New Feature: the new Tips tab — the Wesabe Value Engine

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You’d think that a completely new Automatic Uploader would have been all for today, especially after a new release of the Firefox Uploader yesterday and a datacenter move last weekend. But no.

I’m very happy to announce the new Wesabe Tips tab. We’ve been working on the new version of Tips for a while, and in many ways, it fulfills the whole idea of Wesabe: to automatically and easily find ways for people to get more for their money. We’re calling this idea the Wesabe “Value Engine,” and we think it’s a great way to find values in your current spending, local to your neighborhood.

When you manage your finances on Wesabe, we look through the places you spend, and find suggestions for competitors that might offer you lower prices, higher satisfaction, or ideally, both. We then suggest those comparisons to you right in the transaction list of your accounts:

txn

These tips are pulled out of the billions of dollars worth of transactions that members have uploaded to Wesabe. We look at how much people spend at a merchant, how often they come back to give that merchant repeat business, and what they have to say about their satisfaction with that merchant. From these points, we build a comparison that lets you narrow in on the values in your neighborhood, and decide which merchant is best for you and your needs:

tip

In the case above, Wesabe recommended a local grocery store I’ve seen but have never been to, since I shopped at a more expensive option, Andronico’s, in my area. What’s great about this tip is that it shows me a cheaper option that also makes far more people happy. That’s great for me to know, and it may very well change where I shop.

You can also use the very rich tagging data on Wesabe to find related merchants that might be hidden values, or might be well-known to you as brands but not as economic options:

tag

Here, people spend more at Ikea than at other “home“-tagged items, but they’re also far more happy with it. Between Lowe’s and Home Depot, two close competitors, Lowe’s costs a little more but also seems to make more customers satisfied.

On top of that, you can search for merchants that you know about, and want to learn more about — and that you want to compare to other options in your area:

search

As a consumer, these kind of comparisons, and this kind of data, just haven’t been available before. We know about big brands, and maybe we think well of them, or maybe we don’t. But while they know all about us — our credit score, our salary, where we shop, and even our personal details — we know far too little about them. Wesabe Tips intend to change that, and to empower consumers to make better decisions with our money.

This is a new feature, so the quality and number of tips we identify will vary based on how long you’ve been using Wesabe, and how you tag. We also know that you’ll find some hilariously bad suggestions in there — our favorite in testing was, “Don’t shop at Federal Income Tax — State Income Tax is way more affordable!” Oops. 🙂 In order to account for problems like this, we’ve added a way for you to say, no, this tip isn’t useful, and here’s why:

bad

The more feedback like this we get, the better the recommendations will become.

Of course, all of our aggregate data is available for free, without registering, to anyone. We’ll talk more about getting the most out of the Tips tab in the weeks to come. Also, all of the Tips our members have contributed over the past year and a half are now part of the new Tips system — check out, for instance, the creditcard tag, which is full of fantastic advice from Wesabeans.

Congratulations to everyone at Wesabe — especially Jeff, Brad, and Coda — for their work on this great new feature. We hope that this is a great new tool in the movement to empower consumers, so that we can all get more from our money and reach our financial goals.

12 Responses to “New Feature: the new Tips tab — the Wesabe Value Engine”

  1. Tanc Says:

    Good concept Marc, but it fails for me. All the tips presented to me were based in the US and when I clicked on “Useful Tip? – No” and submitted the ‘is nowhere near me’ option, Wesabe decided that the tip was in fact useful. Now I can’t get rid of the tips and it says “You found this tip useful” when I clearly didn’t!

  2. physio Says:

    Uh on… don’t tell me this feature only works for people in the US. One of the major things that drew me to Wesabe in the first place was that it didn’t seem to only cater to those in the US.

  3. jason knight Says:

    Tanc / physio

    Thanks for the feedback, and I’m sorry that tips aren’t immediately useful for you. We will be supporting international postal codes as a method for making tips relevant throughout the world.

    Thanks again for the feedback.

