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Review of PNC Bank's Virtual Wallet, Checking/Savings Account

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Update 10/25/10: The APY of the Growth Account has fallen to 1.00% for up to $25K and 0.25% for above.

PNC Bank has a new checking/savings combo called Virtual Wallet which combines a high yield savings account with a checking account along with several online tools designed to help you manage your money. There are actually 3 accounts associated with Virtual Wallet: the Spend Account (checking), the Reserve Account (for short-term savings and overdraft protection) and the Growth Account (the high yield savings account). Some features of the accounts include:

  • $25 minimum initial deposit
  • no monthly service charges or minimum balance requirements
  • Allowed to write paper checks
  • 50 cents per paper check if you exceed 3 checks per month
  • ATM fees refunded at non-PNC ATMs if combined monthly balance of $2K is maintained in your Spend and Reserve Accounts
  • 1.75% APY on balances of to $25K (0.50% for above) in the Growth Account as of 7/07/2009
  • 0.10% APY in the Reserve Account as of 1/12/2009
  • Overdraft protection included with no setup or transfer fees
  • Online tools to help you manage your money

Refer to this PNC link for details about fees. You are still allowed to write paper checks from the Spend Account; however, they charge 50 cents per check when you write more than 3 per month. Like many of these new online checking accounts, they want Online Bill Pay to be the primary way of making payments.

The Reserve Account is designed for short-term savings and is the primary account for overdraft protection. According to PNC's description money will be automatically transferred to your Spend Account, free of charge, when you're at risk of overdrawing your Spend Account. The Reserve Account pays very little interest, currently 0.10%. It would be easier if they just had overdraft protection tied to the Growth Account. Perhaps they want people to keep more money in the low-interest Reserve Account.

Virtual Wallet has an ACH transfer system but it has many limitations. I received a few details from PNC via their online chat. For the first 60 days, you can have 5 external transfer scheduled for one month not going over $2,000 each. After the 60 days, you can have this limit increased up to $25,000. Higher limits also require that you have a history of successful external transfers.

PNC Bank started Virtual Wallet in the summer of 2008. I didn't consider this to be a great deal at that time since there were many alternatives for 3% accounts for the first $25K. With interest rates falling, the 3% is now more appealing. However, like any checking account, this rate may also fall. Refer to this PNC link for the latest interest rates.

Virtual Wallet is available to people in any state. PNC Branches are located in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Virginia, Kentucky, New Jersey, Ohio, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. With National City now part of PNC the number of branches will grow over the next two years as National City branches are converted into PNC branches. PNC Bank is FDIC insured (FDIC Certificate # 6384).

Growth Account Rate History:

10/25/10: 1.00% APY up to $25K; 0.25% over

03/18/10: 1.10% APY up to $25K; 0.35% over

12/08/09: 1.35% APY up to $25K; 0.35% over
07/07/09: 1.75% APY up to $25K; 0.50% over
06/03/09: 2.00% APY
03/18/09: 2.25% APY
02/09/09: 2.60% APY
01/12/09: 3.00% APY up to $25K; 1.00% over


  Tags: PNC Bank, checking account, savings account

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Comments
24 Comments.
Comment #1 by W (anonymous) posted on
W
The CSR told me that money would debit from the growth account if there wasn't enough in the reserve account to cover an overdraft. I have no intention of having an overdraft but will let folks here know what happens if I do - I do plan to use the growth account more heavily.

4
Comment #2 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I cannot see any advantage to even a growth account since I csn still get more at Alliant CU.

-1
Comment #3 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
PNC Bank rates have been lower than other competing banks in my area. I don't expect their 3% growth savings rate to last very long.

1
Comment #4 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Rate on Growth account is now 2.60%.

1
Comment #5 by thrifty homeowner (anonymous) posted on
thrifty homeowner
Rate is now 2.25 as of at least 3/18. Id move my money to this, but am afraid the rate will eventually be comparable to where i currently have it.

