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Auto Loan, Reviews

Review: PenFed Credit Union Auto Loan

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Car_lg

Trying to find financing for that car you’ve been eyeing, but aren’t sure where to look? You might not want to finance with the dealer, as credit unions offer some of the best loans out there. PenFed Credit Union is no exception with rates starting as low as 1.49% for new cars, and 2.49% for used cars.

PenFed Auto Loan Details

You can finance up to $100,000 with a PenFed credit union auto loan, and you can finance up to 110% of the MSRP on a new vehicle. Be aware there are minimum loan amounts based on the term you finance under.

APRs on new vehicles start at 1.49% for 12 to 36 months, 2.24% for 37 to 48 months, 2.99% for 49 to 60 months, and 3.24% for 61 to 72 months, 3.84 for 73 to 84 months. “New vehicles” are the current and previous model year – you must be the original owner.

On used vehicles, the APR starts at 2.49% for 12 to 36 months, 2.74% for 37 to 48 months, 3.49% 49 to 60 months, and 3.99% for 61 to 72 months. “Used vehicles” are any model years, but the 72 month option is only available for the current and previous two model years. PenFed uses the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) value to determine the maximum amount of financing available, as financing on used vehicles can’t exceed 110% of the NADA average retail value.

Unfortunately, there’s no APR range – a representative we spoke with said a maximum APR doesn’t exist. Loan officers haven’t seen rates exceed 5 – 6%.

A payment example looks like this: if you finance a new car for $20,000 on a 36 month term at 1.49% APR, your monthly payment will be $568.41. If you finance a used car for $20,000 on a 36 month term with an APR of 1.99%, your monthly payment will be $572.76.

How to Apply for an Auto Loan With PenFed

PenFed provides preapproved auto drafts for qualified borrowers (you need to have a good credit score), and you may get an instant decision after applying. Otherwise, applications are typically processed within 24 hours on business days.

You need to be a member of PenFed before you apply for a loan, so you’ll have to create an account if you’re interested. See below for membership eligibility.

The application can be filled out online or you can apply by speaking with a member representative over the phone.

Having a credit score of 700 or above will get you the best rates, which are listed above. If your credit score is below 700, PenFed can still process the loan, but it will go through LendPro. LendPro doesn’t offer preapprovals as it needs the vehicle information to process the application.

Documents and Information Needed to Apply

PenFed needs borrowers to provide their contact information, vehicle information, income and expenses, and employment information and salary to apply.

For vehicle information, make sure you know the exact make and model, year, and have the VIN.

The Fine Print

There is no origination fee associated with this loan. Rates are determined based on your credit and how much you’re looking to finance. For example, if you’re looking to finance $25,000 and the vehicle costs $25,000, your rate will be higher than someone who is only financing $15,000 for a $25,000 vehicle.

Pros and Cons of PenFed’s Auto Loan

Pro: After making 12 payments, you might qualify to extend your loan, which lowers your monthly payment. While we don’t recommend doing this unless you’ve hit a rough financial spot, it’s good to have the option available.

Con: It’s a little difficult to figure out how to contact PenFed if you have a question (and aren’t a customer). On the auto loan page, there’s a link to apply for the loan, but no phone number is listed. You can call the main customer service line to get assistance.

Pro: APRs aren’t very high when compared with other lenders, such as Navy Federal Credit Union. Even the “max” of 5 – 6% is fairly low.

Con: Those that have a credit score under 700 have less of a chance of being approved for financing. PenFed typically targets consumers with excellent credit.

Con: As with any credit union, you need to be a member before applying. Opening another account just to get access to this auto loan might not appeal to you.

Membership Requirements for PenFed

There are several ways you can become a member of PenFed Credit Union. If you’re a member of the United States military or Uniformed Services, work for the U.S. government, or are related to someone who is, you’re eligible to join.

If you’re not eligible through those avenues, you can still join by donating $14 toward Voices for America’s Troops or $15 toward the National Military Family Association. These are two charities PenFed supports, and all money goes directly to them.

Lastly, if you’re creating a new PenFed account, you’ll be required to make a $5 deposit in a Share Account to represent your ownership in PenFed.

Penfed

Other Auto Loan Alternatives

Credit unions offer some of the best auto loans, but if you don’t qualify for membership with PenFed and don’t want to make a donation, you should look at your local credit unions. Most require that you live or work in the area to be eligible for membership. Otherwise, you can check out these alternatives:

LendingTree: There are hundreds of lenders on LendingTree, our parent company, ready to compete for your business. You just have to fill out a short online form, which LendingTree may use to try to match you with lenders. If you receive a lender match, you may then see real interest rates and approval information. Some lenders will do a hard pull on your credit. Keep in mind that multiple hard pulls only count as one pull, so it is smart to have all your hard pulls done at once.

 

LendingTree

LEARN MORE  

Capital One: If you’re looking to finance a vehicle under $40,000, Capital One offers terms of 36 to 72 months, with APRs starting at 1.99% to 2.49% for new cars, and 2.89% to 3.39% for used cars. This is similar to PenFed, and Capital One offers online preapproval.

Capital One

LightStream: You can finance up to $100,000 on terms of 24 to 84 months. APRs on new cars range from 1.74% to 5.69%, and APRs on used cars range from 1.74% to 6.54 %. LightStream offers online preapproval as well.

LightStream

Neither lender charges an origination fee.

Be Sure to Shop Around

With so many options available, it would be foolish not to shop around and find the best auto loan for you. You can apply online with most lenders and receive an answer back within one to two days. As long as you apply to multiple lenders within a 30-day period, your credit won’t take a huge hit. This is because all inquiries made within that time period count as one inquiry. Take advantage and find the auto loan that will cost you the least.

Compare Auto Loan Offers Here.

Erin Millard
Erin Millard |

Erin Millard is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Erin at erinm@magnifymoney.com

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Reviews

TD Bank Review: Savings, Checking, CD, Money Market, and IRA Accounts

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TD Bank got an early start in the 1850s. Today, it’s one of the largest banks in the nation. Even though it’s a nationwide bank, you can really go into a physical branch only if you live along the East Coast. If you are that lucky, you can take your pick from over 1,200 branches, many of which have convenient extended hours during the week and on weekends.

People living in the Midwest and on the West coast will have to suffice with online-only banking. But, rest assured, they still make it easy: they maintain a 24/7 customer service line if you do need to chat with a real person.

We’ll go over everything you need to know about TD Bank’s deposit accounts in this article. One important note: TD Bank’s rates vary depending on where you live. To compare apples to apples, we’ll look at the rates from Cherry Hill, N.J., which is where TD Bank is headquartered. However, we recommend checking your local rates when deciding whether these accounts are right for you.

All rates are current as of Nov. 17, 2017.

TD Bank Savings Accounts

TD Simple Savings account

Simply low savings for a fee-heavy savings account.

APY

Minimum Balance Amount

0.05%

$0 ($300 to waive monthly maintenance fee)

  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $5 ($4 if you’re signed up for online statements)
  • How to waive the account maintenance fee:
    1. Keep at least $300 in your account
    2. Have a linked TD student checking account
    3. Be under age 18 or over age 62
    4. Transfer at least $25 per month from a TD Bank account and have a linked TD Bank personal checking account (but this will only waive the fee for 12 months)
  • ATM fees: None if using a TD ATM; $3 for non-TD ATMs (plus whatever surcharge fees the ATM’s owner tacks on).
  • ATM fee refunds: None.
  • Overdraft fees: $35 for each item, up to five items per day.

You’ll need to keep an eye out for fees with this account. It’s not hard to waive the monthly account fee if you keep it stocked full of savings (which is how you should use a savings account, after all), but if you decide to empty the account, you’ll have to pay this steep monthly fee. Furthermore, the rates offered are very low, especially when compared with savings accounts at other banks.

Opening a Simple Savings account with TD Bank takes only a few minutes. You’ll need basic personal information about yourself, a photo ID, and a way to fund your new account. You can apply online, over the phone or by visiting a local branch.

TD Preferred Savings account

Moderate interest rates for high-balance savers.

$0.01 - $19,999.99

$20k - $49,999.99

$50k - $99,999.99

$100k - $249,999.99

$250k - $499,999.99

$500k - $999,999.99

$1M – $9,999,999.99

$10M +

APY with standard rate

0.05%

0.20%

0.35%

0.50%

0.50%

0.50%

0.50%

0.45%

APY with bump rate

0.10%

0.50%

0.75%

1.00%

1.00%

1.00%

1.00%

0.95%

  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $15 ($14 if you’re signed up for online statements)
  • How to waive the account maintenance fee: Keep at least $20,000 in your account.
  • ATM fees: None. However, you may be charged a surcharge fee (i.e., the fee that the ATM’s owner tacks on) unless you keep at least $2,500 in your account.
  • Overdraft fees: $35 for each item, up to five items per day.

TD Bank does offer semi-OK returns for their Preferred Savings account, with a catch: You’ll need to keep a lot of money in it. Otherwise, you’ll face a hefty monthly account fee that will wipe away your earnings.

For example, let’s say that you have $15,000 in your account. That’s $5,000 under the $20,000 threshold needed to waive the $15 monthly fee. If you receive the rate bump for having another eligible TD Bank account, you’ll earn $1.25 in interest that month — meaning you’ll lose $13.75 after paying the monthly account maintenance fee.

You can qualify for the higher bump rates by also having one of the following types of accounts with TD Bank and making three transactions per month with it: a mortgage, a home equity loan, a credit card, or a personal or small business checking account.

Opening a Preferred Savings account with TD Bank is simple and takes only a few minutes. You’ll need basic personal information about yourself, a photo ID, and a way to fund your new account. You can apply online, over the phone, or by visiting a local branch.

How TD Bank’s savings accounts compare

TD Bank’s savings accounts are pretty lackluster. They carry the potential for a lot of fees and for very little return.

Their Preferred Savings account in particular does offer high earning potential with interest rates up to five times greater than the national average. But you’ll need to have heavy pockets to be able to reach those levels, in addition to meeting a list of other requirements to waive the monthly fee and be eligible for these high interest rates.

Most people probably won’t be able to reach these high interest rates. But there’s good news: There are many other high-interest savings accounts that offer better rates without so much fine print holding you back.

TD Bank Checking Accounts

TD Premier checking account

Earn low interest rates for keeping a high balance in your checking account.

Minimum Balance Amount

$0.01 - $2,499.99

$2,500 - $49,999.99

$50k - $249,999.99

$250k+

APY

0.00%

0.05%

0.05%

0.05%

  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $25
  • How to waive the account maintenance fee: Keep at least $2,500 in your account.
  • ATM fees: None. However, you may be charged a surcharge fee (i.e., the fee that the ATM’s owner tacks on) unless you keep at least $2,500 in your account.
  • Overdraft fees: $35 for each item, up to five items per day.

If you’re looking to earn interest on the money held within your checking account, you might consider this account. Just be careful: you’ll need to keep a pretty high balance to a) earn any interest at all, and b) avoid the high monthly account fee.

A few minor side benefits of having this account also include things like free bank checks and money orders, and no service charge for more obscure things like stop payments on checks, incoming wire transfers and paper statements. You’ll also get a 0.25% interest rate reduction if you decide to apply for a home equity line of credit.

If high interest rates on your checking account with less fees are what you’re after, there are actually many other better online checking accounts to choose from.

Opening a Premier Checking account with TD Bank is simple and takes only a few minutes. You’ll need basic personal information about yourself, a photo ID, and a way to fund your new account. You can apply online, over the phone or by visiting a local branch.

TD Convenience Checking account

A standard-level checking account — but stay vigilant for high fees.

  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $15
  • How to waive the account maintenance fee: Keep at least $100 in your account.
  • ATM fees: None if using a TD ATM. $3 for non-TD ATMS (plus whatever surcharge fees the ATM’s owner tacks on).
  • ATM fee refunds: None.
  • Overdraft fees: $35 for each item, up to five items per day.

If you can’t keep the required $2,500 in your checking account to waive the monthly fee for the TD Premier Checking account, consider this one. You still need to keep some cash in this account to waive the $15 monthly fee, but at $100, it’s much more manageable.

Unfortunately, you’ll have to sacrifice earning any return on your funds with this account, since it pays no interest. But there still are some minor perks that come with this account. You’ll get a discount on your first order of checks, and discounts on TD Bank home loans and home equity lines of credit.

Opening a Convenience Checking account with TD Bank is simple and takes only a few minutes. You’ll need basic personal information about yourself, a photo ID, and a way to fund your new account. You can apply online, over the phone or by visiting a local branch.

TD Simple Checking account

Simply high fees for a basic-level checking account.

  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $5.99
  • ATM fees: None if using a TD ATM. $3 for non-TD ATMS (plus whatever surcharge fees the ATM’s owner tacks on).
  • ATM fee refunds: None.
  • Overdraft fees: $35 for each item, up to five items per day.

As far as checking accounts go, this isn’t really a good one. It charges a high monthly account fee and there’s no way to waive the fee. That’s a bit ridiculous with so many free checking accounts.

The only reason you might choose this checking account is if you can’t afford to keep the minimum $100 deposit in the TD convenience checking account to waive that monthly account fee. But if you’re not able to do that, you’ll pay out $100 in fees in a little over a year with this account anyway, so what’s the point?

You do get minor perks as with the other accounts — a discount on your first order of checks, and a discount on a home loan or home equity line of credit — but let’s be honest: That’s probably not going to save you a whole lot of money.

Opening a Simple Checking account with TD Bank is simple and takes only a few minutes. You’ll need basic personal information about yourself, a photo ID, and a way to fund your new account. You can apply online, over the phone or by visiting a local branch.

TD Relationship Checking account

Small earnings for big account requirements.

  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Interest rate: 0.03% APY
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $25
  • How to waive the account maintenance fee: Keep at least $20,000 in all of your TD Bank accounts combined (including checking, savings, loans, etc — but not credit cards).
  • ATM fees: None.
  • ATM fee refunds: You can be refunded for any ATM surcharges (the money the ATM’s owner charges) if you keep at least $2,500 in your account.
  • Overdraft fees: $35 for each item, up to 5 items per day.

If you have existing deposit (savings, checking, or CDs) or loan accounts with TD Bank, you can actually leverage them to earn at least something on the money in your checking account. It’s not much — 0.03% APY — but it’s still better than nothing.

