: 

  • Virtual Wallet: 800-762-2265.
  • Personal credit cards: 800-558-8472.
  • Personal banking accounts: 800-762-2265.
  • Mortgages: 800-822–5626.
  • Student loans: 800-762-1001.
  • Investments: 800-622-7086.
  • Business banking accounts: 800-287-2654.
  • Business credit cards: 800-474-2101.

Does PNC bank use payment apps like PayPal or CashApp?

You can enroll your PNC Visa card(s) with PayPal through the PNC mobile app. You can then participate in online checkout using PayPal to make purchases anywhere the service is accepted. 

Other payment services—such as Zelle, CashApp, and Venmo—can also be used to make payments to individuals from your PNC Bank accounts.

**INVESTMENT AND INSURANCE PRODUCTS ARE: NOT A DEPOSIT • NOT FDIC INSURED • NO BANK GUARANTEE • MAY LOSE VALUE**