by Nancy Gohring

Banking Services Aim to Help Gen Y Manage Money

Aug 24, 20092 mins
Consumer ElectronicsMobileSmall and Medium Business

Bank accounts and financial management tools designed to help Gen-Y customers save money and pay bills.

Who is doing it: PNC Financial Services—a 2009 CIO 100 honoree—is targeting 18- to 24-year-olds with its Virtual Wallet, a mobile and online banking service that is designed for people who are setting up their first bank accounts. Since the service launched in August 2008, PNC is averaging 200 new accounts per day, says Michael Ley, vice president at PNC.

How it works: Customers sign up online to get three bank accounts: a spending account for everyday use, a reserve account for short-term savings and overdraft protection and a higher yield growth account. Users can access a calendar that shows pay days and bill due dates. A “danger day” indicator pops up to warn customers if they risk overdrawing an account. Sliding an icon along a bar lets users drag money from one account into another, making it easy to manage balances. A student version enables users to send notes to their parents about their finances.

Growth potential: PNC may add features such as community tools so that users can share savings tips or learn about budgeting. While it competes with Mint and Wesabe—two online services that let people track their spending and manage their money—PNC is one of the few banks that has implemented its own personal financial management tool, says Nicole Sturgill, research director at Tower Group. “Because of the success of Virtual Wallet, Mint, Wesabe and others, we are going to see a number of implementations coming next year,” she says.