PNC Bank Small Business Review: Specialized Banking for Niche Needs
PNC’s specialized accounts and industry expertise make this bank a good choice for businesses with unique needs.
So you’re interested in PNC’s business bank accounts. Makes sense—PNC covers much of the eastern half of the United States, and it gets pretty good reviews. But does that mean it’s the best choice for your business banking?
We don’t have an easy answer to that question, but we’re here to help you figure it out. We’ll walk you through everything you should know about PNC: what sets it apart from other banks, the details about its bank accounts, the other financial products it has, and what customers say about it.
By the time we’re done, you’ll know all about PNC—and hopefully you’ll know if it’s right for you.
PNC Bank is best for businesses that need specialized banking needs (like attorneys and nonprofits).
Most banks have pretty similar products and services for business: usually a few tiers of checking accounts, maybe some savings accounts, probably some kind of business credit card—and so on. And that’s great if your business has generic needs.
But what if you need something a little more specialized?
Well, you might head to PNC. PNC has some unique business bank accounts, including nonprofit checking accounts, lawyers trust accounts, and sweep checking accounts. So instead of trying to make a generic business bank account work for your specific needs, you can get an account that’s actually optimized for you and your business.
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Even if you don’t need those specific bank accounts, you might still benefit from PNC’s clear understanding of various industries. While other banks may advertise their health care solutions, PNC has solutions for a slew of business types—including retail, manufacturing, real estate, and more. (We’ll come back to this in a minute.)
Just note that, because it’s a traditional bank, PNC may not be available in your state. Right now, it has branches in just 21 states, plus the District of Columbia.
Still interested? Then let’s dive into PNC’s bank accounts.
PNC Bank checking and savings accounts
Most of PNC’s business bank accounts are checking accounts—including the specialized accounts we mentioned. It also has a couple of options for business savings, though.
PNC has some unique bank accounts, but it also has higher costs and fees than many other banks we’ve reviewed. These costs aren’t high enough to break the bank, but if you want a cheaper alternative, you can look at our list of the best free business checking accounts.
Let’s start by taking a look at PNC’s basic checking accounts. These generic accounts are versatile enough to meet the needs of most businesses. You’ll just have to decide which tier you want.
|Feature||Business Checking||Business Checking Plus||Analysis Business Checking||Treasury Enterprise Plan|
|Min. opening deposit||$100||$100||$100||$100|
|Monthly fee waivable?||✔||✔||✘||✔|
|Account balance fee||N/A||N/A||✔||✔|
|Out-of-network ATM fee reimbursement||2 per period||All||All||All|
|Additional transactions||$0.50 each||$0.50 each||Varies||$0.50 each|
|Free cash deposits||Up to $5,000||Up to $10,000||N/A||Up to $50,000|
|Cash deposit fee||$0.25 per $100||$0.25 per $100||$0.10–$0.12 per $100||$0.25 per $100|
|Open an account||Apply Now||Apply Now||Apply Now||Apply Now|
If you don’t use your account much, you might want the basic Business Checking account. It doesn’t give you many free transactions or deposits, but it does have the cheapest monthly fee—which you can waive by keeping a $500 minimum balance in your account, spending $500 on your PNC business credit card, or making $500 of merchant services deposits through PNC.
Business Checking Plus more than triples your number of free transactions and doubles the amount of cash you can deposit for free. But it has a higher monthly service fee, and it’s harder to waive. You can keep a $5,000 minimum account balance, spend at least $5,000 on your business credit card, have $5,000 worth of merchant services deposits, or have a $20,000 balance across your checking and money market accounts.
If you prefer to pay for what you use rather than have a number of free transactions, you can get Business Analysis Checking. You’ll pay for each transaction and deposit, but you can get earnings credits based on your average monthly balance. These credits can be applied to both transaction fees as well as the monthly maintenance fee. So if you keep a large balance, this plan could end up being a surprisingly affordable option.
The Treasury Enterprise Plan gives you the most free transactions and cash deposits—five times as many as other plans. You can waive the service fee with a $30,000 balance across your accounts. Note that this is technically a plan and not an account; it gives you Analysis Business Checking plus a Money Market or Business Sweep account. You can also get four other checking accounts and link them.
