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Square Cash App Review: What Is It and How Does It Stack up Against Its Competitors?

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Square Cash App Review
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Square Cash, also known as the Cash app, is a peer-to-peer (P2P) payment service that’s part of the Square product portfolio. Headquartered in San Francisco, Square provides payment hardware and software solutions for individuals and businesses.

In this post, we’ll dig into the Cash app service to explain how safe it is to use, how it works and how it compares with other P2P payment products. Any fees and pricing mentioned below are accurate as of the date of publishing.

What is the Square Cash app?

The Cash app service is a simple way to split bills with family and friends. You just need an iPhone or Android to get started. There are a few extra bells and whistles that the Cash app has compared with other P2P payment services — and it’s starting to look more and more like a bank account with the ability to receive direct deposit payments and a companion credit card to make purchases or withdraw money at the ATM. The app can be used to buy and sell bitcoin. You can also use it for personal and business reasons. Cash for Business lets you accept money for goods and services. The Cash app just recently became available in the U.K.

How Square Cash works

The Cash app is remarkably easy to sign up for and use. You download the app onto your iPhone or Android. Next, you enter your phone number and email address to set up the account. Then you select if you want to use the account for personal or business transactions.

Keep in mind, signing up for the Cash for Business via the Cash app doesn’t afford you any significant merchant protections. The only real difference between a personal and business Cash app account is that you can issue refunds. You may want to consider Square Point of Sale instead if you need to do major transactions because it’s more robust.

How to send money with Square Cash

To send money, you hit the pay or request button. You type the name, $cashtag or phone number of the person who’s getting the money. The recipient will get an email or text message with the cash. You can also send money from a browser if you have the recipient’s $cashtag URL. Money can be sent from a debit card, credit card or from your Cash app balance.

How to receive money with Square Cash

To receive money, link your bank account or debit card to the app and select the cashout option. You can cash out the full amount of your balance or you can choose a specific dollar amount.

How long it takes to deposit money into a bank account

The Cash app offers instant and standard deposits:

  • Instant deposits are delivered to your bank account right away. There’s a 1.5% fee for this convenience.
  • Standard deposits are free but can take one to three business days to arrive in your bank account.

Square Cash app fees and fine print

Receiving money is free unless you choose the quick deposit option or you’re accepting money for business reasons. The quick deposit fee is 1.5%. For business transactions, the business owner pays a 2.75% fee for each payment received.

Sending money is free unless you use a credit card. The credit card transaction fee is 3%.

How does the Square Cash app make money?

The Cash app is free for P2P use but there are fees for extras that help the company make money. Fees for business transactions are one major source of revenue. Fees for quick deposits is another way Square makes money from the product.

Sending and receiving limits

If you send more than $250 in a week, you’ll be asked to verify your name, date of birth and the last four digits of your Social Security number. The sending limit increases to $2,500 (in most states) after verification.

If you receive more than $1,000 within 30 days, you’ll also be asked to verify your name, date of birth and the last four digits of your Social Security number. There’s no limit on receiving funds after your account is verified.

Other Square Cash limitations

You have to be 18 years or older to use the Cash app. It’s also only available to residents of the 50 states, though the Cash app recently launched in the U.K.

Square Cash safety

Square Cash and other cash apps are safe to use for the most part as long as you follow instructions and keep other people out of your account. Use the password lock on your phone and don’t share your account information with anyone. Cash itself has security locks including PIN entry, touch ID and facial ID. The app also uses encryption to protect data and stores bitcoin in a secure system.

The Square Cash app fraud protection

Cash app fraud protection is available for unauthorized payments. Unauthorized payments are transactions that show up on your financial statements without your approval. You should report these right away and in writing. You may get a temporary credit pending an investigation of the fraudulent transaction. The fraud investigation can take up to 45 days, and the credit may be revoked depending on the results.

The best defense against fraud is offense. Don’t open spam emails or click links that look sketchy to protect yourself from phishing. Phishing is a tactic fraudsters use to get a hold of your personal information. Lock your phone and don’t share your account. If you share your account with someone (i.e. your child, partner or family member), transactions they make without your permission could be considered authorized since you gave them access.

How to use Square Cash safely

Money scams are what tend to cause the biggest headache with P2P payment systems. Here are three scams to watch out for:

Scam #1: Someone sends you money in “error.”

This scam is when someone you don’t know sends you cash by “accident.” You, being a kind person, send the money back without knowing the initial transaction was from a stolen card or bank account. The fraudster is essentially getting you to send them clean money. The transfer sent “by mistake” is eventually reversed, and the scammer runs off with your cash.

Scam #2: Someone cancels your payment after receiving a product.

Product sellers beware; people can cancel their own payment. A payment can also be reversed if the money is from a stolen source. Cash is technically not yours until it’s deposited into your bank account.

A word of advice: Sign up for a Square business account if you’re doing business. Fortunately, Square has many other hardware and software products for merchants that offer more security for sellers than the Cash app. The Square Point of Sale app, for example, has no monthly fee, countless business features and chargeback protection of up to $250 each month. A chargeback is when a transaction is reversed because of a dispute or fraud. With the Square Point of Sale product, you may not get left completely empty-handed if a chargeback occurs.

