Ally Bank vs. PNC Bank: Which Is Best for You?

Ruth SarrealJul 26, 2021

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Editor’s note: Online banking platform Simple announced its shutdown and transition to BBVA USA in January this year. Then in June, BBVA was acquired by PNC Bank. According to PNC, the full conversion of bank systems and branches will occur in October 2021.

Ally Bank and PNC Bank are two leading banking services. Customers can count on them for good online banking platforms.

Both banks are solid choices, offering free access to thousands of ATMs, fee-free savings accounts and a variety of CD options. But each bank shines in different areas: Ally offers significantly higher interest rates, while PNC offers branches that customers can go to. Here’s a closer look at the details of each bank and what makes them stand out.

We compared Ally and PNC across several categories to help you determine the best fit.

Snapshot comparison

Ally Bank

PNC Bank

Checking accounts

Ally Interest Checking

  • No monthly fee.

  • No minimum deposit.

PNC Virtual Wallet Spend

  • $7 monthly fee (see below for three ways to waive it).

  • No minimum deposit.

Savings accounts

Ally Online Savings Account

  • APY: 0.50% on all balances.

  • No monthly fee.

PNC Virtual Wallet Growth

  • APY: 0.01%.

  • No monthly fee.

Certificates of deposit

Ally High-Yield CD

  • 1 year: 0.55% APY.

  • 3 years: 0.65% APY.

  • 5 years: 0.80% APY.

  • Minimum deposit: None.

PNC Fixed Rate CD

  • 1 year: 0.01% APY for balances under $1,000; 0.02% APY for balances of $1,000 to under $25,000; 0.03% APY for balances of $25,000 or more.

  • 3 years: 0.01% APY for balances under $1,000; 0.02% APY for balances of $1,000 to under $25,000; 0.03% APY for balances of $25,000 or more.

  • 5 years: 0.01% APY for balances under $1,000; 0.02% APY for balances of $1,000 to under $25,000; 0.03% APY for balances of $25,000 or more.

  • Minimum deposit: $1,000.

Overdrafts, ATMs, customer service

  • Overdraft fee: $0.

  • Overdraft protection transfer fee: $0.

  • Branches: 0.

  • ATMs: Over 43,000.

  • Customer service: Available 24/7 by phone, live chat and email.

  • Overdraft fee: $36.

  • Overdraft protection transfer fee: $0.

  • Branches: About 2,300.

  • ATMS: 18,000 PNC and partner ATMs.

  • Customer service: Available by phone 7 a.m.-10 p.m. ET on weekdays and 8 a.m.-5 p.m. ET on weekends.

Ally Bank Overall Star Rating
NerdWallet rating 
Read review
PNC Virtual Wallet Spend
NerdWallet rating 
Read review

Choose Ally Bank if:

  • You want a full suite of banking products.

  • You value having several ways to reach customer service at any time, including online chat.

  • You occasionally use out-of-network ATMs. (Ally offers fee reimbursements up to $10 monthly.)

Choose PNC Bank if:

  • You prefer bundled checking and savings.

  • You want access to branches.

Ally Bank vs. PNC Bank: Basic checking accounts

Ally Interest Checking

PNC Virtual Wallet Spend

Monthly fees

$0.

$7.

  • $500 combined average monthly balance in your Spend and/or Reserve accounts.

  • $500 in qualifying monthly direct deposits to your Spend account.

  • Fee waived for ages 62 and older.

Minimum opening deposit

$0.

$0.

APY

  • 0.10% APY on deposits of less than $15,000.

  • 0.25% APY on $15,000 and above.

  • None.

ATM fees and network

  • Free access to 43,000+ Allpoint ATMs.

  • No charge for using out-of-network ATMs (ATM owner may charge a fee); reimburses up to $10 per month for out-of-network ATM fees.

  • Free access to about 18,000 PNC and partner ATMs.

  • $3 per out-of-network ATM transaction; 2 ATM fee reimbursements per statement period.

Sign-up bonus

N/A.

Up to $300 (expires 9/30/2021); our bonuses roundup explains how to qualify.

