Archive for January, 2008

New feature: Add your own bank to Wesabe

January 30, 2008

We’ve launched another great new feature tonight: if your bank or credit card isn’t listed as supported in Wesabe, you can add it yourself in under a minute. Why wait months for someone else to decide if they want to help you with your money or not, when you can be up and running in minutes?

We have always tried to be as inclusive as possible in listing every bank, credit union, and credit card, anywhere in the world, and we already have about 5,000 banks and credit cards around the world supported within our system — more than other sites, in most cases thousands more. The only requirement we have is that they provide one of the export formats we support (currently OFX, a.k.a. “MS Money,” QFX, a.k.a. “Quicken”, QIF, or OFC). We also make automatic downloads available to more people than ever before, using our Firefox Uploader, for the banks that support one of those formats. On top of that, we provide automatic currency conversion for all of the world’s major currencies — now over 180 currencies total.

But, there are still plenty of banks, credit unions, and credit cards around the world that we don’t yet list — either we don’t know about them or we just haven’t gotten to adding them yet. For new users, this means that they have had to write to our support line, and wait for us to add their bank. Often we do that in under one business day, but that’s still too long of a wait.

Now, that wait is gone. Simply by filling out a three-question setup form, any bank that supports one of our import formats can be added immediately.

Add a bank

For security reasons, a bank you add is only visible to you until we review and approve it. But, you can use it right away with either manual upload on the site, or in the Firefox Uploader.

I’ve talked before about why we’ve built our own data import system, rather than contracting out to a third-party data middleman service. One of the reasons I always mention is that building our own system allows us to control the results, and give you more control over your own data and experience by extension. This is another example of how owning that system allows us to provide you with better support — unlike other sites, we don’t have to pay anyone to add a new financial institution, nor do we have to outsource an update development process in order to laboriously add that support. In under a minute, you can add your own bank to Wesabe, and for almost any bank out there, you can automate your uploads with just a few clicks. No waiting. Full convenience.

We’re putting the finishing touches on some more new features that take even greater advantage of the data import system we’ve built. I’ll admit that building from the ground up has meant we’ve had some construction noise from time to time. 🙂 But now that the foundation is solid and the walls are rising, you’ll find that Wesabe gives you the most control over your financial data, and the best choices for handling your private credentials so that you’re comfortable and secure. We can give you the best experience because we own it top to bottom, and we love seeing that pay off for you. I hope this helps.

Wheaties bookmarks for January 11th

January 12, 2008

Good reading for January 11th:

Some great Groups discussions

January 10, 2008

The Wesabe Groups community is continuing to grow and provide better and better advice all the time. The “Paying It Off” group has passed 1,000 members, and the “Saving Up” group isn’t far behind. Here are just some of the highlights from the past couple of weeks:

Pay debt or continue building savings? in Paying It Off:

Based on personal experience and some of the things I read, I think that having a $1000 emergency fund is sufficient to cover most true “emergencies” (unexpected doctor bill, car accident, etc.). I would then take the rest of the money and throw it at the debt. No, you aren’t making money on the emergency fund, but that isn’t the point. If you turn to credit cards every time there is an emergency you defeat your efforts to pay down the debt. The emergency fund acts as a cushion that protects you from hitting the credit cards again. —ryanweb

Bills and accounts, together or separate? in Just Married! (or soon to be):

Congrats on having the separate checking accounts!! Having worked in financial institutions for years, I can’t tell you how many couples I’ve seen dig themselves a hole because they were doing their daily purchases off a joint checking account and somebody forgot to tell the other person what they were buying…and next thing you know it’s bounced check city. —nyle8720

Investing and the Sleep Point in Simple Investing:

I traded individual stocks for a few years and was constantly watching the market. Always had to have my stock ticker going at work. Was updating my portfolio trackers and spreadsheets all the time. Constantly scouring the investing forums I frequented…etc… Bleh…what a waste of time and of my life… I still don’t know to this day whether I ever did better or worse than average. Now I just do Index Fund investing at Vanguard. Occasionally I’ll rebalance when one of my asset classes gets out of wack, but honestly I probably only do that once or twice a year. I don’t watch the market daily…I only update my figures when I get the quarterly reports…etc… I just don’t worry about it anymore. —DRjunkie

$39,794.90 in Debt, but Make $240k in Paying It Off:

