I get emails like this one a lot these days:
Does Wesabe support automatic uploading of AMEX card data? I’m considering getting one (card), but I’m not sure I want to if it won’t work with Wesabe. (Yes, Wesabe has become that important to me.)
Fortunately, the answer is yes, American Express (in the U.S. at least) is very easy to sync with Wesabe. The Wesabe Uploader prompts you for your American Express username and password, stores those on your local hard drive (so you don’t have to enter them into our web site), and then automatically syncs your data for you every 12 hours. That’s great — American Express is doing the right thing by making it free and easy for its users to get access to their own data, and the result is that American Express users have the tools they need to make better decisions with their money.
Unfortunately, many banks and credit cards, in the U.S. and around the world, don’t make it that easy. They don’t support the open standards that allow their customers to automatically sync data to Wesabe or other personal finance applications. They require users to search all over badly-designed web sites just to find their own data. Worst of all, they charge fees — as high as $10 a month — for access to your own financial history. What a rip-off, and what a terrible way to help their customers manage their money. As you can see from the email above, they’re making a mistake — here’s a credit card customer saying that he’s choosing a card based on how easy it is to get access to his data. And nowadays I get emails like that all the time.
We think all of those restrictions, hurdles, penalties, and hassles are wrong, bad for consumers, and ultimately bad for the economy. We think that nothing should stand between a consumer and free, easy access to their own financial records, especially when those records can help that consumer build a better life. In the long run, we think it’s better for the banks and credit cards, too — if their customers start leaving because they can’t get at their data, that’s bad for them, too.
So, we’ve been hard at work on a new tool that will solve this for everyone — not just in the U.S., but for any account around the world (as long as it exports one of our supported formats). We’re really excited about it. You won’t have long to wait.
(Want to help us test it? Drop us a line at email@example.com, and we’ll set you up. If you don’t hear back for a bit, sit tight — we’ll roll it out in waves to make the tests more effective.)