But what about those specialized checking accounts we were talking about?
|Feature||Business Sweep Checking||Business Interest Checking||Non-Profit Checking||Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts|
|Min. opening deposit||$100||$100||$100||$0|
|Monthly fee waivable?||✘||✔||✔||N/A|
|Additional transactions||Varies||$0.50 each||$0.50 each||N/A|
|Free cash deposits||N/A||Up to $5,000||Up to $5,000||Unlisted|
|Cash deposit fee||$0.10–$0.12 per $100||$0.25 per $100||$0.25 per $100||Unlisted|
|Open an account||Apply Now||Apply Now||Apply Now||Apply Now|
Business Sweep Checking makes it easy to earn more from your money. You’ll choose both a minimum and maximum target balance for your checking account. Funds over the max balance will get “swept” into a linked Money Market account (see below). But if your balance ever drops below your minimum, funds will automatically get transferred from the money market account to your checking account. Easy, right?
If you’d rather just earn interest in your checking account, you can go for Business Interest Checking instead. This interest-bearing checking account has a variable rate (so your interest rate can change at any time). You can waive your monthly fee by keeping a $5,000 account balance. And remember, the higher your balance, the more you earn, so this account will work best if you keep a healthy checking balance.
Then there’s Non-Profit Checking. You’ll have to have a qualified nonprofit or not-for-profit organization to open one of these. It looks pretty much like PNC’s Business Checking account, but with a lower monthly maintenance fee. You can waive the fee with a $500 average monthly balance in your account.
Finally, PNC has special trust checking accounts for attorneys. While it groups these under Interest On Lawyers Trust Accounts (IOLTAs), these include IOTAs, IOLAs, MJ IOTAs, IBRETAs, and MAHTs (we assume that if you’re the kind of business that needs these accounts, you already know what all that means). These accounts are subject to your state’s IOLTA regulations, so make sure you use them properly. We don’t want you getting disbarred, after all, and we can’t imagine PNC does either.
Compared to its checking accounts, PNC’s business savings account options seem pretty limited. Really, you’ve got only two choices.
|Feature||Premium Business Money Market Account||Certificates of Deposit|
|Min. opening deposit||$100||$1,000|
|Monthly maintenance fee||$12||N/A|
|Monthly fee waivable?||✔||N/A|
|Terms||N/A||Days to years|
|Free cash deposits per cycle||Up to $5,000||N/A|
|Cash deposit fee||$0.50 per $100||N/A|
|Able to use checks?||6 per cycle||✘|
|Open an account||Apply Now||Apply Now|
If you want access to your savings, then check out PNC’s Premium Business Money Market Account. This account has a variable interest rate, so you’ll need to talk with your local branch to find out current rates. This account lets you make up to six transactions (including withdrawals) per cycle. And if you want to waive the monthly fee, you just need an average balance of $2,500 in your account.
If access isn’t an issue, then certificates of deposit (CDs) often offer the best APY for savings. You can’t deposit or withdraw money from your CD during the term, so make sure you’re really ready to commit to saving before you open one. Plus it requires a high opening balance of $1,000. But with no maintenance fee or other fees to speak of, CDs can be a good way to build your business savings.
PNC’s industry-specific guidance
By now you know that PNC has some unique bank accounts for specific business needs, like trust accounts for attorneys. But PNC’s understanding of different industries goes beyond a handful of checking accounts. In fact, its site has solutions pages for many industries, from accounting to agriculture to health care.
Those solutions pages include information on all the services and products PNC offers for that industry. For example, the attorneys page lists those trust accounts we mentioned, in addition to real estate financing (for your office) and cash flow help (so you can survive the seasonal nature of divorce law).
Some of these pages also include industry-specific resources. Take PNC’s real estate agent page. It includes links to real estate webinars and news. It also has resources you can pass along to clients to help them buy a home.
PNC stands for Pittsburgh National Corporation and Provident National Corporation—the two banks that merged to create the PNC we know today.
So why should you care about all this? Well, it means that PNC understands that different types of businesses have different needs—and that PNC can meet those different needs.
You won’t have to try to explain why you can’t actually use the interest your attorney trust account earns, for example—PNC already knows the ins and outs of those accounts. And you won’t have to explain how the unpredictable cash flow of agriculture might affect your checking account choices, because PNC gets that too.
Sure, that won’t solve all your industry-related problems. But having a bank that understands the nature of your business gives you a better chance of getting the products and services that fit your needs. Sounds like a plus to us.
Other small-business offerings from PNC Bank
Speaking of those products and services you need, let’s take a look at what else PNC bank has for small-business owners.
