CI Review – PNC Bank’s Virtual Wallet: A Site Within A Site

by on Sep 25, 2013

On an investigative whim, Corporate Insight recently opened a PNC Virtual Wallet account.  At its core, the Virtual Wallet account breaks your virtual_wallet_by_pnc_logomoney into three main categories – Spend, Reserve and Growth. Yet this is more than a simple philosophical exercise. Upon opening a Virtual Wallet account, clients actually open three separate accounts linked under the Virtual Wallet name:

  1. Everyday Spendingchecking account
  2. Short-term savings Reserveaccount
  3. Long-term money market Growthaccount.

 

 

 

Private Site PNC Virtual Wallet Homepage
Private Site PNC Virtual Wallet Homepage
 

The Three Accounts of a Virtual Wallet Account
The Three Accounts of a Virtual Wallet Account

 

 

PNC takes these three linked accounts and builds a separate infrastructure around the Virtual Wallet account consisting of two main navigation tabs: Spend/Reserve and Growth. The Spend/Reserve tab offers tools that allow clients to manage their monthly expenses, track incoming/outgoing funds and generally focus on short term money management. The Growth tab, as the name implies, is all about the long game, focusing on Wish List items and long term savings. It is worth noting however, that clients can still access the main PNC private site while managing their Virtual Wallet account, despite the site within a site feel of the Virtual Wallet account.

 

Spend/Reserve Tab Navigation Menu
Spend/Reserve Tab Navigation Menu
Virtual Wallet Key Features
While many of the features available to Virtual Wallet account holders exist in various forms at other firms, the PNC Virtual Wallet account leads the way in bringing these tools together and incorporating them within a single user interface.

 

Calendar
A main component of the Virtual Wallet experience is the large interactive calendar that lets users add in their paydays and bill due dates, creating a comprehensive look at your finances by day, week and month.

 

Virtual Wallet Calendar
Virtual Wallet Calendar
Money Bar
A sliding “Money Bar” shows what money is currently committed, what’s free to spend and what’s saved for a rainy day. Clients can then adjust this sliding bar to free up or constrict funds when needed, which triggers a transfer between the respective Virtual Wallet accounts – one of the easiest internal transfer systems we’ve come across.

 

 

Sliding “Money Bar”
Sliding “Money Bar”
 

Transfer Confirmation after “Money Bar” is Adjusted
Transfer Confirmation after “Money Bar” is Adjusted
Savings Tools
Additionally, the Virtual Wallet account offers three different ways to save: 1) a long-term Wish List that tracks savings for the big stuff, 2) a Savings Engine that lets clients set up automatic transfers and rules, and 3) a Punch the Pig feature that randomly generates a piggy bank icon during online banking that clients can click (or “punch” as PNC calls it, PETA must love this) to transfer money from the Spend account into the Growthaccount.

 

Virtual Wallet Savings Engine
Virtual Wallet Savings Engine
Closing Thoughts
Several firms offer tools similar to Virtual Wallet (Bank of America’s My Portfolio, Citibank’s Financial Tools and Key Bank’s My Control Banking come to mind), but PNC stands out for the scope of its offers and the ingenuity in which these functions are presented.

 

However, the sheer size of the Virtual Wallet experience can be a bit daunting to new users. Each page is packed with different sections, dropdown menus, intra-page tabs, sliding bars and a variety of graphs and charts. Prospective clients certainly need to do their homework prior to signing up. Recognizing this, PNC Bank has a public informational sitelet dedicated to explaining the Virtual Wallet account that is almost as extensive as the actual private site itself.

While it may take users a while to get a handle on everything the Virtual Wallet account provides, PNC has created a comprehensive tool that provides one of the best money management platforms currently available.