online budgeting

Wells Fargo wants consumers to take the Money Map as seriously as the bathroom scale. Bank officials announced the launch of My Money Map, a free tool that helps account holders track their finances online. Dynamic charts track a customer's spending and saving activity against their budget goals using real-time updates from their checking and credit card accounts.

While announcing My Money Map, Wells Fargo spokesperson Patrick Smith cited a Kelton Research survey that found nearly three out of four American consumers are more likely to know their weight than their bank balances. "At Wells Fargo, we'd like to change that," said Smith. "My Money Map will help Wells Fargo customers not only set goals, but achieve them."

Online money management tools have grown in popularity over the past few years. Mint.com, now a unit of financial software developer Intuit, helped pioneer the practice of reviewing credit card statements and bank transaction records to automatically review spending and saving habits. Wells Fargo, PNC and other banks expect that similar tools incorporated into their own online banking services can build stronger customer relationships over time.