If your checking account balance is unexpectedly low, bank fees may be to blame. But that doesn't mean you have to pay up.
Fee-free accounts seem to have gone the way of the free toaster. The average checking account these days has an average of 30 potential fees attached to it, with some listing more than 50, according to a new study from WalletHub.com. Experts say they see the usual suspects—overdraft fees, ATM surcharges and maintenance fees—becoming pricier, too.
"Fees have been going up for years, even before the regulatory changes of the past couple years kicked the trend into overdrive," said Greg McBride, a senior analyst at Bankrate.com. "In tune with inflation, the cost of everything goes up."
(Read more: Wanna see a teller? Banks want you to pay for it)
PNC Bank is among the latest to bid adieu to free checking. It announced a plan in June to phase out free accounts by June 2014, adding a $7 monthly fee that will be waived for account holders who meet the $500 minimum balance or direct deposit requirements or are age 62 or older.
In December, customers using the bank's Virtual Wallet online accounts will also face a $7 charge unless they meet those requirements, qualify as a student or do all their banking online, by mobile device or at an ATM.