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You Can Earn $400 When You Sign Up for a New PNC Bank Account. Here’s How

Get the convenience of a large national bank and earn free cash – if you qualify.

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Looking for a new bank account? If you sign up for a new PNC Virtual Wallet account -- the bank’s combined checking and savings account -- you could earn a competitive welcome bonus.

When you open a new account before the end of April, you can earn up to $400 when you set up qualifying direct deposits of $500 to $5,000 within the first 60 days.

But you’ll need to exercise patience. It can take up to 90 days after completing the qualifying activities for the bonus to hit your account.

Is this new account bonus worth it? Let’s take a closer look at the bonus and PNC’s Virtual Wallet account to see if they’re a good fit for you.

PNC Bank’s bonus overview

After confirming you live in a qualifying area by entering your ZIP code in PNC’s new account bonus website, you can earn $100, $200 or $400 in new account bonuses by opening a new PNC virtual wallet by April 30, 2024. The Virtual Wallet is a combined checking and savings account that contains three sub-accounts:

  • A Spend checking account, which operates like a traditional checking account
  • A Growth savings account, which operates like a traditional savings account
  • A Reserve checking account, which is intended to be used as a secondary checking account for short-term planning

The new account bonus amount you qualify for is based on the total direct deposits you receive in the first 60 days. 

Spend accountBonusDirect deposit minimum
Virtual Wallet$100$500
Virtual Wallet with Performance Spend$200$2,000
Virtual Wallet with Performance Select$400$5,000

Qualifying direct deposits include regular recurring electronic payments received from an employer or outside agency such as a pension or Social Security payments. New account holders qualify for the bonus only if they haven’t been a signer on an existing or closed account within the past 90 days or received a promotion bonus from PNC within the last two years. Once the direct deposit requirements have been met, it can take between 60 and 90 days before you receive the bonus payment.


This welcome bonus may not be available in certain states. Availability can vary based on the ZIP code of your primary residence. Additionally, existing PNC checking customers are not eligible for this bonus. If you closed a PNC bank account within the past 90 days, you also may not qualify.

PNC Virtual Wallet overview

PNC is the sixth-largest US bank according to assets, based on the Federal Reserve’s latest ranking. With over 2,600 branches and a network of more than 60,000 fee-free ATMs, PNC combines the convenience of a large national bank with innovative mobile tools, such as savings goals, that allow you to easily manage your account from anywhere. Its Virtual Wallets with Performance Spend and Performance Select reimburse you up to $5 or $10 per statement cycle, respectively, in out-of-network ATM charges. 

However, like many large banks, the annual percentage yields, or APYs, PNC offers with its Virtual Wallet account don’t elicit much excitement. The basic Virtual Wallet Spend account isn’t interest-bearing. The Performance Spend and Performance Select accounts earn a paltry 0.01% APY with a balance requirement starting at $2,000 per month.

Another unfortunate similarity PNC shares with most big banks is its monthly fee. You could be charged between $7 and $25 per month if your direct deposit drops below $500 to $5,000 in the Spend accounts or you don’t maintain an average monthly balance of $10,000 in the Performance Spend or $25,000 in the Performance Select accounts.

Compared to CNET’s best checking account list, the PNC Virtual Wallet leaves much to be desired. A few more competitive options that offer bonuses include:

BankAPYBonusMonthly feeBonus requirements
Axos BankUp to 3.30%$300$0Receive $5,000 in monthly direct deposits for the first seven months.
SoFi0.50%$50 – $350$0Receive $1,000 to $5,000 in direct deposits within the first 25 days.
Laurel Road0.01%$100$0Receive $2,500 in direct deposits within the first 60 days.
PNC Bank0% – 0.01%$100 – $400$7 – $25Receive $500 to $5,000 in direct deposits within the first 60 days.
Rates as of April 17, 2024.

Factors to consider with a new account bonus

PNC is a large national bank with convenient access for many across the country. A bank with convenient branch and ATM locations can be a plus, especially if you need to deposit large amounts of cash or prefer to have access to in-person customer service options. If you live in an area where the new Virtual Wallet account bonuses are available and need to open a new checking account, exploring all options makes sense.

However, opening a new account primarily because of the bank bonus can end up costing you in the long run. Before deciding to open an account that offers a bank account bonus, keep the following in mind:

  • Review the fine print. Make sure you’re eligible for the bonus. PNC authorizes a bonus only for specific areas. Confirm the bonus availability before opening a new account.
  • Be prepared to pay taxes. You’ll receive a 1099-INT form from your bank. You’ll need to report any bank account bonuses earned to the IRS. 
  • Review all fees. Each of the three Virtual Wallet Spend accounts has a monthly fee associated with it. While the fee can be waived, you’ll want to make sure the requirements don’t present an obstacle for you.
  • Understand the account closure policy. Make sure you note any early account closure fees and avoid closing the account within that window. Also note that PNC won’t approve a bonus for anyone who has closed an account in the past 90 days.

So is PNC’s new account bonus worth it?

The PNC new Virtual Wallet bonus comes with a concerning set of strings attached. Unless you can comfortably maintain the minimum direct deposit totals or minimum combined Spend account balances to avoid a monthly fee, you should consider a new account bonus at another bank. Paying a monthly fee will eat into any advantage that the $100 to $400 bank bonus provides.

Additionally, the APYs paid on the Performance Spend and Select Virtual Wallets don’t compare to checking accounts for other online banks. Maintaining a large balance to avoid the monthly fee while earning nearly nothing in interest works against any interest growth goals you may have.

The basic Virtual Wallet requires the lowest monthly direct deposit requirement to qualify for a bonus and avoid the monthly fee if you’re sold on the digital tools, physical branches and national presence PNC bank provides. Alternatives such as Capital One and Ally may provide many of the same features and services, without tacking on a monthly fee. Consider the alternatives carefully before deciding that PNC Bank and its Virtual Wallet bonus are a good fit.

Toni Husbands is a staff writer with CNET Money who enjoys exploring topics that promote financial wellness. She began writing about personal finance to document her experience paying off $107,000 of debt, which is detailed in her book, The Great Debt Dump. Previously, she contributed as a freelance writer for websites, including, Centsai and Wisebread. She was also a regular contributor to Business AM TV, and her work has been featured on Yahoo News. Being a part-time real estate investor and amateur gardener also brings her joy.
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