PNC Bank Review

PNC Bank is one of the largest — and oldest — banks in the United States, with current headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. While the current bank has been around since only 1983, PNC’s roots go back much further to the 1800s. Today, it employs 53,000 people, has $406 billion in assets, and offers retail banking, asset management, corporate/institutional banking and investment management via Blackrock.

PNC Bank is a good fit for people who are ready to start growing their financial futures and are willing to choose one bank for all of their accounts. PNC has a variety of tools that make it easy to learn good money management skills as well as significant reward tiers that are tied to account balances. The bank offers above-average interest rates on its savings and money market accounts as well as its CDs, but only if you meet specific qualifications.

PNC Bank at a glance

Minimum Savings Deposit Maximum Savings APY 1-Year CD Rate J.D. Power Survey Score Key Benefit
PNC Bank $25 0.10% 0.04% 849 Virtual Wallet tracks spending and savings

What we like about it

PNC Bank is a very old institution, but it is also very modern. Its offerings are centered on helping its customers understand how to manage their money better. PNC alerts customers when their balances are low and helps visually explain their finances so they are easy to understand. For account holders who manage to increase their cash holdings, PNC rewards them with interest. There is also a gamified element that some users may find appealing.

Things to consider

PNC Bank’s offerings are somewhat different from other banks. PNC Bank could be a real gamechanger for someone who is used to traditional checking and savings accounts. Also, some people may not appreciate PNC Bank’s visual tools. Gamification isn’t for everyone. Finally, keep in mind that the bank offers what it calls “Relationship Rates.” This means that PNC offers preferable rates and terms to people who have multiple accounts with the bank. Again, this is not a deal-breaker, but it should impact your decision.

PNC checking and savings account

PNC Bank is very tech-forward. It combines checking, and savings account offerings into a single entity called a Virtual Wallet. This product has three components — Spend, Reserve and Growth. Spend looks at customer cash flow with tools like Free Balance, Danger Days, and Money Bar. The account also features a calendar that allows users to track payments and deposits. Reserve is a linked savings account for short-term savings, while Growth is a long-term savings account that rewards users with 0.05% APY for relationship accounts.

Two other Virtual Wallet account options include the Virtual Wallet with Performance Spending and the Virtual Wallet with Performance Select. The former rewards account holders for maintaining more than $2,000 in their Spend accounts, while the latter does the same while adding additional benefits. In addition to these accounts, PNC has other products, such as Student Checking geared for people under 18.

PNC Bank does offer a Standard Savings account as well. The interest rate is really low, but if you meet other standards like having a checking account with PNC, having at least $2,500 on deposit and making a certain number of transactions each month, you could get a 0.10% APY on that account.

PNC money market accounts

PNC Bank has a Premiere Money Market account that rewards customers for saving money. It is a tiered account, so the higher the balance, the higher the interest rate received. PNC requires a minimum of $100 to open this account and a $5,000 average monthly balance to avoid the monthly maintenance fee. Interest tiers start at $10,000. Overall, PNC has outstanding interest rates when you meet certain standards, but expect to receive a lower interest rate than average if you do not. For instance, expect only 0.08% for a balance of $10,000 without any relationship accounts. However, that rate doubles to 0.17% APY for the same amount if you have a linked Performance account.

PNC CDs

CD terms at PNC Bank can be as short as seven days or as long as 10 years. However, the available duration will depend on the type of CD a person opens. PNC offers five CD types: Fixed Rate CD, Ready Access CD, Callable CD, Variable Rate CD, and Stepped Rate CD. The exact rates you could get on a PNC CD change all the time. In general, you can get a better rate if you invest a higher amount or have another account with PNC, but the minimum deposit os $1,000. However, the rates are generally low compared to other banks. A $1,000 one-year CD will only accrue 0.04% APY, while the national average is closer to 2%. That’s a big difference with your earnings at the maturity of the CD.

PNC IRA accounts

PNC offers two individual retirement accounts: a traditional IRA and a Roth IRA. These accounts are subject to contribution limits and restrictions set by the IRS. The account fees and minimums required to participate in each offering depend on your filing status, age and earned income.

PNC credit cards

PNC Bank has four credit cards that are all backed by Visa. The PNC Core® Visa® offers a below-average interest rate and no annual fee, but there are no rewards; but an attractive APR range of 11.49% to 21.49% would make this card worth applying for. PNC’s other credit cards are all rewards-based but in different ways. The PNC Premier Traveler® Visa Signature® card allows you to earn miles on your purchases, while the PNC Points® Visa® lets you earn points for every dollar you spend. The bank also offers the PNC Cash Rewards® Visa®. It lets you earn as much as 4% cashback depending on the purchase category.

PNC investing

PNC Bank offers several investment opportunities. Aside from money market accounts, CDs and IRAs, the bank also has a brokerage account option called Brokerage Plus. Customers can buy bonds, mutual funds or stocks online for $4.95 a trade, well above the industry standard of $0. PNC Bank offers a Classic Investment Account as well. It is designed for people who prefer to work with an investment professional. Customers can also invest in immediate, fixed-deferred, indexed and variable annuities.

The bottom line

PNC is a well-established company with lots to offer. They have money management tools that skew more towards gamification than a simple interactive chart. The bank is very relationship-oriented, as it provides better interest rates for customers with multiple accounts. Together, this combination reinforces strong finance skills and could help some people improve their financial health.

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