I once had the pleasure of working on a software project to “profile” customers for a mid-size regional bank. The idea was to try to gauge the income and spending habits of customers to separate them into distinct categories. These categories would then be used to determine what products and services customers would be offered. The most surprising thing that I learned while working on the project is that income really doesn’t have a whole lot to do with actual wealth. I can remember looking at the profiles of people who were earning $400-$500k a year with virtually no savings to show for it. The expenses these people had were incredible but they were literally living one or two paychecks from complete financial ruin. …and I also remember seeing profiles of people who looked to be earning less than $100k/yr but had accumulated massive amounts of wealth. Guess my only point is that high income doesn’t really make you wealthy or financially secure. As the OP suggests, it really only means you have a lot of nice toys. —mxmiller

Which profession(s) do you reccomend? in Saving Up:

Wow, the responses I’m getting are really great, thanks so much for all your inputs, they are truly helpful. I would just like to say that I think Wesabe has an incredible community filled with knowledgeable helpful people. Thanks again! —Valium

New Features: Archived accounts and upload management

January 10, 2008

Tonight, we have two of those “You asked for it, you got it” features: you can now archive an old or inactive account on your account list, and you can view or delete any upload to an account.

archivedIf you close a bank account or credit card, you may not want to see it in your account list every time you login (especially since we prompt you to upload if the account hasn’t been updated in a while). To archive an account, go to the account detail page, click the “Edit” button at the top of the page (near the account name), and then click “Archive Account.” All of your transactions and tags for that account will be saved, and you’ll still see them in your reports, and on your tag and merchant pages. But, the closing balance will no longer be reflected in your accounts total, and you won’t have to see it cluttering up your list. If you need to look something up, you can get back to the account with one click on the “Show Archived Accounts” link at the bottom of the accounts list.

Uploads

We also get requests to be able to see or delete uploads to an account. You can now do either of those by going to the same account edit pane (click the “Edit” button next to the account name at the top of the account detail page), and clicking “Manage Account Uploads.” There, you’ll see the date, Uploader version, transaction count, and date range for each upload, and you can click the transaction count to see what was uploaded, or the “delete” link to remove the upload from that account. If you’ve uploaded a statement to the wrong account accidentally, or if you want to track down when a transaction appeared, the upload management page can be a big help.

Hopefully these improvements make the site easier to use and make your accounts cleaner. Let us know what you think.

Upcoming events: Computing in the Cloud

January 10, 2008

I will be speaking next Monday, January 14th, at Princeton University as part of the Center for Information Technology Policy’s “Computing in the Cloud” workshop (sponsored by Microsoft). You can read Ed Felten’s description of the event (which is free and open to the public) on the Freedom to Tinker blog here. I’ll be speaking about Security and Risk in the Cloud. If you’re in the area, please stop by and introduce yourself.

Wesabe for the iPhone

January 7, 2008

iPhoneWhen we launched Wesabe Mobile, one of the questions we got a lot was, “Are you going to do an iPhone site?” So, I’m happy to announce that Wesabe for the iPhone has launched. Just head to http://i.wesabe.com/ and you’ll have an iPhone interface to all of your bank and credit card accounts in a single view.

Because the iPhone is better at displaying lots of data in a browser than most cell phone browsers, we’ve removed the limit of just showing the ten most recent transactions. Instead, you can see as many transactions as you want, organized by account. Just like the iPhone email interface, the first 25 are loaded by default, and you can tap the bottom of the list to load more. And as before, you can record your cash transactions on the go using the iPhone interface to enter the amount, merchant, and tags, and clean up the details when you get back to your computer.

The Wesabe iPhone interface is, of course, free for all members to use. It’s a great way to keep your finances at your fingertips when you’re away from your desk. Let us know what you think, and what else you’d like to see in our mobile and iPhone sites!

Desktop Uploader 1.1.0

January 3, 2008

The newest release of the Wesabe Desktop Uploader, version 1.1.0, is out. You can download it here:

This release adds over 600 new banks and credit cards in twenty countries around the world. If you don’t see your bank, credit union, or credit card listed, drop us a line at support@wesabe.com and we’ll add it within a few days. The only requirement is that the institution offer a download in a format we support (currently OFX, QFX, OFC, or QIF — formats that sometimes are listed as “Quicken” or “MS Money”).

Also in this release are some bugfixes, including automated syncing for Washington Mutual accounts, and suppression of error messages when syncing is taking place in the background (so an error dialog doesn’t appear out of nowhere).

Let us know if you have any trouble with the release, and thanks for using Wesabe.