This account also comes with a discount on home loans and home equity lines of credit, You’ll also get a few more perks than with their other checking accounts, such as free checks (not just a discount), free services that normally come with high fees (such as a stop payment order, overdraft transfers or money orders), and a fee waiver for another checking account and a savings account.

In return, just keep a close eye on your accounts to make sure you are meeting the requirements to waive the monthly fee. $25 per month is not a fee you want to pay.

Opening a Relationship Checking account with TD Bank is simple and takes only a few minutes. You’ll need basic personal information about yourself, a photo ID, and a way to fund your new account. You can apply online, over the phone or by visiting a local branch.

TD 60 Plus Checking account

A great checking account for seniors, but keep an eye on the account balance.

  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Interest rate: 0.05% APY
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $10
  • How to waive the account maintenance fee: Keep at least $250 in your account.
  • ATM fees: None if using a TD ATM. $3 for non-TD ATMS (plus whatever surcharge fees the ATM’s owner tacks on).
  • ATM fee refunds: None.
  • Overdraft fees: $35 for each item, up to five items per day.

If you’re over age 60, you are eligible for this account. TD Bank has generously waived many of its high fees for some account services. You’ll get free money orders, free checks and free paper statements. This account also comes with the standard rate discounts on home loans and home equity lines of credit.

Plus you’ll earn interest on your balance. Not a lot of interest, but 0.05% APY is better than 0.00% APY.

We recommend this account only if you can keep at least $250 in your account to waive the monthly fee. Otherwise, the $10 monthly fee will wipe out any interest you’ll earn.

Opening a 60 Plus Checking account with TD Bank is simple and takes only a few minutes. You’ll need basic personal information about yourself, a photo ID, and a way to fund your new account. You can apply online, over the phone or by visiting a local branch.

TD Student Checking account

A no-frills student checking account with no monthly fee.

  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fees: None if using a TD ATM. $3 for non-TD ATMS (plus whatever surcharge fees the ATM’s owner tacks on).
  • ATM fee refunds: None.
  • Overdraft fees: $35 for each item, up to five items per day.

This is perhaps one of TD Bank’s best checking accounts, but only because it’s the only one not to come with a monthly account maintenance fee. Full-time students under age 24 are eligible to open this account. (You’ll need a joint checking account with a parent if you’re under age 18). This account will automatically transfer over to a Convenience Checking account after your 24th birthday or five years from the account opening, whichever occurs first.

You won’t earn any interest on this account, but you will get some other benefits. If you link a TD Simple Savings account alongside this checking account, you won’t have to pay the $5 monthly fee for the savings account. You’ll also get a discount on your first box of checks. You can even get a discount on a home loan or a home equity line of credit, but as a student, are you really likely to use that?

Opening a Student Checking account with TD Bank is simple and takes only a few minutes. You’ll need basic personal information about yourself, a photo ID and a way to fund your new account. You can apply online, over the phone or by visiting a local branch. You’ll also need to provide either your student ID or a student loan bill or receipt to prove you’re actually a student.

TD Student Checking account

How TD Bank’s checking accounts compare

TD Bank does offer a lot of different types of checking accounts. This is nice because it offers you a wider range of ways to avoid their notorious account fees — and there are many to watch out for.

Plus, many of these accounts don’t even earn any interest, and when they do, the minimum balance requirements are often far above what you’d likely be keeping in a checking account anyway. If you’re looking for the best checking account possible, you’d be better off looking elsewhere unless you really are attached the TD Bank.

TD Bank CD Rates

TD Choice CDs

Moderate returns if you have a TD Bank Checking account.

Standard rate

 

$250 - $9,999.99

$10k - $49,999.99

$50k - $99,999.99

$100k+

3 months

0.10%

0.15%

0.15%

0.20%

6 months

0.15%

0.20%

0.20%

0.25%

9 months

0.20%

0.25%

0.25%

0.30%

12 months

0.30%

0.35%

0.40%

0.50%

18 months

0.30%

0.35%

0.40%

0.50%

24 months

0.35%

0.40%

0.45%

0.55%

3 years

0.40%

0.45%

0.50%

0.65%

5 years

0.45%

0.50%

0.60%

0.70%

Bump Rate

 

$250 - $9,999.99

$10k - $49,999.99

$50k - $99,999.99

$100k+

3 months

0.15%

0.20%

0.20%

0.25%

6 months

0.20%

0.25%

0.30%

0.35%

9 months

0.25%

0.30%

0.35%

0.40%

12 months

0.65%

0.80%

0.90%

1.10%

18 months

0.40%

0.45%

0.50%

0.60%

24 months

0.45%

0.50%

0.55%

0.65%

3 years

0.80%

1.00%

1.10%

1.30%

5 years

0.75%

0.90%

1.00%

1.10%

TD Bank’s Choice CDs are their standard line of CDs. You’ll need at least $250 to invest in them, which is a pretty low requirement and makes saving accessible for most people. Of course, you’ll earn higher rates if you put in much larger amounts of cash. You can also earn higher “bump rates” if you hold a checking account with TD Bank. You’ll also earn higher rates for larger deposits and longer terms.

Just be aware when you’re choosing longer terms, however, that you’ll pay an early withdrawal penalty if you do need to take that cash out early. You also can’t take out your cash at all for the first seven days after you initially open your CD. Early withdrawal penalties depend on the original term of the CD and are as follows:

  • < 3 months: All interest
  • 3 months < 1 year: 3 months’ worth of interest
  • 1 year < 2 years: 6 months’ worth of interest
  • 2 years < 3 years: 9 months’ worth of interest
  • 3 years < 4 years: 12 months’ worth of interest
  • 4 years < 5 years: 18 months’ worth of interest
  • 5 years: 24 months’ worth of interest

Once you open your account, you can’t add any more funds until the CD’s term is over. When that happens, your CD will automatically renew to another one of the same length with whatever the current interest rate is. But you have 10 days after this happens to decide what to do with it — withdraw the cash penalty-free, add in more funds or just let the CD continue.

Opening a Choice CD with TD Bank is simple and takes only a few minutes. You’ll need basic personal information about yourself, a photo ID and a way to fund your new account. You can apply online, over the phone or by visiting a local branch.

TD No-Catch CDs

Moderate returns that give you the flexibility of making a free withdrawal once per term.

CD Term

APY

6 months

0.15%

12 months

0.20%

If the idea of having your money locked away makes you a little queasy, the No-Catch CD might be a good choice for you. It’s currently only offered in two term lengths — six and 12 months. Once per term, you’re allowed to make one withdrawal without paying an early withdrawal penalty if you need the cash. But remember, you can only make a withdrawal after the account has been open for at least seven days. If you need to make more than one withdrawal, you’ll pay a penalty for each additional transaction.

This will save you from paying a penalty of three months’ worth of interest (for the six-month CD) or six months’ worth of interest (for the 12-month CD). In return for this advantage, you’ll get a slightly lower return on the 12-month CD than the normal TD Choice CD (without the higher bump rates, that is). The interest rate is currently the same for the six-month Choice CD.

Just as with the TD Choice CD, you can open a TD No-Catch CD with at least $250. After the CD matures, it’ll roll over into another CD of the same term length (but with the current interest rate), and you’ll get 10 days to withdraw the money, add funds or let it continue in the current CD.

Opening a No-Catch CD with TD Bank is simple and takes only a few minutes. You’ll need basic personal information about yourself, a photo ID, and a way to fund your new account. You can apply online, over the phone or by visiting a local branch.

TD Step Rate CDs

Higher rates over time with more frequent penalty-free access to your cash.

CD Term

APY

3 years

Year 1: 0.25%
Year 2: 0.30%
Year 3: 0.45%
Composite: 0.33%

5 years

Year 1: 0.35%
Year 2: 0.40%
Year 3: 0.55%
Year 4: 0.70%
Year 5: 1.19%
Composite: 0.64%

If you really want frequent penalty-free access to your cash but want higher rates than the No-Catch CDs offer, consider the Step Rate CDs. You can open them with as little as $250.

These CDs will allow you to make one penalty-free withdrawal per year during a 10-day window around your account’s anniversary. If you make a withdrawal outside of these windows, you’ll face an early-withdrawal penalty of 12 months’ worth of interest (for a three-year CD), or 24 months’ worth of interest (for a five-year CD).

If you leave some or all of your money in the account on each anniversary, you’ll be rewarded with sequentially higher interest rates until the term of the CD ends. When that happens, it’ll automatically roll over into a 12-month Step Rate CD with the current interest rate of the day. But you’ll still have another 10-day window where you can add or withdraw funds or let the CD investment continue.

How TD Bank’s CDs compare

TD Bank does offer a nice suite of CDs that allow you more frequent access to your money. This is especially helpful for folks who want to earn higher rates than their paltry savings and checking accounts (when interest is even earned at all), but still want to be able to get their money on a more frequent basis if needed.

Compared with other banks, however, the interest rates offered on these CDs are fairly low. If higher interest rates are what you’re after, consider these CD accounts with higher rates.

TD Bank IRA Accounts

TD Simple Savings IRA

Guaranteed low rates on your retirement savings.

APY

Minimum Balance Amount

0.05%

$0.01

The TD Simple Savings IRA account is the mirror image of its regular TD Simple Savings account, but in an IRA form. And, just like the regular TD Simple Savings account, it earns peanuts for interest.

Its saving grace is that the monthly maintenance fee is waived for the IRA version of this account (which would normally cost you up to $5 per month). You’ll also need at least $300 to open this account, making it more accessible if you’re just starting to save for retirement and don’t have a lot of cash yet.

Another disadvantage of this account is that you can only open them in a local branch — so, if you’re not near any branches, this account will be unavailable to you.

TD Preferred Savings IRA

Higher (but still low) rates for having larger balances and linked TD accounts.

$0.01 - $19,999.99

$20k - $49,999.99

$50k - $99,999.99

$100k - $249,999.99

$250k - $499,999.99

$500k - $999,999.99

$1M - $9,999,999.99

$10M +

APY with Standard Rate

0.05%

0.20%

0.35%

0.50%

0.50%

0.50%

0.50%

0.45%

APY with Bump Rates

0.10%

0.50%

0.75%

1.00%

1.00%

1.00%

1.00%

0.95%

If you’d still like to save for your retirement using a plain-vanilla savings account but want to earn slightly higher rates, the TD Preferred Savings IRA might be for you. You’ll need at least $20,000 to open an account, but there are no monthly maintenance fees.

You can also earn higher interest rates in two ways. First, you’ll earn more by keeping larger balances in your account (the highest rates are offered on balances between $100,000 and $9,999,999). Second, you can earn higher “bump rates” if you have a another linked TD Bank account, such as a checking account, or even a mortgage or a credit card.

As with the rest of their retirement savings account, you can only open this account by going to a local branch in-person. You cannot open this account online or over the phone, so you’re out of luck if you don’t have a local branch near you.

TD Choice IRA CDs

Getting warmer… but still pretty low rates on an IRA CD.

Standard rate

 

$250 - $9,999.99

$10k - $49,999.99

$50k - $99,999.99

$100k+

3 months

0.10%

0.15%

0.15%

0.20%

6 months

0.15%

0.20%

0.20%

0.25%

9 months

0.20%

0.25%

0.25%

0.30%

12 months

0.30%

0.35%

0.40%

0.50%

18 months

0.30%

0.35%

0.40%

0.50%

24 months

0.35%

0.40%

0.45%

0.55%

3 years

0.40%

0.45%

0.50%

0.65%

5 years

0.45%

0.50%

0.60%

0.70%

Bump Rate

 

$250 - $9,999.99

$10k - $49,999.99

$50k - $99,999.99

$100k+

3 months

0.15%

0.20%

0.20%

0.25%

6 months

0.20%

0.25%

0.30%

0.35%

9 months

0.25%

0.30%

0.35%

0.40%

12 months

0.65%

0.80%

0.90%

1.10%

18 months

0.40%

0.45%

0.50%

0.60%

24 months

0.45%

0.50%

0.55%

0.65%

3 years

0.80%

1.00%

1.10%

1.30%

5 years

0.75%

0.90%

1.00%

1.10%

These CDs are also the mirror image of their regular TD Choice CD accounts, but in an IRA form. You can also open these CDs with a minimum $250 deposit, but of course you’ll earn higher rates if you put more money in. Still, if you’re just starting out and you really want a TD Bank IRA, this is one of your lowest-barrier options. You can also earn higher rates if you own another TD Bank checking account.

If you need to withdraw the money before the term is up, you’ll face the following early withdrawal penalties depending on the original term length of the IRA CD:

  • < 3 months: All interest
  • 3 months < 1 year: 3 months’ worth of interest
  • 1 year < 2 years: 6 months’ worth of interest
  • 2 years < 3 years: 9 months’ worth of interest
  • 3 years < 4 years: 12 months’ worth of interest
  • 4 years < 5 years: 18 months’ worth of interest
  • 5 years: 24 months’ worth of interest

To open this IRA CD you’ll need to go into a local TD Bank branch in person. No phone or online options exist for those away from a local branch, unfortunately.

TD IRA Add-Vantage CD

Term

APY

12 months

0.25%

One of the disadvantages of CDs is that you generally can’t add more money to them once they get started. That’s a real pain if you do come into some more money and want to take advantage of the higher rates that CDs offer. This is especially true if you’re relying on CDs as a part of your retirement savings strategy.

The TD IRA Add-Vantage CD adds a neat little feature to get around this. You can deposit more money into the account at any time, as long as you follow these two rules:

  1. You can only add money in $500 increments
  2. You can’t make more than $250,000 in deposits during the CD’s term

Thus, this IRA CD functions generally like a savings account, except you can’t withdraw your money but once per year due to the sole 12-month CD term offered. If you do withdraw the money, you’ll face an early withdrawal penalty of six months’ worth of interest.

This CD is also only available to people who can visit a local branch to open an account. You’re out of luck if you don’t live near a TD Bank branch, unfortunately.

How TD Bank’s IRA CDs Compare

The trend in low rates for TD Bank’s accounts continues. These rates are all-around low compared with the best IRA CD rates out there.

CDs already offer notoriously low returns compared with more mainstream IRA investments like mutual funds and stocks (which in general offer nonguaranteed average returns of 7.0% per year), and that’s especially the case here. If you’re relying on TD Bank’s IRAs as your primary retirement strategy, you won’t get very far.

