Updated March 28, 2023

PNC Bank Review: Is It Good?

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PNC Bank has relatively low requirements to waive fees and offers many financial tools to help you meet savings goals. Read on to see if this East Coast bank is right for you.

5-point scale (the higher, the better)

Pros and Cons

  • Virtual Wallet tools
  • Relatively easy to waive fees
  • Free student account
  • Limited branches
  • Low APY on some savings accounts

Bottom Line

East Coast bank with advanced financial tools to help achieve goals

PNC has approximately 2,300+ branches throughout 29 different states plus D.C. - most of them in Eastern states. While you don't have to have a physical branch near you to be a PNC customer, it may make the most sense for those who live near a branch.

PNC does offer online banking and financial tools to help you get on track with your finances. In addition, PNC works closely with universities to help college students become financially savvy.

Keep reading to learn if PNC bank is right for you.

Services Offered

Virtual Wallet

PNC's Virtual Wallet offers the most benefits. This account provides access to a primary checking (spend account), interest-bearing (reserve account), and savings (growth account) account, all in one.

Your bills, ATM withdrawals, online and in-store purchases come out of the Spend account. Your Reserve account is your secondary checking account for short-term goals. You can use this to save up for upcoming expenses or short-term goals. Your Growth account is meant for longer-term savings, for things like wedding funds, house down payments, or funds for your dream vacation.

Within your Virtual Wallet dashboard or mobile app, you can access the following features:

  • Calendar: This isn't a calendar to keep track of birthdays - it's a financial calendar. You'll see when you get paid next, how much money you'll spend on bills, how much you are spending and more importantly, where you spent your money.

  • Bill Pay: Say goodbye to late payments and late fees. Instead, pay your bills on time with Virtual Wallet's Bill Pay by setting up recurring payments. If you prefer to make your payments yourself, you can set up reminders to avoid those late payments.

  • Danger Day: Get advanced warning of "danger days" or days you will overdraw your account. This gives you time to transfer money over from your Reserve account to avoid overdraft charges.

  • Wish List: You can set up several goals, putting money towards each goal as you can. You'll watch your money grow and make your goals reality.

  • Spending & Budgets: Get a birds' eye view of your spending by category. You can also set up budgets for each category and receive notifications when you reach that limit and are about to exceed it.

  • Savings Engine: Make savings automatic by putting a specific percentage of each paycheck directly into your saving account.

  • Punch the Pig: If you have a few extra dollars, you can save them by "punching the pig." You click your mouse on the pig or shake your smartphone on the mobile app and the amount you designated will move over to your Growth account automatically. This is just PNC's way of making saving money a little more exciting.

  • Low Cash Mode: When your balance is low, you have more choice and control to avoid overdraft fees with your Spend account. You can customize alerts when your balance is low, you can choose to pay or return certain checks and ACH items, and you'll receive at least 24 hours of extra time to bring your available balance to at least $0. Only a maximum of one overdraft fee per day will be charged if you remain in a negative balance after your extra time expires.

You can pair any of the below checking accounts with Virtual Wallet or you can choose a standalone checking account. The difference between the various tiers is the minimum required balance and/or minimum required automatic deposits to waive the monthly service fee.

PNC Checking and Savings Accounts

PNC offers three checking account options:

  • Performance Select
  • Performance Spend
  • Standard Checking

You can also set up your savings account as a part of the Virtual Wallet or as a standalone account. PNC offers different tiers. The bigger your balance, the more interest you may earn on your savings. The Premiere Money Market account also offers higher interest rates on your balances. In addition to the Money Market account, PNC offers the following savings accounts:

  • Premiere Money Market
  • Standard Savings

PNC also offers a few other options including:

  • "S" is for Saving: A savings account with no minimum deposit and no monthly fee for children under age 18. PNC offers a kid-friendly way to learn about savings through the use of Sesame Street characters and interactive online banking features.

  • CDs: If you can set your money aside for a specified period, PNC's CDs offer higher rates of interest.

  • IRAs: It's never too early to start saving for retirement, and PNC's IRAs help you do that with tax-advantaged accounts.

