Banking Bank Reviews

PNC Virtual Wallet Review 2024: All-In-One Checking and Savings

PNC Virtual Wallet provides a flexible banking product that’s accessible via in-person branches, online, or a highly rated mobile app.

Updated May 29, 2024
Fact checked

We receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story, but the opinions are the author's own. Compensation may impact where offers appear. We have not included all available products or offers. Learn more about how we make money and our editorial policies.

PNC Virtual Wallet®

OUR VIEW

PNC Virtual Wallet is an all-in-one banking product that helps you save, budget, and manage your money daily.1 


We like Virtual Wallet's flexibility with its online, mobile, and in-person banking options. We recommend it if you want a simple and straightforward money management solution with low (waivable) fees. 


We especially recommend the Virtual Wallet for those who struggle to keep track of their account balances. It has a unique Low Cash Mode feature that gives you at least 24 hours to bring an account balance out of the negative.2 


Note that this is not a good high-interest product, so it won’t be a fit if that’s your highest priority.


Find out more in this PNC Virtual Wallet review


Pros

Access to in-person banking makes it easier to deposit cash
Low Cash Mode helps with accidental overdrafts

Cons

Less than stellar APY on savings
Has monthly fees where online-only competitors don't
How we evaluate products

Who should get the PNC Virtual Wallet?

We recommend PNC Virtual Wallet if you’re looking for an everyday money management solution accessible via in-person branches, mobile apps, and web browsers. This is especially important if you frequently deal with cash. With companies like Chime® and SoFi, you often have to pay a fee to deposit cash.34 That’s not the case with PNC.

PNC Virtual Wallet provides multiple ways to access your bank accounts. If you prefer in-person banking, PNC has branches in dozens of states. However, you won’t find in-person branches in every state, so check for branch locations first if that’s a concern for you.

PNC Virtual Wallet doesn’t make sense, though, if you want high interest rates or can’t meet the requirements to waive the monthly service charge. Even the highest annual percentage yield rates (APY) offered on a virtual wallet account for those who qualify (0.01%-0.04% (as of May 8, 2024)) is nowhere near the APY offered by many high-yield savings accounts.5

For example, if you meet the qualifications, you can earn a 0.50% (as of May 29, 2024) on SoFi’s checking account and up to 4.60% on SoFi’s savings account.6 7

We don’t see Virtual Wallet as the best option for storing money over long periods of time as the APY rates are low. It’s also unfortunate that there are monthly fees. The fees can be waived, but it’s still something to consider.

PNC Virtual Wallet overview

Annual percentage yield (APY)

Spend: Not an interest-bearing account

Reserve: 0.01% (as of May 8, 2024) APY

Growth: Up to 0.01%-0.04% (as of May 8, 2024) APY

Minimum deposit requirement $0
Monthly maintenance fees $7 to $25 (can be waived)
ATM access About 60,000 PNC and partner ATMs8
FDIC insured Up to $250,000

The standard Virtual Wallet product has three separate bank accounts: Spend (checking), Reserve (checking), and Growth (savings). You can choose to apply for both the checking and savings or just the checking.

The PNC Virtual Wallet APY rates are virtually pointless because of their low value. With the highest possible rate (0.01%-0.04% (as of May 8, 2024) APY) and a $10,000 balance, you could earn around $3 of interest in a year.

Earning interest isn’t the point of a product like this. The many services, locations, and ease of use are. You can easily access your money from just about anywhere and have ample access to thousands of in-person branches and ATMs with PNC Virtual Wallet.

There are waivable fees, but you don’t have to pay a minimum deposit upon opening an account.

Why we like it

Multiple accounts in one: Your PNC Virtual Wallet includes up to three separate bank accounts for more control over your funds. That’s one primary checking account, a secondary checking account for short-term planning, and a long-term savings account. The secondary checking account is a unique option that you don’t see with other banks.

We especially like how easy it is to move money between these three accounts, especially with automatic transfers. This is a popular feature with other users as well.

For example, this Reddit user:

Screenshot of reddit user

In-person locations: PNC has over 2,300 in-person locations in 28 states nationwide as well as the District of Columbia. PNC branches are found in:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin

If you’re someone who values in-person customer service, this a compelling reason to choose PNC over an online-only bank like SoFi.