Scam #3: Someone sells you a faulty product.

Buyers need to be careful as well. There are no buyer protections when you make purchases through the Cash App. Scammers are crafty. They could ask you to send them money for a knockoff product, counterfeit ticket or broken electronic. You may not notice your product isn’t the right item until it’s too late. There isn’t buyer protection offered through the app to reimburse you after fraud.

How to protect yourself from being scammed

The best way to protect yourself from Cash app scams is to only send money to people you know. This app is intended to help you transfer money back and forth between friends and family. Never send money to rectify an “accident” unless you trust the person.

Have you already been scammed? Report it to the company. You may not get compensation, but reporting new scams could help the company warn other users.

Square Cash app vs. other person-to-person payment networks

Here’s how Cash app stacks up against the competition as far as transfer speed, fees and security.

Square Cash app vs. PayPal

 

Transfer speed

Faster transfer?

Credit card fees

Other fees

Fraud protection?

Square Cash

1-3 days

1.5% fee for instant deposit

3% fee

Sellers pay a 2.75% fee for each swipe, 3.5% + $0.15 for manually entered transactions

Coverage for unauthorized transactions made from your account; chargeback protection for sellers who sign up for Square Point of Sale

PayPal

1-4 days

$0.25 per instant transfer

2.9% + $0.30 fee in the U.S.

Sellers pay a 2.9% fee + $0.30 per sale

Yes, when payments are made for goods and services

PayPal is a payment service that was founded in 1998. For many, it’s considered the go-to for stateside and international transactions. You can connect your bank account, debit card or credit card to PayPal. Money can be sent directly from your PayPal balance or from one of the aforementioned funding sources.

Fees. Accepting money is free (unless you’re selling items). The cost to send money internationally is different from location to location. You can review the full fee table here.

Network reach. PayPal has a broader reach than the Cash app, though Cash recently expanded to the U.K. PayPal can be used in the U.S. and abroad.

Payment types. PayPal payment types are similar to the Cash app. You can send money from your available PayPal account balance or from a connected bank account, debit card or credit card.

Speed. The Cash App and PayPal have about the same standard deposit speed. Both instant transfer options happen right away, but the PayPal instant transfer is cheaper.

Safety. PayPal does let you file disputes for unauthorized personal transactions. PayPal also puts a big emphasis on protecting the safety of buyers and sellers. Both PayPal and Square have business solutions with merchant protections. You can review the PayPal terms in detail here.

Square Cash app vs. Zelle

 

Transfer speed

Faster transfer?

Credit card fees

Other fees

Fraud protection?

Square Cash

1-3 days

1.5% fee for instant deposit

3% fee

Sellers pay a 2.75% fee for each swipe, 3.5% + $0.15 for manually entered transactions

Coverage for unauthorized transactions made from your account; chargeback protection for sellers who sign up for Square Point of Sale

Zelle

1-3 days for non-enrollees

Free transfers within minutes for current enrollees

None

None

There is no buyer or seller protection program; Users are protected from unauthorized activity

Zelle is a P2P payment system that’s offered by a network of banks such as Ally Bank, Bank of America, Citibank, Citizens Bank, Wells Fargo and more. Zelle is easy to use if your bank offers it. It’s a feature right in your online account dashboard. Transfers between Zelle account holders can happen within minutes.

Fees. There’s no fee to use the Zelle service, but you should still double-check that your bank doesn’t charge its own fee for cash transfers.

Network reach. There are more than 100 banks and credit unions that offer Zelle. Check out the full list of financial institutions that offer Zelle here.

Payment types. Money is transferred from bank account to bank account unless one person doesn’t have Zelle available via online banking. Someone who doesn’t have Zelle through their bank can still sign up to send and receive money by adding an eligible debit card to their account. Credit card usage isn’t available. In comparison, the Cash app does allow credit cards.

Speed. You can get money from both the Cash app or Zelle in up to three days. Both offer instant transfers. In Zelle’s case, instant transfers are free between people who are already enrolled.

Safety. Fraud protections for Zelle are slim. If you believe your account may be compromised, you must report it immediately to get any type of coverage. Zelle has no buyer and seller features or protections. Square is a larger platform with additional products for merchants which could made it more appealing if you need more than just P2P capabilities. In the terms and conditions, Zelle makes it clear that you should only be receiving from, or sending money to people you know.

Square Cash app vs. Google Pay Send

 

Transfer speed

Faster transfer?

Credit card fees

Other fees

Fraud protection?

Square Cash

1-3 days

1.5% fee for instant deposit

3% fee

Sellers pay a 2.75% fee for each swipe, 3.5% + $0.15 for manually entered transactions

Coverage for unauthorized transactions made from your account; chargeback protection for sellers who sign up for Square Point of Sale

Google Pay Send

2-3 days

Instant when using a debit card

Cannot use credit cards or prepaid cards

None

100% Fraud protection covers unauthorized purchases from your account

Google Pay Send is the P2P payment app that was once called Google Wallet. Google Pay Send can be used to send and receive money using someone’s email address or phone number.

Fees. Google Pay Send is free to use.

