Social personal finance website Wesabe announced the launch of a new "Tips" feature that provides customized, side-by-side comparisons of competing businesses across a number of data points.
Driven by Wesabe's Value Engine, Tips gives members financial power by arming them with the most comprehensive mix of purchase behavior data, consumer satisfaction ratings and advice.
Wesabe also announced a new automatic data upload option that lets members set up their accounts in just a few minutes, and continuously provides updated bank and credit card balances and transaction data.
Wesabe's Tips section draws on the billions of dollars of transaction data that has been uploaded by members, as well as user feedback on retailers and service providers. Each member's Tips section is populated with customized information based on where they shop and how they have tagged or labeled their transactions. Wesabe's patent-pending technology contrasts businesses frequented by members with like businesses that may save them money or provide better service. The section compares average amount spent per visit, frequency of visits, and popularity. Users can also view and contribute advice and comments about businesses.
For example, members in the San Francisco Bay Area who get their car serviced at Weatherford BMW (a local dealership), may receive a tip comparing Weatherford with Bavarian Professionals, a smaller, independent shop that also repairs BMWs. At Weatherford, members spend an average of $1,300 a visit and rate the business as a 17 on a 1-100 scale (100 being best). Bavarian shows an average of $600 spent per visit and has a satisfaction rating of 96.
"Hidden economic data truly has the power to help consumers make far better financial decisions. By combining the shopping patterns of our users with satisfaction ratings, we can give our members a much clearer picture of where to get the best value for their money," said Marc Hedlund, co-founder and chief product officer of Wesabe.
The businesses being compared in the Tips section are generated solely from the Wesabe community's anonymous purchase data. Unlike other personal finance sites, Wesabe receiveives no fees from listed businesses and accepts no paid sponsorships, so all comparisons are completely unbiased to best serve members.
Automatic Uploader Provides Faster, More Convenient Data Uploads
Wesabe also announced the launch of its Automatic Uploader, which provides fully automatic updates to Wesabe accounts, and does not require members to install or download any software. New members can now sign up, connect to their bank, and have their data loaded into Wesabe in less than two minutes. Members then receive updated account balances and detailed transaction data anytime they return to Wesabe.
The automatic uploader supports all major U.S. banks, including Bank of America, Chase, Wells Fargo and Wachovia, as well as many other financial institutions.
"The Automatic Uploader has become an indispensable tool for me. Now I simply log in to Wesabe, watch the status of my accounts for a few seconds, and presto! Updated information for all of my accounts. It's magic, only better - functional, simple, and secure," said Boone Bradley, a Wesabe member from Lawrence, Kansas. "Other sites may have similar tools, but only at Wesabe is there a commitment to ease of use, a thriving user community, and most importantly for me a Data Bill of Rights. I've already shaved hours off my monthly accounting by moving to Wesabe, and in the process gained better perspective on my spending habits through the great reports. The Automatic Uploader is simply one more great step from Wesabe toward removing the headache of accounting and empowering me to control my own finances."
Members who choose the Automatic Uploader option provide their user name and log in information to Wesabe. This data is protected using Wesabe's industry-leading security techniques. For users who prefer to keep their credentials on their own desktop or to manually enter data, the company will continue to support and improve its Desktop, Firefox and Manual Uploaders.
"A number of our members, including some of our most security-minded users, wrote in to say they trusted Wesabe and wanted a more convenient upload option, so we created the Automatic Uploader," said Hedlund.
"Building it ourselves, rather than outsourcing data upload to a third-party aggregation vendor, allows us to continue to give members the control over their data that we think is critical."