Wells Fargo is to make a bid for online banking territory curently occupied by niche Web 2.0 start-ups such as Mint with the launch of a personal Web-based budgeting tool for consumers to monitor their spending habits.
The new tool, dubbed My Spending Report with Budget Watch, gives customers a consolidated view of their spending across their Wells Fargo accounts. Outgoings can be sorted into familiar categories - such as groceries, rent, petrol - and users can set and monitor monthly budget goals and calculate what's left at the end of each month.
The product taps into customer concerns about their spending habits in the current financial environment. It also enables the bank to head off new competition in the expanding market for easy-to-use personal financial management software.
"Budgeting is a high priority for many of our customers in today's economic environment," says Teddy De Rivera, head of online banking and investments in Wells Fargo's Internet Services Group. "My Spending Report with Budget Watch takes the work out of budgeting, providing a simple and easy way for customers to create a budget, manage to it and put money saved to work for them."
Javelin Strategy & Research recently estimated that a quarter of the online banking population, or 15.6 million US households, would be likely to use online banking personal financial management if it were widely available today.