Network reach. Google Pay Send can be used on mobile and desktop.

Payment types. Google Pay Send must be used strictly with a debit card or bank account. The Cash app offers the credit card option when needed.

Speed. Most debit card transfers can happen within minutes, but it can take up to 24 hours to see a charge or credit to your account. Google recommends that you use the debit card option because of its speed. Google Pay Send bank account deposits can take up to three days.

Safety. Unauthorized transactions are covered 100% by Google Pay if they’re verifiable and reported within 120 days. The terms and conditions state the app should be used for only P2P payments with trusted individuals. You shouldn’t be making transfers for purchases. There’s no mention of coverage for purchase scams.

Square Cash app vs. Popmoney

 

Transfer speed

Faster transfer?

Credit card fees

Other fees

Fraud protection?

Square Cash

1-3 days

1.5% fee for instant deposit

3% fee

Sellers pay a 2.75% fee for each swipe, 3.5% + $0.15 for manually entered transactions

Coverage for unauthorized transactions made from your account; chargeback protection for sellers who sign up for Square Point of Sale

PopMoney

1-3 days

No

Does not accept credit cards

Free to receive money or pay a request;
$0.95 to send or request funds

Varies by state; Limited liability for unauthorized purchases if you notify Popmoney of lost or stolen password immediately

Popmoney is another P2P payment service that’s offered through the online account dashboard of participating banks. Like Zelle, Popmoney can do deposits that go directly to your bank account. Money can be sent using someone’s email address, phone number or bank account information.

Fees. Popmoney costs $0.95 when you send or request money. In comparison, the Cash app is always free to send peers money as long as you don’t choose the credit card option. Receiving money through Popmoney is free.

Network reach. You can still send and receive money through the website if you don’t have Popmoney available through your online bank account. However, using Popmoney through a participating bank is the simplest way to use the service. About 2,500 financial institutions currently offer Popmoney. You can see if your bank is in the network here.

Payment types. Payments can be made from an eligible bank account or debit card.

Speed. There’s no instant transfer option available for Popmoney like there is with the Cash App.

Safety. The fraud coverage for Popmoney is limited like with most P2P payment apps. There may be coverage for fraud if you tell Popmoney well in advance that your account could be compromised. You may only receive partial reimbursement if Popmoney finds that reporting your compromised account earlier could have stopped fraud. You should avoid buying and selling through this app because there aren’t purchase protections or merchant protections.

Square Cash app vs. Venmo

 

Transfer speed

Faster transfer?

Credit card fees

Other fees

Fraud protection?

Square Cash

1-3 days

1.5% fee for instant deposit

3% fee

Sellers pay a 2.75% fee for each swipe, 3.5% + $0.15 for manually entered transactions

Coverage for unauthorized transactions made from your account; chargeback protection for sellers who sign up for Square Point of Sale

Venmo

1-3 days

$0.25 per instant transfer

3% fee, except for authorized merchants

None

Unauthorized transfers covered protection if verifiable and reported within 60 days; Authorized merchant payments may be eligible for protection

Venmo is a P2P payment system owned by PayPal. PayPal and Venmo have similar payment processes. You can connect your bank account, debit card or credit card to send money. Money can also be sent from your Venmo balance.

Fees. Venmo isn’t completely free. There’s a pricey 3% fee if you use a credit card to make a payment, unless you’re using a credit card to send a payment to an approved business. There’s also an instant transfer fee of $0.25 if you want money received deposited in your bank account right way.

Network reach. You need to be physically in the U.S. with a U.S. mobile phone to use Venmo. You must also have a bank account to deposit funds.

Payment types. You can make payments from your Venmo balance, credit card, bank account or debit card.

Speed. The Cash app and Venmo both have similar regular transfer speeds and an instant transfer capability. However, the Cash app instant transfer is more expensive.

Safety. Venmo does let businesses use the system to accept payments, but only merchants that are approved. When using Venmo, stick to sending money to family and friends unless you’re buying from an authorized merchant. If you’re an independent seller, there are conditions you have to meet in order to sell with Venmo. One example of a condition is that you can’t receive payment for goods or services in person. Square merchant products may be easier to sign up for and may have fewer limitations.

Square Cash app vs. Circle Pay

 

Transfer speed

Faster transfer?

Credit card fees

Other fees

Fraud protection?

Square Cash

1-3 days

1.5% fee for instant deposit

3% fee

Sellers pay a 2.75% fee for each swipe, 3.5% + $0.15 for manually entered transactions

Coverage for unauthorized transactions made from your account; chargeback protection for sellers who sign up for Square Point of Sale

Circle Pay

1-4 days

Instant when using a linked debit card

Does not accept credit cards

None

Certain unauthorized transactions may be eligible for reimbursement, must report within 60 days

Circle Pay is one of the few payment systems that can be used internationally, and it has no fees or exchange markups. The preferred Circle Pay currencies are U.S. dollars, British pounds and euros. When you need to send money from the U.S. to friends or family abroad, PayPal, Circle Pay and Facebook Messenger (we’ll cover that option next) are payment options to consider.

Fees. Circle Pay is completely free to use. Instant deposits to your debit card are also free.