ATM access: You can access about 60,000 PNC and partner ATMs around the country. This is more ATMs than SoFi (55,000+) and about the same as Chime (60,000+).9

Low Cash Mode2: While balance alerts are a common bank feature, the PNC Virtual Wallet takes things a step further. You can receive real-time alerts about low balances and then choose whether you want to pay or return certain transactions. Low Cash Mode gives you a minimum of 24 hours to bring your account out of the negative to avoid overdraft fees.

If you’re someone who struggles to keep track of your account balances and occasionally dips into the red, this feature could be a lifesaver.

What we don’t like about this account

Monthly fees: All three of the PNC Virtual Wallet options have monthly service fees. You can waive these fees by meeting certain requirements, but we prefer accounts that don’t have any monthly fees at all. You can find some of these options on our list of the best checking accounts.

Low APY rates: The PNC Virtual Wallet APY rates aren’t impressive. For options with better APY rates, check out our list of the best savings accounts.

No early pay option: Many, if not most, banks have an option to get employer direct deposits one or two days early. PNC does not.

How to apply 

To open a PNC Virtual Wallet account, you can visit an in-person branch or complete the process online. We found the online process to be quick and straightforward. Here’s how to get started.

  1. Visit the PNC Virtual Wallet product page and choose one of the Virtual Wallet products. Then select an option below the features to apply for your choice.
  2. Go through the application process. You will need a government-issued photo ID and personal information, such as your Social Security number and date of birth. If you are an existing PNC customer, you can log in to your account.
  3. At the end of the application process, if you’re approved, you can start banking with PNC Virtual Wallet.

The PNC Virtual Wallet application process is nothing out of the ordinary. We found it to be intuitive and quick.

We didn’t experience any trick questions or surprises. You have to be at least 18 and a U.S. citizen or resident alien. You also have to fill out general fields with your personal information. We assume there’s a spot at the end to fund your account, though PNC Virtual Wallet doesn’t have a minimum required deposit.

Alternatives 

SoFi

The SoFi Checking and Savings6 account has no monthly maintenance fees and no minimum opening deposit requirement. And if you want to earn interest on your stored money, the up to 4.60% APY7 with direct deposit10 blows PNC Virtual Wallet away.

Visit SoFi | Read our full SoFi review

Chime

Chime doesn’t charge monthly service fees or overdraft fees and doesn’t have minimum balance requirements.11 You can set automatic round-ups on debit card purchases to help grow your funds,12 and you can earn 2.00% (as of Oct. 25, 2023) APY on savings.13

Visit Chime | Read our full Chime review

FAQs

Are checking accounts from PNC Bank federally insured?

PNC Bank is a national bank with federally insured deposit accounts, including checking accounts, savings accounts, money market deposit accounts, and certificates of deposit (CDs). Investment accounts and life insurance policies aren’t backed by FDIC insurance.

What are the account minimums for PNC Bank checking accounts?

PNC Bank checking accounts don’t require a minimum deposit to open. This is different from many traditional banks that have minimum opening deposit requirements. For example, Wells Fargo checking accounts require a minimum of $25 to open.

Bottom line

We recommend PNC Virtual Wallet because it’s a multi-account financial product that makes it easy to manage your money on a daily basis. We like that you can quickly and easily sign up for a combined checking and savings product with one application. It’s also nice to have the flexibility of thousands of in-person branches and highly rated mobile apps.

We don’t love the low APY rates and potential monthly fees that come with PNC Virtual Wallet. But for a simple everyday money management solution, it can definitely get the job done.

If PNC Virtual Wallet doesn’t seem like the right fit for you, check out more products on our list of the best banks.

Author Details

Ben Walker, CEPF, CFEI®

Ben Walker, CEPF, CFEI®, is credit cards specialist. For over a decade, he's leveraged credit card points and miles to travel the world. His expertise extends to other areas of personal finance — including loans, insurance, investing, and real estate — and you can find his insights on The Washington Post, Debt.com, Yahoo! Finance, and Fox Business.