PNC Personal Loans Review 2021: Large Bank With In-Person Branches, but Difficult to Find Detailed Loan Information

An image to accompany a review of PNC personal loans GettyImages/Illustration by NextAdvisor
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Headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA, PNC is one of the largest financial services institutions in the U.S., serving consumers and business through its 2,700 branches and its website. PNC acquired fellow bank BBVA in June of 2021, and the company is currently working on transitioning existing BBVA customers to PNC

Unlike some personal loan lenders that specialize in personal loans, PNC is a full-service financial institution that offers all the standard consumer and commercial financial products, from loans to mortgages to banking to investing

PNC offers personal loans and personal lines of credit that are unsecured, meaning no collateral is needed. Qualified applicants can borrow up to $35,000 and have as long as five years to repay the loan. Product availability and interest rates may vary based on your location, and you can apply online or by phone. 

PNC can be an appealing choice if you’re an existing PNC customer. In addition to the convenience of having all your finances in one place, PNC customers who sign up for automatic payments with a PNC checking account can qualify for a 0.25% autopay discount. PNC personal loans can also be good for borrowers who want to apply with a co-applicant, whether because they want to increase their chances of qualifying for a loan or because both people need access to the loan funds. 

However, borrowers may find it difficult to find information about the company’s loans and terms. We found that PNC’s rate disclosures aren’t entirely clear. The company’s website only lists example rates for loans with a 36-month term, so you’ll need to fill out an application to view rate ranges for other terms. Loans with shorter or longer terms may have a different rate range, so the lack of available information can make it challenging to compare loans. In addition, the company does not provide clear credit score and income requirements, so it’s hard to tell if you’re likely to qualify for a loan unless you apply. 

We recommend comparing offers from multiple lenders before taking out a loan from PNC. Borrowers with good to excellent credit may find they qualify for lower rates — and get more transparent terms — elsewhere. 

What to Know Before Getting a Personal Loan

When you need a quick way to get immediate cash, personal loans can be a solution. They’re not a substitute for an emergency fund but can come in handy when you have a large upcoming expense or need to consolidate high-interest credit card debt

Personal loans can be secured or unsecured loans. If you take out a secured loan, the lender will require you to pledge some form of property — such as your car or another asset — as collateral for the loan. If you fall behind on your payments, the lender can take and sell your collateral to get back their investment. Although secured loans are riskier for the borrower, they might offer lower interest rates than unsecured loans. 

Unsecured personal loans, sometimes called signature loans, don’t require collateral. Instead, the lender bases its decision on the applicant’s creditworthiness. Unsecured loans may have higher interest rates than secured loans, but there’s no risk of losing your property if you miss payments. Keep in mind, though, that late or missed payments can still seriously hurt your credit score. 

When deciding whether to accept a loan offer, carefully review the lender’s disclosures and terms. Personal loans can have added fees, such as origination fees and late fees, that add to your overall cost. If you aren’t sure what fees are associated with the loan, contact the lender with your questions. 

Alternatives to Personal Loans

A personal loan can be a simple and convenient way to finance a new purchase or cover unexpected expenses, but there may be other solutions that are more cost-effective:

  • Emergency fund: If you have money stashed away in an emergency fund, tapping into that money to cover unexpected repairs or a surprise medical bill can be a better financial decision than taking on more debt. 
  • Home equity loan or home equity line of credit (HELOC): A home equity loan or HELOC is available to homeowners who own houses that are worth more than their mortgage balance. Home equity loans and HELOCs are secured loans — your house serves as collateral — and may have lower interest rates than personal loans. However, you take on the risk of losing your home if you fall behind on payments. 
  • Balance transfer credit card: For people trying to pay down credit card debt, completing a balance transfer to a card with a 0% APR introductory offer can be a good way to save on interest while consolidating debt. You can have 12 to 18 months to pay off your balance without interest charges, but make sure you have a plan in place to eliminate the debt within the promotional period. 
  • Credit counseling: If you have trouble with credit card debt or medical debt and aren’t sure where to start, meet with a counselor from a non-profit credit counseling agency. They can help you create a budget, develop a repayment plan, and negotiate with your creditors. You can find reputable agencies near you through the U.S. Trustee Program website
  • Extra income: If you know you have a major expense coming up, consider picking up a side hustle or part-time job to earn extra money. By dedicating your earnings toward your goal, you can avoid the need for a personal loan or credit card. 

