PNC Bank ending free checking accounts

PITTSBURGH — PNC Bank said today it will stop offering free checking accounts.

The bank will give customer’s one year’s notice on its plans to phase out free checking. Starting Aug. 18, consumers will no longer be able to open a free account.

PNC, Youngstown’s third-largest bank by deposits, plans to offer standard checking accounts for a $7 monthly fee unless customers have an average balance of $500, make monthly deposits of at least $500 or are 62 or older.

The bank said it wants to attract more customers with larger balances and direct deposits with the aim of building other financial relationships that can help generate loans, credit cards and investments.

PNC joins a growing list of larger banks that have turned away from free accounts in recent years as they try to reduce costs and find more revenue.

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