1
Comment #6 by Kevin (anonymous) posted on
Kevin
BAD MISTAKE! I converted my Checking and Savings account over to a Virtual Wallet account and then found out it is not compatible with MS Money, Quicken or Mint.com and a host of other third party products. I was told that I could switch back to my checking and Savings account if I did not like the Virtual Wallet so I asked to switch back. Apparently my Old Savings account had no fees for minimum balance and did not require a monthly transfer but what they moved me back to does! I am ANGRY that I was duped into trying out the Virtual Wallet and now Fees are involved with changing back. I am changing backs ASAP! PNC customer service is serviceless.

1
Comment #7 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I moved to PA in June 2009 and wanted a national bank so signed up with PNC. The girl sold me on VirtualWallet because in theory it sounded good, plus I got $75 for joining. What a piece of useless crap. I just want an online account not razzmatazz and cartoonish interface. Microsoft Bob anyone?

1
Comment #8 by some tower (anonymous) posted on
some tower
Will they pull a hard inquire on my credit report?

2
Comment #9 by Kristina (anonymous) posted on
Kristina
The representative didn't say anything about a credit check, so I highly doubt they did a hard or soft check.

-1
Comment #10 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Growth account just dropped to 1.35% APY 12/8/2009

1
Comment #11 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
CREDIT PULL:
Generally when you open a checking account a "soft pull" is done. This is different than a "hard pull" such as a credit application and does not negatively impact your FICA score. If you decide during the process to open a credit card, what could be a hard pull.

EXPORTING: As to exporting, the regular PNC online banking allows export to Excel, Microsoft Money, or Quicken file formats.

MY OPINION:
I have been thrilled with Virtual Wallet so far. I think it makes the banking in our house extremely transparent. I also love that I was able to link up the other sites I had been logging into for my bills (utility, Comcast, ATT) for billpay and know PNC automatically tells me when it is due. Previously I would go on those sites, see the amount due, and schedule an online payment. Now I don't have to do that anymore!

Once VW is set up, it is a breeze to use, and it IS easier for my family to save. Previously I had handled all the funds, but this helps me get my husband involved. Now we sometimes skip a dinner out and "punch the pig" for 50-100 bucks help save for other expenditures (like the new roof we just realized needs to be replaced this year, ouch!)

I think that the customer interface and ability to link up with most of my payees demonstrates that PNC understands its market, and what the market is becoming.

4
Comment #12 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
i just signed up & like it so far. I had an interest checking account with my previous bank w/ a rate of only .05$ (half the PNC Reserve acct saving interest of .10%) & still have an online ING Saving account with an interest rate of 1.34% (same as PNC growth acct). Some of you may be getting higher interest rates at banks if you are able to maintain higher balances but i mostly live pay check to pay check so i rarely ever have more than $500-$1000 in there at one time, usually less. So for me the rates are better or comparable to other basic interest checking & savings accts with lower balances & the online interface is awesome. i find it more useful than Mint.com (which I liked but never loved) & even better than my old microsoft money I was still using. these days, all i need is the virtual wallet on most days with the occasional use of a handy spread sheet i made up for myself for certain financial planning situations. If i had large balances to maintain, i might look for something with higher rates as well, but in my financial circumstances this is as good as it gets. it definately works well for me 

8
Comment #13 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I have a PNC Checking and Savings Account. Both with 0 min balance and no fees for anything. I am looking to upgrade to virtual wallet. What do you suggest?

4
Comment #14 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I have a virtual wallet and love it. I generally love PNC though. I've always had really good luck with them. Punch the pig is my favorite.

3
Comment #15 by Brad F (anonymous) posted on
Brad F
I’m NOT happy with my choice to open a Virtual Wallet account.  Let me start by saying that as an ‘older’ consumer (I’m 40...Old compared to the target group, I guess) this is something that I’ve wanted for many years.  I was so happy when I saw that my bank was offering this service.  The reason I’m NOT (with all capitals) pleased is the poor service that I’m getting from PNC in an attempt to get my VW working properly.  Since opening my account I have not been able to schedule upcoming bills.  First I emailed support and they replied with a totally unrelated response (I must have confused them) so I replied with a more clear description of my problem and they replied with a telephone number to call.  I called the number and was asked for my phone number so that technical support could call me back.  That was six days ago and still no call from them.  They did tell me that it could take up to five days :roll: .  Wow!  That is what I call customer service gone completely wrong.