TD Bank Money Market Accounts

TD Growth Money Market account

Earn similar rates to TD’s Preferred Savings account, but with a lower minimum balance.

$0.01 - $999.99

$1k - $1,999.99

$2k - $4,999.99

$5k - $9,999.99

$10k - $24,999.99

$25k - $49,999.99

$50k - $99,999.99

$100k - $249,999.99

$250k+

APY with Qualified Amount

0.05%

0.05%

0.10%

0.15%

0.20%

0.25%

0.30%

0.35%

0.35%

APY without Qualified Amount

0.03%

0.03%

0.05%

0.10%

0.15%

0.20%

0.25%

0.30%

0.30%

  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $12 (or $11 if you sign up for online statements only).
  • How to waive the account maintenance fee: Keep at least $2,000 in your account, or be age 62 or older.
  • ATM fees: None if using a TD ATM. $3 for non-TD ATMS (plus whatever surcharge fees the ATM’s owner tacks on).
  • ATM fee refunds: None.
  • Overdraft fees: $35 for each item, up to five items per day.

This account offers a nice balance between the lower balance requirements of the TD Simple Savings account and the higher rates of the TD Preferred Savings account. You only need a $2,000 minimum balance to waive the monthly fee (compared to the Preferred Savings’ $20,000 minimum balance to waive that account’s fee).

You’re also eligible to receive a higher rate if

  1. You have a linked TD Bank account
  2. You use it to make at least a $50 recurring monthly deposit into this account

How TD Bank’s Money Market account compares

Again, TD Bank comes up well short when compared with the best money market account rates available today. Plus, you need a fairly high opening deposit to even get access to this account.

This leaves savers who are just getting started high and dry, since all TD Bank offers for these folks is their Simple Savings account that offers a miniscule interest rate (and a minimum $300 deposit to avoid the monthly fee, to boot).

Overall review

We do like TD Bank’s ease of access if you’re looking to visit an in-person branch. Their local branches generally offer good hours and are open seven days per week. But for folks who don’t live near a local branch — and that’s most of the country — you’re kind of out of luck aside from the 24-hour customer service line. And if you want to open an IRA, you’re again out of luck since this must be done in person.

Furthermore, you’ll need to keep large balances in most of TD Bank’s accounts to waive high monthly fees. In return for this, you get rock-bottom interest rates. If you want to use TD Bank, we recommend you come with a hefty amount of cash.

In general, we’re left feeling rather unimpressed with these products. You can get much better rates and terms on every single one of these accounts elsewhere, without being tricked into paying out a boatload of banking fees.

Lindsay VanSomeren
Lindsay VanSomeren |

Lindsay VanSomeren is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Lindsay here

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Everything You Need to Know About ChexSystems

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Most consumers are aware that they have a credit score and credit report, used by lenders to decide if you represent a borrowing risk.

But did you know that banks and credit unions have their own method of determining if you’re a good prospective customer — or a potential problem? It’s called ChexSystems and it’s a reporting system that tracks your closed checking and savings accounts. Many people who have had a bank account at one point in time will have a ChexSystems report. Accounts stay on ChexSystems for up to five years after closure.

What is ChexSystems and how does it work?

The information ChexSystems tracks is used to create your Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACTA) report. Think of this as a sort of banking version of your credit report.

chexsystemsWhen you apply for a new checking or savings account, the financial institution will often run your ChexSystems report to see if you have any negative marks. These can include overdrawn accounts, negative balances, closed accounts and more.

It takes five years for negative marks to leave your ChexSystem report. However, if you find incorrect information, you can dispute it and ask to have to it removed.

Like a credit report freeze, you can freeze or place a security freeze on your ChexSystems report so no bank or credit union can view it. This could block someone from stealing your identity and opening a new account in your name. It can also make it more difficult for you to open a new checking or savings account. (You’ll need to thaw your report first.)

4 reasons you might be denied for a checking or savings account

#1 Not paying your fees.

When you overdraw your account, the bank will usually charge you a fee. Overdraft fees can be as high as $35 at some banks but the national median is $30, according to the research firm Moebs Services. Even if you’re only overdrawn for one day, you can end up owing significantly more than that if you continue to spend money before you realize the account is overdrawn. It can be difficult to repay these fees, especially if you can’t afford to bring your account current.

However, if you end up closing the account with a negative balance or if the bank decides to close the account for you, ChexSystems will list this on your report. This is one of the most common reasons a bank or credit union will deny your application, since your report reflects that you may struggle to pay your debts.

If you do get a fee on your account, call your bank as soon as possible. Sometimes it’ll waive (or reduce) fees for good customers. At the very least, ignoring the problem won’t make it go away and can cause you to get a negative mark on your ChexSystems report. Usually banks will give you a deadline to pay your fees before closing your account and reporting to ChexSystems.

#2 Overdrafting too many times.

Even if you pay your overdraft fees when you go over your account balance, you can still be denied a new account if ChexSystems shows that you overdraw too often. Doing it too many times can signal that you’re irresponsible and aren’t aware of how much money you have in your account.

Consider setting up safeguards to prevent overdrafting:

  • Keep all of your money in one account that you use solely for daily transactions
  • Allow your bank to decline purchases if you don’t have enough available funds (which may mean declining to enroll in overdraft protection).
  • Speaking of which, we highly recommend you use caution with overdraft protection. With this service, banks will allow transactions to go through even if you have insufficient funds, but they will almost always hit you with overdraft fees at the same time.
  • Avoid using checks, which may be cashed at a later date.
  • Set up bank alerts so you’re notified if your balance dips below a certain amount, such as $50.

#3 Committing fraud

It’s one thing to write a check for $100 and assume you have $100 in your bank account, only to have that check bounce. But it’s quite another to write a check knowing that you don’t have the funds in your account. That constitutes fraud and is a serious offense, sometimes resulting in criminal action. Other types of fraud include opening an account with someone else’s information, and trying to write a check to yourself from another person’s account.

#4 Bouncing checks

A bounced check is when you write a check for an amount that you don’t currently have in your account. When the recipient tries to deposit the check, the bank will reject it and charge you a fee for nonsufficient funds.

Too many bounced checks and it’ll show up in your ChexSystems report; that could cause you to be denied for a new account. Bouncing checks makes it seem like you’re not on top of your finances, especially if it continues to happen over a long period of time.

How to get your free ChexSystems report

what to know about chexsystem
iStock

To get your free ChexSystem report, go to www.chexsystems.com and click on “free FACTA report”. As with a credit report, you’re legally entitled to one free copy of your report every 12 months.

However, unlike with your credit report, which you can access online after answering a series of questions, you have to wait for your ChexSystems report to be sent to you through by mail. You should receive the report within five business days after submitting your application.

You know how people have both credit reports and credit scores? Well, consumers also have ChexSystems reports and ChexSystems scores. You may request your ChexSystems Consumer Score by mailing or faxing this form. It can take up to 15 business days to get your score back. Scores range from 100 to 899. The closer you are to 899, the better you look to potential banks.

Disputing and reporting errors

To dispute and report errors in your ChexSystems report, you may submit a form via this website, by fax at 602-659-2197, or by mail at the following address:

ChexSystems Inc.
Attn: Consumer Relations
7805 Hudson Road, Suite 100
Woodbury, MN 55125

ChexSystems recommends you include the following information when you submit your dispute:

  • Full name
  • Social Security number
  • Current and mailing address
  • Consumer ID number if available

Also, identify the information being disputed and provide the specific nature of your dispute

It usually takes 30 days for the investigation to be finalized, and the results will be mailed to you.

Alternatives to checking accounts

If you’ve had a hard time keeping track of bank accounts in the past and your ChexSystems report is a less-than-spotless one, you may have trouble qualifying for a traditional bank account

Unfortunately, that leaves you in a precarious position. There are many ways to get around not having a traditional checking account, but many of those options can be time-consuming and loaded with fees that can eat away at your earnings.

“A bad ChexSystems report can mean paying more for banking services if you’re unable to switch,” says Jason Vitug, a former retail banking executive and author of “You Only Live Once: The Roadmap to Financial Wellness and a Purposeful Life.”

“It can also mean relying on nontraditional services such as cashing your paycheck at check cashing outlets [which can easily] cost you more,” Vitug says.

If this describes your situation, you have a few other options. Here are some alternatives to checking accounts that can work until you improve your ChexSystems report.

Prepaid cards

A prepaid card works like a gift card. You load it with money and then use it wherever cards are accepted. Some popular providers include the American Express Serve card, which also provides 1 percent cash back to consumers.

You can send money with your prepaid card, pay bills online and set up direct deposit. In many ways, it acts like a debit card you’d get with a checking account.

However, there are downsides to these cards, mostly fees. Some prepaid cards charge a fee for buying the card, while others also have a monthly fee. They can also charge every time you withdraw money or reload the card. If you use the card often, you can face high fees every month that cut into your ability to save and improve your finances.

Prepaid cards have been targeted by consumer watchdogs like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which has gone after companies that charge consumers exorbitant fees.

In our review of the AccountNow Gold Visa Prepaid Debit Card, we found that consumers could spend more than $100 in fees per year just to maintain the card.

Fresh start/second chance bank accounts

Typically, Fresh Start or Second Chance checking accounts are a better option than a prepaid card. That’s because they often have many of the typical features found in a traditional checking account, like ATM access.

Like prepaid cards, these accounts sometimes have extra fees. For example, the BBVA Compass Easy Checking account comes with a $13.95 monthly fee as well as a $10 fee for opening a debit card. Most traditional checking accounts have smaller monthly fees that can be waived if you have direct deposit or a minimum account balance.

If you decide to use a Second Chance account, try to find one that offers to upgrade you after a certain time period. For example, BBVA will allow you to request an upgrade after 12 months if your account has a positive balance and is in good standing. Because of this, it may make more sense to open one of these accounts than to set up a prepaid debit card.

Just watch out for fees associated with these accounts, as they can be significant.

If you already have a bank in mind, call them and ask what information they use to verify new accounts. Not all banks use ChexSystems; some use Early Warning System or Telechek.

Axiom

Axiom is a regional bank in central Florida and it offers a second chance checking account called Opportunity Checking. It charges a $10 monthly fee but has no minimum balance requirement. And like many fresh start checking accounts, the bank requires a minimum opening deposit of $25.

Bank of America

Bank of America’s SafeBalance Banking Account has some of the lowest fees for all Second Chance accounts, at $4.95 a month and a $25 minimum opening deposit. Because these accounts don’t allow you to spend more than your current balance, you’re not likely to overdraw your account and face heavy fees.

You can even enroll in the popular Keep the Change program which will round up purchases to the nearest dollar and transfer the difference in a savings account. However, this account does not provide paper checks so if you need to write checks on a regular basis, try applying for another account.

BBVA

BBVA’s Easy Checking Account has fewer fees than some Second Chance checking accounts. Mobile banking and bill pay are free and the only mandatory fee is a $13.95 monthly charge. Plus, you can earn cash back on certain purchases.

PNC Bank

PNC Bank does not advertise its second chance checking account, but it’s called Foundation Checking. According to ValuePenguin, PNC offers this account with a minimum opening deposit of $25 and monthly fees of $9.

TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade doesn’t check your ChexSystems account; however, in order to qualify for a bank account, you must open a brokerage account with the firm. Fortunately, it’s possible to open a brokerage account with TD Ameritrade without a minimum deposit; however, a lot of people might not want to go through so much trouble just for access to a checking account.

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo’s Opportunity Checking accounts allow users to avoid the $10 monthly fee with a few easy methods, including 10 debit card purchases, qualifying direct deposits of $500 or more or a $1,500 minimum daily balance. Fees related to this account include $2.50 for non-Wells Fargo ATM withdrawals, $35 overdraft fees and $12.50 each time a transfer is made to avoid a direct deposit.

How to avoid negative marks on your ChexSystems report

Having a good ChexSystems report is like having a good credit report. All it takes is creating good habits, staying on top of your finances and being patient.

If you’re trying to repair a poor ChexSystems report, the best thing you can do is to avoid any overdrafts or bounced checks. If your account is negative, try to rectify it as soon as possible.

Communicate with your bank or credit union as soon as you anticipate a problem. Customer service representatives are more likely to be lenient if you’re attempting to find a solution.

Zina Kumok
Zina Kumok |

Zina Kumok is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Zina here

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Review of Northwest Bank’s Deposit Rates

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Formerly called Northwest Savings Bank, Northwest Bank offers a range of personal banking products and services including loans and insurance. Headquartered in Warren, Pa., Northwest Bank has 175 locations throughout New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

northwest bank reviewNorthwest Bank was on Forbes’ list of the Most Trustworthy Companies in 2016. JD Power touted Northwest for the “Highest Customer Satisfaction with Retail Banking in the Mid-Atlantic Region” in the same year.

Customer service and trustworthiness don’t necessarily translate to the best rate for customers, however. Compared with the rates at other banks, like Ally, Goldman Sachs, and Synchrony Bank, Northwest Bank’s deposit account rates are significantly lower for similar products.

When learning about the various accounts available at Northwest Bank, keep in mind that their rates vary depending on where you live. The rates listed below are based on the area closest to the bank’s headquarters. To get list of rates based on your region, please head over to the rates section of the bank’s official website and enter your ZIP code.

Northwest Bank CD Rates

The CDs at Northwest are locked in based on the term you choose, and interest earned can be compounded or paid out via check or direct deposit into a Northwest Bank account.

Term

APY

Minimum Deposit Amount

12-17 Months

0.30%

$500

18-23 Months

0.35%

$500

24-29 Months

0.45%

$500

30-35 Months

0.55%

$500

36-47 Months

0.60%

$500

48-59 Months

0.75%

$500

60-71 Months

0.90%

$500

72-120 Months

1.00%

$500

Rates current as of 11/06/2017

Northwest Bank’s CD accounts offer higher rates for longer terms. When a CD matures, you have a seven-day grace period where you can opt to roll over the account or take it out in cash.

There are early withdrawal penalties which vary depending on the term:

  • Account terms up to 181 days: one month of interest
  • Account terms 182 days to 364 days: three months of interest
  • Account terms 24 to 47 months: six months of interest
  • Account terms 48 months or longer: 12 months of interest

To withdraw money, you can do so easily using online or mobile banking or by calling your local branch. Early withdrawals will require you to call Northwest Bank; as long as you acknowledge and understand the penalties involved, you can access your cash.

