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Updated Review of PNC's Virtual Wallet

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PNC Bank's Virtual Wallet has changed quite a bit since I first reviewed it in 2009. The good news is that it's still easy to keep it free without monthly fees. Considering how many of the large banks have added monthly fees and debit card fees to their checking accounts, PNC's Virtual Wallet is noteworthy. The bad news is that you don't get rewarded like you used to. Another downside is that it has become more complicated. Virtual Wallet has never been simple. It's composed of three different accounts:

  • Spend Account (checking)
  • Reserve Account (for short-term savings & overdraft protection)
  • Growth Account (high-interest savings account)

PNC has made this more complicated by adding two differnt Virtual Wallets:

  • Virtual Wallet
  • Virtual Wallet with Performance Spend

Only Virtual Wallet is free of monthly service charges, and it requires that you do not exceed 3 paper checks per month (50 cents per check after 3). To have monthly service charges waived for the Virtual Wallet with Performance Spend there are minimum balance requirements or direct deposit requirements.

Another new complication is that you have to work to qualify for the high interest rate of the Growth Account, and the "high" in the high interest is not really applicable. As of 10/07/2011, it's 0.85% APY for balances up to $25K. To qualify for this rate, you must now have 5 or more debit card or credit card purchases per month.

If you don't want to be charged fees at non-PNC ATMs, you'll need the Virtual Wallet with Performance Spend. Only that account reimburses other banks' fees for non-PNC ATMs (up to $8 per month). Also, there are no PNC charges when you use a non-PNC ATM.

Another perk with the Virtual Wallet with Performance Spend is free check orders. Only the first set of checks is free with the plain Virtual Wallet.

PNC Mobile Deposit

PNC highlights many of the special features in its Virtual Wallet website. One notable feature is the iPhone remote deposit. PNC calls it mobile deposit, and it allows you to deposit checks using your iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Unlike Chase's QuickDeposit, it doesn't appear to support Android phones yet.

PNC Free Checking - Will It Stay Free?

If this is too complicated for you, PNC does still offer a plain free checking account with no minimum balance requirements and no monthly service charge, and unlike Virtual Wallet, it doesn't charge you when you write more than 3 checks per month. Hopefully, PNC won't follow the other giant banks with monthly service charges and debit card fees. It has already ended its points program for most accounts and they have increased ATM and paper statement fees.

PNC Bank Overview

PNC is one of the 10 largest banks in the U.S. It had grown to over 49,000 employees and over 2,600 locations. Most of PNC branches are in the Northeast. It also has hundreds of branches in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Florida.

The bank has an overall health score at DepositAccounts.com of 4 stars (out of 5) and a Texas Ratio of 18.17% (average) based on June 2011 data. Please refer to our financial overview of PNC Bank for more details. The bank has been a FDIC member since 1934 (FDIC Certificate # 6384).

  Tags: PNC Bank, savings account, checking account, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin

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Comments
21 comments.
Comment #1 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
THe PNC Cash Rewards credit card reward rate is also dependent on your account balances.  The $25K balance tier ceiling and purchase requirements makes it look like a RCA.  Too many annoying stipulations to maintain the highest rate.  I'll pass.

2
Comment #2 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Not worth to even apply, too many hoops and lots of cash tied up.

2
Comment #3 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I'll stay away from this bank since too many traps.  Most of the people will result in No expecting Bonus but end up with fees charged to the accounts. Believe it or not, even the employees in this bank will nicely talked you into opening some certain accounts, then it's too late when you found out. You are just like scammed with tons of fees. That's why PNC has huge chunk of annual FEE REVENUE--even it's employees won't bank with PNC.  PNC---a BAD BANK with  some crooked employees. You'd better off NEVER banking with PNC.

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Comment #4 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
PNC is without a doubt the worst bank that I have ever done business with. They order debits ahead of credits daily. They order debits from greatest to least to maximize overdraft charges.  They enroll you in "over draft" protection for debit cards. This means that instead of refusing payment on a debit card, they sack you with high over draft fees.  In addition,they play with "pending" charges as well to their advantage. Do business with them at your own risk.

3
Comment #5 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Yes if you're looking for a ranking/rating of PNC Bank you will often find it at the bottom of the charts. It is not well liked at all.  PNC practices "gotcha" banking. PNC pushed an elderly friend of mine into fee-laden annuity. Good luck!