    Best,

    Jason

  4. the new Tips tab — the Wesabe Value Engine « The Bankwatch Says:

    […] Wheaties for Your Wallet » Blog Archive » New Feature: the new Tips tab | the Wesabe Value Engine We look at how much people spend at a merchant, how often they come back to give that merchant repeat business, and what they have to say about their satisfaction with that merchant. From these points, we build a comparison that lets you narrow in on the values in your neighborhood, and decide which merchant is best for you and your needs: […]

  5. David Goldberg Says:

    I think this is a good step forward, but the obvious concern remains. You say that Lowe’s “costs” more than Home Depot in your example, but this is not what the data shows. It only shows that people (who use Wesabe) spend more at Lowe’s than Home Depot. All other data being equal, what value does this provide?

  6. Customer Training Done Right » from the gut Says:

    […] Last week, they made another step forward in building value on top of their user data: better merchant reviews. Tying transaction amounts to reviews ties together two data points in a unique mix that vastly improves their recommendation engine. […]

  7. Making Our Dollars Talk » from the gut Says:

    […] Last week, they made another step forward in building value on top of their user data: better merchant reviews. Tying transaction amounts to reviews ties together two data points in a unique mix that vastly improves their recommendation engine. […]

  8. DesertStandard » Blog Archive » Free your Finances - Wesabe one Week in Says:

    […] Getting back to the progressive stance of the site there is a recent post from one of their investors talking about the recent addition of a Tips section. This allows you to compare where you are making purchases and where other Wesabe users are making there’s to figure out if you are getting the goods or the shaft. “Great” you say “but there are tons of places to do this.” True and here is what the VC says: The difference between user contributed reviews and actual user spending data is in some ways obvious and in other ways subtle, but profound. On the obvious side, the first thing Joshua Schachter, the founder of del.icio.us said to me, when I mentioned the idea was “how cool – you can’t spam it”. There are lots of reasons why someone might slant a review, but how many folks would buy more shoes just to promote a shoe store. The subtle distinction is more interesting. Someone could give a fancy, expensive restaurant a five star review after visiting only once. That review will be helpful to some, but others might find it a lot more useful to know that the anonymous reviewer of the five star restaurant ate there only once, but visits the unpretentious Italian place down the street five or six times a month. […]

  9. Brad Garland Says:

    Hey guys,

    It KILLS me we couldn’t meet up at FinovateStartup this last week but I suppose a pregnancy supersedes all that, eh and Marc I heard you were there but we didn’t cross paths (dangit!). Congrats again Jason! Hope everyone is healthy, we sent a few prayers yall’s way.

    I’m very excited for you guys about this feature and plan on featuring it on my next episode on The Burst on BanktasticTV. Keep on innovating guys because the banks/credit unions feel like they can’t or won’t…I still want to talk to you both (Marc & Jason) about how we can show them otherwise.

  10. 13% would bank through Facebook | Over The Counter Culture Says:

    […] Personally I really wouldn’t favour Facebook banking – certainly not if they’re the bank (imagine the data they’d have access to if, in addition to mapping your social circle, it could also follow your spending habits and geography through bank statements!), but probably not even as intermediaries. But with financial info from their users, they would be an extraordinarily attractive acquisiton target for Google, with access to a uniquely powerful dataset which Google has so far failed to get remotely close to as Google Checkout flounders. Going back to my skepticism: I generally remain unconvinced by current evidence of the value of ’social finance’ or “Finance 2.0″ services such as the Wesabe Value Engine and other such fairly gimmicky novelties – but this is a space I’m willing to be very open minded on. Something big might yet come up; I’ve got more than a few halfbaked ideas for the sector, that’s for sure. […]

  11. Jennifer Mankoff Says:

    Have you considered including other types of data in your tips? For example, it might be handy for folks to know about the environmental impact of purchases. Websites like http://green.yahoo.com have lots of suggestions for actions that can save CO2. Websites like http://stepgreen.org also emphasize the financial savings of such actions, and could potentially make it available via some sort of API.

  12. FinancialGuruOnline.com » Interview with Wesabe CEO Jason Knight Says:

    […] And in other Wesabe news, the group has just launched a new tips feature that allows consumers to compare the spend and performance of businesses across a wide range of categories, including finance. The tool is powered by what Wesabe calls its “Value Engine” which aggregates all the spending data of Wesabe users, together with customer feedback on suppliers. […]

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