2
Comment #16 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
In response to "It would be easier if they just had overdraft protection tied to the Growth Account. Perhaps they want people to keep more money in the low-interest Reserve Account."

The reason for the third "reserve" account is because automated transfers from savings (growth) account are federally limited to six per month.  The reserve account is technically an interest bearing checking account and does not have this limitation.

3
Comment #17 by Bradly Fackrell (anonymous) posted on
Bradly Fackrell
I don’t recommend VW or PNC at this point after several months of poor customer service.

Several months ago I converted my regular PNC account to a VW account.  I did this shortly after PNC acquired my original bank, National City which I absolutely loved.  I was sad to see National City go but I approached my new relationship with PNC with an open mind.

Virtual Wallet seemed to be exactly what I’ve been looking for-for a long time!  Unfortunately I’ve been unable to “Add Payee” since opening the account.  I’ve emailed and called customer service several times (1 time/week for 2 months = 8) and each time the person on the other end could not help but promised to call me back.  I have never had a call back but instead returned the call myself each time only to be promised, again, a call back which never happens.

It’s been at least two months now and I can’t use that very important feature which renders Virtual Wallet useless.

I’m finished with PNC!  Time to move my bank accounts (mine, my wife’s and my four children) and my PNC mortgage to another bank…

2
Comment #18 by Brad F (anonymous) posted on
Brad F
Just an update to my earlier posts on Aug 4(post #15) and  Sept 26(post #17), 2010:

Still no resolution from PNC, in fact, no word at all.  I’ve officially discontinued my VW service while I look for a new bank.

In a nut shell: I opened a PNC VW account last July (six months ago) and some features did not work.  I contacted PNC repeatedly and was told each time that they would work on the solution and get back to me.  I stopped calling them a month or so ago and have still not been contacted by them and my VW still does not work.

I’m certain that the issue that I’m having with VW is a small unique glitch.  I can even live without the features that don’t work.  The problem is the POOR (non-existent) customer service from PNC.

I hope this info helps anybody considering opening an account with PNC.  My recommendation is: absolutely not.

2
Comment #19 by Kelly Morris (anonymous) posted on
Kelly Morris
I have a virtual wallet. Its okay but I don't see what the big deal is. I think my normal wallet will do.

2
Comment #20 by Sarrs (anonymous) posted on
Sarrs
I recently opened a VW account and am already experiencing problems.

I just received notification in the mail that my account was overdrawn...that shouldn't be the case.  I logged into my VW account and noticed that the only two checks I had written (as in, given my checking and routing number online/over the phone to pay bills) had bounced, as they were being pulled out of my Reserve account.  I double-checked my checkbook the bank sent me, and they have my account number as my reserve account #.  Is this right?  I mean, isn't the spend account supposed to be the primary checking account (according to their site, even)?  Now I'm getting returned item and overdraft fees.  I had enough in my Spend account (obviously, if I was writing the 'checks') to cover the two bills I was paying and I only had the $1 I set up my reserve acct. with in that acct.

I have set up monthly payments electronically on the site with many of my utilities and credit card billers, and each of those payments has come out of my spend account, so why should this be any different?

2
Comment #21 by Southwestern posted on
Southwestern
Sarrs: Yes, your Spend account is your primary checking account.  The ONLY checks you should've received (both starter & the pad of 30) should reflect your spend account.  If they reflect your reserve account, you need to contact PNC and have them replaced; I'd also ask to have any fees that were imposed refunded. 

Your spend account was automatically set-up for overdraft protection from your reserve & growth accounts, but your reserve account lacks it.  It doesn't appear you can set-up protection online, but you may be able to do so in a branch (or over the phone).

And FWIW, when you schedule bill payments through the calander, the sole payment option is your spend account.  When you schedule them through the billpayment page, you can use your reserve account (titled interest checking) as well.  Also note that it costs 50c for each check cashed from the reserve account.

2
Comment #22 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
me and my fiance just got a virtual wallet account and they told me i can add his card when i get online but i cant find where i can do this. help please!?

1
Comment #23 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
What happens if you overdraft if you don't have no funds available?

2
Comment #24 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Worst Bank Ever I feel like I'm in Cyprus trying to transfer my IRA from thet crooked bank. DONT PUT A DIM IN PNC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

1