1
Comment #6 by Twitchrdrm (anonymous) posted on
Twitchrdrm
Wow, I'm shocked at all of the hate on here.  I work in banking for a rival of PNC's and I love my virtual wallet with performance spend. I do not pay any monthly fees since I have direct deposit and I dont pay any fees.  I love the budgeting tools and the calander interface that allows me to see the big picture.  This is the best online banking layout in the Chicago market, hands down.  As a plus I get .85 on my savings account (most bank savings accts will pay you .10 to .20 right now the rates just simply suck due to prime being 3.25) I still get rewards points, my checks are free, and PNC credits back up to $8 per statement period in other bank atm fees, wow! Needless to say I'm very happy. People complaining about fees need to educate themselves better about how bank accounts work and not overdraw their accts.  BTW PNC or any bank for that matter will not automatically opt you into overdraft coverage, you are opted out by default it's a federal law. Banks are for profit corporations, if you can't play by their rules and use an acct properly go to the currency exchange and whine when they charge you to cash your check!

26
Comment #8 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Most of what the author has stated in this article is exaggerated. PNC has NOT made it more complicated by adding the Performance accounts. Those accounts are targeted to meet varying needs with clients who may carry higher balances or use foreign ATM's frequently. PNC has also recently expanded (March 5,2012) to include the southestearn states with the exception of Tennessee. The accounts are no more complicated than anyone who has a savings and checking account. I love my virtual wallet and have had many friends switch to PNC specifically because this account is so amazing! I challenge this author to change his perspective and re-write a less negative article because I shopped around at other banks before choosing PNC and the main reason why I chose this bank is because of their genuine care for the customer and the virtual wallet account. There is nothing complicated about the virtual wallet account.

6
Comment #10 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Yes, Its a gotcha bank. The sales person in Pennigton branch, NJ (Cynthia) never explained that there will be 3 accounts automatically will be opened for Virtual Wallet. From very begining, felt fishy. Nonetheless not worth it, too much to complications. Above all, they never explained it properly to begin with therefore I don't trust them.

2
Comment #11 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I'm currently a PNC customer and have been pretty happy to this point.  I use the free bill pay and online banking features (check balances, view charges, transfer money).  Virtual wallet looked really cool and I wanted to try it but I don't understand why I cannot use this with my existing account.  It all seemed a bit confusing and fishy to me that I have to create THREE new accounts when I already have and account.  Are they trying to skew the number of accounts to make themselves look better on paper or what...I just don't understand having to open three accounts to use this feature??

2
Comment #12 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
You don't have to open three accounts. Virtual wallet is one account with three accounts inside one I've used it and so far I like it. It gives you a clear look out of where all your money goes. Also the overdraft protection is optional. It's not PNC, from the sounds of it, its the employees there who seem to not be doing a proper job. If that is the case ask to see a superviser to clear things up.

2
Comment #13 by Carlos (anonymous) posted on
Carlos
Too much hate. Just talk to a supervisor, or just talk to the employee with guts and don't let yourself not ask any questions. I made sure i knew everything about that account by asking any questions in mind no matter how annoying it is. I'm cheap so if there was any monthly fees for the account I would have never openned it.

2
Comment #14 by BogKid (anonymous) posted on
BogKid
I have had criticisms of my PNC Virtual Wallet account in the past and I still have some.  Despite, this PNC does seem to be working on improving the program's functionality.  

I am surprised at some of the venom in previous posts.   The account is a bit complicated and if you don't really know what you're doing with it, better to be elsewhere.   All-in-all a pretty decent account and bill-pay system.  

My current criticism is that past payments need to be shown on the "calendar" with clearer information such as who is the payee.   I don't have time to be deciphering account codes and such.  I hope a programmer at PNC reads this and addresses my concern.

3
Comment #15 by Crystal (anonymous) posted on
Crystal
I just signed up with PNC and have a wonderful bank rep. who really wants customer service to be the best. Im testing out VM so I will just roll with it. This product was designed for Gen.Y, which I am, but many people seem to enjoy it. I'm with another commenter who said if you find it to be too complicated, find another account. Heck, I may find it too complicated :-).