Compare Checking Accounts

Compare Savings Accounts

Online and Mobile Banking

PNC offers free online and mobile banking with each of their accounts. These services give you access to your funds at your computer or while on-the-go. You can check balances, pay bills, and transfer money all from your computer, tablet, or smartphone.

When you use online and mobile banking, you can access your online account statements, transfer funds to PNC and non-PNC accounts, and download your transactions directly to Quicken or QuickBooks. You can also transfer money to family or friends easily with Zelle®. All you need is your recipient's email address or phone number to send them money right from your PNC account.

Finding Your Routing Number
You can find your PNC routing number in a few different ways:

  • Look at a posted check in your online banking account.
  • Open an online bank statement and print it
  • Click on "Show Account & Routing Number" in your online account if you don't have a Virtual Wallet account.

Reasons We Like PNC Bank

  • PNC offers budgeting tools. We like that PNC helps you take control of your finances. With Virtual Wallet, you get more than a bank account. You get budgeting tools that help you organize your finances. The graphs are easy to read and the color-coded notifications make it easy to realize when you are in danger of going over on your account.

  • You can set up automatic overdraft protection with Virtual Wallet. With Virtual Wallet, your Reserve account is the primary overdraft protection if you spend more than you have in your spend account. The money is automatically transferred, so you don't have to worry about fees or bounced checks. If you need it, your Growth account can serve as your secondary overdraft protection account.

  • College students don't pay monthly fees. As long as you are enrolled in college and can prove it, you won't pay fees for Virtual Wallet. College students at PNC partner colleges may also have access to personal finance education classes to help you learn the basics of budgeting, saving, and investing.

  • You can get the monthly service fees waived if you meet the minimum requirements. Each PNC checking account has a minimum account balance required or you will pay a monthly fee. If you don't meet the minimum, you may be able to have the fee waived by meeting the minimum monthly direct deposit requirements.

  • You can pay bills online free of charge. Paying your bills online and utilizing the notifications Virtual Wallet provides can help you stay on track with your bills and avoid late payments. You can also set up recurring payments to make paying your bills automatic.

  • It's easy to apply for a new account. You can apply for many of the PNC accounts right on their website. You'll get an answer within a few seconds along with the account requirements and documents, so that you know exactly what the account requires/provides.

  • You can get your ATM fees reimbursed with most PNC accounts. The type of account and your location will determine the maximum amount PNC will cover. For example, with Performance Spend, you can be reimbursed for non-PNC ATM charges up to twice and up to $5 for surcharge fees from other banks in each statement cycle. With Performance Select, there are no charges for using other banks' ATMs, whether domestic or international, and you can be reimbursed up to $10 for surcharge fees.

  • You can transfer money in three different ways. You can transfer money between PNC accounts, from your PNC account to an external account, or to friends/family using Zelle®.

  • You can make mobile deposits. Using the PNC mobile app and the camera on your smartphone, you can deposit your checks from anywhere. Many funds are available the next business day if deposited by 10 PM ET on a business day. They do offer a service called PNC Express Funds, which makes the full amount of the check available immediately, but there is a fee.

  • PNC offers a non-advertised second chance checking account. If you've had financial issues in the past and can't get a traditional checking account, the Foundation Checking account may be a good option to get you started.

Contacting Customer Service:
PNC offers a few ways to contact customer service:

  • Phone: You can reach the automated system or representative by calling 1-888-PNC-BANK. The automated system is available 24/7. Customer service representatives are available Monday - Friday, 8 AM to 9 PM ET and 8 AM to 5 PM ET Saturday and Sunday.
  • Twitter: You can tweet your questions on PNC's Twitter account and get answers Monday - Sunday 6 AM to midnight.
  • Email: You can email PNC directly from your online banking account by signing into your account and visiting your Secure Message Center.

Reasons You May Want to Look Elsewhere

  • You need at least $500 in your account to avoid fees if you don't use direct deposit on even the most basic PNC checking account. This isn't good for those who keep low monthly balances in their checking accounts.