Pros and Cons of PNC Personal Loans

Pros

  • No origination or prepayment fees

  • Co-applicants permitted

  • Available in all 50 states

  • Borrow up to $35,000 without collateral

  • 0.25% AutoPay rate discount available

Cons

  • Credit score and income requirements not publicly available

  • Full interest rate range unclear

  • AutoPay discount may not be available to those without a PNC checking account

PNC Compared to Other Lenders

PNC DiscoverTD Bank
Current APR5.99% to 28.74%* (lowest rate includes AutoPay discount. Rates may vary by location)6.99% to 24.99%6.99% to 21.99%
Loan Term Range6 to 60 months36 to 84 months36 to 60 months
Loan Amount$1,000 to $35,000$2,500 to $35,000$2,000 to $50,000
Credit Score NeededNot specifiedNot specified680
Prepayment PenaltyNoneNoneNone
Origination FeeNoneNoneNone
Unsecured or Secured DebtUnsecuredUnsecuredUnsecured
*Rate range for a $15,000 to $35,000 loan with a 36-month repayment term. PNC does not list the full range of rates for all available loan amounts and loan terms on its website. Minimum and maximum rates may vary based on loan amount, loan term, and location.

The above rates and loan information are accurate as of October 19, 2021. The NextAdvisor editorial team updates this information regularly, though it is possible APRs and other information have changed since the page was last updated. Some of the lowest advertised rates might be for secured loans, which require collateral such as your home, car, or other asset. Also, some loan offerings may be specific to where you live.

How to Qualify for a PNC Personal Loan

When you apply for a PNC personal loan, the lender will look at the following information: 

  • Your credit report
  • Your income and housing expenses
  • Your bank account

When it comes to applicant requirements, PNC doesn’t specify a minimum income or credit score. When we contacted PNC to get details, a company representative said that “PNC does not disclose this information.”

However, PNC’s annual report stated that 82% of its personal loan borrowers had credit scores of 650 or above. According to Equifax’s scoring ranges, that means the majority of PNC’s borrowers had scores that were fair to excellent. 

PNC’s personal loans are unsecured, and the company allows borrowers to apply with co-applicants. When we asked about co-signers (which are different from co-applicants), the company representative said, “PNC does not allow for co-signers.”

PNC loans are available to residents of all 50 states.

Who Should Get a PNC Personal Loan

A PNC personal loan can be a good match for someone with fair to excellent credit, or who has an existing PNC checking account to take advantage of the AutoPay discount. It also can be a useful option for someone who wants to apply with a co-applicant, such as someone using the loan alongside a partner or friend who will share access to the money and responsibility for repayment. 

With PNC, you can borrow $1,000 to $35,000 and have six months to 60 months to repay it. With the relatively low loan amounts and short repayment terms available, PNC loans can be helpful for sudden, relatively small expenses. 

How to Apply for a PNC Personal Loan

To submit an application, follow these steps: 

  1. Enter your zip code to find location-specific information: Rates and terms may vary by location, so PNC will prompt you to enter your zip code to view the information applicable to your location. 
  2. Start your application: PNC’s application can be completed online. The application will ask for your Social Security number, identification, address, housing payments, and income information. If you’d prefer to apply over the phone or get help from a customer service representative, you can do so by calling 1-877-CALL PNC (1-877-225-5762).
  3. Select your desired loan amount and terms: PNC will prompt you to enter your desired loan amount and loan term. Based on the information you input, it will show you the interest rate range you can expect. 
  4. Enter co-applicant’s information (optional): If you’re applying with a co-applicant, you will need the person’s address and annual income. 
  5. Wait for a decision: In some cases, you could receive a decision immediately. Or, it may take a few days for PNC to review and process your information. You’ll receive a notification of the lender’s decision and instructions on how to sign your loan documents and accept your loan funds. 

PNC Personal Loan FAQs

Is PNC good for personal loans?

PNC is an established and reputable bank, offering loan amounts ranging from $1,000 to $35,000. PNC loans are especially useful for existing PNC customers because the lender offers a 0.25% discount when you sign up for automatic payments using a PNC checking account.

What credit score do you need for a PNC personal loan?

Although PNC doesn’t disclose its minimum credit score, the majority of approved borrowers had scores of 650 or above. Those with scores below that number may find it difficult to qualify for a loan from PNC.

Can I get a PNC personal loan with bad credit?

Based on PNC’s information on approved borrowers, applicants with bad credit may struggle to qualify for a loan. However, you may get approved if you apply with a co-applicant that has good to excellent credit and a reliable source of income.

If you don’t know anyone that could be a co-applicant, you may be better off applying for a loan from a lender that specializes in bad credit personal loans.

Does a PNC personal loan hurt your credit?

If you apply for a loan from PNC or any other personal loan lender, your credit score could be affected in the following ways:

  • New credit inquiry: When PNC reviews your application, the lender will perform a hard credit inquiry. Each credit inquiry that happens could cause your score to drop a few points.
  • Credit mix: Your credit mix accounts for 10% of your FICO credit score. By adding a personal loan to your credit report, you could improve your credit mix and modestly boost your score.
  • Payments: Your payment history is what lenders care about the most, and it’s the biggest determining factor of credit scores. If you make all of your personal loan payments, you can establish a positive payment history.