With more than 12 million customers and 2,500 branches, PNC Bank is the sixth-largest bank in the country. Founded almost 160 years ago, the bank is headquartered in Pittsburgh and offers home equity lines of credit (HELOC) and other equity products to customers throughout most of the United States.
A HELOC is a form of credit that allows you to borrow funds against your home's equity. Like a credit card, you get access to a credit line, and you can borrow the funds you need whenever you need them. You'll only pay interest on what you borrow. A HELOC is good for unexpected expenses, consolidating bills or home repairs.
PNC's home equity product is called the Choice Home Equity Line of Credit, or CHELOC. To help consumers choose the best option to utilize their home equity, we assessed the bank’s pricing, offerings, customer experience and accessibility.
PNC home equity pros and cons
- Borrowers can switch between variable and fixed rates
- 0.25% rate savings available with autopay on a PNC checking account
- No minimum draw amount
- Not available in all states
- Only offers HELOCs, not home equity loans
Borrowers can switch between variable and fixed rates
Unfortunately, you are at the mercy of the economy when it comes to interest rates. If rates are high when you take out a HELOC, your monthly payment can increase significantly.
One of the pros of choosing a line of credit through PNC is that you can transfer any portion of your variable-rate balance to a fixed interest rate, as long as the amount is $5,000 or more. This allows you to watch the market and lock in your rate for a portion of your loan.
Every time you use your line of credit, it’s considered a draw on your account. The terms range from five to 30 years for fixed-rate loans in most states, and there is a $100 transfer fee every time you unlock or establish a fixed rate.
Because you may take out the money on different occasions throughout the life of the loan, you could have different interest rates for different portions of your loan with PNC Bank. This happens if you change your interest rate from variable to fixed more than once during the life of your loan. If you opt for a fixed rate at the time you open the line of credit, PNC will initially waive the fee.
0.25% rate discount available with autopay on a PNC checking account
If you have a PNC checking account and automate your payments, you receive a 0.25% rate discount on your home equity line of credit. The benefit is available after the introductory period and is forfeited if you cancel automatic payments.
No minimum draw amount
A HELOC draw period is the time period during which you can borrow money from your credit line. With a PNC CHELOC, the draw period is 10 years. Every time you use money from your line of credit, it's considered a draw. PNC doesn’t require you to draw a specific amount each time you need money. Some banks have a minimum draw amount, but PNC allows you to borrow anywhere from $1 all the way up to your credit limit.
This is where a line of credit differs from a home equity loan. When you take out a home equity loan, you receive the entire lump sum upfront. A line of credit allows you to borrow a little at a time, so you only pay interest on what you’ve spent.
Not available in all states
PNC Bank only offers HELOC services in 44 states. Additionally, the terms vary from state to state.
In Tennessee, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Kansas and Connecticut, you can borrow up to 85% of your home’s value. In Wyoming, Washington, Vermont, Utah, Texas, Rhode Island, Oregon, Oklahoma, New Hampshire, Nebraska, North Dakota, Montana, Maine, Idaho, Iowa, Colorado and Arkansas, you can borrow up to 80% of your home’s value.
Consumers in South Dakota, Nevada, Mississippi, Louisiana, Hawaii and Alaska are ineligible for HELOCs from PNC Bank. Those in all other states can borrow up to 89.9% of their home’s market value.
Only offers HELOCs
PNC Bank doesn’t offer home equity loans, only HELOCs. This means you can’t get the entire lump sum of your home equity upfront.
A HELOC is a good option if you need a revolving credit line, or if you want to have access to emergency money that you don’t need urgently.
However, you may prefer to have a loan that you pay back in fixed installments. Consumers opt for home equity loans sometimes because the interest may be tax deductible, all the proceeds are available at closing and origination fees are often waived.
PNC home equity offerings
PNC Bank offers a fixed-rate home equity line of credit and a variable-rate home equity line of credit. We'll discuss these below.
Variable-rate home equity line of credit
If you opt for a variable rate on your HELOC, your monthly payment and interest rate vary depending on the financial market. The benefit of a variable rate is that you can save significant amounts of money when interest rates are low. However, you will have to be comfortable with a level of uncertainty regarding how much your rates will be.
Fixed-rate home equity line of credit
PNC also offers a fixed-rate HELOC. A fixed-rate home equity line of credit provides a stable monthly payment and a rate that won’t change even in a volatile market. Because PNC allows you to transfer portions of your variable-rate loan to a fixed-rate one, you can benefit from the flexibility of choosing to lock in favorable rates when you want.
