Archive for August, 2007

Wesabe in The Economist

August 29, 2007

EconomistThe Economist has an article about Wesabe this week — a nice summary of the larger purpose of the site. I had a great conversation with their reporter about what we’re doing and why we think it’s useful to people.

Even if they have not heard the term, most people will be familiar with the idea of what a company called Wesabe refers to as “bank puke”. This firm, which is also based in San Francisco, plans to make money by clearing up such puke and turning it into useful information. The idea is that its customers will be able to feed their bank statements, credit-card accounts and so on into the system as if they were throwing reams of paper onto an accountant’s desk.

Wesabe’s software sifts through all the transactions and makes comparisons between users. It can then do some of the things that a human financial adviser might, such as recommending to a customer a different car-repair shop if other customers in the same area are using a cheaper one.

Leave it to The Economist to understand the economic implications of what we’re building! Thanks to them for the great coverage.

Wheaties bookmarks for August 28th

August 28, 2007

Good reading for August 28th:

Wesabe’s financial transaction database passes the billion-dollar mark

August 23, 2007

Our member-owned financial database has grown past more than a billion dollars (U.S.) of transaction data. This milestone comes two months after we announced hitting the half-billion mark.

This data belongs to our users, who can export or delete it at any time. By anonymously aggregating their data with the Wesabe community, members are helping to shift the balance of information from businesses to consumers. Our job is to use this data to help guide members to the best merchants and the greatest value for their money, and we’re looking forward to sharing our progress soon.

Wheaties bookmarks for August 14th

August 14, 2007

Good reading for August 14th:

This week's great Groups topics

August 11, 2007

There’s a lot going on in the Groups tab. Here are some highlights from this week:

Smart Banking: ING Direct questions and thoughts
“I’m an early adopter so have tried to completely cut the paper out of my life. I almost never deal with checks. My direct deposit used to go into my regular bank account, but now I’ve switched it to land in my Electric Orange Checking. Having a checking account with ING allows me to move money back and forth between it and my savings account in real time. No waiting for days until it becomes available. The checking account also comes with a debit / credit / ATM card. I’ve found that most Allpoint ATMs are located at gas stations and department stores. There are always plenty around. The only drawback is that they usually limit you to withdrawing $200 at a time. I rarely have to do that so it’s not that much of a problem for me, but could be a major inconvenience for someone else. It’s also a bit of a pain to deposit checks. You have to mail them in.”

Starving College Student: Help!
“I am 21, 2 years away from graduating. My parents pay for my cell phone bill and my car payment, but the rest is up to me. According to the FAFSA I am financially dependent on my parents, so I receive no financial aid and have ended up living on loans. About $17,000 borrowed a year pays for tuition (public school), rent, textbooks, living expenses and ‘fun’ expenses. I have accrued over $50,000 in debt so far (been in school for 3 years) and that number is going nowhere but up.”

Paying It Off: Good ways to use credit cards?
“Personally, I have never had good luck with credit cards. I start paying them off every month, but then the temptation takes over, and I plan on paying the rest off next month. Well, that actually builds up and all of a sudden, I owe 5000 on my credit card. This is what I do now.

“I have an AmEx card that I get airline miles with. I like airline miles because we like to take trips, and I get better value with miles than with cash for buying a ticket. My wife and I ONLY charge gas on the card. Gas stations get us double points. I used to try to charge everything, but that did not work because it was too easy for us to go over budget. I have our gas budgeted, and we pay off the card as soon as we get paid, not when it is due, so I am not tempted to spend the money elsewhere.

“This seems to work for us. Unlike some people, I am not good with the temptation of having credit cards with open spending. Even though some can put everything on a credit card and then pay it off every month, apparently there are millions of people like me that can’t. This is the only credit card I have. I will have enough points for my wife and I to fly to Hawaii next year first class.”

You don’t have to join Wesabe to read Groups — just come on in. It’s great to see so many people participating, and helping each other through hard times (like struggling with credit card debt) as well as good times (like finding the best place to stash that bonus check). The Groups tab is my personal favorite part of Wesabe. Nothing can beat reading people’s stories about their lives, especially when those posts lead to better ideas and lower stress. I hope you’ll drop by.

Wesabe in Kiplinger's Personal Finance, MacWorld, and Boston Globe

August 5, 2007

Wesabe is in the news a lot this week. It’s great to see so much interest in what we’re doing.

First, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine has an excellent article by Thomas M. Anderson about us in the September issue:

Now several free web sites offer an easy way to keep tabs in one place on all your expenses. Wesabe (www.wesabe.com) is our favorite.

The site provides excellent security, which should be your top concern when you post your financial data on the Web. Unlike most money trackers, Wesabe doesn’t ask you to disclose your account passwords. Rather, Wesabe software that runs on your computer keeps those passwords encrypted. When you upload data to the site, it takes only the information needed to help you budget.

We’re honored to get such a strong recommendation from one of the top personal finance publications.

Next, Lifehacker editor Gina Trapani has a great write-up about us in the September MacWorld magazine:

…the Wesabe community will offer you tips about your spending habits. For example, next to an entry for a purchase at Trader Joe’s, a fellow Wesabe member might suggest a way to save $5 on groceries. You can also create goals on Wesabe (“by a MacBook,” say, or “pay off credit cards”), and then browse through the goals other members have set; if you find someone with similar aims, you can compare notes and swap advice. Wesabe keeps your personal banking information private but does aggregate and display community data — such as how much Wesabe members spend on average at the Apple Store.

Finally, the Boston Globe published an extensive article about Wesabe and social personal finance, by Carolyn Y. Johnson, in today’s paper:

“There’s no question if you’re a consumer, you are so outgunned by the marketers lined up against you,” said Jason Knight, chief executive of Wesabe.com. “Social finance is a way for consumers to find out if there’s real value where they’re spending money. . . . It’s absolutely critical in rebalancing the power between consumers and marketers.” […]

On Wesabe, clicking a transaction tells a user how much other people spent at a store, let’s them know where fans of the store tend to spend money, and exchange relevant tips linked to transactions — such as how to avoid shipping costs at Amazon.com or an analysis of how much a cup of coffee really costs.

David Knight, 28, of Greer, S.C., spent a lot of time online looking for ways to squeeze money from his budget when his son was born and signed up for Wesabe in February.

“I like the social aspect; it saves me time . . . and it ties in everyone else’s ideas,” he said.

Thanks so much for everyone who’s expressed interest in talking with us about Wesabe — it’s amazing to see.