2
Comment #16 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Love this bank. I have the ability to transfer money to and from the reserve account without any limitations or fees as with traditional savings accounts. If anyone knows of another bank offering such an account please post. Im moving to the midwest where there are no PNC branches. All other banks I have researched limit the transfers to 6 times per month (as per federal law, I believe).

5
Comment #17 by Matt (anonymous) posted on
Matt
I was originally with National City before they were bought out by PNC. I am in my mid 20s, a college graduate and have a salaried job. The virtual wallet setup that PNC has is amazing! I could see how those that are not as smart would find it confusing, but if you know what you're doing it’s a great tool!

I have a credit card with PNC that can be seen on my performance spend account as well and it gives me 1.5% cash back. I have never had any fees with my debit card, or credit card, but then again I don't do financially irresponsible things like try to spend more money that what is in my bank account.

The Spend and reserve account are great for people who have a lot of financial obligations and want to organize it all without having several different bank accounts.

A perfect example is that I take $500 from my spend account and put it into my reserve account. I then setup a reserve item for my rent for $300, and set the date so that I should transfer it 3-4 days before I pay my rent. Then I take $200 for my car payment and do the same thing (The only downside is that it doesn’t move the money automatically for you on the day you want to transfer the money). Once you have all your necessary expenses allocated you can see what is actually left in your Spend account. PNC lets you setup your Reserve as your overdraft protection account for free with no charge when you have to utilize it either as long as the necessary funds are in the reserve account. This is great because if you forget to transfer the money when you pay your rent it will grab it from your reserve with no extra charge.

My credit card tied to my virtual wallet account lets me easily go from my bank account to my credit card expenses in the same place, and lets me easily make payments or pay off the balance from my spend account in just seconds. I use the 1.5% cash back, which can be redeemed once your cash back amount reaches $50, and I put it into my growth account in my virtual wallet.

In you growth account (and also in your reserve account) you can add a wish list which helps you track your progress for saving up for an item such as a new car, home renovation project, or a vacation.

It may take some getting use to but once you figure out how to use the virtual wallet it can make a huge benefit in how you manage your money.

4
Comment #18 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Just switched to PNC from BofA because BofA sold all branches in my area.  The most important feature for me is a solid, easy to understand online banking and bill pay system.

  BofA, in spite of other issues, has excellent online banking and bill pay and I was hoping PNC would be a good replacement for BofA banking. 

So far I have been underwelmed.  There were some early glitches in getting the accounts established and set up.   Also, it will not load using chrome browser and occassional when using firefox.  My attempts to troubleshoot with technical services were unsuccessful, almost bordered on rudeness.  My branch manager was even more clueless as to the problem. 

Still, I have been usng it and trying to like it.  My impression so far is that it has more bells and whistles than my previous bank but a lot of it is just gimmicky and adds confusion.    Also, there seems to be excessive lag time between when transactions are made and when they get posted to the online ledger.  This is especially true of transfers between funds and even more so for external transfers.

  I will stick with PNC a little longer but so far not optimistic and may start looking for other banking options in my area.

1
Comment #19 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Day 10 with PNC - no notices for the 2nd transfer that went through, discovered they were holding my money hostage (2 transfers - 5 business days for each transfer) due to a signature I already gave them. I only figured this out after my online account reflected $0 balance despite these two transfers. No notices were given for the account hold.

 

It was not clear that the virtual spend account was 3 separate accounts. I had only asked for a checking account. Someone at PNC ordered checks to be pulled from "reserve" vs. my debit to be taken out of "spend" so now I have to manage both very closely. I only discovered this cluster of a setup because I got an overdraft charge even though I had thousands of dollars in the account (but, apparently the wrong part of the account)! Way too complicated. I'll be keeping my direct deposit with Chase.

1
Comment #20 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I have the virtual wallet and I have the app to check everything and there is the mobile deposit. I did this for my check today but the status said the money was still pending. How long does it take to deposit it? Making me kind of nervous.

1
Comment #21 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I like the idea behind Virtual Wallet but have found that I get a lot of "This function is not working due to a technical problem" notices when I try to change a bill payment date.  I called customer service about this.  At first the rep said it was a problem but then said it wasn't because you just have to come back later and try it.  Was wondering if anyone else has this problem.

1