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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

In this guide

  • Our verdict
  • Your reviews
  • Ask a question

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

Compare PNC Virtual Wallet Student to other student accounts

Narrow down top teen and student accounts by APYs, opening deposits and monthly fees. For better side-by-side comparison, tick the Compare box to see multiple accounts next to each other.

Name Product Fee Minimum deposit to open Annual Percentage Yield (APY) Offer
Axos Bank First Checking
Finder Score: 3.5 / 5: ★★★★★
Axos Bank First Checking
$0 per month
Made for teens ages 13 to 17, this account earns 0.1% APY and has no monthly fees. FDIC insured.
Finder Score: 4.2 / 5: ★★★★★
$5.95 per month
(can be waived)
Kids earn rewards points when they play the financial literacy games, courses and quizzes in Jassby‘s app. Teach your child spending, saving, and giving with strong parental controls. Includes chores and allowance features.
Current teen banking
Finder Score: 4.4 / 5: ★★★★★
Current teen banking
$0 per month
Current’s Teen Banking card allows parents to track their teens’ chores, allowance, and spending. Requires parent to have a Current account. FDIC insured.
Cash App for kids
Finder Score: 4.7 / 5: ★★★★★
Cash App for kids
$0 per month
With Cash App for families you can easily customize safety settings and see real-time transactions of your teens, all while they learn how to set savings goals and invest with as little as $1 dollar.
Name Product Fee Minimum deposit to open Annual Percentage Yield (APY) Offer
SoFi Checking and Savings
Finder Score: 4.5 / 5: ★★★★★
SoFi Checking and Savings
$0 per month
4.60% on balances of $0+
0.50% on balances of $0+
1.20% on balances of $0+
Get up to $300 cash bonus with qualifying direct deposit. Terms apply. This offer is available until June 30, 2024.
Earn up to 4.60% APY on savings by meeting deposit requirements, and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Members without deposit requirements will earn 0.50% APY on both savings and checking balances. Turn on automatic savings or use the Roundups feature to help you reach your savings goals faster. Get up to $2M of additional FDIC insurance through a network of participating banks.
Upgrade Rewards Checking Plus
Finder Score: 4.3 / 5: ★★★★★
Upgrade Rewards Checking Plus
$0 per month
Earn up to 2% cashback rewards on everyday purchases. Pay $0 fees for overdraft, domestic wire transfer and monthly maintenance. Member FDIC.
Cash Card by Cash App
Finder Score: 4.4 / 5: ★★★★★
Cash Card by Cash App
$0 per month
The Cash App Cash Card lets you pay for goods and services both online and in stores using your Cash App balance. Enjoy features like ATM access, direct deposit, instant discounts at select stores and a customizable card.
Axos Bank Rewards Checking
Finder Score: 4.2 / 5: ★★★★★
Axos Bank Rewards Checking
$0 per month
3.30% on balances of $0 to $50,000
Use promo code AXOS300 and apply by June 30th, 2024, to earn up to $300 bonus, $50 each month you meet requirements: Make direct deposits of $5,000+ each month for the first 7 months and maintain an average balance of $7,000.
Earn up to 3.3% APY after meeting rate requirements. Get ATM free reimbursements at all domestic ATMs. Pay $0 monthly or overdraft fees. FDIC insured.
Chime® Checking Account
Finder Score: 4.8 / 5: ★★★★★
Chime® Checking Account
$0 per month
Save easily and access your paycheck up to 2 days early with direct deposit. Pay $0 monthly fees, and no minimum balance is required. Access 24/7 support and get daily balance and transaction alerts. FDIC insured.

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

Writer, Banking and Loans

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