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PNC

Reviewed
July 2012
by ConsumerSearch
PNC

Pros
  • Free combined accounts
  • Overdraft protection
  • Free online bill pay
  • Mobile banking
Cons
  • Only three paper checks per month
  • Interest rate on savings not the highest
  • Other banks' ATM fees not reimbursed
Where to Buy
 

Among big banks, PNC tends to earn more positive feedback than most. ComScore.com's most recent annual survey finds that PNC earns substantially higher customer satisfaction scores than the four other large banks to which it is compared. This holds true in both areas measured: the financial institution itself and its website.

PNC's Virtual Wallet account draws some commentary from expert reviewers. It combines a Spend (checking), Reserve (short-term savings) and Growth (savings) account into one. Funds are transferred from the Reserve account to cover any overdraft in the checking account, so you avoid overdraft fees. The account is free with free online bill pay. There are drawbacks, though: You cannot earn rewards with your debit card, and you get only two free withdrawals per month from PNC ATMs, with no reimbursement of other banks' ATM fees. In addition, you can write only three checks per month without paying a 50-cent fee per check.

Kiplinger.com includes the Virtual Wallet account on a list of the six best online banks, and the editors of MYBankTracker.com give it a 3-star rating (out of 5). BankRate.com, meanwhile vouches for PNC's overall strength and stability with a 4-star Safe &Sound rating, meaning it is considered sound.

Our Sources

1. ComScore.com

This report is based on a survey of over 2,500 people who bank online at the largest U.S. banks. The survey measures overall customer satisfaction and satisfaction with the banks' websites. PNC Bank tops the rankings in both categories for 2011.

Review: The 2011 State of Online and Mobile Banking Report, Sarah Lenart and Nathan Frederiksen, Feb. 2012

2. Kiplinger.com

PNC's Virtual Wallet account lands PNC on this list of the six best online banks. This article appeared before Virtual Wallet had two versions, so it refers to the original.

Review: Best Online Banks, Joan Goldwasser, Dec. 2010

3. Bankrate.com

BankRate.com editors assign PNC a rating of 4 out of 5 stars. More information is available, but only if you follow the links next to the rating.

Review: Safe & Sound Rating: PNC, Editors of BankRate.com

4. MyBankTracker.com

The editors here rate PNC 3 out of 5 stars. Customers give PNC a lower rating: 2 stars. Many complain about PNC's customer service, hidden fees and other factors. Many, but not all, banks get low ratings from customers on this site.

Review: Bank Report Card: PNC, Editors and contributors to MyBankTracker.com

5. DepositAccounts.com

Personal finance blogger Ken Tumin recommends Virtual Wallet, but he points out that it's gotten more complicated and that the original free account no longer lets customers earn rewards with their debit cards.

Review: Updated Review of PNC's Virtual Wallet, Ken Tumin, Oct. 7, 2011

6. ConsumerReports.org

This article discusses why so many people are angry at large banks: lower interest rates and attempts to levy new fees. Ratings are not provided, but good general information is available and the article is free even for non-subscribers.

Review: Bank Accounts: More Fees Are Coming. How To Fight Back -- or Flee, Editors of Consumer Reports magazine, Feb. 2012

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PNC

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USAA Federal Savings Bank

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