Network reach. Circle Pay can be used to send money from one country to another. With that said, be sure to shop around for exchange rates whenever sending money internationally. Search the web to check the exchange rate before choosing a payment service.

Payment types. Circle Pay only accepts debit cards or bank accounts to make payments. Square Cash accepts credit cards.

Speed. Instant transfers can happen when depositing money from Circle Pay to a debit card for free.
Bank transactions can take one to four business days or even longer if you’re moving money during the holidays. The Cash app could be just slightly faster.

Safety. Like other P2P payment services, Circle Pay does offer some coverage if unauthorized transactions are made with your account. The fraud has to be caught and reported in a timely manner to get reimbursement. No buyer and seller protections.

Square Cash app vs. Facebook Messenger

 

Transfer speed

Faster transfer?

Credit card fees

Other fees

Fraud protection?

Square Cash

1-3 days

1.5% fee for instant deposit

3% fee

Sellers pay a 2.75% fee for each swipe, 3.5% + $0.15 for manually entered transactions

Coverage for unauthorized transactions made from your account; chargeback protection for sellers who sign up for Square Point of Sale

Facebook Messenger

Up to 5 days

No

Does not accept credit cards

None

Facebook is not liable for payments via Messenger

Facebook users will probably find Facebook Messenger one of the easiest P2P payment systems to get started with because the payment feature is right in the Facebook Messenger app.

Fees. There’s no fee to use Facebook Messenger.

Network reach. The Facebook Messenger app is primarily for U.S. residents. In 2017, Facebook Messenger expanded to let users in France and the U.K. send and receive money within their borders. You can’t send money from one country to another.

Payment types. Debit cards or PayPal accounts are currently the only type of accounts you can connect to Facebook Messenger.

Speed. Facebook Messenger may be the slowest of all the payment apps we’ve covered. It can take up to five days depending on your bank while Cash app can deposit to debit cards instantly with a small fee.

Safety. Facebook puts in the terms that this app should only be used for peer transfers with people you know. If there are any disputes, you have to take them up with the other person in the transaction. Facebook takes no responsibility. The one shiny spot is that Facebook collects information from users like their legal name and birthdate for an added level of security. The name and date of birth on your ID must match your Facebook account to use payments.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Taylor Gordon
Taylor Gordon |

Taylor Gordon is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Taylor here

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Reviews

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

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.


It’s important to note that PNC Bank charges different rates—or annual percentage yields (APYs)—across the country. To keep things consistent for comparison purposes, we present the rates closest to the bank’s headquarters in Pittsburgh using the ZIP code 15222. To see rates for your local area, click here.

PNC Bank’s Virtual Wallet®

PNC Bank’s Virtual Wallet kit is an easy-to-use, comprehensive account package. It has a complete set of accounts for all your banking needs, 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 offer different interest rate tiers, depending on whether you meet certain qualifications. More on that later.

What really stands out with PNC Bank’s Virtual Wallet is that it comes equipped with a variety of helpful tools to help you better manage your money. Within the checking account, you get:

  • Calendar: Allows you to see scheduled bills and amounts due.
  • Online bill pay: Pay your billsvautomatically 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 makes it easy 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 different savings goals separately from each other.
  • Savings Engine: Automatically puts money into savings when you’re paid, or if you pay a bill.

There’s one thing to watch out for with Virtual Wallet:

  • Early closure fee: $25 fee if you close the account within 180 days of opening.

PNC Bank checking accounts with Virtual Wallet

Virtual Wallet basic checking account

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

Balance to Earn APY

Reserve APY

Relationship Growth APY

$1.00 - $2,499.99

0.01%

0.05%

$2,5000 and above

0.01%

0.10%

  • Minimum opening deposit: $25; $0 if the account is opened online.
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $7
  • Account maintenance fee waived if you meet at least one of the following conditions:
    1. Keep at least $500 in your Spend and/or Reserve accounts.
    2. Have a direct deposit of at least $500 per statement period into your Spend account.
    3. Be age 62 or older.
  • 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: Up to $5 will be reimbursed toward other financial institutions’ ATM surcharge fees per billing period.
  • Overdraft fees: $36 per charge, up to four charges per day, plus $7 per day for each day the account remains overdrawn. Any overdraft fees will be refunded if the overdrawn amount is less than $5. The bank will not charge you if you set up overdraft protection transfer from your Reserve or Grow accounts.

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

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.

To achieve the higher rate, what PNC Bank calls its Relationship Growth Rate, you need to fulfill some additional requirements. You would need to either make at least five qualifying purchases in a month with your debit card or PNC credit card, or set up a $500-per-month direct deposit for the Virtual Wallet account. If you meet these criteria, the money in your Reserve (savings) portion of the Virtual Wallet account will be eligible for the higher rate for the next monthly cycle.

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

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

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 physical branch. You’ll need to provide some basic information (name, address, Social Security number, etc.), have a government-issued photo ID ready and as a way to make an opening deposit with your existing bank’s routing and account numbers. You can also use your bank’s debit and credit card.

