This is awesome: two companies, LessAccounting and Facilitas, have now launched features for their sites that use the Wesabe API to import data for their users. Excellent!
LessAccounting launched their Wesabe integration a few weeks ago. They provide a simple, web-based accounting package for small businesses, including features to track expenses, sales leads, proposals, and invoices. They wanted to provide automatic account download for their users, so they have people set up a Wesabe account and import their data, and then they use the Wesabe API to track expenses for the businesses they serve. Since Wesabe is focused on consumer tools, letting LessAccounting create great small business tools using our automatic bank and credit card syncing services is fantastic all around.
BankSwitcher, the first product from Facilitas, is a service to help people switch their accounts from one bank to another. They just launched their site yesterday, with Wesabe API support baked in from the start. They use your Wesabe transaction data to identify automatic payments and deposits you have set up at your old bank, and to create a “Switching Checklist” that helps you make sure you get everything switched to the new account with no fuss. We’ve actually gotten this as a request for a Wesabe feature, but there’s no way we’d be able to get to it any time soon, so having BankSwitcher provide this service through our API is a great benefit for our users and theirs. (Rob Rubin, the Facilitas CEO posted about their launch, and their use of the Wesabe API, in Wesabe Groups.)
In both cases, our API lets these applications get data in a very consistent and cleaned-up format — they don’t have to do all the conversions and workarounds based on the variations that different banks use. Also, they can use the community editing features of Wesabe to present transaction names in a human-readable form. (Rather than getting a transaction name like ‘MC-PEETS COFFEE/TEA 13602 BE’, the API provides both that raw name and the name the Wesabe community has chosen for that transaction, “Peet’s Coffee & Tea.”). In addition, with our automated syncing tools, their users can get their data uploaded automatically.
The API is free — these are not commercial relationships. We provide the API free for other applications because we believe that the best thing we can do for the Wesabe community is to analyze as many transactions as possible, and provide everyone with the best information we can about where the great values are.
There is one limitation of our current API as it applies to these applications: we don’t yet have a third-party authentication system, such as the kind Flickr provides. Both of these companies, however, have agreed not to store your Wesabe username or password, and we’re adding that as a requirement of the API terms (that a Wesabe user’s password only be stored on their own machine or not at all). When we launch a 3rd-party authentication system, that will be better for everyone. We’re looking very closely at OAuth, a developing standard intended to address this problem, and working with the group developing it to try to make sure it suits Wesabe’s security requirements. My hope is that we’ll be able to launch support for this standard, or for a higher-security option if we can’t use OAuth, as soon as possible.
I’d like to thank BankSwitcher for asking about the Wesabe Data Bill of Rights, and asking if there is a way for them to adopt it, too. They raised some excellent questions about how the Rights would apply to businesses other than Wesabe, and I’m going to post about those questions here, shortly, so that we can discuss it. If Wesabe API users, or other businesses and web applications, were willing to adopt the Data Bill of Rights, I think that would be excellent for everyone.
Thanks to the people at LessAccounting and BankSwitcher for working with us on these API projects. And congrats to both of them for launching excellent applications — check them out.