This is me calling out my lifetime bank, PNC Bank, for a shady fee practice because I want you to know so you can be careful to not get hit with ridiculous charges like I was.

I needed to provide to a mortgage broker  a breakdown of some recent deposit tickets to my account.

So I entered PNC Bank’s online system. I clicked on the deposit ticket link for each deposit I needed to show the checks from.


It displayed for me a picture of my deposit ticket. Here’s a snippet:

Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 1.07.19 PM


But I needed to show what those checks were, so I clicked “View Details.”

This came up. Again a snippet. Trying not to reveal important personal info here!

Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 1.08.52 PM

“View now.” GREAT. Click.


Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 1.10.29 PM

I can print or download the image at no additional charge? But I may be charged a fee? That’s confusing. So I clicked on “click here to review applicable fees.”

This came up:

Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 1.11.41 PM


Okay. So you can display the DEPOSIT TICKET for free. (Thanks, PNC!), but to display the images of the checks associated with the deposit ticket? “CLICK HERE.”

I clicked here. ANOTHER window pops up. What are we on now? Four?

Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 1.13.13 PM

Whew. Okay. I don’t use Virtual Wallet. I click on “ACCOUNT PRICING CENTER” and hey! It displays a FOUR PAGE PDF OF FEES. I first went to the Online Banking section, but there wasn’t anything there about displaying checks. Then I went to the correct section of the FOUR PAGE PDF:

Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 1.17.21 PM


“Self-service requests through online banking for items within a deposit ticket detail list.” I don’t see “display fee” anywhere. So clearly under “Images and Photocopy Requests” they mean if I ask them to email or print for me the image I display. Right? Great. I just want to bring the image up on my screen. Too bad I didn’t read down further to see there’s a separate section for mailing and faxing. They’ll mail you the deposit ticket copy for a dollar. But it will cost you $3 for them to mail you the check copy. Because they have to get on a camel and ride it across the desert to go into the vault to manually pull it out and copy it, I guess. But they keep the deposit tickets right on site, so it’s cheaper. Again, I’m guessing.

So I went back and clicked on the link to display the check image. And of course, each image came right up and ready to go for me to print or save to PDF.

But then a few days later:

Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 12.47.10 PM

WHOA! I was charged three dollars a pop to DISPLAY a check on my computer screen.


Is this my fault? Technically yes. I get it. My bad for not catching it properly.

Is PNC Bank ridiculous? Oh, yes. Because …

1. DISPLAY FEE? You charged me three dollars to bring an image of my check up on my screen?

2. If I had instead deposited these checks one by one, without a deposit ticket, I would not have been charged to display the images. It would have been free. But because I had to click one extra step to get to the check, it cost me $3 a pop.

3. I actually only displayed eight checks, but I got charged for ten, because I DISPLAYED two of the checks twice. ELL. OH. ELL. Gosh darn displayin’.

4. This is 2014. Are you telling me, PNC, that the only way for a consumer to know what this particular transaction is going to cost them, is to have them click through five different windows to download a four-page PDF? Don’t you have the capability to have your website bring up ONE window that says, “This will cost you $3, Virginia. Continue?”

Did I just blow your minds, PNC?

Either way, I called and expressed my displeasure at not only their practices to make it hard to figure out what you’ll be charged, but at flat-out charging people $3 to DISPLAY a check. They refunded half the charges.

Sure I screwed up by looking at the fee schedule and thinking if I don’t see “display fee” then they can’t charge me a “display fee.” I can’t help feeling though, that this is kind of screwed up.

Display fee. A fee to display a picture of your check. For three dollars.


Clearly I need to upgrade to Performance Checking. Or a different bank.




  1. Megan McK
    August 8, 2014 2:08 pm

    After reading this, I couldn’t help but picture PNC management sitting in a room somewhere, reading through the instructions and explanations they’d just written for the website about all of this, rubbing their hands together and chuckling in glee at how confusing they’d managed to make it, KNOWING that people will be unable to figure out exactly what they’re talking about and end up getting all kinds of unexpected charges. They’re all “We’re getting bonuses for this, for sure! $3 at a time.”

  2. Jill
    August 8, 2014 2:10 pm

    First National Bank of PA. Free checking – I’ve never paid a fee. I can pull up checks, etc…all without a DISPLAY FEE.

