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PNC Virtual Wallet Student Checking
Finder score
$0 per month
Up to 0.03%
Minimum deposit to open

Our verdict

No monthly fees for up to six years, but the APYs are poor and overdraft fees are high.

The PNC Virtual Wallet Student Checking account is designed for high school and college students aged 16 or older. It’s three accounts in one, with three separate wallets called Spend, Reserve and Growth. Spend is the checking, Reserve is for short-term savings, and Growth is for long-term savings. This account doesn’t charge any monthly fees for six years and, afterward, converts into a regular PNC Virtual Wallet account. There are also overdraft prevention tools with Low Cash Mode. But while the account seems solid on the surface, the savings account APYs are low and vary by location. In addition, to get the best rates, you’ll have to meet either spending or deposit requirements. And even though PNC offers tools to help you avoid overdrafting, if you do overdraft, there’s a high $36 fee.

Best for: Students in need of a hybrid checking and savings account.


  • All-in-one bank account
  • $0 opening deposit and no monthly fees
  • Up to $5 in monthly ATM reimbursements
  • Overdraft prevention tools


  • High $36 overdraft fee
  • APYs vary and aren’t transparent
  • Converts to regular PNC Wallet account after 6 years
  • Laundry list of extra fees

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Who is the PNC Virtual Wallet Student best for?

This account is suited for high school or college students aged 16 and up or those looking for a hybrid checking and savings account. Active students won’t have to worry about monthly maintenance fees. But if you’re not a student, PNC doesn’t disclose what your monthly fee would be.

What we like about teen PNC Virtual Wallet

The main benefit of this account is the lack of monthly maintenance fees for the six years it’s open for students. There’s also no minimum deposit to open the account online.

All-in-one bank account

PNC was one of the first banks to offer hybrid all-in-one accounts. When you open its PNC teen checking account, you’re technically getting three different subaccounts called “wallets.” An all-in-one account can help you manage your checking and saving goals in one place. The three wallets are:

  • Spend. Functions like a checking account and is designed for spending with a debit card. Doesn’t earn interest.
  • Reserve. Designed for short-term savings goals and earns low interest rates.
  • Growth. For growing long-term savings with a slightly higher rate than Reserve, and also offers relationship rates if you meet balance requirements, as well as spending or direct deposit requirements.

ATM reimbursements and wire transfer perks

PNC reimburses up to $5 in out-of-network ATM fees per month. In addition, you’ll get either one incoming domestic or international wire transfer per statement period for free.

Overdraft prevention features

PNC offers multiple overdraft prevention features with the Spend subaccount, called Low cash mode. There are three different features with Low Cash Mode:

  • Extra time. This feature shows you how much time you have left to bring your Spend account to a positive balance before you’re charged overdraft fees.
  • Payment control. This gives you the option to adjust individual checks and payments. For example, you can return a check or cancel a payment if your balance is already negative. There are also no returned item fees.
  • Intelligent alerts. An optional feature that lets you set up alerts when your balance is low and a threshold for when you want to be notified of a low balance.

Where it falls short

Although it’s free to open and maintain, it’s difficult to recommend PNC’s Virtual Wallet for students to anyone due to its low savings rate and its limited useability of up to six years before it converts into PNC’s standard Virtual Wallet account — a 5-in-1 account that also has very poor interest rates on savings and limited availability based on location.

Other account fees

While the account offers overdraft protection features, the fee is higher than the average at $36 per overdraft item. That’s pretty steep for anyone but especially high for teens.

High schoolers and young college students likely live on a limited budget, so this fee could really hurt. On top of that, many of the best teen checking accounts simply don’t give you the option to overdraft and just decline a transaction that would put you in the red. For teens just starting with banking, an account that doesn’t charge overdraft fees is a much safer option.

There are also a number of other fees to watch out for, such as the high wire transfer fees, $33 stop payment fee, $5 international ATM withdrawal fee and egregious $7.50 card replacement fee.

Auto converts

This student PNC Virtual Wallet account is only good for six years before it automatically converts to its regular PNC Virtual Wallet account, which comes with a with a $7 to $25 monthly fee, depending on the wallet you choose. However, you can waive the monthly fee by meeting deposit requirements.

Overall, the traditional PNC Virtual Wallet account is very similar to the student one, also carrying dreadful interest rates that vary by location and pricey overdraft fees. You’ll get up to five different “wallets” or subaccounts to choose from, but they’re based on location.

