When you’re tracking every dollar, the last thing you want to worry about is paying fees when you don't have to. By learning more about common bank fees and why they exist, you can prevent them from catching you off guard.

ATM Fees

We may live in an increasingly cashless world, but the average ATM is still used about 300 times a month.[1] To avoid shelling out funds every time you need cash, take a closer look at your bank’s offerings and checking product terms to see how you can avoid ATM fees and other charges.

PNC customers, for example, can access approximately 60,000 PNC and Partner ATMs coast to coast, fee-free. Furthermore, several of PNC’s Virtual Wallet® products include fee reimbursements. Virtual Wallet with Performance Spend, for example, includes two fee reimbursements each statement cycle for non-PNC ATM transactions and up to $5 off other banks’ fees. With Virtual Wallet with Performance Select, there is no charge for using other banks’ domestic or international ATMs, and a $10 fee reimbursement per statement period for other banks’ ATM surcharge fees.

Overdraft and Non-Sufficient Fund Fees

Let’s be honest: no one likes an overdraft fee, or the realization that you’ve overextended your budget.

Overdraft fees generally occur when your bank pays an item for you, but there’s not enough money in your account to cover the cost. If you attempt to make a purchase and your bank does not accept it because there’s not enough money in the account, you can also be charged a Non-Sufficient Funds (NSF) or Returned Item fee. 

The good news is that banks provide a range of solutions to protect you from one or both of these fees. Since 2021, PNC’s Virtual Wallet® includes Low Cash Mode®,  technology that gives you more control over your account balance[2]. With Low Cash Mode in the PNC Mobile app[3], you get customized alerts when your balance is low, and there’s a maximum of one overdraft fee per day. Even better, you get at least 24 hours of extra time to bring your available balance to at least $0 before you are charged overdraft fees.[4] Furthermore, PNC eliminated NSF fees for all personal checking customers.

Account Maintenance Fees or Service Charges

Most banks charge a service fee but will waive it if you meet specific requirements, such as a minimum balance, monthly direct deposit threshold, or customer age. The monthly service charge you see on your statement each month covers bank account maintenance and features. If you find yourself paying this fee consistently, take a second look at your account requirements and see how – or if – you can meet them. It may be worth a conversation with a banker, too, to review account options and determine if perhaps there is a product more suitable to your needs (that could help you to avoid a monthly service charge).

Transaction Fees

Wire transfers, while an important personal and business banking function, can add up quickly if you use them frequently and your bank assesses a fee. According to Bankrate, domestic wires typically range anywhere from $0-$35 while international ones run from $35-$50.[5] If wire transfers are a common need for you, consider a product like Virtual Wallet with Performance Select or Virtual Wallet Checking Pro; both of these offer free domestic wire transfers.

Another fee that you may have encountered is the transaction or withdrawal limit fee. Your savings account usually comes with a 6-withdrawal limit per statement cycle. Each bank is different, but going over the limit can cost between $5-10 each time, though PNC only charges $3 if you exceed the limit with a Standard Savings account.

Paper Statement Fees

In an effort to be more eco-friendly, many banks have started to assess fees for paper statement delivery. If you get a bank statement in the mail each month, you may be spending $1-5 a month for that, depending on the bank, to cover printing and shipping.

Cut out this small fee by opting for online-only statements. Virtual Wallet® customers are automatically enrolled in e-statements, and you can review your preferences under the Customer Service tab in Online Banking.

Thinking Smart About Bank Fees

Bank fees can seem annoying or unnecessary, but they don't have to be. Knowing what your bank offers and choosing the right account types and products for you can help you stay aware of any potential fees – and even avoid them altogether.

Take a look at your bank accounts and identify any fees you may have forgotten or missed. How can you apply what you know now to save a little extra this month?