How Northwest Bank’s CDs compare

Compared with competitors, Northwest Bank falls short in terms of APY. With its highest APY at 1.00%, it lags other banks offering almost double that. There are much better CD rates elsewhere and ones with shorter terms. However, the minimum deposit requirement at Northwest Bank is significantly lower than what you’ll find at many competitors, making this account more accessible to those who do not have large amounts to invest.

How to get a Northwest Bank CD

To open an account, you can call Northwest’s toll-free number at 1-877-672-5678, apply online or do so at your local branch.

Northwest Bank Savings Account Rates

Northwest Bank offers two different savings account options. The Statement Savings account is best for those who do not intend to keep a large balance in their accounts and don’t want to pay a monthly fee. The Insured Money Fund is best for those who seek more interest, want access to a Visa debit card and intend to keep larger sums banked.

Statement Savings

You can get access to free online and mobile banking and over 55,000 ATMs, but at the cost of a low APY.

APY

Minimum amount to open

Minimum balance requirement

0.05%

$50

$100

As of 11/06/2017

Interest earned on Northwest Bank’s Statement Savings account compounds and deposits monthly. In order to earn interest, you need to keep an average balance of at least $100.

With your account, you get access to eStatements and a free ATM card. If you already have a checking account with Northwest, you can link your account to your Visa debit card.

You can make deposits or withdrawals using your ATM card, online, via a mobile app or at a branch. However, you can only make unlimited withdrawals in person, by mail or at an ATM. Online withdrawals are limited to six withdrawals a month.

Insured Money Fund

Northwest Bank’s Insured Money Fund provides access to a Visa debit card and unlimited ATM and in-person transactions.

Minimum balance requirement

APY

Minimum amount to open

Up to $2,499.99

0.05%

$50

$2,500.00-$9,999.99

0.10%

$50

$10,000.00-$74,999.99

0.15%

$50

$75,000-$4,999,999.99

0.25%

$50

$5,000,000.00 and over

0.25%

$50

As of 11/06/2017

Compared with Statement Savings, you need to keep a higher balance but you get a higher APY that’s compounded monthly. As long as you keep an average daily balance of $2,500, you will not be charged a service fee. Any lower than that and you’ll have to pay $10 every month.

This account gives you a free Northwest Visa debit card. You can also write checks, deposit money at a qualifying ATM, and have access to monthly statements and direct deposit. You can access your money online, in person or through Bankline, a 24/7 automated telephone banking service. You also get unlimited ATM or in-person transactions.

How Northwest Bank’s Statement Savings a Insured Money Fund compare

The minimum opening balance is on par with some similar offerings from other competitors. However, the rates are much lower compared with what’s out there. You can easily find a savings account with 1.30% APY these days, some with no minimum requirements to open an account.

However, Northwest Bank offers more access to your money compared with others that only allow ACH transfers and check-writing capabilities. Many comparable banks also do not offer in-person customer service or debit cards. You can also make unlimited withdrawals at ATMs, compared with six per month with some of the other banks out there.

Other Northwest Bank Savings Accounts

Club Accounts

Club Accounts are designed to help you reach short-term savings goals, but you can do the same with money market accounts from competitors.

Account name

APY

Minimum amount to open

Term

Holiday Club

0.05%

$1.00

Nov.-Oct.

Vacation Club

0.05%

$1.00

May-Apr.

The Club Accounts are designed to help you reach your short-term savings goals for the busiest times of the year, whether for a vacation or gift giving. These as sub-accounts are designed for a specific purpose similar to a one-year CD. You choose the type of account based on when you want to access your savings, as both accounts offer the same APY and minimum opening deposit.

You fund your account in person, online, via direct deposit or by setting up an automatic transfer. Once the money is in the account, you cannot access it for the duration of the account. At the end of the savings period, you can have a check mailed to you or have it automatically transferred to a Northwest savings or checking account.

Compared with a one-year CD, this account falls short. For one, the rates are significantly lower, with some banks offering at least 1.75% APY for a 12-month CD with a minimum deposit of $500. However, you can access the cash earlier if you’re willing the face the penalties. If you have less than a few hundred dollars for an opening deposit, then the Club Accounts may be a good alternative.

Health Savings Account

Northwest Bank’s Health Savings Account allows you to access pretax funds easily for your medical needs, but at a lower rate compared with some competitors.

Minimum balance requirement

APY

$1,000.00-$4,999.999

0.05%

$5,000.00-$14,999.99

0.10%

$15,000.00 and over

0.15%

Opening a Health Savings Account (HSA), can help you set aside money for out-of-pocket medical expenses. As long as you’re covered under a qualified high-deductible health plan, you can use this account for pre-tax savings to help you cover health care costs.

Northwest Bank’s HSA account requires that you maintain an average daily balance of at least $1,000 if you want to earn interest and avoid a $3 monthly service fee. Like other accounts offered, you get access to online and mobile banking and ATMs. You also get a Northwest HSA debit card which is accepted by Visa merchants worldwide.

Competitors offer similar services with higher rates. However, some of these banks have mandatory monthly service fees of up to $4. With these accounts, you can access your cash the same way, except some offer Mastercard debit cards instead.

How to get a Northwest Bank savings account

You can open an account by phone, online or in person. You’ll need your social security number, personal information and a government issued ID.

Northwest Bank Checking Account Rates

MyNorthwest Interest Checking

This account offers one of the lowest interest rates, but has unlimited ATM transactions and a GO! Rewards account.

APY

Minimum balance requirement

Minimum amount to open

0.01%

$1,500

$50

As of 11/06/2017

MyNorthwest Interest Checking requires a minimum daily balance of $1,000 or else you face a $10 monthly service charge. There is also an overdraft fee of $35 with no grace period. However, you can opt in to a premium service that costs $12 a year. This service links your checking and savings accounts so that any possible drafts from one account will be withdrawn from the other.

Like the savings account, you get access to free ATMs, electronic statements, and online and mobile banking. You also get access to online bill pay and a Northwest Visa debit with Go! Rewards. With this program you earn points with each purchase to redeem for merchandise as well as the ability to use Apple, Android, and Samsung Pay.

How MyNorthwest Interest Checking compares

Compared to other banks’ checking accounts, Northwest’s checking account has a much lower rate. However, it offers free access to ATMs and rises above its competition with its Visa debit card. Not many banks offer GO! Rewards, which could be a huge advantage if you’re interested in earning rewards and plan on using your card often.

How to get a Northwest Bank checking account

To open a checking account, you’ll need your Social Security number, government-issued ID, and account information for existing bank accounts you want to transfer to Northwest Bank.

Northwest Bank IRA Account Rates

IRA CDs

Northwest Bank’s IRA CDs offer one of the lowest minimum deposit amounts, at the expense of a lower APY.

Term

APY

Minimum deposit amount

12-17 Months

0.35%

$25

18-Month Variable

0.30%

$500

18-23 Months

0.35%

$500

24-29 Months

0.45%

$500

30-35 Months

0.55%

$500

36-47 Months

0.60%

$500

48-59 Months

0.75%

$500

60-71 Months

0.90%

$500

72-120 Months

1.00%

$500

As of 11/06/2017

With the IRA CD, you can deposit money any time and in any increment you wish. Interest is compounded and credited every quarter. However, the interest rate is not fixed, meaning that the interest rate may fluctuate on the last day of each quarter.

When your IRA matures, you have a seven-day grace period in which to make withdrawals or roll it over. Early withdrawals are subject to the same penalties as their regular CD accounts

How Northwest Bank’s IRA CDs compare

The minimum opening deposit is one of the lowest out there, compared with some other IRA CDs that ask for a $1,000 minimum for an 18-month IRA CD. Like Northwest Bank’s other products, their IRA CDs offer a much lower rate, at least half of what its competitors offer.

How to get an IRA CD from Northwest Bank

You will need to apply for an IRA CD at the nearest branch.

IRA Tiered Money Fund

This account offers higher rates than their IRA CD, but still falls short compared with other banks.

Minimum balance requirement

APY

Up to $2,499.99

0.10%

$2,500.00-$9,999.99

0.10%

$10,000.00-$74,999.99

0.10%

$75,000.00 and over

0.25%

As of 11/06/2017

Like the IRA CD, you only need a minimum of $25 to open an account and deposit money as often as you want. There is a tiered interest based on balance, and interest is compounded and deposited every month. As well, there are no withdrawal restrictions, unlike the IRA CD where you may be penalized for early withdrawals.

If you’re looking for a similar product else with higher rates, you can consider a savings or checking account that may have tiered APYs.

How to get an IRA Money Fund from Northwest Bank

Visit your local branch to open an IRA Money Fund. You cannot open one online.

Bottom line

Although Northwest Bank offers free ATM access as well as a wide variety of customer service options, its rates are significantly lower than you’ll find with competitors. If you’re looking for a bank that offers more competitive rates with similar services, you may be better off looking elsewhere.

Sarah Li Cain
Sarah Li Cain |

Sarah Li Cain is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Sarah Li here

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Reviews

PNC Bank Reviews: Checking, Savings, CD, Money Market, and IRA Rates

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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PNC Bank is one of the oldest and largest banks in the country, founded shortly after the American Revolution. Although it is based out of Pittsburgh and its 2,600 branches are mostly located across the Eastern U.S., that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck if you’re in the western U.S.

PNC Bank offers a robust online banking platform with plenty of helpful features. But is it the right bank for you? How do its rates compare with those of other banks? Let’s walk you through the different types of PNC Bank account offerings.

It’s important to note that PNC Bank charges different rates across the country. To keep things consistent for comparison purposes, we’ll present you with the rates closest to their headquarters in Pittsburgh using the ZIP code 15222. To see rates for your local area, click here.

PNC Bank’s Virtual Wallet®

Wouldn’t it be great if you could get a super-easy holistic account package when you decide to switch banks? That’s what PNC Bank aims to offer with its Virtual Wallet® kit. It’s a complete set of accounts for everything you need to do, including:

  • Spend : An everyday checking account.
  • Reserve : A savings account for short-term goals, like a vacation or Christmas gifts.
  • Growth : A savings account for long-term goals, like a down payment on a house.

Virtual Wallet® accounts also come with different tiers of interest rates, depending on whether you meet certain qualifications. We’ll do a deeper dive on that later.

What’s really neat about PNC Bank’s Virtual Wallet® is that it comes with all sorts of tools to help you manage your money better. Within the checking account, you can take advantage of the following tools:

  • Calendar : Allows you to see scheduled bills and amounts due.
  • Online bill pay : Will pay your bills for you automatically on their due dates.
  • Danger Day : Shows you when you might run out of money for the month.
  • Spending Zone : Allows you to set up and track your spending in a budget.
  • Money Bar : Shows you how your money is divvied up: savings, scheduled for bills, or free to spend.

The Virtual Wallet® even makes it easier to save in Reserve and Growth savings accounts with the following features:

  • Punch The Pig : Gamifies your savings when you hit a pig icon to transfer money to your Growth account.
  • Wish List : Allows you to set up and track individual savings goals separately from each other.
  • Early closure fee: $25 if you close the account within 180 days of opening.
  • Savings Engine : Automatically puts money into savings when you’re paid, or if you pay a bill.

PNC Checking Accounts

PNC Bank’s checking accounts are, overall, pretty lackluster. The only advantage of using them is that you get access to the Virtual Wallet® account package, which actually does offer some nice money management tools. But you can still get access to budgeting tools and savings apps elsewhere that can do all the same jobs as the Virtual Wallet®.

The rewards structure for these checking accounts is confusing. There’s no way to know whether you’ll earn good rewards, since you have to log into a portal and manually activate them ahead of time. Furthermore, once you do earn those rewards points, you have to redeem them through another portal. Some checking accounts do come with discounts, but they’re mostly on more obscure banking products you probably aren’t going to use much anyway, like cashier’s checks or safety deposit boxes.

These accounts carry a lot of red tape and fees. They also don’t pay much interest, if any. If earning the highest interest rates possible (with the least amount of fine print and fees) is your goal, there are much better checking accounts elsewhere.

Read on to find out more about all of PNC’s checking account offerings:

Checking accounts with Virtual Wallet®

Virtual Wallet® Basic

A basic account for lower-income earners who want to use Virtual Wallet® features to manage their money.

If you’re looking to take advantage of PNC Bank’s Virtual Wallet® account package but don’t earn a huge income, this basic account is where you’ll want to start.

Just beware of fees; there are plenty that come with this product, including the following:

  • Minimum opening deposit : $25
  • Interest rate : The Spend account does not earn interest. The Reserve and Growth accounts earn 0.01% APY. If you meet qualifications (such as making at least five debit transactions per month from your Spend account), you can earn up to 0.10% APY with your Growth account.
  • Monthly account maintenance fee : $7
  • How to waive the account maintenance fee :
    1. Keep at least $500 in your Spend and/or Reserve accounts
    2. Have at least $500 direct-deposited into your Spend account
    3. Be 62 or older
    4. Provide proof of active enrollment in a qualifying education institution (expires six years after the account is enrolled in the student banking program).
  • ATM fees : No charge at PNC Bank ATMs. $3 for every domestic non-PNC Bank ATM transaction, and $5 for every international non-PNC ATMS.
  • ATM fee refunds:None.
  • Overdraft fees : $36 per charge, up to four charges per day. $7 per day for each day the account remains overdrawn. Any overdraft fees will be refunded if the overdrafted amount is less than $5. They will not charge you if you set up Overdraft Protection Transfer from your Reserve or Grow accounts.
  • Early closure fee : $25 if you close the account within 180 days of opening.

This checking account does come with a rewards program, but we’ll be honest: it is confusing.

To earn rewards points, you’ll need to log into the PNC Bank Rewards Portal to see and manually activate customized offers just for you, based on your spending history.

You can redeem your rewards through the online rewards catalog or receive cash back directly into your account. If you link up a PNC Points Visa credit card with your account, you can also earn 25 percent more rewards points for your purchases.

Because of the complexity of assessing the value of the rewards program before you sign up, we think that this is a nice bonus feature but not one you should base your decision on. If you’re looking for cashback rewards, there are many better, more transparent options for you.

If you decide to open a basic Virtual Wallet® account with PNC Bank, the process is relatively straightforward.