PNC has a number of business financing options, from small lines of credit to large commercial real estate loans.
|Loan type||Loan min./max.||Interest rate||Term||Get a loan|
|Choice Credit for Business Line of Credit||$20,000/$100,000||Variable||N/A||Apply Now|
|Business Equity Line of Credit||$10,000/$999,999||Variable||7 yr. draw period, 10 yr. repayment||Apply Now|
|Secured line of credit||$100,001/$3 million||Variable||N/A||Apply Now|
|Choice Credit for Business Term Loan||$10,000/$100,000||Fixed||Up to 48 mos.||Apply Now|
|Secured term loan||$10,000/$3 million||Fixed or variable||Up to 7 yrs.||Apply Now|
|Business Equity Installment Loan||$10,000/$3 million||Fixed or variable||Up to 20 yrs.||Apply Now|
|Commercial real estate loan||$50,000/$3 million||Fixed or variable||Up to 10 yrs. w/ 20 yr. amortization||Apply Now|
|Business vehicle loan||$10,000/$250,000||Fixed||Up to 72 mos.||Apply Now|
|Investment real estate mortgage loan||$50,000/$3 million||Fixed||Up to 5 yrs. w/ 20 yr. amortization||Apply Now|
PNC doesn’t list interest rates or APR on its business loans (you’ll have to talk with your branch to get details) so we can’t tell you exactly how those compare to other lenders.
But PNC’s variety of loan options, flexible loan amounts, and lengthy repayment terms make it a good bet for businesses that can qualify for traditional financing—especially if you’re already using PNC for other business financial needs.
Small-business credit cards
PNC has five different Visa credit card options for businesses. Four of these have no annual fee (nice!), and the fifth has options for waiving the fee (assuming you’re a big spender, of course).
You can choose between several types of rewards, including cash back, travel, and points—whatever makes the most sense for your business. Plus, several of the cards have special offers when you spend a certain amount after opening an account.
PNC even has options for employee credit cards, so you don’t always have to let your staff borrow your card to go buy more reams of paper.
Cash Flow Insight
Cash Flow Insight is basically PNC’s advanced online banking software suite. It lets you do all the basics of online banking, like viewing your account balances, paying bills, and scheduling account transfers (all of which you can do with PNC’s normal online banking)—but it goes beyond that.
|Feature||Online banking||Cash Flow Insight||Cash Flow Insight with Payables/Receivables|
|View balances and activity||✔||✔||✔|
|Pay bills and make account transfers||✔||✔||✔|
|View spending by category||✘||✔||✔|
|Sync with accounting software||✘||✘||✔|
Cash Flow Insight lets you do a deep dive into your spending by organizing your credit card spending into different categories. It also lets you plan for the future by forecasting account balances and payments. Likewise, it helps you plan future transactions and see how they’ll affect your accounts.
If you use invoices as part of your business, you can even get Cash Flow Insight with Payables/Receivables. As you probably already guessed, it lets you make and send invoices. It also makes it easy to accept payments for those invoices. Plus, it lets you sync Cash Flow Insight with your accounting software.
PNC also offers some other services that might interest you, such as these:
- Merchant services
- Treasury management
- Payroll processing
- Bank-at-work program
- IRA retirement plans
- Tax-advantaged accounts (HSAs, HRAs, FSAs, QTAs)
What customers say about PNC Bank
Overall, PNC has a pretty positive reputation with customers. It earned a 4 out of 5 on Trustpilot and 3.2 out of 5 on Bank Branch Locator.1,2
The reviews we saw were pretty specific to local branches. Positive reviews praised the customer service at their local branches, often thanking PNC employees for their specific, actionable advice. On the other hand, negative reviews complained about poor customer service and grumpy branch employees. Oh, and broken ATMs. Lots of broken ATMs.
That means your PNC experience will probably depend on the staff at your local branch and who’s working when you show up. So hopefully your local branch is one of the good ones.
On the other hand, that means that you probably don’t need to worry too much about company-wide scandals and bad practices. That alone sets PNC apart from some other big banks out there.
So should you get a business account from PNC? We still don’t have the answer, but hopefully you do.
If you have less-common banking needs, you might benefit from one of the unique business bank accounts PNC bank offers. And even if you don’t have niche needs, PNC has plenty of other accounts and financial services you can use—even if those cost a little more than other banks do.
Not sure PNC has the right bank account for you? No problem. Check out our ranking of the best banks for small business to find a better fit.
At Business.org, our research is meant to offer general product and service recommendations. We don’t guarantee that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services.