As the last few days of 2007 slip away, make a New Year's resolution to get your finances in order with Wesabe. A few months ago Adam kicked Mint's tires. After giving Mint a whirl, I knew it wasn't for me. With Wesabe's plethora of features, open source mindset, and strong community backing I knew immediately that it was the perfect money management app for my needs.
At just over one year old, Wesabe is still a fairly young application. However, in just one year Wesabe managed to release a portfolio of software, build a strong community, and roll out many new features.
The Security Stuff First
Wesabe does not take bank or credit card credentials on our servers, and we do not have account numbers for those accounts, either. We provide a separate downloadable application, the Wesabe Uploader (available for Windows and Mac, and as a Firefox plugin for all platforms), [more on that later] which keeps your bank and credit card credentials on your own machine. The Uploader strips your account numbers out of your data before uploading that data to Wesabe.
Also, the information that is stored at Wesabe is kept separate from your identity -- only your Wesabe password, which we do not have, links them.
We have what we refer to as the Wesabe "Data Bill of Rights" that lists the promises we make about how we treat your data. The first of those rights is that you can export and/or delete your data from our servers at any time.
A lot of companies will tell you, "yeah, we're secure" but will not follow through with letting you back out if you decide you are uncomfortable, and we feel that making that promise ensures that we have to meet the highest standards -- otherwise people can and will leave.
Still have a few lingering security questions? Call the CEO of Wesabe, Jason Knight, directly. Wesabe redefines the concept of "open door policy" by letting you call and chat with Jason directly. I tried to get a hold of Jason for this article but I got his voicemail. Hey, he's a busy guy! I understand. Now that you and the Wesabe team have been formally introduced, let's get to the good stuff.
Whether you're running Windows, Linux, or Mac you'll run into very few (if any) problems with Wesabe. Wesabe has a bunch of software to help you streamline and better manage your money. We've covered a lot of the Wesabe software portfolio in the past, here's a rundown.
With the Wesabe Firefox Extension you can upload transaction information and browser snapshots, and make recordings (visual macros) to upload financial information that cannot be automatically synced with Wesabe. What I personally like about the Firefox extension is that it can be used to automatically upload payment confirmation pages after you pay bills and make online payments.
Mac users can enjoy the at-a-glance convenience of the Wesabe Dashboard Widget. The widget provides the balance of each account and your 10 most recent transactions.
Earlier this week Wesabe introduced a mobile version of the site suitable for phones, PDAs, and other handhelds. Since I own the world's crappiest cellphone, I can't take advantage of this great feature. However, Windows users who can't use the widget, can use the mobile version of Wesabe to quickly view recent transactions. I have two shortcuts in my bookmarks toolbar: one for the full blown version of Wesabe and one for the mobile version.
If Firefox extensions aren't your bag (why not?), Mac and Windows users can upload their financial data using a desktop uploader. In order to download the desktop uploader you will need to register with Wesabe. For those with a Wesabe account, here is the download link.
Probably the best aspect of Wesabe is the strong community of users who continually help each other identify various ways to save money. Wesabe has very active forums which include a thread on how to improve Wesabe that is frequently reviewed by members of the Wesabe development team. Wesabe also injects user-submitted tips explaining various ways to save money unobtrusively into the interface.
While Wesabe is well on its way to becoming my dream app, it still has one major area that needs improvement. Currently, it is very difficult to track and manage "nontraditional" accounts. In order to track accounts that do not have basic recurring financial statements (i.e., credit union, 401K, pension, etc.) you must open a cash account and trick Wesabe by manually making "cash" entries that represent your various transactions. I would like to see Wesabe improve how manual transactions are recorded and how nontraditional accounts are managed. I would also like to see Wesabe add the ability to manage debts so it can become a complete, net worth management device.
Enough Already. Show Me!
The following is a detailed tour of the actual Wesabe website.
Why Wesabe and Not Mint?
What's your take on Wesabe, Mint, and using web apps to manage your finances? Share in the comments.