You can do it online, over the phone, or in a local branch if one is nearby. Simply provide some basic information (name, address, Social Security number and the like), have a government-issued photo ID ready, and a way to make an opening deposit with your existing bank’s routing and account numbers, or with a debit or credit card.


Virtual Wallet® with Performance Spend

A low-interest-earning account for those who earn a higher income and want to use the Virtual Wallet® package.

The Virtual Wallet® with Performance Spend works exactly like the basic Virtual Wallet® accounts, albeit with some extra threshold levels for higher rewards.

  • Minimum opening deposit : $25
  • Interest rate : 0.01% APY on balances over $2,000 for your Spend account or $1 for your Reserve account. Up to 0.35% APY on balances on your Growth account if you meet certain qualifications (such as making at least five debit purchases per month).
  • Monthly account maintenance fee : $15
  • How to waive the account maintenance fee :
    1. Keep at least $2,000 in your Spend and/or Reserve accounts
    2. Have at least $15,000 in another PNC Bank account or loan
    3. Have at least $2,000 direct-deposited into your Spend account each month ($1,000 for military members).
  • ATM fees : No charge at PNC Bank ATMs. It’s $3 for every domestic non-PNC Bank ATM transaction, and $5 for every international non-PNC Bank ATMS.
  • ATM fee refunds : Two refunds per statement. However, ATM surcharges from the originating financial institution ATMs may not be refunded.
  • Overdraft fees : $36 per charge, up to four charges per day. $7 per day for each day the account remains overdrawn. Any overdraft fees will be refunded if the overdrafted amount is less than $5. You won’t be charged if you set up Overdraft Protection Transfer from your Reserve or Grow accounts.
  • Early closure fee : $25 if you close the account within 180 days of opening.

The rewards program is structured the same way as with the basic Virtual Wallet package. You’ll need to log into a portal to view and activate different rewards offers for purchases you make. When you’ve accumulated enough rewards, you can redeem them for an unknown amount of cash back or other rewards.

The Performance Spend also adds in a few extra rewards: You get up to two ATM fee refunds per month. You’ll also get discounts on check designs, an annual safe deposit box rental,`free cashier’s checks, and higher rates on certain CDs and IRA CDs You do have the potential to earn slightly higher (but still paltry) interest rates on your savings accounts.


Virtual Wallet® with Performance Select

A low-interest-earning account for high earners who want to take advantage of Virtual Wallet® features.

This Virtual Wallet® package is built to be used by high-income earners. After all, you do not want to be paying a $25 monthly account fee, especially when you can get a much better rates at another bank.

  • Minimum opening deposit : $25
  • Interest rate : 0.01% APY on balances over $2,000 for your Spend account or $1 for your Reserve account. Up to 1.00% APY on balances over $1 on your Growth account if you meet certain qualifications (such as making at least five debit purchases per month).
  • Monthly account maintenance fee : $25
  • How to waive the account maintenance fee :
    1. Keep at least $5,000 in your Spend and/or Reserve accounts
    2. Have at least $25,000 in another PNC Bank account or loan
    3. Have at least $5,000 direct-deposited into your account each month.
  • ATM fees : None for PNC Bank ATMS and non-PNC Bank ATMS.
  • ATM fee refunds : Up to $10 per month in non-PNC Bank surcharges (i.e., the fees the ATM owner tacks on).
  • Overdraft fees : $36 per charge, up to four charges per day. $7 per day for each day the account remains overdrawn. Any overdraft fees will be refunded if the overdrafted amount is less than $5. They will not charge you if you set up Overdraft Protection Transfer from your Reserve or Growth accounts.
  • Early closure fee : $25 if you close the account within 180 days of opening.

The Performance Select package comes with added bonus perks. In addition to all the perks from the Performance Spending package, you also will have fees waived for more obscure services, such as Stop Payment and ATM statements. You’ll also be eligible for savings on home equity lines of credit and personal lines of credit, and up to $10,000 in identity theft protection reimbursement.

Overall, though, we’re left feeling underwhelmed by the bonus perks that this account offers for all of the requirements.

Bonus: New checking account offer

PNC Bank is currently offering sign-up bonuses with the Virtual Wallet® account package. If you open a new account and meet the requirements, you could be eligible for a lucrative sign-up bonus.

The bonus amount and the requirements depend on which account tier you open.

For a basic-level Virtual Wallet account, you’ll need to set up at least $500 of direct deposits into the account and make at least 10 purchases with your debit card. If you do those things, you’ll earn a $50 sign-up bonus.

The next level up is the Performance Spend account. To get the $200 sign-up bonus for this account, you’ll need to set up $2,000 of direct deposits and also make 10 purchases with your debit card.

Finally, you can earn a $300 sign-up bonus by opening a Virtual Wallet package with the Performance Select level. To earn this hefty bonus, you’ll need to schedule a $5,000 direct deposit into your account and make 10 debit card purchases.

PNC checking accounts without Virtual Wallet®

Performance Select Checking

A basic interest-earning checking account for high-income earners who don’t need all the fancy Virtual Wallet® features.

The Virtual Wallet® account package is nice for people who want an all-inclusive money management experience. But what if you’re a high-income earner who just wants a simple, no-frills checking account?

That’s where the base Performance Select Checking account comes in. It has the same fees, reward program, requirements and interest-earning structure as the Virtual Wallet®’s Performance Select, just without the extra two Reserve and Growth savings accounts.

Signing up for the Performance Select checking account is easy and takes just a few minutes. You can go to a local branch if you’re near one, call or sign up online. You’ll need that photo ID, a way to fund your new account, and all the basic info, like Social Security number.


Performance checking

A basic interest-earning checking account for medium-income earners who don’t want Virtual Wallet® features.

PNC Bank’s Performance checking account is its lowest-requirement interest-earning checking account. But with an interest rate of 0.01% APY that only applies to balances over $2,000, the amount of money you’ll earn with this account will be peanuts.

Furthermore, if you don’t meet all the same requirements (keeping at least $2,000 in your account, having $2,000 of direct deposits, or having $15,000 in another PNC Bank account or loan) as the Virtual Wallet with Performance Spend, you’ll have to pay a $15 monthly account fee.

This account does come with the same reward structure and banking discounts as the Virtual Wallet® with Performance Spend account, however. If this sounds like the right account for you, you can easily sign up online, via phone or by visiting a local branch.


Standard checking

A basic-reward checking account for lower-income or retired consumers.

If you’re not interested in taking advantage of PNC Bank’s Virtual Wallet® money management features but still want a reward checking account without all the red tape, the Standard account might be for you.

This non-interest-earning account, which carries the same fee, reward, and requirement structure as the basic Virtual Wallet® account package, is easy to sign up for. All you need is a photo ID, basic personal information and a way to fund your account. You can sign up in just a few minutes online, over the phone or at a local branch.


PNC Savings Accounts

While you can save money with PNC Bank’s savings accounts, they’re not an effective way to earn interest. Their rates are well below the national average of around 0.20% APY and there are many hidden fees that can trip you up if you aren’t a model customer.

The “S” is for Savings account for children is an exception if you’re looking to teach your youngsters about money, however. With its neat interactive interface and “Sesame Street” characters, it can get any child excited about savings.

That doesn’t mean it’s the best tool for the job, though. There are many other savings accounts that offer better rates for both you and your children.

Read on to learn more about PNC’s savings account offerings.

Standard savings

Low interest rates for a fee-heavy savings account.

PNC Bank’s basic savings account does technically earn interest — but that’s about all we can say about it. Though national savings account rates average around 0.19% APY, the best you can hope for with this account is 0.10% APY—-and only if you have more than $2,500 in your account and qualify for relationship rates.

To do this, you can set up a direct deposit into another account in one of the following amounts:

  1. $500 to a Standard checking account
  2. $2,000 to a Performance checking account
  3. $5,000 to a Performance Select checking account

Alternatively, you can also qualify for the higher rates by making at least five purchases with your PNC Bank credit or debit card.

If you’re not able to meet these requirements for the higher relationship interest rates, you’ll only earn a measly 0.01% APY on your savings. That’s as low as you can go while still technically saying it does earn interest.

Furthermore, there are many hidden-fee traps with this account. For example, if you don’t meet another set of requirements to waive the monthly account fee, you’ll pay a $5 monthly account fee.

  • Minimum opening deposit : $25
  • Interest rate : 0.01% APY on balances over $1.00
  • Relationship interest rate : 0.05% APY on balances between $1.00 and $2,499.99. 0.10% APY on balances over $2,500.
  • Monthly account maintenance fee : $5
  • How to waive the account maintenance fee :
    1. Keep $300 in your savings account
    2. Be under age 18
    3. Transfer at least $25 from this account to an Auto Savings account
  • ATM fees : No charge at PNC Bank ATMs. $3 for every domestic non-PNC Bank ATM transaction, and $5 for every international non-PNC Bank ATMS.
  • ATM fee refunds : None
  • Overdraft fees : $36 per charge, up to four charges per day. $7 per day for each day the account remains overdrawn. Any overdraft fees will be refunded if the overdrafted amount is less than $5.
  • Early closure fee : $25 if closed within 180 days of opening
  • Regulation D violation fee : You get six free transactions per month, as per Federal Regulation D. After that, you’ll pay $15 per transaction.

At least the bank does make it easy to open an account if you decide you want to go this route. You can do it online, over the phone, or at a local branch. You’ll need just a few minutes of your time along with a photo ID, basic personal information and a way to fund your new account.

“S” is for Savings

Fun savings tools for children, but don’t expect to teach them about earning interest.

It can be tough to teach young ones about money, but this savings account can help in a few ways. Children can set savings goals for things like a new bike or a toy.

When money is deposited into the account, children are presented with a visual of three buckets that they can choose to put the money in:

  1. Saving (for later)
  2. Sharing (to be given to charity or other people)
  3. Spending (to be spent right away)

Even cooler is an interactive learning center where young savers can learn about basic money management from “Sesame Street” characters.

These features are great for teaching basic financial concepts, except for one thing: how compound interest works. This account earns a rock-bottom interest rate of 0.01% APY. Since your child probably isn’t going to be saving hundreds of thousands of dollars in this account, he or she won’t really be able to see compound interest in action.

  • Minimum opening deposit : $25
  • Interest rate : 0.01% APY on balances over $1
  • Monthly account maintenance fee : $5
  • How to waive the account maintenance fee :
    1. Be under age 18
    2. Keep at least $300 in this account
    3. Transfer at least $25 from this account to an Auto Savings account each month
  • ATM fees : No charge at PNC Bank ATMs. $3 for every domestic non-PNC Bank ATM transaction, and $5 for every international non-PNC Bank ATMS.
  • ATM fee refunds : None
  • Overdraft fees : $36 per charge, up to four charges per day. $7 per day for each day the account remains overdrawn. Any overdraft fees will be refunded if the overdrafted amount is less than $5.
  • Early closure fee : $25 if you close the account within 180 days of opening.

Luckily, this account is pretty easy to open. All you need is a photo ID for yourself (not your child), a way to fund the account, and your child’s personal information. It only takes a few minutes to complete an application, which you can do online, in person at a local branch or over the phone.

PNC CD Rates

PNC Bank offers a diverse set of CDs, which is great because it provides you with the most flexibility for your personal situation. Not everyone is able or willing to use a one-size-fits-all CD.

The rates offered for these CDs fall well short of national averages, however. If you’re looking to maximize the amount of return for your money, there are many better options.

Read on for more on PNC’s CD offerings:

Fixed-rate CDs

Large amounts of cash needed for below-average returns.

To get started with a PNC Bank Fixed Rate CD, you’ll need a deposit of at least $1,000. The bank will notify you and give you a 10-day grace period when your CD term is due to allow you to decide what to do with it (withdraw, or renew?). If you do nothing, the CD will automatically renew with the same term.

Although PNC Bank does allow CDs with a deposit of as little as $1, there’s a hidden catch: deposit amounts between $1 and $999.99 are only available for CDs that are being renewed — which means you can’t start out at this level with your first deposit amount.

Furthermore, the rates offered for their CDs are again very low.

For example, the average national rates for a 1-year and 5-year CD are 0.63% APY and 1.56% APY with a $1,000 deposit, respectively. But PNC Bank? They’re just 0.13% APY and 0.60% APY, respectively—less than half the national average.

Standard CD rates

 

$1.00 - $999.99

$1k - $9,999.99

$10k - $24,999.9

$25k - $99,999.99

$100k - $499,999.99

$500k +

1 month

0.04%

0.05%

0.05%

0.05%

0.05%

0.05%

3 months

0.04%

0.05%

0.06%

0.07%

0.08%

0.09%

6 months

0.04%

0.06%

0.08%

0.10%

0.12%

0.14%

12 months

0.04%

0.13%

0.15%

0.18%

0.20%

0.22%

18 months

0.04%

0.18%

0.25%

0.28%

0.30%

0.35%

24 months

0.04%

0.25%

0.30%

0.35%

0.38%

0.43%

36 months

0.04%

0.30%

0.35%

0.38%

0.40%

0.45%

48 months

0.04%

0.50%

0.55%

0.65%

0.70%

0.75%

60 months

0.04%

0.60%

0.70%

0.90%

0.95%

1.0%

84 months

0.04%

0.90%

0.95%

1.05%

1.15%

1.25%

120 months

0.04%

1.10%

1.20%

1.30%

1.40%

1.50%

Promotional rates

$1.00 - $999.99

$1k - $9,999.99

$10k - $24,999.99

$25k - $99,999.99

$100k - $499,999.99

$500k +

9 months

0.04%

0.06%

0.08%

0.10%

0.12%

0.15%

Rates as of Nov. 10, 2017

  • Minimum deposit amount : $1,000
  • Interest compounded : Monthly
  • How interest is paid : Deposited into your CD account monthly
  • Grace period : 10 days to decide whether to renew or withdraw the CD
  • Early withdrawal penalties : For CDs with terms between 3 months and one year, you’ll lose the amount of interest you would have earned. For CDs with terms over one year, you’ll lose six months’ worth of interest.

If you do decide to open a Fixed Rate CD, you’ll need a bit more information than with a standard checking or savings account. You’ll need current personal and employment information, and a photo ID. You can apply online, at a local branch, or over the phone.

Ready Access CDs

A better option to earn higher interest rates and skirt around the rules of PNC Bank’s savings account.