PNC home equity pricing
There is a $50 annual charge from PNC for a HELOC, and a $100 transfer fee every time you switch your rate type. Other than that, PNC covers the cost for a long list of third-party fees, including property appraisals and recording fees. These are one-time fees due when you open your line of credit.
However, you are required to pay those third-party fees back if you close your account in less than three years. This amount is prorated, so if you are 30 months into the 36-month introductory period when you close your account, you only pay for the equivalent of six months in third-party fees.
There is also a $7 fee if you pay your loan over the phone with an agent, although this rule only applies in some states.
If your HELOC is used to make improvements to your home for medical purposes or improve the energy efficiency of your home, you may use it as a tax deduction.
In addition to market rates, your particular interest rate will also depend on a number of factors including your credit score — a higher score will likely mean better rates. PNC doesn't disclose its minimum credit score to qualify for a HELOC, so you should contact the bank to determine if you qualify for a home equity loan with bad credit.
PNC home equity financial stability
PNC Bank is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), so the federal government protects your money if the bank has problems or folds. PNC has stable earnings and solid credit quality, earning an A+ rating from the credit rating agency Fitch.
PNC’s most recent resolution plan disclosed to the FDIC is readily available. This plan is updated yearly and provides information regarding the bank’s current financial conditions.
PNC home equity accessibility
PNC Bank offers HELOCs in 44 states. The only states that are ineligible for a home equity line of credit are Nevada, South Dakota, Mississippi, Hawaii, Alaska and Louisiana.
PNC Bank has more than 2,500 physical locations throughout the country, although these physical branches are only in 23 states. If you need to visit a branch, the bank offers a locator tool.
PNC Bank hours for customer support are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST. You can reach a representative in the mortgage department when you call 1-800-822-5626.
There is no live chat feature on PNC's website, but the bank has an active Twitter account that assists with customer service.
You can apply online, on the phone, or in person if there's a loan officer in your area to discuss borrowing options. After a HELOC is approved, the bank transfers the money right into the user’s checking account. Users can then access their account information digitally 24/7.
PNC home equity customer satisfaction
PNC has an A+ Better Business Bureau rating but isn’t accredited by the organization. Online reviews skew negatively — reviewers on BBB's website give the bank 1.1 out of 5 stars — but are comparable to other banks of the same size.
Most customer complaints revolve around the customer service representative’s inability to solve problems — many reviewers mentioned having to contact higher-level executives to get the answers they needed. Positive reviews praise PNC Bank for its many customer service options, strong mobile money management tools and 24-hour overdraft grace period.
PNC home equity FAQ
How do borrowers qualify for a HELOC from PNC Bank?
How does PNC Bank's HELOC application process work?
The bank has an online application tool that collects basic information about the property that holds your equity, the requested amount, what type of rate you want and where you live. Staff may also contact references or your employer to determine the risk factors they assume when loaning you money through a HELOC. Once you've provided the bank with the necessary information, they determine which loan option would likely work best for you.
If you are approved for a HELOC, the bank will notify you to schedule a closing date. If you aren't approved, you may receive a counteroffer or a letter declining your application.
How long does it take PNC Bank to fund a HELOC?
How we evaluated PNC home equity
We evaluated PNC’s HELOC offerings by researching the following factors:
- Fees and additional costs
- Available rate options
- User experience
- Financial stability
Summary of Money’s PNC home equity review
A home equity line of credit allows you to access the equity you have in your current home without selling it. HELOCs are often used for home improvements, to pay off additional debts or to cover an unexpected expense. The amount you can borrow is based on how much equity is in your home. When you take out a HELOC, you leverage the equity in your home, and you can lose it if you default on the loan.
PNC Bank is unique in that it offers a customizable rate option. This option can save you money in the long run, even with the $100 transfer fee every time you switch your interest rate type. If you pay with a checking account from PNC Bank, you also get a reduction on your interest rate. There is no minimum draw amount on a HELOC with PNC Bank.
Money is available quickly with PNC Bank, and fees are minimal. Loan-to-value amounts differ from state to state, but in the best-case scenario, you can borrow up to 89.9% of your home’s value.
However, PNC doesn't offer home equity loans, and there are six states where PNC does not offer HELOCs. Those who prefer a home equity loan or need a lump sum payment won’t find what they need with PNC.