  • PNC only operates in 29 states and D.C.. If you don't live in one of these states, you will only have access to PNC online. Because your ATMs will be non-PNC, it can get costly to get access to your own money.

  • The interest rates offered are fairly low if you use the standard account. PNC reserves their higher interest rates for Virtual Wallet clients and knocks the rates down to next to nothing for standard accounts.

How It Compares

TD Bank: If you live in the Eastern states, TD Bank offers a wider selection of ATMS, especially in the Northeast. TD Bank also has lower minimum balance requirements to waive the monthly service fee. They don't offer a waiver for direct deposit for the most basic checking account, though. TD Bank doesn't charge a fee for using your debit card overseas, which can be beneficial for travelers.

Wells Fargo: If you are looking for easily accessible ATMs throughout the US, Wells Fargo is a good choice. Wells Fargo, like PNC, has monthly service fees that can be waived with direct deposit or minimum daily balances. Wells Fargo also offers budgeting and financial tools that make banking a little easier.

You might also consider:

Bottom Line

PNC offers many options for checking and savings accounts, but even more robust options for those who want budgeting tools. The Virtual Wallet accounts are unique in their offerings and rather affordable compared to what other banks charge. If you live in a state where PNCs are located, it can be a great way to help you set up a budget, track your finances, and reach your savings goals.

Member FDIC

Chase Total Checking® - $300 Bonus

Expires 7/24/2024
  • New Chase checking customers enjoy a $300 bonus when you open a Chase Total Checking® account with qualifying activities
  • Access to more than 15,000 Chase ATMs and more than 4,700 branches
  • Chase Mobile® app - Manage your accounts, deposit checks, transfer money and more -- all from your device.
  • JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. Member FDIC
  • Open your account online now
  • Available online nationwide except in Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. For branch locations, visit locator.chase.com.
  • Chase Overdraft Assist℠ - no overdraft fees if you're overdrawn by $50 or less at the end of the business day or if you're overdrawn by more than $50 and bring your account balance to overdrawn by $50 or less at the end of the next business day*
Bank of America
Member FDIC

Bank of America Advantage Banking - $200 Bonus Offer

Expires 9/30/2024
  • The $200 bonus offer is an online only offer and must be opened through the Bank of America promotional page.
  • The offer is for new checking customers only.
  • Offer expires 9/30/2024.
  • To qualify, open a new eligible Bank of America Advantage Banking account through the promotional page and set up and receive qualifying direct deposits totaling $2,000 or more into that new eligible account within 90 days of account opening. Bank of America Advantage SafeBalance Banking® for Family Banking accounts are not eligible for this offer.
  • Once all requirements are met, Bank of America will attempt to pay bonus within 60 days.
  • Additional terms and conditions apply. See offer page for more details.
  • Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.
Discover Bank
Member FDIC

Discover® Online Savings - $200 Cash Bonus

Expires 9/12/2024

To qualify for Bonus: Apply for your first Discover Online Savings Account, enter Offer Code CY624 at application, deposit into your Account a total of at least $15,000 to earn a $150 Bonus or deposit a total of at least $25,000 to earn a $200 Bonus. Qualifying deposit(s) may consist of multiple deposits and must post to Account within 45 days of account open date. Maximum bonus eligibility is $200.

What to know: Offer not valid for existing or prior Discover savings customers, including co-branded, or affinity accounts. Eligibility is based on primary account owner. Account must be open when bonus is credited. Bonus will be credited to the account within 60 days of the account qualifying for the bonus. Bonus is subject to tax reporting. Offer ends 09/12/2024, 11:59 PM ET. Offer may be modified or withdrawn without notice. See advertiser website for full details.

CIT Bank
Member FDIC

CIT Bank Platinum Savings - 5.00% APY

  • 5.00% APY with a balance of $5,000 or more
  • 0.25% APY with a balance of less than $5,000
  • $100 minimum opening deposit
  • No monthly maintenance fee
  • Member FDIC

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CreditDonkey is a bank comparison website. We publish data-driven analysis to help you save money & make savvy decisions.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed on this page are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

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