CDs can be tough to invest with. On one hand, they offer higher rates than a savings account. But, if something comes up and you need the cash, you generally can’t withdraw it without paying an early withdrawal fee that could wipe out your earnings.

You can withdraw the money from this CD at any time penalty-free after the account has been open for at least seven days. These CDs will also automatically renew, meaning they’re a great option to store your emergency savings to earn a higher interest rate. In a worst-case scenario, you won’t be able to pull the money out within a brief seven-day period each year without incurring an early withdrawal fee.

Otherwise, it’s a great way to skirt around the rules and fees of their savings account while still earning a higher rate.

Term

APY

Minimum Balance Amount

3 months

0.05%

$1,000

12 months

0.15%

$1,000

Rates as of Nov. 10, 2017

  • Minimum deposit amount : $1,000
  • Interest compounded : Monthly
  • How interest is paid : Deposited into your CD account monthly
  • Grace period : 10 days to decide whether to renew or withdraw the CD
  • Early withdrawal penalties : You will forfeit any interest earned.

You can open a Ready Access CD online, over the phone or in-person at a local branch. You’ll need a photo ID, employment and personal information, and a way to fund your new account.

Callable CDs

Higher rates that still underperform national averages with added fine print.

If the rates of PNC Bank’s Fixed Rate CDs left you feeling a bit underwhelmed, you do have an opportunity to earn a slightly higher rate with Callable CDs. Still these rates are around half of what national averages are for these CD term lengths.

The way it works is a little confusing. PNC Bank has the right to call back its CD if it decides the interest rate isn’t working in its favor. This just means that it’ll pay out what you’ve already earned instead of paying a higher interest rate for the full term length of the CD. It can only call back the CD after you’ve had it open for 12 months (for a 36-month Callable CD), or 24 months (for a 60-month Callable).

If this happens, you’ll get an advance notice of the actual “call date” of the CD. After this date, you’ll have 10 full days to decide whether you want to withdraw the cash or renew it into another CD. If you do nothing, the bank will automatically roll the funds over into a 12-month fixed-rate CD.

Term

APY

Minimum Balance Amount

36 months

0.50%

$10,000

60 months

1.10%

$10,000

Rates as of Nov. 10, 2017

  • Minimum deposit amount : $10,000
  • Interest compounded : Monthly
  • How interest is paid : Deposited into your CD account monthly
  • Grace period : 10 days to decide whether to renew or withdraw the CD
  • Early withdrawal penalties : Six months’ worth of interest.

Getting a Callable CD is relatively straightforward, but you’ll need a few pieces of information. You can open an account over the phone, in person at a local branch or online. You’ll need a photo ID, employment and personal information, and a way to fund your new CD.

Variable-rate CDs

Earn fair rates through a changing interest rate environment.

You’ve probably heard all the kerfuffle surrounding the Federal Reserve changing interest rates. That can cause banks to change their own CD rates, and if you’re locked into a long-term CD, that change might not be in your favor.

Instead, PNC Bank offers an option for these scenarios. You can choose from just one term length — 18 months — and the interest rate you earn will be tied to the current price of a three-month Treasury Bill. Right now, as of November 2017, that’s running at 1.17% APY.

After the 18-month period is up, your variable-rate CD will renew into another CD of the same type.

  • Minimum deposit amount:$1,000
  • Interest compounded: Monthly
  • How interest is paid: Deposited into your CD account monthly
  • Grace period:10 days to decide whether to renew or withdraw the CD
  • Early withdrawal penalties:You’ll lose six months’ worth of interest.

To open a Variable Rate CD, you’ll need a few things. You’ll need to provide personal information and employment history, as well as a photo ID. You can apply in person at a local branch, over the phone or online.

Step-rate CDs

Frequent access to your cash with an unknown earning potential.

If you want more frequent access to your money but don’t want to commit to a Ready Access CD, then a step-rate CD might be right for you. This CD is available in 36-month term lengths, which are further subdivided into six six-month terms.

Every six months you’re given a 10-day period where you can withdraw your cash penalty-free if you wish. If you choose to leave it in the account, the interest rate will be bumped up a notch each time.

The downside of this CD is that the lender won’t tell you what the interest rates for each step are until you sign up for an account. So, it’ll be a surprise!

  • Minimum deposit amount : $2,500
  • Interest compounded : Monthly
  • How interest is paid : Deposited into your CD account monthly
  • Grace period : 10 days to decide whether to renew or withdraw the CD
  • Early withdrawal penalties : You’ll lose six months’ worth of interest.

To open a Step Rate CD, simply go online, call PNC Bank, or visit them in person if you live near a local branch. You’ll need to provide them with basic personal and employment information, and a photo ID.

PNC Bank Money Market Accounts

For most products, PNC Bank offers below-average rates. Its money market account is one exception — if you can meet the added requirements. Otherwise, you’ll earn measly rates and might actually lose money if you have to pay the monthly account fee.

The higher rates offered for customers who qualify are actually right on par with national averages. But, as with the rest of their products, you can still find better account rates and terms with other banks.

PNC Bank’s basic money market account isn’t anything to write home about on its own. But, if you can take advantage of the higher rates offered if you have a Performance Checking or Performance Select Checking account, you can actually earn decent returns on your savings.

To qualify for these higher interest rates, you’ll need to meet at least one of these other requirements in addition to having the extra checking account:

  1. Set up a monthly direct deposit amount ($2,000 to a Performance Checking account, or $5,000 to a Performance Select Checking account)
  2. Make at least five purchases a month with your PNC credit or debit card

Just be sure to watch out for the hidden fees, especially the monthly account maintenance fee. If you’re not able to keep $5,000 in your account, it’ll be a $12 fee each month.

  • Minimum opening deposit : $100
  • Maximum opening deposit : $10,000
  • Monthly account maintenance fee : $12
  • How to waive the account maintenance fee : Keep at least $5,000 in your account.
  • ATM fees : No charge at PNC Bank ATMs. $3 for every domestic non-PNC Bank ATM transaction, and $5 for every international non-PNC Bank ATMS.
  • ATM fee refunds : None
  • Overdraft fees : $36 per charge, up to four charges per day. $7 per day for each day the account remains overdrawn. Any overdraft fees will be refunded if the overdrafted amount is less than $5.
  • Early closure fee : $25 if closed within 180 days of opening
  • Regulation D violation fee : You get six free transactions per month, as per Federal Regulation D. After that, you’ll pay $15 per transaction.

Balance to earn interest

Standard APY

APY when linked to Performance Checking

APY when linked to Performance Select Checking

$1.00 - $9,999.99

0.03%

0.25%

0.60%

$10k - $24,999.99

0.09%

0.27%

0.60%

$25k - $49,999.99

0.11%

0.30%

0.70%

$50k - $99,999.99

0.13%

0.32%

0.80%

$100k - $249,999.99

0.15%

0.35%

0.85%

$250k - $499,999.99

0.15%

0.35%

0.85%

$500k - $999,999.99

0.17%

0.35%

1.00%

$1M and above

0.17%

0.35%

1.00%

Rates as of Nov. 10, 2017

To sign up for a PNC Bank Money Market account, you’ll need to apply either online, in person at a local branch, or over the phone. You’ll need a photo ID, and be able to provide bank account or credit card numbers to provide an opening deposit. Finally, you’ll also need to provide PNC Bank with basic personal information.

PNC IRA CDs

Unfortunately, PNC Bank falls short of the mark for Fixed Rate IRA CDs as well. The rates offered are measly compared with those of competitors, even when you look at the longest-running CDs with the highest deposit amounts. If you’re looking to grow your money, you can find better rates and terms for IRA CDs elsewhere.

Furthermore, there are fees to watch out for with this account. Unless you come to the table with a $2,000 minimum deposit, you’ll have to pay an annual account fee. If you ever want to transfer your money out of the bank, you’ll need to pay another fee. These fees could really eat into your already-tiny earnings.

Fixed-rate IRA CD account

Low rates for high-fee retirement savings.

This is one of the safest options around for growing your savings. PNC Bank offers multiple term lengths and rate tiers depending on how much money you want to invest and for how long.

Although it does offer IRA CDs in amounts from $1.00-$999.99, you actually can’t start your account with these. You can only renew existing IRA CDs in this amount, meaning that you’ll need to bring at least $1,000 to the table if you want to open an account.

  • Minimum opening deposit : $1,000
  • Annual custodian fee : $25
  • How to waive the annual custodian fee : Keep at least $2,000 in your account.
  • Interest compounded : Monthly
  • How interest is paid : Deposited into your CD account monthly
  • Transfer fee : $25 if transferring money to another PNC savings or checking account, or to another bank.
  • Grace period : 10 days to decide whether to renew or withdraw the CD
  • Early withdrawal penalties : For Fixed Rate IRAs with terms between three months and one year, you’ll lose the amount of interest you would have earned. For CDs with terms over one year, you’ll lose six months’ worth of interest.

Standard rates

 

$1.00 - $999.99

$1k - $9,999.99

$10k - $24,999.99

$25k - $99,999.99

$100k - $499,999.99

$500k +

6 months

0.04%

0.06%

0.08%

0.10%

0.12%

0.14%

12 months

0.04%

0.13%

0.15%

0.18%

0.20%

0.22%

18 months

0.04%

0.18%

0.25%

0.28%

0.30%

0.35%

24 months

0.04%

0.25%

0.30%

0.35%

0.38%

0.43%

36 months

0.04%

0.30%

0.35%

0.38%

0.40%

0.45%

48 months

0.04%

0.50%

0.55%

0.65%

0.70%

0.75%

60 months

0.04%

0.60%

0.70%

0.90%

0.95%

1.00%

84 months

0.04%

0.90%

0.95%

1.05%

1.15%

1.25%

120 months

0.04%

1.10%

1.20%

1.30%

1.40%

1.50%

Rates as of Nov. 10, 2017


Promotional rates

9-month fixed term

Fixed rate only

Fixed rate with Choice/Premium plan

Fixed Rate with Performance/Performance Select/VW Performance

$1.00 - $999.99

0.04%

0.24%

0.29%

Rates as of Nov. 10, 2017

If you’d like to open a fixed-rate IRA CD account with PNC Bank, you’ll need to block out about 15 minutes of time from your day. You can apply over the phone, online or in person at a local branch.

New IRA account offer

PNC Bank is offering a nice promotion when you sign up for a new IRA Account until Dec. 31, 2017. First, you’ll need to sign up to receive the sign-up bonus coupon. After that, you’ll need to call up PNC Bank or visit a local branch in-person to open your account. You cannot take advantage of this sign-up bonus by signing up for an account online.

You’ll also need a hefty deposit amount to be able to take advantage of this offer. You’ll earn the following sign-up bonus based on your deposit amount:

  • $50 sign-up bonus for a $20,000 deposit
  • $100 sign-up bonus for a $50,000 deposit
  • $200 sign-up bonus for a $100,000 deposit
  • $600 sign-up bonus for a $250,000 deposit
  • $1500 sign-up bonus for a $500,000 deposit

PNC Bank’s Student Virtual Wallet® Review

Great account package for young adults to learn money management skills.

PNC Bank offers all the functionality and perks of its regular Virtual Wallet® package (Spend, Reserve, and Growth accounts) with added bonuses for students. One of these great features is parental alerts, so parents can also see, along with students, when the account balance is low.

This account package also comes with helpful financial education. It provides in-person financial education seminars if you’re lucky enough to have a local branch on your campus.

  • Minimum opening deposit : $25
  • Interest rate : The Spend account does not earn interest. The Reserve and Growth accounts earn 0.01% APY. If you meet qualifications (such as making at least five debit transactions per month from your Spend account), you can earn up to 0.10% APY with your Grow account.
  • Monthly account maintenance fee : None if you provide proof that you’re actively enrolled in an educational institution. Status expires 6 years from when you open the account.
  • ATM fees : No charge at PNC Bank ATMs. $3 for every domestic non-PNC Bank ATM transaction, and $5 for every international non-PNC Bank ATMS.
  • ATM fee refunds : Two per month. ATM surcharges (i.e., the extra fee the ATM’s owner tacks on) are not refunded.
  • Overdraft fees : $36 per charge, up to four charges per day. $7 per day for each day the account remains overdrawn. Any overdraft fees will be refunded if the overdrafted amount is less than $5. They will not charge you if you set up Overdraft Protection Transfer from your Reserve or Grow accounts.
  • Overdraft fee courtesy pay : Your first overdraft fee within 12 months of account opening will be refunded.
  • Early closure fee : $25 if you close the account within 180 days of opening.
    Opening an account is the same as for the regular Virtual Wallet® accounts. In addition, you’ll need some way to prove that you actually are a student for this particular account.

Overall review of PNC Bank

We’ll be honest. PNC Bank really does offer some neat money management tools, especially with its Virtual Wallet® and “S” is for Savings® accounts. These accounts come with seamless tools that help you to simplify your hectic financial life.

But that doesn’t mean these are the only places you can get these tools. Other financial products such as Mint or FamZoo can also do just about everything that the Virtual Wallet® does. You’ll have to do research and piecemeal these tools together to create a custom package for you, but it is possible to replace all the functionality of the PNC offerings with other products.

Furthermore, PNC Bank offers rock-bottom rates and super-high fees for most of its banking products. Unless you’re a model customer, these fees have the potential to wipe out your meager earnings.

Instead, you can search for higher-earning, more transparent checking and savings accounts elsewhere and finding your own budgeting and savings tools to help you manage your money. That way, you’ll have the best of both worlds: custom ways to simplify your finances and, with luck and due diligence, the highest-earning accounts possible.

Lindsay VanSomeren
Lindsay VanSomeren |

Lindsay VanSomeren is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Lindsay here

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Reviews, Strategies to Save

BB&T CD Rates and Review

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Trying to find BB&T CD rates
Source: iStock

As you may know if you’ve done a search for BB&T CD rates, their website is not a helpful place to turn for information. Beyond a basic overview of their CDs on their website stating that they have CDs with terms ranging from seven days to five years, they do not give details on their current rates. BB&T did not respond to email and phone inquiries from MagnifyMoney asking why the bank does not publish its CD rates online.

When we called their customer service number, a representative said BB&T’s CD rates change on a daily basis and said the best way to learn about CD rates is to call or visit a local branch.

So that’s what we did.

We called BB&T branches on Nov. 13 and, on the same day, compared their CD rates to other banks and the national averages. After conducting this research, it’s not surprising BB&T makes their CD rates hard to find — they’re terrible.