VISIT SITE Secured

on PNC Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Virtual Wallet with Performance Spend

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

Balance to Earn APY

Reserve APY

Relationship Growth APY

$1.00 - $9,999.99

0.01%

0.17%

$10,000 - $24,999.99

0.01%

0.17%

$25,000 - $49,999.99

0.01%

0.22%

$50,000 - $99,999.99

0.01%

0.22%

$100,000 and above

0.01%

0.27%

  • Minimum opening deposit: $25; $0 if the account is opened online.
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $15
  • Account maintenance fee waived if you meet at least one of the following conditions:
    1. Keep at least $2,000 in your Spend and/or Reserve accounts.
    2. Have at least a $10,000 combined average monthly balance in PNC consumer deposit accounts.
    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. $3 for every domestic non-PNC Bank ATM transaction and $5 for every international non-PNC ATMs.
  • ATM fee refunds: Four refunds per statement. However, ATM surcharges from the ATM owner may not be refunded. Reimbursements are capped at $10.00 per institution.
  • Overdraft fees: $36 per charge, up to four charges per day, plus $7 per day for each day the account remains overdrawn. Any overdraft fees will be refunded if the overdrawn amount is less than $5. The bank will not charge you if you set up overdraft protection transfer from your Reserve or Grow accounts.

The Virtual Wallet with Performance Spend account works exactly like the basic Virtual Wallet accounts, but with the benefit of higher rewards. However, 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 cashback or other rewards.

To achieve the higher rate for this account, you need to meet some higher requirements than the basic Virtual Wallet account. You would need to either make at least five qualifying purchases in a month with you debit card or PNC credit card, or set up a $2,000-per-month direct deposit.

The Performance Spend also adds in a few extra rewards: You get up to four 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. And you have the potential to earn slightly higher interest rates on your savings accounts.

SEE DETAILS 

Member FDIC

Virtual Wallet with Performance Select

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

Balance to Earn APY

Reserve APY

Relationship Growth APY

$1.00 - $24,999.99

0.01%

0.75%

$25,000 - $49,999.99

0.01%

1.00%

$50,000 - $99,999.99

0.01%

1.25%

$100,000 - $499,999.99

0.01%

1.40%

$500,000 and above

0.01%

1.40%

  • Minimum opening deposit: $25; $0 if the account is opened online.
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $25
  • Account maintenance fee waived if you meet at least one of the following conditions:
    1. Keep at least $5,000 in your Spend and/or Reserve accounts.
    2. Have at least $25,000 combined in PNC Bank consumer deposits and/or investment accounts.
    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, plus $7 per day for each day the account remains overdrawn. Any overdraft fees will be refunded if the overdrawn amount is less than $5. The bank will not charge you if you set up overdraft protection transfer from your Reserve or Growth accounts.

This Virtual Wallet package is built to be used by high-income earners. The Performance Select package comes with additional bonus perks that stretch beyond other Virtual Wallet accounts.

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.

To achieve the higher rate for this account, you need to meet some higher requirements than the other Virtual Wallet options. You would need to either make at least five qualifying purchases in a month with you debit card or PNC credit card, or set up a $5,000-per-month direct deposit.

Overall, though, we’re left feeling underwhelmed by the bonus perks this account offers for all of the requirements, especially considering the high balance required in order to avoid the monthly maintenance fees.

SEE DETAILS 

Member FDIC

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 is the Performance Spend account. To get the $200 sign-up bonus for opening 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.

VISIT SITE Secured

on PNC Bank’s secure website

PNC Bank 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.

Minimum Balance to Earn APY

APY

$2,000

0.01%

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 Performance Select account, but without the extra two Reserve and Growth savings accounts.

Signing up for this 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 the bank or sign up online. You’ll need that photo ID, a way to fund your new account and all your basic info, like Social Security number.

SEE DETAILS 

Member FDIC

Performance checking

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

Minimum Balance to Earn APY

APY

$2,000

0.01%

PNC Bank’s Performance checking account is its lowest-requirement interest-earning checking account. With a low interest rate that only applies to balances over $2,000, the amount of money you’ll earn with this account will be peanuts compared to accounts at competitor banks.

Furthermore, if you don’t meet all the same requirements as with the Virtual Wallet with Performance Spend account (keeping at least $2,000 in your account, having $2,000 of direct deposits, or having $10,000 in another PNC Bank account or loan), 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. You can easily sign up online, via phone or by visiting a local branch.

SEE DETAILS 

Member FDIC

Standard checking

This is 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 rewards checking account without all the red tape, the Standard account might be right for you.You are still reimbursed for some non-PNC ATM withdrawal fees and you will earn cash with PNC’s Purchase Payback feature, but the benefits seem to end there.

This non-interest-earning account (which carries the same fee, rewards 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.

VISIT SITE Secured

on PNC Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

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How PNC’s checking accounts compare

PNC Bank’s checking accounts are lackluster when compared to the top rates in our listing of the best checking accounts. The only real advantage to using them is to get access to the Virtual Wallet account package, which offers some solid money management tools. However, you can still get access to budgeting tools and savings apps elsewhere that can do all the same jobs as the Virtual Wallet, oftentimes better.

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. Most card issuers and banks make this benefit automatic. Requiring a client to login and activate their own rewards seems more trouble than it’s worth for most.