APYs are low, vary and unclear

PNC’s Reserve and Growth subaccounts offer very low APYs, and they vary by state. Ranges aren’t clearly listed, though historically, they’re typically around 0.01% to 0.03% APY, which don’t even compare to top high-yield savings accounts.

PNC also notes there are higher relationship rates you can qualify for by meeting spending or direct deposit requirements, but their relationship rates aren’t disclosed, either. You’ll have to call PNC at 1-888-762-2265 to see what your APY may be.

Complicated requirements for “best” APYs

Balances on the subaccount Growth receive a standard variable savings rate and APY. After the first month of opening your account, you can qualify for a higher relationship rate. To get the best rates, you need a balance of at least $2,500, and you must also meet either a spending or direct deposit requirement:

  • Make a combination of five or more debit card or credit card transactions during the previous calendar month; or
  • Have at least $500 in qualifying direct deposit in your Spend account in the previous calendar month.

PNC Virtual Wallet Student fees and access

Type of feeFee details
Monthly service$0 for 6 years for students
Opening deposit$0
  • Domestic: $0 in network, $3 to $5 out-of-network
  • International: $5
Debit card fees
  • Cash withdrawals: $0 within network
  • Foreign transactions: 3% of amount
  • Card replacement: $7.50
Overdraft or nonsufficient funds$36
Wire transfers
  • Incoming
    • Domestic: $0 for first one per statement period, then $15 each
    • International: $15 each
  • Outgoing
    • Domestic: Agent-assisted $30, self-service $25
    • International: Agent-assisted $45, self-service $40
Other fees
  • Paper statements: $0
  • International money transfer: $5
  • Collection items: $25
  • Checkbooks: Vary
  • Counter checks: $1.50 each
  • Excessive transaction fee: $3
  • Stop payment: $33
  • Returned deposit or cash item: $12

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How to open PNC’s Virtual Wallet Student account

Open the account online or in person. To apply online, you must be at least 16 years old, and if you’re a minor, you must apply with a co-applicant who is at least 18 years old.

Customer experience

PNC is a well-known bank that provides a wealth of financial products and services. It’s also one of the largest credit card issuers, so for banks of its size, there’s a lot of customer feedback. Unfortunately, the vast majority of its reviews are poor.

PNC is accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and holds the highest rating of A+, with nearly 3,000 complaints posted. Many complaints report issues with payments processing, high overdraft fees, poor customer service, long deposit hold times or problems with loans and credit cards. PNC takes the time to respond and attempt to resolve complaints, which is likely why it earns a high BBB rating despite the large volume of complaints.

The bank doesn’t do too well on Trustpilot and holds a poor 1.3-star rating. Customers report similar issues as with the BBB, and many cite poor customer service at their local PNC branch.

While the feedback is mostly negative, the few positive reviews praise the wide variety of banking products and the functionality of the mobile banking app.

Frequently asked questions

What is the minimum balance for PNC Virtual Wallet student?

The account has no minimum balance requirements for the Spend, Reserve or Growth wallets. However, to earn the highest relationship rates with the Growth wallet, you’ll need a balance of at least $2,500 and must meet other requirements.

Do you get a debit card with the student PNC Virtual Wallet?

Yes, you get a debit card when you open the account linked to the Spend wallet. PNC also states you can link your Virtual Wallet to an existing PNC debit card or your university ID if available.

What happens if I overdraft with the PNC Virtual Wallet student account?

If you overdraw with your Spend wallet, PNC transfers money from your Reserve savings wallet. If there aren’t enough funds in the Reserve wallet, PNC attempts to cover the transaction with funds in your Growth wallet. If that doesn’t cover the overdraw, PNC charges you a $36 overdraft fee. PNC only charges one overdraft per day.

You can also choose to have a PNC Credit Card, PNC Line of Credit or other PNC deposit account set up as overdraft protection for your Spend account in place of your Growth account.

Checking account ratings

★★★★★ — Excellent

★★★★★ — Good

★★★★★ — Average

★★★★★ — Subpar

★★★★★ — Poor

We analyze top checking accounts and rate them one to five stars based on factors that are most important to you. These factors include: monthly fees, the ease at which monthly fees can be waived, the breadth of ATM access, ATM and overdraft fees, and customer service.

Read the full methodology of how we rate checking accounts.

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Bethany Finder

Editor, Banking

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