  3. Bad
    August 8, 2014 2:13 pm

    Credit unions are the way to go. Some have great tech too. They work to avoid fees, not create them. PSECU is fantastic. Many ways to join even if not a state employee. Clearview is good too.

  4. Old Dutchman
    August 8, 2014 3:01 pm

    I never understand why people use bank$. I love Pennsylvania State Employee’s Credit Union (PSECU), and if you went to a state school, you can be a member! (IUP, represent!)

    They have no local branch, but I’ve been doing everything I need to online or over the phone for 25 years now. Free checks. Checking with interest. And PSECU does not charge a fee for using any in-network ATM and refunds up to $20 in other banks’ ATM usage fees each month with Direct Deposit. Without Direct Deposit, members receive up to $8 per month.

    Oh–and last year they had a good year, so they gave a few million back to their members. I got $15 for doing nothin’.

    Of course, they don’t have their name on any major league ballparks. So maybe that’s no good.

    • Lynn
      August 8, 2014 3:32 pm

      If you can’t sign up for PSECU, you can sign up for Clearview Federal Credit Union…they are connected with PSECU, same ATM’s, can make joint deposits at branches, etc.

  5. Pam
    August 8, 2014 3:07 pm

    PNC – I will go to their ballpark, but I will never use them for my banking. Citizens either – they charge 10 DOLLARS if you want to cash a check at their bank if you do not have an account. EVEN IF the check is drawn on one of their own accounts. Mind boggling.

  6. Lynn
    August 8, 2014 3:30 pm

    I don’t use any of our local banks for my personal use – PNC is money hungry and Citizens Banks is just as bad. We have our business account with Citizens, our main checking had well over $100,000 in it. Last week, they refused to cash a $200 check for me on that account, because I did not have my personal account with them. Even though I was a signer on our business account and had enough to cover the check, nada, wouldn’t do it. Another time, Citizens would not give me change for a $20 bill because I did not have a personal account with them.

    I love credit unions! Clearview Federal Credit Union! SO much nicer, raters are better and much better service

  7. Joanie
    August 8, 2014 3:36 pm

    I work in the estate administration area, and PNC is by far the worst bank to deal with. If I have an out of state client, they MUST appear in person at a PNC Branch to close accounts. These are folks who live in a state where there is not a PNC on every corner (not that this is a bad thing). I have had a couple of them have to spend their own money to travel to Pittsburgh to close these accounts when a letter and all the appropriate court paperwork should be enough.

    I personally bank at First National Bank and have had no issues with my own account or closing accounts for a client.

  8. AngryMongo
    August 8, 2014 3:49 pm

    They also charge and then refund you $10. Why? Because that’s the cost of free checking. If you have enough being deposited to your account each month, it gets refunded. If you don’t, they keep it.

    Better yet, it’s called a float and they skim the interest off of all of their customers’ $10 deductions before putting it back into the accounts. Somehow, the virtual transferring of 1s and 0s can make them money even though you never actually lose any money.

  9. Pittsburgh Tom
    August 8, 2014 3:54 pm

    I’ve been with Citizens for years. The only fee I’ve ever paid was when I used a “foreign” atm. Of course, I rarely have reason to go in to one, so I rarely have opportunity to have them piss me off.

  10. pnc fan
    August 8, 2014 4:33 pm

    i am a big fan of pnc and their actions. so much so i sued them and settled for $30,000 this year.

  11. bambi_beth
    August 8, 2014 4:56 pm

    I just had a great Twitter-based customer service interaction with Citizens this week – they charged me overdraft fees for transferring available funds between my Citizens accounts. One tweet and one call and it was all taken care of.

    I work in finance and PNC transactions are always difficult for clients for one reason or another.

    I also have a credit union though. Better rates and regs on loans, in my experience.

    Good luck!

  12. CarolineFB
    August 8, 2014 4:56 pm

    The only good thing about PNC Bank is that they’re better than First Niagara, which is not saying much.

  13. Danielle
    August 8, 2014 5:16 pm

    I know this is total bullshit. It’s not just PNC, either. I find it amazing that any bank has he audacity to charge a fee to view a jpg of a cancelled check. Particularly since (my bank at least) no longer provides images of the checks with the statements. Poopy all around.

