PNC checking accounts

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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 $462 billion. Its retail branch network sprawls across 28 states in the mid-Atlantic, South, Midwest and West, as well as in the District of Columbia.

With more than 2,700 branches and nearly 18,000 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 who also want access to the latest in personal-finance technology.

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 twice the number/amount of reimbursements for non-PNC ATM use and other perks; and Virtual Wallet Performance Select, which is the premium checking account with the highest level of benefits.

Account name APY Minimum deposit Monthly fee if requirements not met
Virtual Wallet None $0 online; $25 at a branch $7
Virtual Wallet with Performance Spend 0.01% (on $2,000 or more) $0 online; $25 at a branch $15
Virtual Wallet with Performance Select 0.01% (on $2,000 or more) $0 online; $25 at a branch $25
Note: Annual percentage yields (APYs) shown are as of Feb. 3, 2022.

PNC also offers Virtual Wallet Student, a non-interest bearing checking account with no balance requirement 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

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 short-term savings account and Growth is a long-term savings account. The Reserve and Growth accounts also serve as built-in overdraft protection.

PNC reimburses fees for two non-PNC Bank ATM transactions per statement period. There is no minimum deposit if you open Virtual Wallet online. A $25 deposit is required if the account is opened in a branch. 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 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 if Performance Spend is opened online; it’s $25 if opened in a branch. 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 for up to four non-PNC ATM transactions per statement period and up to $10 in other banks’ ATM surcharges.

A number of other fees are waived for the Performance Spend account services, including paper account statements, cashier’s checks, redepositing returned items and copies of account details requests. Plus, there is an $8 discount on select check designs.

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 Spend account earns 0.01 percent APY on balances of $2,000 and higher. The Reserve account pays 0.01 percent APY on balances of $1 and higher; relationship rates on the Growth account are tiered, ranging from 0.05 to 0.06 percent APY.

There is no minimum opening deposit if the account is opened online; it’s $25 if opened in a branch. 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 $20 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 $12 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, $2; with check images, $3.
  • Paper statements for Performance Spend and Performance Select, no charge.
  • Cashier’s checks for Virtual Wallet, $10.
  • Cashier’s checks for Performance Spend and Performance Select, no charge.
  • Out-of-network ATM fee for Virtual Wallet and Performance Spend, $3; foreign ATMs, $5.
  • Out-of-network ATM fee for Performance Select, no charge; foreign ATMs, no charge.
  • Debit card cash advance fee for Virtual Wallet and Performance Spend, $3 at PNC ATM; $5 at non-PNC ATM.
  • 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 $45.
  • Counter checks, $1.50.
  • Nonclient check-cashing fee, nothing for check amounts or $25 of less; 2 percent of check amount for check amounts greater than $25 ($2 minimum).
  • 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, $12.
  • Requests for images and photocopies, $13 no charge to $5.

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, free online banking and mobile banking and higher interest rates on savings as you build your balances. 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 spending and budgeting tools help you track and manage your money. You can set up a budget, schedule bill payments, get alerts when your account is at risk of being overdrawn, set up automatic savings and more.

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. A PNC Visa card can be added to your iPhone wallet for convenient tap-and-go payments.

PNC checking account promotions and bonuses

You can earn $50 if you open Virtual Wallet, $200 if you open Virtual Wallet Performance Spend, and $400 if you open Virtual Wallet Performance Select. You are eligible for only one reward amount.

The new checking account must be opened online using the application link on pnc.com/virtualwallet or at a branch through Feb. 28, 2022. 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

If you’re not certain a PNC checking account is the best fit for you and you’re comfortable with online banking, check out offers at other banks. Online banks and fintech startups, called challenger banks, are options if you don’t need a branch location.

Credit unions are another option, especially at 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 that rival some savings accounts and CDs, if you maintain a set minimum balance and meet other account requirements.

BBVA USA joins PNC

PNC completed its acquisition of BBVA USA in June 2021, with much of the transition of accounts and services occurring in 2021 and early 2022. As a result of acquiring BBVA, PNC is projected to become one of the five largest banks in the U.S. with assets of more than $560 billion.