Wesabe Takes Online Banking to the Next Level - Will It Attract Users?

Wesabe is like online banking on steroids. You have to agree to let it have your account information. But if you do, you can get good analysis of your spending, get recommendations from others, and see what others are doing with their money.

I recently took a look at a new personal finance site called Wesabe.  The site is like online banking on steroids.  It allows users to upload their banking information to the site where it is analyzed and crunched by Wesabe. 

To get data into onto the site users can download a program onto their computer or can upload their data directly to Wesabe.  I was going to do this but to be honest, I'm not thrilled about giving my online banking credentials to anyone.  Nor am I willing to download an application onto my computer to do it.  Computers can be hacked.  But that's just me; others might be less concerned or less paranoid about security.  The company is focused on a younger market and they may have fewer security concerns. 

Once the application is downloaded, it will retrieve your financial information from any of the providers you connected and voila, it will go about crunching data.  Users can create budgets, track certain spending, and organize and tag spending.  The site also allows users to see what others who have similar purchasing habits are doing, trade tips, and join discussions.  The example they give is that if you shop at Trader Joe's, see what tips other shoppers of that store have for saving money.

I think the concept is interesting and that it will appeal to a certain demographic.  In the online banking world there are several distinct customer segments.  Power Users like to keep everything organized, spend tons of time entering and analyzing data, and generally don't mind the hassle of setting up and maintaining their records.  They are the ones who today download their personal data into Quicken.  They are Wesabe's target market in my mind.

If I were Wesabe, I'd look for ways to really differentiate the service from online banking.  Provide something that online banking systems don't and make the benefit really tangible.  Maybe a Spouse Alert if a joint account holder spends more than a certain amount, or Salary Comparison so that you can see how much you are earning compared to your peers.

I think the company has promise but it needs to convince me that the benefits far outweigh any of the perceived concerns I have over the risks.

Check them out at www.wesabe.com. 

Sol Nasisi
Sol Nasisi: Sol Nasisi is the co-founder and a past president of BestCashCow, an online resource for comprehensive bank rate information. In this capacity, he closely followed rate trends for all savings-related and loan products and the impact of rate fluctuations on the economy. He specifically focused on how rates impact consumers' ability to borrow and save. He also has authored a wee

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Comments

  • Amelia

    August 15, 2007

    Terrible idea. Kind of reminds you of 1999 where a bunch of silly looking people could get funding for an idea that they can't articulate clearly. I pity the poor fools who waste time with this.

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