Why does my bank hate financial responsibility?

I noticed a nice $3.95 fee on my statement this past month and, in the way of bank statements, it was totally impossible to determine what I was getting charged for!  I sent them a note about it asking why I was charged and got this response:

Dear Mr. Knight:

Thank you for contacting <bank name> E-Mail Support to inquire about pricing for our online banking service.

<bank name> charges no fee for access to your account information in <bank name> OnLine, our Internet-based online banking product, or for unlimited use of our online bill payment feature.

However, a monthly fee of $3.95 will apply to access your account balances and transactions in Quicken or Microsoft Money.

Our records indicate you are using Quicken with Bill Pay.

If E-Mail Support can be of additional assistance to you, feel free to e-mail us again through <bank name> OnLine.

Thank you for using <bank name> OnLine.  We appreciate your business!

<employee name>

<bank name> E-Mail Support

Now for some reason they have decided that everyone who tracks their money and attempts to be fiscally responsible needs to be charged a fee!  I guess these customers are less likely to overdraft?  I really liked the list of things they don’t charge me for as a justification for what they do want to charge me for.  Here’s my response… (more…)

Super Famous!

I’m Wesabe’s Super Famous!  The good press just keeps rolling in for the hardworking folks over at Wesabe!  If you can get your hands on the Boston Globe from this Sunday (8/5/07) You’ll see them featured in a story about the boom in online personal finance sites, and you might also notice a quote from me!  Check it out online here.  Wesabe, and I, will also be featured in the September issue of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance that should hit the shelves in a few weeks.  I get a better quote in, but for some reason the reporter, Tom Anderson, decided to refer to the other Wesabe users as my “cyber pals”.  I, personally, would have used a different term.  Anyway I felt much better after I expressed my concerns about the term’s connotations to Wesabe and get this reply:  “In context, I don’t think the cyber pal reference made you sound too nerdy or like a diddler.  Whew.” 

Whew indeed!  Also, according to the Wesabe blog Wheaties for Your Wallet, they are to be featured in September’s edition of MacWorld, and with all the great work and their customer service ethic I’m sure this will be the tip of the iceberg.

Thanks Jeff!

Weasbe Slides Play/Pause

Now THIS is service.  Poor Jeff at Wesabe hits Google to see if anyone has written about his hard work and upgrades to the home page and he comes across this article that I wrote.  Mostly praise but with a section asking for a play pause button on the slideshow and comparing one of the design decisions to a bandage on the face of a plastic surgery patient.  Well, as you can see, a play/pause button has been added (color removed for emphasis) despite my overdramatic description. Thanks Jeff!  I guess the black banner at the top is sticking around?

I snapped the above picture with the Browser Snapshot tool in the new Wesabe FireFox Uploader Extension.  I had to crop it to get this image, which made me think that the addition of a cropping tool would be helpful in keeping file sizes smaller.  Allowing users to upload more receipt images and slowing down the speed Wesabe will eat server disk space.  Not to mention it might save a step for those of us who aren’t always going to use it for it’s intended purpose.

Wesabe has a big month of updates

WasabiWesabe has a pretty big month with several major enhancements and updates to the service.  The first of these was the release of a Wesabe API (Application Programming Interface).  For you fellow programmers out there this gives you the opportunity to “scratch your itch” and do something with the data from Wesabe that it doesn’t already do.  The most interesting part about the API is that it’s essentially an API for your bank as well!  In my experience most financial institutions are very wary of the internet, perhaps due to their own fears and perhaps due to their customer’s fears of hackers and identity thieves.  If you aren’t a programmer then this is still news that you can get excited over, because you now you have a small army of developers adding their own features to work alongside Wesabe that they might share or that might get incorporated into the main site.  The API is still a work in progress I’m looking forward to playing with it when I can put some time into it and try to remember how to work in Python (there are other supported languages as well)

 Also, annouced today is a FireFox Uploader Extension(more…)

Wesabe Homepage gets a facelift… Go Visit!

   If you have heard of Wesabe but haven’t tried it out yet or aren’t quite sure what you’d do with it, now would be a good time to head over and see the new homepage.  They’ve given it a facelift and it seems much more usable that the previous version.  Overall I like the change, but lets hope that the black bar at the top of the page is a post surgery bandage that will be removed!  I’d also like to be able to pause the slideshow, it really kills things if you are viewing via remote access, which I prefer to do if I want to check anything financial from a computer that I don’t own.  Speaking of the slideshow I noticed one very interesting claim… “Over a Half Billion Dollars … Working for You”.  I would guess that means that there is over $500,000,000 dollars worth of (depersonalized) transactions that users currently have uploaded.  That’s a staggering amount even if they haven’t accounted for transfers between accounts. 

   Wesabe is a free service, with plans for a pay service in the future.  I’ve always wondered how they were going to make money, but if they are doing interesting analysis on all that data then I’m a little less confused.  And I guess if they aren’t then all that data sitting around and more coming in all the time might make Wesabe a tasty morsel for the data hungry Google to gobble up.