Earn interest with an Ally checking account Both banks offer some reimbursements for out-of-network ATM fees, but Ally offers free access to more than double the number of ATMs that PNC offers. Ally’s checking account also pays interest, which you won’t earn with a PNC Virtual Wallet Spend account.

» See more options on our list of best checking accounts

Ally Bank vs. PNC Bank: Basic savings accounts

Ally Online Savings Account

PNC Virtual Wallet Growth

APY

0.50% APY on all balances.

0.01% APY on all balances.

Monthly fee

$0.

$0.

Minimum deposit to open

$0.

$0.

Sign-up bonus

N/A.

Up to $300 (expires 9/30/2021); our bonuses roundup explains how to qualify.

Ally offers a much stronger savings rate. The average rate on a savings account now stands at 0.06%, paltry compared with Ally’s APY, but higher than what you’ll get with PNC’s Growth savings.

But if a sign-up bonus is what you’re after, PNC comes out on top.

» Looking for higher rates? Explore NerdWallet's list of top online savings accounts

Ally Bank vs. PNC Bank: Certificates of deposit

Ally High-Yield CD

PNC Fixed Rate CD

Minimum opening deposit

$0.

$250.

APY on one-year term

0.55%.

0.01% APY for balances under $1,000; 0.02% APY for balances of $1,000 to under $25,000; 0.03% for balances of $25,000 or more.

APY on three-year term

0.65%.

0.01% APY for balances under $1,000; 0.02% APY for balances of $1,000 to under $25,000; 0.03% for balances of $25,000 or more.

APY on five-year term

0.80%.

0.01% APY for balances under $1,000; 0.02% APY for balances of $1,000 to under $25,000; 0.03% for balances of $25,000 or more.

Both banks offer no-penalty CDs, but Ally pays much higher rates than PNC. Ally's CD terms range from three months to five years and have no minimum deposit. PNC offers more terms, from seven days to 10 years, and requires a minimum deposit of $1,000. To compare more no-penalty CDs, see our list of the best options.

» To compare, see our list of the best CD rates

Ally Bank vs. PNC Bank: Banking experience

Ally Bank

PNC Bank

Branches

0.

2,300.

Banking apps (ratings from app store users)

  • 4.7 out of 5 stars for iOS.

  • 3.7 out of 5 for Android.

  • 4.8 out of 5 stars for iOS.

  • 4.5 out of 5 for Android.

Customer service

  • Available 24/7 by phone.

  • Live chat support available.

  • Email support available.

  • Social media support available.

  • Phone reps are on call 7 a.m.-10 p.m. ET on weekdays, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. ET on weekends.

  • Social media support available.

Both banks offer responsive customer service through at least a couple of different channels, but Ally takes the cake with 24/7 phone and live chat support. Ally’s online chat service is reliable and even lists estimated wait times so folks can get on with their day if the virtual line is too long.

Ally Bank vs. PNC Bank: Overdraft fees

Ally Bank

PNC Bank

Overdraft fee

$0.

$36, maximum of four per day.

Overdraft protection transfer fee

$0.

$0.

Extended overdraft fee

N/A.

N/A.

Only Ally Bank won’t penalize you for overdrawing your account. With PNC, you’ll pay $36 up to four times per day; compare that with the national average of $35 according to a NerdWallet study. PNC does offer a grace period, called Extra Time, to get your balance back to $0 to avoid an overdraft fee.

Both banks offer free overdraft protection transfers.

Two strong options with distinct strengths

Ally and PNC are both strong banking options, and their services will come as a welcome change of pace for folks accustomed to high fees.

If you want the option of getting service in person at a branch and prefer your checking and savings accounts to be bundled together, PNC is a better choice for you. But if you want a bank with well-rated mobile apps and strong customer service options, Ally’s suite of savings products will serve you well. You can see other options on our list of best banks and credit unions.

Discover Bank logo
Learn More

Member FDIC

Discover Bank Online Savings

Discover Bank logo
APY

0.40%

Min. balance for APY

$0

Alliant Credit Union logo
Learn More

Federally insured by the NCUA

Alliant Credit Union High-Rate Savings

Alliant Credit Union logo
APY

0.55%

Min. balance for APY

$100

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