Furthermore, once you do earn those rewards points, you have to redeem them through a different portal. Also, 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, sometimes just the bare minimum.

PNC Savings Accounts

Standard savings

Low interest rates for a fee-heavy savings account.

Balance to Earn APY

Standard APY

Relationship APY with checking account

$1.00 - $2,499.99

0.01%

0.05%

$2,500 and above

0.01%

0.10%

  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $5
  • Account maintenance fee waived if you meet at least one of the following conditions:
    1. Keep $300 in your savings account as an average monthly balance.
    2. Be under age 18.
    3. Automatically transfer at least $25 per month from your PNC Checking account to your 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 overdrawn amount is less than $5.

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 0.20% 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 monthly 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. This is, of course, excluding cash advances.

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 you’re earning interest.
Like the other PNC Bank offerings, it is an easy account to open. However there are far better offering for savings accounts with such restrictions.

SEE DETAILS 

Member FDIC

“S” is for Savings

Fun savings tools for children, but don’t expect them to learn much in the ways of responsible saving over time or growing money through compound interest.

Minimum Balance to Earn APY

APY

$1.00

0.01%

  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $5
  • Account maintenance fee waived if you meet at least one of the following conditions:
    1. Be under age 18.
    2. Keep at least $300 monthly balance 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 overdrawn amount is less than $5.

It can be tough to teach younger savers about money, but this savings account can help in a few simple 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.

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.

SEE DETAILS 

Member FDIC

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How PNC’s savings accounts compare

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 listed on our site for both you and your children.

PNC CD Rates

Fixed Rate CDs

Large amounts of cash needed for below-average returns on these certificates of deposit (CDs).

Standard APYs

Term

$1.00 - $999.99

$1k - $9,999.99

$10k - $24,999.9

$25k - $99,999.99

$100k - $499,999.99

$500k and above

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

0.05%

0.50%

0.50%

0.75%

0.75%

0.75%

24 months

0.05%

0.50%

0.50%

0.75%

0.75%

0.75%

36 months

0.05%

0.60%

0.60%

0.85%

0.85%

0.85%

48 months

0.05%

0.70%

0.70%

0.95%

0.95%

0.95%

60 months

0.05%

0.70%

0.70%

0.95%

0.95%

0.95%

84 months

0.05%

0.75%

1.00%

1.00%

1.00%

1.00%

120 months

0.05%

0.75%

1.00%

1.00%

1.00%

1.00%

Promotional APYs

$1.00 - $999.99

$1k - $9,999.99

$10k - $24,999.99

$25k - $99,999.99

$100k - $499,999.99

$500k and above

9 months - Fixed Rate Only

0.05%

0.50%

0.50%

0.75%

0.75%

0.75%

9 months - with Choice/Premium Plan

0.05%

0.50%

0.50%

0.75%

0.75%

0.75%

9 months - with Performance Select/VW Performance

0.05%

0.50%

0.50%

0.75%

0.75%

0.75%

  • Minimum deposit amount: $1,000 if for 90 days to 10 years; otherwise $5,000 for periods under 90 days.
  • 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 1 year, you’ll lose the amount of interest you would have earned. For CDs with terms above 1 year, you’ll lose six months’ worth of interest.

To get started with a PNC Bank Fixed Rate CD, you’ll need a deposit of at least $1,000. When you CD term is due, the bank will notify you and give you a 10-day grace period to allow you to decide whether to withdraw the funds or roll them over into a new CD.

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.

The rates offered by PNC Bank on its CDs are very low. They are lower than those offered by almost every high-yield savings account on the market today.
For example, the average national rates for a 1-year and 5-year CD are 0.73% APY and 1.66% APY with a $1,000 deposit, respectively. But PNC Bank? Its CD rates are just 0.13% APY and 0.60% APY, respectively — less than half of the national average.

If you decide to open a Fixed Rate CD, you’ll need a bit more information than required with its 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.

SEE DETAILS 

Member FDIC

Ready Access CDs

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

Term

APY

Minimum Deposit to Open

3 months

0.05%

$1,000

12 months

0.15%

$1,000

  • 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: No early withdrawal penalties after the first seven days. Partial withdrawals are not permitted.

CDs can be a tough investment choice. On one hand, they can 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.

PNC Bank’s Ready Access CD is a great option for these scenarios. While the rates still aren’t the greatest, the interest rate on the 12-month Ready Access CD is actually higher than on its highest-earning savings account that has tons of red tape and fees.

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. 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.

Other than that, it’s a great way to skirt the rules and fees of the bank’s savings account while still earning a higher rate.

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.

SEE DETAILS 

Member FDIC

Callable CDs

Higher rates than some of PNC Bank’s other offerings, but still underperform national averages.

Term

APY

Minimum Deposit to Open

36 months

1.10%

$10,000

60 months

0.04%

$10,000

  • 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: Early withdrawal penalties apply for balance withdrawn before maturity.

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 these CDs work 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 Multiple Maturity CD.

Getting a Callable CD is relatively straightforward, but you’ll need a few pieces of information. You can open an account 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 CD.

Variable Rate CDs

Earn fair rates through a changing interest rate environment.

