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PNC Virtual Wallet

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  • PNC Virtual Wallet

    I haven't been here in ages, but I had to come back to share the single greatest finance tool I've discovered since my BK. Disclaimer: I am NOT a PNC Bank employee. I am just super excited and did a lot of research.

    I've been with the same local bank since 2002 and was never really satisfied with them. Online banking only showed transactions after they posted - no way to see what was pending - and I got hit with a lot of fees. The bank also held my paychecks until Monday, while coworkers using other banks got paid on Saturday. Even after BK, when I got serious about managing my money, I paid way too many overdrafts because I don't keep up with a checkbook ledger like I should. My own fault, yes, but I thought there had to be a better way.

    I started researching checking accounts last month and came across PNC's Virtual Wallet. At first glance, it seemed gimmicky and geared toward teenagers, but when I actually read the information it sounded like exactly what I was looking for. I signed up and for the first time in my adult life, I have a (small) balance in my savings account that won't be transferred into checking to cover fees.

    Virtual Wallet is actually a set of three accounts - regular checking (Spend), short-term savings (Reserve), and long-term savings (Growth). They are linked and you see all 3 accounts at once on the website. The Spend account is just like any other checking account - for deposits, paying bills, and debits/checks. The Reserve account allows you to allocate money for specific short-term goals. For example, I want to save a specific amount for next Christmas. You can also hold money for a future expense, like car insurance, and it won't let you spend it without jumping through a few hoops. The Growth account is like any other savings account and gains interest (1% right now, which is pretty even with every other bank in the country).

    So I know you can set up accounts like that with any bank. What makes Virtual Wallet so amazing is the online interface. You see your available balance, but you also see how much of that is actually spendable. Pending transactions show up within seconds of swiping your debit card, and any scheduled bills are already removed from your total. I actually know how much money I can spend at any given time. I can even enter checks I write and it will take that off my balance before the check even clears (I can't tell you how many times I wrote a check, the person didn't cash it for a month, and I totally forgot about it).

    You can set a budget, and any time your spending gets close to the limit you've set for a certain category, you get a warning via text or email. You see all your deposits and withdrawals on a calendar, which also highlights days you could be in danger of overdrawing your account. I love seeing how much is coming out of my account in a visual way - it makes it much more real than a list of transactions.

    Most banks offer online bill pay, but PNC's is way better than my old bank. First, it's free and unlimited, where my bank charged a fee after the first 3 bills. If a bill can't be paid electronically, they'll print a check and mail it before the due date I set. And the payment shows up on my calendar so I don't forget about scheduling it. No more postage. No more visiting 10 different websites to pay bills. And if they don't get it there on time, they pay the late charges. PNC also reimburses ATM fees if your average monthly balance is $2000. (Mine isn't yet, but it will be soon at the rate I'm saving.)

    Another cool feature is Punch the Pig. At random times (or always, if you choose), a little pig icon pops up on the screen. If you click it, you can transfer whatever amount you choose to your Growth account. Mine is set at $1. When I click, the pink oinks, then makes a cha-ching sound. After growing up in the video game generation, it's strangely exciting to click that pig. Also, the same attitude that ruined my finances in the first place ("It's only a dollar!") is now putting a lot of money in savings.

    There is a Virtual Wallet app for iPhone that gives me most of the features of the website, so I always know how much money I can spend. I love being able to pay bills from my phone. When I get the email for a bill (all paperless now), I can immediately schedule it and forget about it.

    I know I wrote a novel and I'm sure I sound like an infomercial, but I am seriously in love with Virtual Wallet. I have always been bad about impulse buying, but now I think before I spend. I went shopping with friends after Christmas and didn't spend a dime except buying lunch, because I was thinking about the things I'm saving for. This bank account has really changed the way I deal with my finances.

    I know I can't be the only one here who prefers a more digital way of doing things. I know there are others who don't keep a checkbook ledger. I know there are people who hate banks and have been eaten alive by charges. I would highly encourage you to read about PNC Virtual Wallet. It may not be right for everyone, but it's definitely worth a look.
    Filed Chapter 7: 9/29/06
    341 Meeting: 11/01/06
    Last Day for Objections: 1/01/07
    Discharged and closed: 1/03/07

  • #2
    I have PNC and was curious about see information on it everytime I log in, but I thought it was a credit card so I never considered it. I currently have a checking/savings with them, how do I set up the virtual wallet? This is something that would definitely benefit me because I too have been hit with massive overdrafts fees and don't update my check register like I should. Can I just call them and set this up?
    Filed:11/2010
    341 Meeting:1/5/2011
    Discharge:3/2011

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    • #3
      Several of my friends switched from a regular PNC account, and I think they just called. The account number stays the same. It's definitely worth looking at!
      Filed Chapter 7: 9/29/06
      341 Meeting: 11/01/06
      Last Day for Objections: 1/01/07
      Discharged and closed: 1/03/07

      Comment

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