PNC Bank is a full service online and physical bank. They have a large presence on the east coast and midwest.
PNC Bank has become known for offering high yield savings accounts, and they also offer an interest-earning virtual checking account. They also offer student loans and we've reviewed their student loans product specifically here: PNC Bank student loans review.
So how does PNC Bank stack up? See how they compare to our list of the best savings accounts, and read our full review below.
- High-yield checking account and virtual wallet
- Well known online high yield savings account
- There are minimums and some fees above-average
What Is PNC Bank?
PNC Bank has been around for over 160 years. It is a full-service bank offering savings, checking, retirement, mortgages, loans, and service for both personal and business customers.
It had assets of $409 billion as of September 30, 2019. It falls into the back half of the 10 largest U.S. banks by assets. PNC Bank mainly serves the mid-Atlantic, Midwest, and Southeast regions.
What Do They Offer?
PNC Bank offers a full suite of financial products. In this article, we’ll focus on their savings and checking products.
PNC Bank’s savings product is called PNC High Yield Savings. This product is not available in all markets. You can type in your zip code at the website to see if it is available in your market.
There is no minimum to open, no minimum balance to maintain, and there are no monthly service fees. See how it compares to the other best accounts here:
PNC Bank’s checking account product that combines checking and savings is called Virtual Wallet. You can earn a solid interest on your money in the account. This account is very similar to Radius Bank's checking account. The higher APY is reserved for relationship customers. Relationship customers meet one of the following qualifications:
- Make at least five qualifying purchases in a month with your Virtual Wallet Debit Card and/or PNC credit card included in your Virtual Wallet.
- Set up a qualifying monthly direct deposit of at least $500 for Virtual Wallet or Virtual Wallet Student, or one of the following:
- $2,000 ($1,000 for PNC WorkPlace Banking® or Military Banking customers) for Virtual Wallet with Performance Spend.
- $5,000 for Virtual Wallet with Performance Select.
There is also a $300, $200, or $50 bonus available if you use a Virtual Wallet product (see how this compares to other bank bonus offers). Eligibility for the bonus is as follows:
- $300 reward: Open a new Virtual Wallet with Performance Select.
- $200 reward: Open a new Virtual Wallet with Performance Spend.
- $50 reward: Open a new Virtual Wallet.
So what exactly is a Virtual Wallet? PNC Virtual Wallet has three primary objects: Spend (checking), Reserve (earning interest on checking), and Growth (savings). In a nutshell, it’s a checking account with a high interest rate.
To avoid the $7/month fee in the basic Virtual Wallet checking account, you’ll need to do $500/month in qualifying deposits, maintain a $500 balance, or be at least 62 years old.
Virtual Wallet with Performance Spend earns interest on balances of $2,000 or more. It has a $15/month fee, but you can avoid it in several ways — $2,000 in qualifying deposits, a $2,000 balance, or $10,000 in combined PNC consumer deposits.
Virtual Wallet with Performance Select also earns interest on balances of $2,000 or more. It has a $25/month fee that is waived by $5,000 in qualifying deposits; a $5,000 balance (including linked checking accounts); or $25,000 in combined balances or PNC consumer deposits, and/or investments. This account is also eligible for the higher relationship rates.
Finally, there is a Virtual Wallet Student account available. The account is also eligible for the higher relationship rates. There are no deposit or balance requirements on this account and it doesn’t have a monthly fee.
PNC Bank offers digital and mobile banking. You’ll have access to Zelle, mobile check deposits, money transfers, online bill payment, and more. The mobile app also allows you to access a PNC ATM without having to use your debit card. This is done by using an access code.
See how PNC Bank compares to the other top free checking accounts here.
Are There Any Fees?
Yes — there are a number of fees to watch out for. If you close your account within 180 days of opening it, there will be a $25 fee. There is a $36 overdraft fee, with up to four occurrences per day. To replace a card, it costs $7.50. Stop payments will cost $33 each.
How Do I Open an Account?
Visit pnc.com to apply for an account.
Is My Money Safe?
Yes — PNC Bank’s savings and checking products are FDIC-secured. Additionally, PNC uses bank-grade encryption.
Is It Worth It?
PNC Bank’s checking product is competitive. It offers an attractive APY coupled with a full-service, major bank. Ultimately, if ATM access is within your area so that you can avoid fees, the service can be worth it. If you also need branch access, be sure there are branches in your location.
PNC Bank Review
- Interest Rates - 80
- Fees and Charges - 80
- Customer Service - 60
- Ease of Use - 70
- Tools and Resources - 90
- Products and Services - 90
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him here and here.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.