The Federal Reserve adjusts interest rates from time to time in order to stabilize the economy and inflation. This 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.

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.

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 to provide personal information and employment history, as well as a photo ID. You can apply in person at a local branch or over the phone.

Stepped 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 PNC Bank’s Stepped Rate CD might be right for you. This CD is available in 36-month term lengths, which are further subdivided into six 6-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 is that the bank won’t tell you what the interest rates for each step are until you sign up for an account.

  • 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: Early withdrawal penalties are waived for a 10-day period every six months. Otherwise, you’ll lose six months’ worth of interest.

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

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How PNC’s CD rates compare

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. However, the rates offered for these CDs fall well short of the ones found on our roundup of the best CDs.

PNC Bank’s Money Market Account

Premiere Money Market account

Decent rates — if you can meet the additional requirements.

Balance to Earn APY

Standard APY

APY When Linked to Performance Checking

APY When Linked to Performance Select Checking

$1.00 - $9,999.99

0.02%

0.17%

0.75%

$10k - $24,999.99

0.08%

0.17%

0.75%

$25k - $49,999.99

0.10%

0.22%

1.00%

$50k - $99,999.99

0.12%

0.22%

1.25%

$100k - $249,999.99

0.14%

0.27%

1.40%

$250k - $499,999.99

0.14%

0.27%

1.40%

$500k - $999,999.99

0.16%

0.27%

1.40%

$1M and above

0.16%

0.27%

1.40%

  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Maximum opening deposit: $10,000
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $12
  • Account maintenance fee waived if you meet the following condition: 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 overdrawn amount is less than $5.

For most products, PNC Bank offers below-average rates. However, its money market account is one exception, provided you can meet certain requirements. If you can’t, you’ll earn measly rates and might actually lose money if you have to pay the monthly account fee.

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:

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

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 $12 each month.

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

SEE DETAILS 

Member FDIC

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How PNC’s money market account compares

Although PNC Bank’s basic money market account offers slightly better returns than some of its other offerings, it isn’t really a standout account when compared to our listing of the best MMAs available. You can take advantage of the higher rates offered only if you have a Performance Checking or Performance Select Checking account and link to it, which seems necessary to generate decent returns.

PNC IRA CDs

Fixed Rate IRA CDs

Low rates for high-fee retirement savings.

Standard APYs

Term

$1.00 - $999.99

$1k - $9,999.99

$10k - $24,999.9

$25k - $99,999.99

$100k - $499,999.99

$500k and above

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

0.05%

0.50%

0.50%

0.75%

0.75%

0.75%

24 months

0.05%

0.50%

0.50%

0.75%

0.75%

0.75%

36 months

0.05%

0.60%

0.60%

0.85%

0.85%

0.85%

48 months

0.05%

0.70%

0.70%

0.95%

0.95%

0.95%

60 months

0.05%

0.70%

0.70%

0.95%

0.95%

0.95%

84 months

0.05%

0.75%

1.00%

1.00%

1.00%

1.00%

120 months

0.05%

0.75%

1.00%

1.00%

1.00%

1.00%

Promotional APYs

Term

$1.00 - $999.99

$1k - $9,999.99

$10k - $24,999.99

$25k - $99,999.99

$100k - $499,999.99

$500k and above

9 months - Fixed Rate Only

0.05%

0.50%

0.75%

0.75%

0.75%

0.75%

9 months - with Choice/Premium Plan

0.05%

0.50%

0.75%

0.75%

0.75%

0.75%

9 months - with Performance Select/VW Performance

0.05%

0.50%

0.75%

0.75%

0.75%

0.75%

  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000
  • Annual custodian fee: $25
  • How to get the annual custodian fee waived: 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 3 months and 1 year, you’ll lose the amount of interest you would have earned. For CDs with terms over 1 year, you’ll lose 6 months’ worth of interest.

This is one of the safest options 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 Individual Retirement Account (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.

If you’d like to open a Fixed Rate IRA CD account with PNC Bank, you can apply over the phone, online or in person at a local branch.

SEE DETAILS 

Member FDIC

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How PNC’s IRA CD rates compare

Unfortunately, PNC Bank’s offerings fall short of the best IRA CDs on our round-up. The rates are lackluster, even when you look at the longest-term CDs with the highest deposit amounts.

Furthermore, there are fees to watch out for with this account. Unless you arrive 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 modest earnings.

PNC Bank’s Student Virtual Wallet Review

Student Virtual Wallet Account

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

Balance to Earn APY

Reserve APY

Standard Growth APY

Relationship Growth APY

$1.00 - $2,499.99

0.01%

0.01%

0.05%

$2,5000 and above

0.01%

0.01%

0.10%

  • Minimum opening deposit: $25 for a Spend account. $0 for both Reserve and Growth accounts.
  • 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 statement period. ATM surcharges (i.e., the extra fee the ATM’s owner tacks on) are not refunded. Also, fees in excess of $5.00 will not be reimbursed.
  • Overdraft fees: Your first overdraft fee within 12 months of account opening will be refunded.

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.

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.

VISIT SITE Secured

on PNC’s secure website

Overall review of PNC Bank

PNC Bank really does offer some real-world 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.

