September 25, 2018

PNC Bank Review: Is It Good?

Read more about PNC Bank
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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.

Overall Score

3.5

Savings

3.0

CD

2.0

Checking

4.0

Money Market

3.5

Customer Service

4.0

Mobile App

4.5
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

Bottom Line

East Coast bank with advanced financial tools to help achieve goals

PNC has 2,600 branches throughout 19 different states - most of them 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 checking (spend account), savings (reserve account), and investment (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 short-term savings. 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.

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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 Warnings: 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.

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 Checking
  • 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 higher the account, the more interest you may earn on your savings. The Premiere Money Market account offers the highest 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 for children up to 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 PopMoney. 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, the Performance Select Checking account allows reimbursement of charges for using a non-PNC ATM up to 4 times. They also reimburse up to $10 per month for non-PNC charges.

  • 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 PopMoney.

  • 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, 7 AM to 10 PM and 8 AM to 5 PM 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 19 states. If you don't live in one of the 19 Eastern 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, 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 minimum requirements 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.

Chase
Member FDIC

Chase Total Checking® - $200 Bonus

Expires 10/19/2022
  • New Chase checking customers enjoy a $200 bonus when you open a Chase Total Checking® account and set up direct deposit
  • Access to 16,000 Chase ATMs and more than 4,700 branches
  • Chase Mobile® app - Manage your accounts, deposit checks, transfer money and more -- all from your device.
  • 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 fee 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*

*With Chase Overdraft Assist℠, we won't charge an Insufficient Funds Fee 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 you bring your account balance to overdrawn by $50 or less at the end the next business day (you have until 11 PM ET (8 PM PT) to make a deposit or transfer). Chase Overdraft Assist does not require enrollment and comes with eligible Chase checking accounts.

TD Bank
Member FDIC

TD Beyond Checking - $300 Cash Bonus

Expires 10/31/2022
  • Earn $300 when you receive direct deposits totaling $2,500 or more within 60 days
  • Get more from your checking account. With TD Beyond Checking with Payback Plus, you'll earn interest and get reimbursed for non-TD ATM transactions, Overdraft Payback and more.
  • Monthly maintenance fee waived when you receive monthly direct deposits of $5,000 or more within a statement cycle, or maintain a minimum daily balance of $2,500, or a combined balance of $25,000 across eligible TD accounts.
  • TD ATM fees waived at any ATM and non-TD fees reimbursed when you keep at least a $2,500 daily balance
  • Get overdraft fees automatically reversed up to two times a year.
  • Get your money where it needs to go —fast— with Rush Bill Payments, Send Money with Zelle®, incoming wires and a reimbursement for one outgoing wire (domestic or international) per statement cycle.
  • TD checking accounts come with an instant-issue debit card - and, you can pay with confidence with contactless technology Visa Zero Liability protection and 24/7 fraud monitoring.
  • Monthly maintenance fee waived on one TD Simple Checking℠ account and any Savings accounts. Plus, get free standard check orders, money orders, official bank checks and stop payments.
Citibank

Citi Priority Account - Earn up to $2,000 Cash Bonus

Expires 1/9/2023
  • Earn up to $2,000 cash bonus when you open a new eligible Citi Priority Checking Account with required activities
  • Within 20 days of opening, deposit the minimum amount of new-to-Citibank funds.
  • Maintain a minimum balance for 60 consecutive calendar days from the 21st day.
  • If your balance falls to a lower tier at any point during the maintenance period, the bonus changes.
  • Bonus will be paid within 30 days after you successfully complete all required activities.
CIT Bank
Member FDIC

CIT Bank Savings Connect - 1.90% APY

  • Earn 19x the national average
  • $100 minimum opening deposit
  • No monthly maintenance fee
Discover Bank
Member FDIC

Discover Online Savings - $200 Cash Bonus

To get your $150 or $200 Bonus: What to do: Apply for your first Discover Online Savings Account (online, by phone or Discover App). Enter Offer Code CY622 when applying. 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. Deposit must be posted to account within 30 days of account open date. Maximum bonus eligibility is $200.

What to know: Offer not valid for existing or prior Discover savings customers or existing or prior customers with savings accounts that are co-branded, or affinity accounts provided by Discover. Eligibility is based on primary account owner. Account must be open when bonus is credited. Bonus will be credited to the account within 30 days of the account qualifying for the bonus. Bonus is interest and subject to reporting on Form 1099-INT. Offer ends 09/15/2022, 11:59 PM ET. Offer may be modified or withdrawn without notice. See advertiser website for full details.

Expires 9/15/2022

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