PNC student account review: Here's what you should know


You’ve got a lot to think about if you’re just heading off to college. It may seem like another chore - but getting the right account to help you handle your finances while you study can make life a lot easier - and save you money, too.

This guide tells you all you need to know about the PNC Student Checking and Savings Account.

We’ll also take a brief look at an alternative for comparison - the foreign currency account from Wise - to help you choose the perfect account for you.

Table of contents:

How to open a student account with PNC

You can open a PNC Virtual Wallet Student Checking and savings Account if you’re 16 or over and in education. If you’re aged 16 to 18, you’ll have to apply along with a co-applicant who is over 18.¹

You may be able to get your account up and running online if you’re a US citizen and have some government issued ID to hand. Non-US citizens can still apply for an account, but will most likely need to visit a branch to produce the documents required.

You will typically be asked to prove your student status, both when you apply for the account, and on an ongoing basis to continue to receive student account benefits such as a waived monthly fee.

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What kind of student bank account does PNC offer

Let’s take a look at the key features and benefits of the PNC account for students.

PNC Virtual Wallet Student Checking and Savings Account

PNC offers an account designed specifically for students - the PNC Virtual Wallet Student Checking and Savings Account. When you open this account product, you’ll actually get access to 3 different accounts:

  • Spend - your primary checking account
  • Reserve - an interest bearing checking account
  • Grow - a long term savings product

As a student, you’ll not need to pay a monthly fee on your Spend account for up to 6 years. During this time you might need to provide proof that you’re enrolled on an eligible course of education. If you choose to switch your account to an alternative type during the 6 year period, you may need to start paying a fee, and you won’t be able to change back to a student product.

Your account comes with a linked debit card, and mobile and online banking. PNC also offers smart ways to save and budget, with handy online tools available to plan your finances and watch your money grow.

Overdraft facilities

If you spend more than you hold in your PNC account, you’ll need to pay an overdraft fee. The first time you overdraw your account, PNC may reimburse this fee - however, after this, you’ll be charged $36 per overdrawn transaction, up to 4 transactions per day. If you allow your account to remain overdrawn, you’ll also ultimately need to pay an extra fee for running a continuous overdraft.

PNC does offer a way to avoid these overdraft fees. You can link your Spend account to your Growth savings account, and use funds from this account to cover overdrawn transactions. You can also choose to link a PNC credit card, line of credit, or alternative savings account, to make funds available when you run low in your Spend account. ²

Wire transfers

If you need to make or receive wire transfers, you’ll want to look carefully at the charges involved when using the PNC student account product. One incoming wire is fee free per statement period - but after that you’ll need to pay a fee to receive money into your account by wire transfer. You’ll also pay a fee of up to $45 to send payments from your account, which can quickly mount up. More on these charges, below.

If you’re planning on sending or receiving international payments, you might find you can get a better deal with a foreign currency account from Wise. This smart account lets you hold dozens of different currencies, and receive fee free payments in US, Australian and New Zealand dollars, euros and British pounds. If you need to send money to friends or family overseas, you’ll also get low cost international payments, made using the mid-market exchange rate. This can work out much cheaper than using your regular bank, or an alternative like PayPal.

What are the requirements to open a student bank account with PNC

You can open a PNC student account if you’re over 16 and have a US government issued ID. If you’re aged under 18, you’ll need to apply with a co-applicant who is over 18, such as a parent or guardian.

US citizens may be able to open their account and get approved online. If you’re not a US citizen, you’ll need to visit a branch, or call PNC to discuss your application.

PNC student account fees

As with any account, you’ll want to take a close look at the fees involved before you choose to open a PNC student account. Here’s a rundown of the most important charges you should know about.

Service Fee³
Minimum opening deposit $25 Minimum opening deposit may be waived if the account is opened online
Monthly fees No fee for the first 6 years of holding the account. You may be required to prove your active student status to receive this benefit
Domestic ATM use PNC ATMs are free to use $3 to use a non-PNC ATM in the US
International ATM use $3 to use a non-PNC ATM in Canada $5 fee for other international withdrawals You’ll pay an extra 3% international purchase or withdrawal fee for transactions carried out in foreign currencies
Wire payments Incoming domestic transfers - $15 Outgoing domestic transfers - $30 Incoming foreign transfers - $15Outgoing foreign transfers - $45 (minimum $100 transfer value may apply) Additional fee of $15 may apply if you arrange a payment by phone 1 international or domestic wire transfer can be received fee free per month
International purchase fee 3% fee when spending with your card using a foreign currency
Overdraft fees $36 per transaction, up to 4 transactions per day No charge if you link your Reserve or Grow account and use this to cover any shortfall

No foreign transaction fee and no international ATM withdrawal fee ( up to $250 per month) with the Wise multi-currency Mastercard

Getting the right account can make it easier to keep on top of your finances as a student - and save you money. By thinking carefully about the type of transactions you’ll need to make frequently, and looking at all the possible fees and charges, you’ll be able to find the best option for your personal circumstances. Don’t forget to check out modern alternatives to traditional student account products, such as the foreign currency account from Wise, to see which offers the best deal.


1.PNC - Virtual Wallet Student Checking & Savings Account
2.PNC - Virtual Wallet Student Summary
3.PNC Virtual Wallet Student Features and Fees

All sources last checked on 6 February 2020

*Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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