However, these aren’t the only places you can get the 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, often ones that offer better terms.

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

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

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

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

BB&T’s website can leave CD investors wanting more, as the information regarding CDs is fairly basic. Although the bank’s website has as basic overview of certificates of deposit (CDs) stating it offers CDs with terms ranging from 7 days to 5 years with rate information, you need to navigate through a menu and choose your state of residence in order to view current rates.

We called BB&T branches and, on the same day, compared its CD rates with those at other banks and the national averages. After conducting this research, it’s not surprising to see that BB&T makes its CD rates hard to find — they aren’t very competitive.

BB&T CD products and rates

BB&T offers CD terms ranging from as short as 7 days to as long as 5 years. It has 24 CD options, each with different investment goals.

7-day to 60-month Personal CD

For short-term investments, BB&T offers CDs with terms ranging from 7 days to 60 months. These Personal CDs offer a fixed rate of return – annual percentage yield (APY) – along with the flexibility to focus on developing either a short- or long-term investment. It is worth noting that a higher minimum deposit, $2,500, is required for CDs that range for terms of 7 to 31 days.

CD Term

APY

Minimum Deposit to Open

3 months

0.03%

$1,000

6 months

0.05%

$1,000

12 months

0.10%

$1,000

18 months

0.15%

$1,000

2 years

0.20%

$1,000

3 years

0.30%

$1,000

4 years

0.30%

$1,000

5 years

0.30%

$1,000

With the 7-day to 60-month BB&T CDs, there are no penalty-free options for withdrawing your funds before the CD matures. 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.

Not only can you find better CD rates at other banks and credit unions for each of the terms BB&T offers, you can also usually secure those rates with smaller minimum deposits. You can see some of the top options in our monthly roundup of the best CD rates.

Can’t Lose CD

As the name of this product implies, whether rates go up or down, you can’t lose – in the broad sense of your investment accruing interest. However, the APY is so low you’re almost certainly going to lose money due to inflation on the longer-term CDs.

At the 12-month mark of this 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 a 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. Whether rates go up or down, you’re locked in for 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

Even when you consider locking in that higher rate, remember that you can find many CDs with better APYs than BB&T’s Can’t Lose CD, regardless of term.

Stepped Rate CD

Creating a CD ladder is a way to stagger your investments so can 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. BB&T’s 48-month Stepped Rate CD tiers rates this way:

Months

APY

12

0.30%

24

0.40%

36

0.55%

48

0.75%

This particular product 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.

An alternative to using the bank’s stepped rate CD is to create a CD ladder on your own, choosing CDs with better rates than those BB&T offers.

Add On CD

The Add On CD option from BB&T offers a 12-month CD with an opening deposit of $100. You’ll need a BB&T checking account and a $50 automatic deposit every month 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.

Note that the 12-month Add On CD product is not advertised on BB&T’s website. You need to visit a branch in order to open an Add On CD — contact the bank to learn about the current APY offered on this product.

CD Term

Minimum
Deposit to Open

Withdrawal
Penalties

12-month Add-on

$100

Greater of $25 or
6 months’ interest

Home Saver CD

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. 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 early withdrawal. But you will need a BB&T checking or savings account set up with a monthly deposit of $50 into your Home Saver CD.

Note that Home Saver CDs are not advertised on BB&T’s website, and you can only open them by visiting a branch. Contact the bank to learn about the current APY offered on this product.

CD Term

Minimum Deposit to Open

Withdrawal Penalties

36-month Home Saver

$100

No penalty for home purchase

College Saver

The College Saver CD is meant for parents or students saving for college. It offers the benefit of starting at a higher APY 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 CD, you’ll need to have a BB&T checking or savings account with an automatic monthly deposit of $50 into the College Saver. It offers terms of 36, 48 and 60 months.

Note that you must visit a branch to open College Saver CDs, and they are not advertised on BB&T’s website. Contact the bank to learn about the current APYs offered on these products.

CD Term

Minimum Deposit to Open

Withdrawal Penalties

36-month College Saver

$100

No penalty for school costs

48-month College Saver

$100

No penalty for school costs

60-month College Saver

$100

No penalty for school costs

Treasury CD

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.

If Treasury Bills rise, this can be 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. You will need to make monthly deposits of $100, and the CD will automatically renew if not cashed out.

CDARS

CDARS, which stands for Certificate of Deposit Account Registry Service, 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

Can customers 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 Can’t Lose CD and the Stepped Rate CD. Both allow you to make a withdrawal before the CD comes to maturity in case rates increase (certain terms apply). They also allow to make 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, essentially 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 – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia – and the District of Columbia.

BB&T offers a mobile app for both iOS and Android devices. While its website is easy enough to use, finding specific information, particularly about rates, is difficult. The bank’s customer service number isn’t much help either, with most questions answered with a suggestion to visit a branch location. To find the BB&T branch closest to you, use its branch locator tool.

The bottom line

BB&T offers some flexible CD deals to its customers, but in general, better CD rates can be found at other banks and credit unions. You can find them on our list of the best CD rates, which is updated monthly.

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Ralph Miller
Ralph Miller |

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