PNC’s Virtual Wallet...Two Years Later

An interview with PNC President Joe Guyaux, one of the chief innovators of the popular Virtual Wallet account, provides lessons learned for the youth demographic.



PNC’s Virtual Wallet account (actually three accounts termed growth, spend, and save) was an innovative offering when it hit the financial services scene in 2008. The accounts, aimed largely at the elusive Gen-Y demographic, featured easy to use money management tools like online bill pay, a calendar to track cash flows, and a savings engine.

An interview with President Joe Guyaux on BAI Banking Strategies’ website offers some background on the steps PNC took to launch the account and why the bank continued to invest in the account’s success over the tumultuous past two years. Although it might not be feasible for small and mid-sized credit unions to undertake a Virtual Wallet-like endeavor, there are some interesting takeaways for the Gen-Y demographic. According to Guyaux,

  1. “We learned that we needed to have some check-writing capability on Virtual Wallet, despite the electronic features of the account. During our research, people told us that they still needed to write some checks, such as to their landlord.”
  2. “We are spending a lot of time thinking about how we can serve the investment needs – investment broadly, but retirement in particular – of younger people who are starting to save or invest. We started a few things but have not rolled them out yet.”