The Bankwatch

Tracking the consumer evolution of financial services

“Every transaction uploaded makes Wesabe smarter” | now banks’ are beginning to recognise that value

I always enjoy writing about Wesabe, and continue to believe they are one of the few game changing innovations in financial services.  So it was with great pleasure when I had the opportunity to chat with Marc Hedlund, CEO yesterday.  Marc gave me an update on their new application suite, Springboard.  Springboard offers banks the ability to provide Wesabe services to their online customers.

When I wrote up The Great Unwinding one of the conclusions on outcomes of the banking crisis was the return of ‘back to basics’ banking and with the overriding level of regulation expected to increase, innovation from the banks was low on the list of expected outcomes.  Rather the real innovation is expected to materialize from outside the traditional banks and it will be for banks largely to work with them.

Wesabe have been in talks with banks for years, but to date it never materialized beyond the strategy groups into the product groups who manage the budgets.  However Marc has noted a shift that began last Sept (2008).  The combination of a recognition of what to offer customers while online that extends online banking, along with a desire within the solid banks to differentiate and distance themselves from the poor quality banks making the headlines, has driven product managers to look at Wesabe as an opportunity rather than as a threat.

Springboard offers the same functionality available on the Wesabe consumers facing site, such as Account, Types, Goals, and Widgets (services that exist outside the web browser such as the uploader tool).  These services will be available through an entry level web PFM or as a suite of API’s that allow Wesabe to be integrated directly with online banking.  In both versions, Springboard is skinned with the banks branding and CSS template design.  This is a great model that exemplifies web 2.0 thinking and gets banks firmly into mashup territory.

The key for me is how Springboard integrates with the core Wesabe model.   As Marc says, “Every transaction uploaded makes Wesabe smarter”.  The customers information in Springboard still forms part of the Wesabe engine, including the data, tags, edits, and recommendations.  The difference is that it allows customers to retain the Wesabe experience while transacting within their online banking experience.

These smart banks who are expecting to participate will be offering a breadth of intelligence and utility that extends across banks, states, merchants and customer types.  It would be impossible for any one bank to aggregate and gather such information by themselves, and that is the power of Wesabe – the power of a much larger crowd of people, behaviours, recommendations (successful and unsuccessful) that is honed down to that individual customer for their benefit.  Indeed it exemplifies the power of internet, and levering the network effect of peoples interactions and activities to provide for better decisions at each customers level.  This brings wisdom of crowds to each customers online banking.

I asked how banks are reacting to the security and protection of information issues.  The banks in conversation with Wesabe so far understand the data security strategies employed by Wesabe are designed to ensure no personal or identity information is uploaded to Wesabe.  This is the elegance of the model – the ability to upload detailed transactional information to Wesabe without personally any accompanying identifiable information.  The service abstracts data from identifiable information by ensuring it never contains identifiable information.    Wesabe employs strict tools and methods such as stripping of account numbers, or searching for anything that could be a phone number or SSN and not allowing that data to be uploaded.

Here are a couple of screen shots.  Now I am curious to see which banks will be first!  Congrats to Marc and the Wesabe team.

wesabe1 wesabe2

Written by Colin Henderson

March 17, 2009 at 22:59

Posted in Uncategorized

4 Responses

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  1. This looks fantastic. I have been singing the praises of Wesabe for some time and a move like this shows why. It will be interesting to see if someone is smart enough and brave enough to go first…

    Aden Davies

    March 18, 2009 at 04:42

  2. @Aden .. My sense is that there are banks in the works and getting ready to pull the trigger. I too am fascinated to see who they might be.

    Colin

    March 18, 2009 at 08:28

  3. Thanks much, Colin and Aden. We’re looking forward to launching the first project and letting people see how well it can work.

    Marc Hedlund

    March 18, 2009 at 09:29

  4. Marc .. Thanks for stopping by, and good luck. Looking forward to that first project.

    Colin

    March 18, 2009 at 11:27


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