BB&T CD rates and products

BB&T offers CD terms ranging from as short as seven days to as long as five years. They have eight CD options, each with different investment goals.

7-day to 60-month

For short-term investments, BB&T offers CDs ranging from seven days to 60 months. These personal CDs offer a fixed rate of return along with the flexibility to focus on developing either a short- or long-term investment.

BB&T CD Term

APY

Minimum Deposit Amount

3 Months

0.03%

$1,000

6 Months

0.05%

$1,000

1 Year

0.10%

$1,000

18 Months

0.15%

$1,000

2 years

0.20%

$1,000

3 Years

0.40%

$1,000

4 Years

0.45%

$1,000

5 Years

0.50%

$1,000

Rates as of Nov. 13, 2017

Not only can you find better CD rates at other banks and credit unions for each of the terms BB&T offers, you can get those better rates with smaller minimum deposits. BB&T’s offerings are far from the best in every term length above — you can see some of the top options in our monthly roundup of the best CD rates.

With the seven-day to 60-month BB&T CDs, there are no penalty-free options for withdrawing your funds prior to the CD reaching maturity. The early withdrawal penalty is the lesser of $25 or 12 months of interest for longer-term CDs. So with smaller initial deposits, early withdrawal penalties will negate any interest you may have earned.

Can’t Lose

As the name of this CD implies, whether rates go up or down, you can’t lose. Well, actually, you can: The APY is so low, you’re almost certainly going to lose money to inflation.

At the 12-month mark of the CD’s term, you may make one withdrawal without paying any fees. So if the market rate is higher than what you’re currently getting, simply withdraw the money and reinvest at the higher rate.

If, however, the interest rate you’re receiving is better than what’s currently available, you also have the option of making a second deposit into the Can’t Lose CD, up to $10,000. This locks in the rate for the new investment amount for the remainder of the term. So whether rates go up or down, you’ll lock in the higher rate.

CD Term

APY

Minimum
Deposit Amount

Withdrawal
Penalties

30-month "Can't Lose"

0.25

$1,000

No penalty for one
withdrawal after 12 months

As of Nov. 13, 2017

Still, you can find many CDs with better APYs than BB&T’s Can’t Lose, whether you’re looking for a 12-month investment or longer.

Stepped Rate

Laddering is a way to stagger your CD investments so you’re able to take advantage of increasing rates. With the Stepped Rate option from BB&T, laddering is built into the CD product. The initial CD starts out at a lower rate and increases each year. For example:

Months

APY

12

0.30%

24

0.40%

36

0.55%

48

0.75%

As of Nov. 13, 2017

This product also allows you to make an additional deposit each year (up to $10,000). So if the interest rate you’re receiving is better than the market, you can invest more money into your existing CD to make a higher return. But if the current CD market is offering better rates than your existing CD, you can simply take advantage of that offer and still make a higher return.

In addition, you may make a withdrawal from what you initially deposited into your Stepped Rate CD after two years. So, again, if the market changes dramatically, you may withdraw your money with no penalty and reinvest in a better option.

Or you could create a CD ladder on your own, choosing CDs with better rates than BB&T’s — higher rates are certainly available.

Add-on

The Add-on CD option from BB&T offers a 12-month CD at 0.10% and an opening deposit of $100. You’ll need a BB&T checking account and a $50/month automatic deposit from your checking account into the CD. To get a personal account, you’ll just need to set up direct deposit or maintain a $1,500 balance.

CD Term

APY

Minimum
Deposit Amount

Withdrawal
Penalties

12-month Add-on

0.10%

$100

Greater of $25 or
6 months’ interest

As of Nov. 13, 2017

Home Saver

If you’re in the market for a new home, and you want to earn a little more interest on the money you’re saving, consider the Home Saver CD. Starting with as little as $100, you’ll be able to deposit money earmarked for your new home every month and earn 0.40% APY. With this CD, as long as you’re withdrawing the money for use toward the purchase of your new home, you won’t pay any penalties for the withdrawal. But you will need a BB&T checking account set up for a monthly deposit of $50 into your Home Saver CD.

CD Term

APY

Minimum
Deposit Amount

Withdrawal
Penalties

36-month Home Saver

0.40%

$100

No penalty for
home purchase

As of Nov. 13, 2017

College Saver

Similar to the Home Saver CD, the College Saver CD is meant for parents or students saving for college. It offers the benefit of starting at a higher APY (0.40%) with the flexibility of withdrawing the money up to four times per year to pay for the cost of attending school. As with the Home Saver, you’ll need to have a BB&T checking account with an automatic monthly deposit of $50. The College Saver offers terms of 36, 48, and 60 months.

CD Term

APY

Minimum
Deposit Amount

Withdrawal
Penalties

36-month College Saver

0.40%

$100

No penalty for
school costs

48-month College Saver

0.45%

$100

No penalty for
school costs

60-month College Saver

0.50%

$100

No penalty for
school costs

As of Nov. 13, 2017

Treasury

This CD offers the ability to make additional deposits of at least $100 into your CD at any time and one monthly withdrawal without penalty. The CD has a six-month term with a variable interest rate tied to the U.S. Treasury Bill — if the rate goes up, you’ll make more money, but if the rate declines, you’ll make less. Right now, rates start at 0.05% and adjust quarterly. Throughout 2016, Treasury Bill rates increased almost every month and have continued to rise in 2017, reaching 1.035% in August. So this is a great option if you have the $5,000 minimum deposit amount and want a short-term investment with the option to add or remove funds from the CD.

CDARS

CDARS stands for Certificate of Deposit Account Registry Service and protects your principal and interest by making sure your money is placed into multiple CDs across a network of banks to keep your CDs insured by the FDIC (maximum limit for each CD is $250,000).

Other things to know about BB&T CDs

Does BB&T allow customers to take advantage of rising rates once they’ve opened a CD?

BB&T has two CD options that allow you to take advantage of rising rates: the 30-month Can’t Lose CD and the 48-month Stepped Rate CD. Both allow you to make a withdrawal before the CD comes to maturity in case rates increase (terms apply). They also allow additional deposits in case rates drop and you want to invest more at the existing rate of your CD. However, the current rates on those products are very low, negating the value of their flexibility.

About BB&T

BB&T (Branch Banking and Trust Co.) is a North Carolina-based bank with locations in 16 states and the District of Columbia, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.

BB&T offers a mobile app for both iOS and Android. While their website is easy enough to use, finding specific information, particularly about rates, is impossible. Their customer service number isn’t much help in that regard either, with most questions answered with a suggestion to visit a branch location. As a result, if you don’t live in an area with a branch, we don’t recommend using BB&T’s CDs. To find the BB&T branch closest to you, use their branch locator.

Pros and cons of CDs

A certificate of deposit (CD) may offer a higher return than you’ll get with your savings accounts, without the risk of loss that accompanies other investment options with higher return rates. The drawbacks associated with CDs are the inability to access your funds during the term of the investment without suffering a penalty and the risk of interest rates increasing while your money is locked into a CD for a specified term.

The bottom line: Are BB&T CDs right for you?

BB&T does offer some flexible deals to its customers, but in general, better CD rates can be found at both banks and credit unions with comparable terms. You can find them on our list of the best CD rates, which we update every month.

Ralph Miller
Ralph Miller |

Ralph Miller is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Ralph here

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Pay Down My Debt, Personal Loans, Reviews

PNC Personal Loan Review

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

personal loan_lg

Updated November 08, 2017
With about 2,800 branches in 19 states and the District of Columbia, PNCis the fifth largest bank in the United States. It’s primarily located in the eastern half of the US, with most of its branches and its headquarters being in the northeast.

If you’re looking for a personal loan from a trustworthy, familiar source, PNC might be your answer. It offers an unsecured personal loan on par with most lenders, as well as a secured loan that allows up to $100,000 to be borrowed.

Most traditional banks haven’t been able to compete with online-only lenders in the personal loan space, so let’s see how PNC compares.

Personal Loan Details

PNC has three personal loan options – secured and unsecured installment loans, and a line of credit. For the purpose of this review, we’ll be focusing on the installment loans.

Most online lenders only offer unsecured loans. In case you’re not sure of the difference:

  • Secured loans require an agreement to let your creditor use your assets as collateral in the event you default on your loan. This protects the creditor as it can sell your assets and recoup the cost of the loan.
  • Unsecured loans are the exact opposite – there’s no collateral involved. There’s less risk for the borrower and more for the creditor.

While secured loans seem to take the creditor’s side, the bonus is they often have more favorable terms because creditors are taking on less risk. You may have access to better interest rates or more money.

A simple example of a secured loan is a mortgage loan. Your home (property) is used as collateral. If you don’t pay your mortgage, your mortgage lender can seize the property and sell it.

Now that you know what it means to have a secured or unsecured loan, we’ll take a look at the differences between the details.

PNC’s unsecured personal loan allows you to borrow between $1,000 and $25,000 on a variety of terms: 6 months, and 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5-year options are available.

PNC’s secured loan allows you to borrow much more – between $2,000 and $100,000. The collateral required for this loan is non-real estate (a vehicle, for example).

Both the unsecured and secured loans have fixed interest rates.

Unfortunately, you can’t check APRs or sample payments for secured loans online, and when we called, we were told they vary based on your credit. They were unable to give any APR range.

The APR for unsecured loans varies by the loan amount:

  • For a $5,000 loan, the APR ranges from 9.49% – 21.99%
  • For a $10,000 loan, the APR ranges from 6.74% – 19.24%
  • For a $15,000 loan and up, the APR ranges from 5.99% – 18.49%

A payment example: if you borrow $20,000 on a 5-year term with an APR of 7.74%, your monthly payment will be $403.04.

The Pros and Cons

Applying for a personal loan with a bank is typically a bit more time consuming than applying with an online-only lender. This is because banks are thorough with the documentation they request.

However, PNC states the application should take no longer than 15 minutes online.

Unfortunately, if you’re looking at the secured loan option, you can’t apply online. You can only apply by phone, or in person at a branch. You can apply online with the unsecured loan option.

PNC’s APRs are also quite high, especially for the loan amounts. Many online-only lenders are offering better rates starting in the 5% range.

An additional negative might be that PNC only offers fixed rates. While variable rates aren’t stable, they’re usually lower than fixed rates. If you’ll have the ability to pay the loan off soon after it’s disbursed, having the lower variable rate can be beneficial.

If you fall on hard times, there’s a possibility that PNC will allow you to defer your payments, but this is reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

PNC urges borrowers to contact the bank at the first sign of trouble – before their payment is due.

Application Process and Documents Needed to Apply

If you’re applying for an unsecured loan, you can easily apply online and be done within 15 minutes. PNC recommends having the following information ready:

  • Your photo ID
  • Annual income, plus any other sources of income you have
  • Employer information (if you’ve been working there for less than 2 years, have your previous employer information as well)
  • Address/proof of residence (if you’ve been living there for less than 2 years, have your previous address ready)
  • If you’re applying with a co-applicant, you’ll need the same information for them
  • If you’re applying for a personal loan to consolidate debt, you’ll need account statements as PNC needs to know your account number, monthly payment, and outstanding balance

PNC’s application is straightforward, and it also has a checklist available for you on the application in case you need to reference it.

PNC will use a hard credit inquiry when applying for a loan with them.

Who Qualifies for a Personal Loan With PNC?

To have the best chances of being approved for a loan with PNC, you need very good and established credit, along with a reasonable debt-to-income ratio. Your loan terms greatly depend on these two factors. Being a customer with PNC doesn’t increase your chances of getting approved.

Just a note – if you choose the secured loan and want to use your vehicle as collateral, it must be less than 8 years old and have less than 80,000 miles on it.

Who Benefits the Most from a Personal Loan With PNC?

Borrowers looking for a larger loan amount would benefit from the secured personal loan with PNC.

SoFi is the only other personal loan lender offering that much money, and while the loan is unsecured, it doesn’t have any physical locations. If you feel more secure applying in-person and receiving assistance from a trusted bank, you might prefer to go with PNC.

However, most borrowers will benefit from going elsewhere to get an unsecured personal loan.

The Fine Print

There is no prepayment penalty for either loan, so you can pay your loan in full at any time.

There’s no origination nor annual fee for the unsecured personal loan.

When called, a PNC representative wouldn’t disclose any other fees associated with the loan (late fees, returned payment fees, etc.).

Transparency

Since there is so little information on its website about the secured loan, it was important to find out as many details as we could from a call.

Unfortunately, the PNC representative that answered the call wasn’t very helpful. The most she could offer was that the loan rates and terms were dependent upon credit, and that the credit score and debt-to-income ratio of an applicant was extremely important.

When asked about late fees for the loan, she said “another department” handles that, and was unable to transfer the call to the appropriate personnel, as you need to have a loan with PNC before fees can be discussed.

This was rather disappointing. Most lenders are open to discussing these details with potential borrowers – fees can make a huge difference when considering loan options. To be one of the few lenders unwilling to discuss fees and rates beforehand kicks PNC’s transparency down a notch.

PNC

APPLY NOW Secured

on PNC’s secure website

Alternative Personal Loan Solutions

As mentioned, SoFi* is the closest competitor as it allows borrowers a maximum of $100,000 as well. The minimum you can borrow is $5,000. Most personal loan lenders have limits of around $25,000 – $35,000.

SoFi offers fixed rates and variable rates, while PNC only offers fixed rates for its installment loans. SoFi’s fixed APR ranges from 5.49% – 14.24%, and its variable APR ranges from 5.19% – 11.34%, if you’re enrolled in autopay (with a cap of 14.95%).

There are no fees associated with SoFi’s personal loan except for a late fee, which is 4% of the amount due or $5 – whichever is less.

You can borrow funds on 3, 5, or 7-year terms, and personal loans are available in 46 states, including the District of Columbia.

SoFi also offers unemployment protection. If you lose your job through no fault of your own, you can apply for payment assistance.

SoFi uses a soft credit inquiry when you first apply to get your rates, which means your credit score won’t be affected. If you choose to move forward with the loan, a hard credit inquiry will be used.

SoFi

APPLY NOW Secured

on SoFi’s secure website

If you’re looking for good alternatives to PNC’s unsecured loan, take a look at Earnest. You can borrow between $2,000 and $50,000 on a 1, 2, or 3-year term.

