PNC Bank Review: Checking, Savings and CDs

PNC Bank is a solid choice for checking, but you'll find better rates on CDs elsewhere.

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Overall bank rating

PNC
  • Savings

  • Checking

  • CD rates

  • Banking experience

  • Overdraft fees

3.5

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line: PNC Bank is the seventh-largest bank in the country by assets. Depending on their location, customers can earn up to a $300 sign-up bonus with a checking, short-term savings and long-term savings combo called Virtual Wallet. The trio of products — named Spend, Reserve and Growth, respectively — comes with a nice set of online management tools. But the interest rate on short-term savings is low, and it takes effort to avoid monthly fees on the checking account.

Pros

  • Strong online and mobile tools, and many customer service options.

  • About 18,000 fee-free ATMs and 2,300 branches in about 20 states and Washington, D.C.

Cons

  • 0.01% APY on short-term savings account, but much better rates available to customers in certain regions of the country.

  • $36 overdraft fee can be charged four times daily.

Full review

PNC Virtual Wallet Growth

PNC Virtual Wallet Growth

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
APY

0.01%

With $1 minimum balance

PNC offers two savings options in the Virtual Wallet bundle. For greater returns, savings can be shunted into a Growth long-term savings account, which can earn a slightly higher, relationship rate if you meet other qualifications, such as having five debit card transactions post to the Spend checking account each month, or having $500 in qualifying direct deposits to the Spend account. Customers in certain regions may qualify for higher rates on their Growth accounts, and might be eligible to apply for PNC's online savings account, which also comes with a higher annual percentage yield.

The Reserve account, which didn't factor into our ratings, is meant for short-term savings (the bank refers to the account as an “interest-bearing checking account”) and earns 0.01% APY, below the national average of 0.06% APY.

PNC Virtual Wallet Spend

PNC Virtual Wallet Spend

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
Monthly Fee

$7.00

Waived with direct deposit or $500 minimum balance

Virtual Wallet Spend, one of PNC’s basic checking accounts, has free mobile banking and online bill pay. If you use a non-PNC ATM, the bank may also reimburse some ATM usage fees, depending on where you live, though the machine’s owner could still charge a separate fee.

Virtual Wallet Spend has a $7 monthly fee that can be avoided in a few ways, including monthly direct deposits of $500 and average combined balances of $500.

The account offers tools that let you schedule bill reminders, track your balance and see how much you have left to spend after scheduled bills, as well as set up budgets and alerts.

PNC CD

PNC CD

1.5

NerdWallet rating 
1-year APY

0.02%

3-year APY

0.01%

5-year APY

0.02%

Minimum Deposit

$1,000

PNC's fixed-rate CD yields are mostly low and less than what you could earn in a high-yield savings account. Other banks and credit unions have lower minimums. Compare PNC's CD terms with other banks' using our tool.

» Looking for the best CD rates? See what banks are offering this month

Banking experience

4.0

NerdWallet rating 

Customer service representatives are available seven days a week, with extended hours on weekdays. Support is also available via live chat and Twitter.

The PNC mobile app is highly rated, earning 4.5 stars out of 5 on Android devices and 4.8 stars for the iOS version.

Overdraft fees

3.5

NerdWallet rating 

Penalties for overdrafts are high. If a transaction causes your account to go more than $5 negative, the fee is $36 per item, up to a maximum of four charges per day.

In April 2021, PNC announced a new overdraft program available to select customers called “Low Cash Mode.” The program lets people decide whether certain transactions should be paid or returned if balances would go negative, though the bank has the final say on how to handle transactions. PNC also gives customers 24 hours to bring negative balances to $0 or higher to avoid overdraft fees. The program is currently available to customers with Virtual Wallet Checking Pro or Student checking; nationwide rollout will be in June and July.

PNC Virtual Wallet Growth

PNC Virtual Wallet Growth

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
APY

0.01%

With $1 minimum balance

PNC offers two savings options in the Virtual Wallet bundle. For greater returns, savings can be shunted into a Growth long-term savings account, which can earn a slightly higher, relationship rate if you meet other qualifications, such as having five debit card transactions post to the Spend checking account each month, or having $500 in qualifying direct deposits to the Spend account. Customers in certain regions may qualify for higher rates on their Growth accounts, and might be eligible to apply for PNC's online savings account, which also comes with a higher annual percentage yield.

The Reserve account, which didn't factor into our ratings, is meant for short-term savings (the bank refers to the account as an “interest-bearing checking account”) and earns 0.01% APY, below the national average of 0.06% APY.

How does PNC compare?

NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
APY

0.50%

With $0 minimum balance

APY

0.40%

With $0 minimum balance

APY

0.55%

With $0 minimum balance

Bonus

N/A

Bonus

N/A

Bonus

N/A

RATING METHODOLOGY

NerdWallet’s overall ratings for banks and credit unions are weighted averages of several categories: checking, savings, certificates of deposit or credit union share certificates, banking experience and overdraft fees. Factors we consider, depending on the category, include rates and fees, ATM and branch access, account features and limits, user-facing technology, customer service and innovation. The stars represent ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star.