  14. Dan
    August 8, 2014 7:17 pm

    Banks will continue to live in the stone age until there is financial incentive for them not to. It is very likely that the only reason PNC provides the feature of displaying those items at all is because somebody figured out that they could rip off their customers by doing it. Without that fee, they probably wouldn’t have even considered letting you see the deposit items at all.

    Want them to stop? Find a different bank that doesn’t charge those fees. Move your account, and let your old bank know why. If they start to figure out they are behind the times and are losing money over it, that will be the incentive the causes the change. Otherwise, they’ve got you just where they think they want you, and things are not going to change.

  15. SteelCityMagnolia
    August 8, 2014 8:47 pm

    A client I was doing work for developed a nasty habit of writing bad checks. He was a PNC customer. Not wanting to take repeated bounced check charges, I stopped at a PNC bank to ask if funds were available to cash his check. They told me there would be a $5 fee for that information. I let them know in no uncertsin terms what bullshit that was and thanked my lucky stars I am not a PNC customer. Change banks. There are some out there that don’t charge for every damn thing.

  16. Emme
    August 9, 2014 1:06 pm

    I work for PNC in the back office, and unfortunately, this doesn’t surprise me. The technology systems upon which the bank runs are archaic. There are multi-year initiatives going on to address this, but it won’t be an overnight change. I’m amazed at what financial institutions can get away with sometimes.

  17. Sheila
    August 9, 2014 8:04 pm

    And that is why I use Dollar Bank- they have had online banking for yrs and you can view all the checks you want for free. You couldn’t pay me to use PNC

  18. Bex
    August 11, 2014 8:34 am

    I was a PNC Bank customer for 25 years and recently left for Dollar Bank because of BS just like this. When I went to close all of my accounts, I gave the guy at the bank a list of all the fees that I’d been charged and had to dispute over the last few months. He’d been working for PNC almost as long as I’d been a customer and was sincerely upset that a customer of my standing was leaving. He didn’t try to talk me out of it, though, and actually highly recommended Dollar Bank. Closing my accounts turned into the easiest transaction I’d had with PNC in YEARS.

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    August 11, 2014 1:09 pm

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  20. Jenn
    August 12, 2014 2:32 pm

    Change banks! 38 members of our family have left PNC one by one, and my father moved his multi-million dollar business out of there, which had been with PNC for 75 years starting back when they were Pittsburgh National Bank, because the customer is no longer important and the fees are exorbitant. First Union, Citizen’s, and Capital bank all have awesome customer service, no fee and low fee services, and extremely user friendly FREE online access to everything – check images, statements, etc. Honestly, PNC has been the worst bank with which I’ve ever had the misfortune of doing business.

  21. don
    August 13, 2014 2:46 pm

    I think you might also look for a new mortgage broker. I don’t live in PA anymore, maybe the regulations have changed, but I never had to provide that level of detail to any broker. I also use PNC and never had any issues with fees. I guess I selected the right type of account. Their local staff is also very friendly and helpful. I am confident, if I did have a similar issue, they and the bank would deal fairly with my request.

  22. Sooska
    August 13, 2014 4:23 pm

    Our mortgage is held by a bank who was bought by a bigger bank who was bought by a bigger bank then sold to a mortgage company, then sold for merged to another mortgage company. They charge $12.00 if I want to make my mortgage payment online.

  23. bucdaddy
    August 19, 2014 1:03 am

    Wait, I’m confused. You mean not everybody gets a page of canceled check images with the bank statement in the mail every month, for free?

    Granted, our banking is pretty simple, just a checking account and a savings account, but I’ve never been charged a fee for anything that I can remember (United customer). Maybe it helps that we haven’t used an ATM in ever. I don’t understand people who do (except perhaps in an emergency). I used to work with a guy who couldn’t buy a pack of cigarettes or go for a beer after work without stopping at an ATM first. Sometimes you get what you deserve.

  24. bucdaddy
    August 19, 2014 1:09 pm

    Also, you go two months between posts and not a single commenter is like, “Damn, girl, where you been?” Also also, the fact you could go two months between posts and still pull 24 (soon to be 25) comments is a testament to your minio … um, your enduring fan base.