There are no hidden fees associated with Earnest’s personal loan, and it’s offered in 23 states plus the District of Columbia.

You’ll need a minimum credit score of 720 to be eligible for approval with Earnest, and a minimum of 700 to be approved with SoFi, but both lenders take other factors into account, unlike PNC. Your employment history, education, and salary matter as well.

*referral link

It Pays to Shop Around

While it would be convenient to have the first lender you apply with be the best solution, that’s not always the case, even with a trusted lender like PNC. Personal loans from bigger banks are falling by the wayside as online-lenders are offering much better rates and terms. Do yourself a favor and shop around to get the best rates, even if you have a prior relationship with the bigger names out there. If you shop around within a 30-day window, your credit won’t take a big hit.

promo-personalloan-wide

*We’ll receive a referral fee if you click on offers with this symbol. This does not impact our rankings or recommendations. You can learn more about how our site is financed here.

Erin Millard
Erin Millard |

Erin Millard is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Erin at erinm@magnifymoney.com

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Auto Loan, Reviews

The 6 Best Auto Loans for Buying a Used Car

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Source: iStock

Shopping for used cars can be tricky. Not only are you trying to avoid buying a lemon, you are looking for just the right model year, mileage, and price.

While all of these variables can make car shopping stressful, there are a couple of things you can do to simplify the process.

First, decide exactly how much you can afford to spend on a used car. Look at your budget and determine the absolute maximum your monthly payment can be. Also be aware of your total debt payments when compared to your income. Generally speaking, the total of all your debt payments – auto loans, student loans and mortgage – should not exceed 50% of your income. Make sure to factor your auto payment into the calculation.

Next, shop online for the best used-auto loan rates and get preapproved for the most attractive offer for which you are eligible. In order to strike the best deal possible on your used auto, it is best to walk into the dealership with financing already in hand.

Once you get to the dealership and find the car you want, negotiate the price of the car before telling the salesperson that you are approved for financing.

[Borrow Before You Buy a Car]

How To Apply

When shopping online for a used auto loan, the application process is very similar to that of a brick-and-mortar bank, but more streamlined. In general, be prepared with:

  • Your contact information: Name, address, phone number, email address
  • Vehicle information (if known – required for lenders that do not offer online preapproval) Make, model, mileage, VIN, dealership information.
  • Financial Information: employment information, gross income and expenses

The Best Auto Loans for Used Cars

LendingTree

With LendingTree, you can fill out one short online form and see real interest rates and approval information instantly. There are hundreds of lenders on LendingTree ready to compete for your business.

It is important to note that some lenders will do a hard pull on your credit and this is normal within the auto lending space. Keep in mind that multiple hard pulls will only count as one pull, so the best strategy is to have all your hard pulls done at one time.

Disclosure: LendingTree is the parent company of MagnifyMoney.

LendingTree

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LightStream

LightStream offers auto loans for used cars online with APRs ranging from 2.49% to 8.84%. It’s terms range from 24 to 84 months, it can finance up to $100,000, and it charges no origination fee. It does offer the ability to obtain preapproval online, before setting foot in a dealership, and if you are approved, you could receive funds into your bank account in as little as 1 business day. The funds can be used on any vehicle, from any dealership, with no restrictions concerning the year, make, model, or mileage of the vehicle you buy.

The 2.49% APR is dependent upon enrolling in AutoPay. If you choose not to enroll in AutoPay, your rate will be 0.50% higher, starting at 2.79%. While rates from LightStream start at 2.49%, they do depend upon the amount financed, and the financing term.

Because LightStream offers no telephone customer support, it offers a guarantee that you will love its service, from start to finish. If you aren’t completely satisfied with your experience, $100 will be deposited into your account, provided you fill out a questionnaire about your experience within 30 days of closing on your loan.


PenFed

Pentagon Federal (PenFed) Credit Union offers rates from 2.49% to 3.99% on used auto loans up to $100,000. It will finance terms of 36 to 72 months and charges no origination fee. Rates are dependent upon the amount financed, and the terms financed for, as shown in the chart below:

APR as low as*

Term

Loan Amount

Approx.
Loan Pmt.($20,000 Loan)

2.49% APR

36 months

$500 to $100,000

$577.14

2.74% APR

48 months

$7,500 to $100,000

$440.39

3.49% APR

60 months

$10,000 to $100,000

$363.75

3.99% APR

72 months

$15,000 to $100,000

$312.81

Because PenFed is a credit union, you will need to join in order to apply for an auto loan through it, but anyone can join by making a one-time donation to Voices for America’s Troops ($14) or National Miliary Family Association ($15). Also important to note is that even though the loan is entirely online, PenFed does not offer online preapproval.

In order to apply, you’ll need the following information about the vehicle you will be purchasing:

  • Year
  • Make
  • Model
  • Mileage
  • VIN
  • Dealer or private party information

Once approved, the loan proceeds will go directly to the vehicle’s seller, rather than into your bank account.


Capital One

Capital One offers auto loans with rates ranging from 3.24% to 4.14% and terms from 36 to 72 months. It can finance up to $40,000, and has no origination fee. Capital One also offers online preapproval through its Auto Navigator. You can then use the funds at any of 12,000 approved dealers. Proceeds from the loan will be sent directly to the seller, rather than deposited into your bank account.

Rates are dependent upon the financing terms, and subject to credit approval, as seen in the chart below:

Financing Type

36 or 48 or 60 mos

66 or 72 mos

Purchase New Vehicle

APR as low as

3.24%

3.24%

Purchase Used Vehicle(Dealer)

APR as low as

3.64%

4.14%


NEFCU

NEFCU is a credit union offering auto loan for used cars with rates as low as 2.240% for used vehicles. It can finance up to $70,000 for 12 to 84 months with no origination fee. NEFCU does not offer online preapproval.

NEFCU offers a $300 coupon offer valid at select dealers on your new or used auto.   You can apply online, at a branch or by telephone by calling 1-800-99-NEFCU. Your rate will be determined by creditworthiness, loan amount, year of the vehicle, and loan term, as per the rate chart.

In order to apply for an auto loan from NEFCU, you must be a member. You are eligible for membership with NEFCU if you:

  • Live in Nassau and/or Suffolk Counties
  • Work in Nassau and/or Suffolk Counties
  • Worship in Nassau and/or Suffolk Counties
  • Attend school in Nassau and/or Suffolk Counties
  • Regularly conduct business in Nassau and/or Suffolk Counties
  • Family Sponsorship – An existing NEFCU member can sponsor in an immediate family member (mother/father, brother/sister, child, grandparent or grandchild) or any household member
  • Membership is not open to individuals who live, work, worship, attend school and do business exclusively in East Hampton, Southampton and Shelter Island.
  • If you have any questions on membership or eligibility, please contact us at 516.561.0030 or at 800.99.NEFCU outside LI/NYC or send an email to info@myNEFCU.org. 

Navy Federal Credit Union

Navy Federal Credit Union offers auto loans for used cars with rates as low as 1.99% with terms of 12 to 96 months. It can loan up to $100,000 and charges no origination fee. Navy Federal Credit Union does offer online preapproval.

Rates from Navy Federal Credit Union are determined by the car’s model year, as well as the loan term, as seen in the chart below:

Auto Loan Rates

As of: November 7, 2017, 1:00 AM EST

Loan Type

up to 36 mos.
APR as low as*

37-60 mos.
APR as low as*

61-72 mos.
APR as low as*

73-84 mos.
APR as low as*

85-96 mos.
APR as low as*

New Vehicle

1.99% 

2.39% 

2.69% 

4.09% 

4.89% 

Late Model Used Vehicle

1.99% 

2.79% 

3.49% 

Used Vehicle

3.79% 

3.99% 

5.29% 

In the rate chart, new vehicles are year models 2016, 2017, and 2018 with 7,499 miles or less, and the minimum loan amount is $30,000 for terms 85-96 months. Late model used vehicles are described as 2016, 2017, or 2018 models with 7,500 – 30,000 miles. Used vehicles are vehicles (up to 20 years old) with 30,001 miles or more.

In order to apply for an auto loan from Navy Federal Credit Union, you must become a member. You are eligible if you are Active Duty Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, Army or Air National Guard, a member of the Delayed Entry Program, a Department of Defense (DoD) Officer Candidate/ROTC, a DoD Reservist, or a retiree from any of these service branches. You are also eligible as a civilian if you are a DoD civilian employee, a U.S. government employee assigned to a DoD installation, a DoD contractor, or a DoD retiree. Finally, if you are the immediate family member of anyone eligible to join, you are also eligible to become a member.

After loan approval, the proceeds will be sent directly to the dealership, rather than deposited into your bank account.


 You Should Shop Around

Often concerns arise about the effect of shopping around for auto loans on your credit score. However, all inquiries within a 30-day period count as one inquiry on your credit report, so as long as your shop used auto loan rates within a 30-day period, those inquiries will only have a minimal impact on your credit score

Check other auto loan offers here.

Gretchen Lindow
Gretchen Lindow |

Gretchen Lindow is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Gretchen at gretchen@magnifymoney.com

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Advertiser Disclosure

Auto Loan, Reviews

LightStream Auto Loan Review

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

LightStream Auto Loan Review
Updated November 06, 2017

Automobile shopping can be stressful. Besides trying to find just the right car for you or your family, there is the additional stress of finding the right price, the right financing, as well as factoring a monthly payment into your budget.

But with more online-only banks offering auto loans at extremely competitive interest rates, the auto loan game is changing. Today, your best bet is to obtain financing before setting foot in a dealership so you have a budget to stick to and you know exactly what your monthly payment will be.

The Offer

LightStream offers both secured and unsecured auto loans from $5,000 to $250,000 and rates as low as 2.49%. LightStream can get money in your account in as little as one day in some cases, and always with no fees whatsoever.

How To Apply

You can complete your LightStream auto loan application online, but you must 1) acknowledge receipt of LightStream’s Statement on the Use of Electronic Records, 2) agree to receive electronic records, and 3) agree to use electronic signature to sign your loan documents.

In order to apply, you will need:

  • The purpose, term and amount of desired loan
  • Your name
  • Your address
  • Phone number
  • Social Security number
  • Employment information
  • Annual income
  • Total amount of assets and equity in your home

During business hours, LightStream will email you regarding your application. If you are approved, you will be able to then go online, electronically sign your loan agreement, provide any additional information, as well as choose your funding and due dates. The funds will be transferred to your bank account on the funding date that you chose, on the same day in some cases.

To qualify, you must have either excellent or good credit. LightStream lists the following as criteria for excellent credit:

  • Five or more years of significant credit history.
  • A credit history with a variety of account types such as major credit cards (for example, Visa, MasterCard, Amex), installment debt (vehicle loans) and mortgage debt if applicable.
  • An excellent payment history with no delinquencies or other problems repaying debt obligations.
  • A proven ability to save evidenced by some or all of the following; liquid assets (stocks, bonds, bank deposits, etc.), cash down payments on real estate, retirement savings, and little, if any, revolving credit card debt.
  • Stable and sufficient income and assets to easily repay current debt obligations and any new loan with LightStream.

Good credit is essentially the same criteria as excellent credit, as seen above, but with fewer than 5 years of credit history.

Satisfaction Guarantee

LightStream does not provide any phone customer support for loans. Instead, it offers email support in an effort to keep costs low. Because the lack of phone support is unorthodox, it offers a $100 guarantee within 30 days if you aren’t satisfied with your loan experience. If you are not satisfied and wish to claim the $100 guarantee, you must contact customer service within 30 days of your loan and fill out a questionnaire.

The Fine Print

Your APR will be based on creditworthiness, loan amount, and loan term, as seen in the chart below for an auto-loan on a new car:

Loan Term(months)

Loan Amount

24-36

37-48

49-60

61-72

73-84

$5,000 to $9,999

3.49% - 5.74%

4.34% - 6.34%

4.54% - 6.54%

5.44% - 7.44%

N/A

$10,000to $24,999

2.49% - 4.94%

3.19% - 5.19%

3.19% - 5.19%

4.04% - 6.04%

N/A

$25,000 to $49,999

2.49% - 4.94%

3.19% - 5.19%

3.19% - 5.19%

4.04% - 6.04%

4.64% - 6.64%

$50,000 to $100,000

2.49% - 4.94%

3.19% - 5.19%

3.19% - 5.19%

3.84% - 5.84%

4.54% - 6.54%

Rates as of November 7, 2017 – New Auto Purchase

Rates in the chart above are shown inclusive of a 0.50% AutoPay Discount. If you choose not to enroll in AutoPay, your rate will reflect a 0.50% increase. AutoPay payments will come directly out of your bank account. Otherwise, you can choose to pay by invoice, which must be returned by mail. You cannot make payments at a SunTrust Bank branch.

LightStream does not charge any closing or disbursement fees. It also does not charge fees for prepayment. You can prepay principal on your loan by logging into your online account.

Pros

  • Rates as low as 2.49%
  • Can borrow as little as $5,000 or as much as $250,000
  • You can borrow for a new or used car
  • Terms from 24 to 84 months
  • No prepayment penalties
  • No closing or disbursement fees
  • Secured and unsecured loans

Cons

  • APRs as high as 9.04%
  • APR will increase 0.50% if you don’t enroll in AutoPay
  • Excellent or good credit required for financing

How It Stacks Up

If a low APR is your priority, consider looking into an auto loan from Capital One. It offers APRs from 3.24% to 3.24% and terms of 36 to 72 months on new vehicles.  There is no origination fee, but it only offers loans up to $40,000, with the option to get pre approval online before shopping.

New England Federal Credit Union is another option for an auto loan with used auto loan rates as low as 2.240% and terms from 12 to 96 months on new vehicles and 84 months on used cars. NEFCU can loan up to $70,000 with no origination fee, but there is no option for pre approval.

LightStream offers a fairly straightforward auto loan experience whether you’re buying a new or used auto with low rates, long terms, and no fees for closing, disbursement, or prepayment. As with any loan, make sure that you are getting the lowest rate possible, as even one percentage lower can save you thousands of dollars in interest.

Finally, make sure that you can afford the monthly payment. Auto loan terms are getting longer, and you do not want to have an auto loan payment that is more than you can afford for 6+ years.

Find other auto loan options here.

Gretchen Lindow
Gretchen Lindow |

Gretchen Lindow is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Gretchen at gretchen@magnifymoney.com

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