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PNC Bank is a subsidiary of Pittsburgh-based PNC Financial Services Group, one of the largest financial services institutions in the U.S., with assets of approximately $558 billion as of June 30, according to the bank’s website. Its retail branch network sprawls across 29 states in the mid-Atlantic, South, Midwest and West, as well as in the District of Columbia.
With around 2,400 branches and access to nearly 60,000 fee-free ATMs, PNC Bank has a large physical presence.
It also has a full array of online and mobile banking tools, making it a good fit for checking account customers who prefer traditional branch banking but also want access to the latest in personal-finance technology. PNC Bank was named Most Trusted Bank as part of the 2023 Bankrate Awards.
PNC Bank’s main checking account offerings include: Virtual Wallet, for customers who want basic account features and online tools; Virtual Wallet Performance Spend, which features two reimbursements for non-PNC ATM use per statement cycle and other perks; and Virtual Wallet Performance Select, which is the premium checking account with the highest level of benefits.
|Account name||Standard APY||Minimum deposit||Monthly fee if requirements not met|
|Note: Annual percentage yields (APYs) shown are as of Oct. 25, 2023 for New York.|
|Virtual Wallet Spend||None||None||$7|
|Virtual Wallet with Performance Spend||0.01% (on $2,000 or more)||None||$15|
|Virtual Wallet with Performance Select (Spend)||0.01% (on $2,000 or more)||None||$25|
PNC also offers Virtual Wallet Student, a non-interest bearing checking account with no balance requirement (if opened online) and no monthly service fee. The perks of this account are good for up to six years.
Here are more details about PNC’s main checking accounts.
Virtual Wallet is an umbrella title for a combination of checking and savings accounts. In this tier, the checking account, called Spend, is a basic, noninterest bearing account. In addition to Spend, there are two savings account options that can be included with this package: Reserve is a secondary checking account, and Growth is a long-term savings account. The Reserve and Growth accounts also serve as built-in overdraft protection.
There’s a $3 fee for each out-of-network ATM transaction.
There is no minimum deposit. The $7 monthly service charge is waived by meeting one of these criteria:
- Maintain a combined average monthly balance of at least $500 in your Spend and Reserve accounts.
- Have at least $500 a month in qualifying direct deposits to your Spend account, such as a paycheck.
- You are age 62 or older.
Virtual Wallet with Performance Spend
The checking account with Virtual Wallet with Performance Spend is interest bearing, paying 0.01 percent APY on balances of $2,000 and up.
There is no minimum opening deposit. The $15 monthly fee is waived if one of these conditions are met:
- Make $2,000 in direct deposits to your Spend account each monthly statement period.
- Keep an average monthly balance of $2,000 in checking and/or Reserve accounts.
- Maintain a combined balance of $10,000 in PNC deposit accounts.
There is more fee forgiveness with this account than there is with basic checking. The bank reimburses up to two non-PNC ATM transactions per statement period and up to $5 in other banks’ ATM surcharges. After that, the out-of-network ATM fee is $3 per transaction in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
A number of other fees are waived for the Performance Spend account services, including paper account statements, non-sufficient funds fees and check images.
Virtual Wallet with Performance Select
Performance Select is PNC’s premium account tier with the most benefits and includes an interest-bearing checking account. You can have up to eight additional linked PNC checking or savings accounts with Performance Select, with no monthly service charge.
The Spent account for Performance Select earns 0.01 percent APY if you have a balance of at least $2,000.
There is no minimum opening deposit. The $25 monthly fee is waived if you meet one of these criteria:
- Monthly direct deposits of $5,000 a month to your Spend account.
- Combined $5,000 average monthly balance in the Spend account and up to eight linked PNC consumer checking accounts.
- Maintain $25,000 combined average monthly balance in linked PNC deposit and investment accounts.
With Performance Select, there is no fee to replace your Visa debit card and there is reimbursement for up to $10 a month in other banks’ ATM surcharges.
There are no fees for paper statements with check images, domestic wire transfers, stop payments or redeposit of returned items. Basic PNC checks are free, and there is a $10 discount on select check designs.
PNC checking account fees
Read your account details carefully to avoid surprise fees. Generally, the higher the account tier, the fewer fees you’re required to pay. Unless these fees are waived, here is what you can expect to pay:
- Overdrafts, $36. If your account is overdrawn by $5 or less at the end of the day, overdraft fees are refunded.
- Stop payment for Virtual Wallet and Performance Spend, $33.
- Stop payment for Performance Select, no charge.
- Paper statements for Virtual Wallet, $3; with check images, $5.
- Paper statements for Performance Spend and Performance Select, no charge.
- Cashier’s checks for Virtual Wallet, $10
- Cashier’s checks for Performance Spend, $5.
- Cashier’s checks for Performance Select, no charge.
- Out-of-network ATM fee for Virtual Wallet and Performance Spend U.S., Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Canada, $3; ATMs outside of the previously mentioned locations, $5.
- Out-of-network ATM fee for Performance Select, no charge.
- Debit card cash advance fee for Virtual Wallet and Performance Spend, $3 at PNC ATM; $5 at non-PNC ATM.
- Domestic debit card cash advance fee for Performance Select, no charge.
- Debit card replacement for Virtual Wallet and Performance Spend, $7.50.
- Debit card replacement for Performance Select, no charge.
- Expedited delivery of card, $25.
- International purchases and cash advances, 3 percent of transaction amount.
- Wire transfers (domestic and international), no charge to $50.
- Counter checks, $1.50.
- PNC Express Funds, 2 percent of the check amount over $100; $2 for each check of $25 to $100.
- Return of deposited or cashed item, no charge.
PNC checking account offers
All PNC checking account customers get a PNC Bank Visa debit card and the surcharge-free use of thousands of ATMs. There is also reimbursement of some non-PNC ATM fees for higher-tier accounts, free online banking and mobile banking and higher interest rates on savings as you build your balances — depending on which account you select. With the PNC mobile app, you can deposit checks, make cardless ATM transactions, find nearby ATMs, check your balances, set up account alerts and more.
In the case of an overdraft, linked Reserve and Growth savings accounts can provide protection by transferring money to cover the overdrawn amount.
PNC checking account customers can earn cash back from participating merchants with PNC Purchase Payback.
PNC’s mobile app includes Zelle, a way to send payments to family and friends regardless of where they bank. And a PNC Visa card can be added to your Apple Pay wallet for convenient tap-and-go payments.
PNC checking account promotions and bonuses
You can earn $100 if you open Virtual Wallet, $200 if you open Virtual Wallet Performance Spend, and $400 if you open Virtual Wallet Performance Select if you meet the bonus requirements. You are eligible for only one reward amount. And these offers are not available in all areas.
The new checking account must be opened online using the application link on PNC’s website by Oct. 31, 2023. A qualifying direct deposit, defined as a recurring deposit of a paycheck, pension benefit, Social Security or some other regular monthly income, must be made within 60 days and your account must remain open.
The reward is credited to the account within 60 to 90 days after all conditions are met. Products or promotions may vary by market, state or region.
Alternatives to PNC checking accounts
Check out offers at other banks if you’re not certain a PNC checking account is the best fit for you and you’re comfortable with online banking. Online banks and fintech startups, called challenger banks, are options if you don’t need a branch location.
Credit unions are another option, especially those with lenient membership requirements. Bankrate’s list of the best credit unions ranks them based on selection of products, APYs offered, mobile features and fees. Some banks offer high yields on checking accounts, if you maintain a set minimum balance and meet other account requirements.