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Value-added Online Financial Services: $4.95 per Month is the New Free

By Jim Bruene on July 7, 2009 1:15 AM | Comments (2)

imageAs we've mentioned before, there are surprisingly few fee-based online financial services in the United States (see note 1). But things may be changing. In the past month we've looked at three innovative services charging fees:  

Today, we highlight a fourth new fee-based service, also charging $4.95/month (or more), vSafe from Wells Fargo. vSafe is a secure online storage solution that sells for $15 to $15 per months as follows:

  • $4.95/mo for 1GB of storage
  • $9.95/mo for 3GB of storage
  • $14.95/mo for 6GB of storage

The service was introduced several months ago, and I've been using it for a couple months. The service automatically stores Wells Fargo statements, and allows users to upload any other file up to the storage limit. It would be even more useful if it offered automated retrieval and storage of other bank and biller statements.

Wells Fargo homepage (1 June 2009, 1:15 PM PDT)


Landing page (link, 1 June 2009)


Take a test drive in the Wells Fargo lab (link, 1 June 2009)


Interactive video highlighting benefits


Signup explanation


1. The golden rule of consumerism: "You get what you pay for." Because online banking services are typically offered free of charge, U.S. consumers have had to contend with clunkier, slower, less secure and less feature-rich online services than consumers in other countries that pay for online access. Fees for online services can be a win-win, allowing financial institutions to offer premium online services for those willing and able to pay for them, while at the same time offering basic services free of charge so that everyone can benefit from online banking. 
2. Article updated 9 July 2009 to remove incorrect reference to Expensify's $4.95/mo fee (see comments).

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Golden Rule: corollary #1

Someone will take your fee based service, and offer same or better for free, then you will have to drop your fee, so enjoy while you can !

example 1: gmail storage vs yahoo/hotmail

example 2: quicken online vs mint

Hi, I'm David from Expensify. This article is inaccurate; we do not charge $4.95/mo. Our base service is entirely free.

We did, however, release our first premium upgrade -- online reimbursement with direct deposit to your checking account, only $1 a pop (and five free reimbursements with every account).

Regardless, thanks for the coverage but please correct the article!

Founder/CEO Expensify
Follow me at http://twitter.com/expensify

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