|By Jim Bruene on November 23, 2009 6:07 PM | Comments|
Last year, I discovered a cool little web-based PFM app from Zions Bank, the Holiday Gift Planner (see previous post). It helps plan and track holiday gift lists and purchases (see second screenshot below).
I used it to track 2008 holiday purchases for our kids. I credit the app with not only keeping us on budget, but making the process a little less harried. I liked it so much, I awarded it with an OBR Best of the Web award. My only complaint: it should be an iPhone app.
But this weekend when I clicked my bookmark for the site to enter my son's "wish list", I received an error message, "site not found." I was afraid Zions had discontinued the service. After a search, I found that the site had been replaced by a similar, but more advanced PFM site, called Zions Bank eZ Budget (running on its own URL).
eZ Budget remains free and open to anyone, customers or non-customers. It still has the gift planner module which is very similar to last year's model (second screenshot). One addition: integrated links to the Zions website to see savings or financing options (see top-left in screenshot 2). And like last year, a Zions banner ad runs across the top.
But it's been expanded to have three other robust planning modules:
- Monthly planner (screenshot 3)
- Project planner (screenshot 4)
- Event planner (screenshot 5)
Unlike last year when the gift planner was plugged on its homepage, there is no mention of the PFM module on the bank's website. However, eZ Budget is prominently mentioned on the bank's Facebook page (screenshot 6). And according to Compete, the new site has about double the traffic, 4,000 unique visitors, compared to 2,000 a year ago.
Source: Compete, 23 Nov 2009
My take: This is a simple and cost-effective way to provide basic budgeting tools to bank customers. I wish Zions had also kept the standalone Holiday Gift Planner which had an attractive holiday look and was less daunting to begin using. But I can understand why the bank would not want to support two planning tools. More importantly, the iPhone version is still on my wish list. More on that tomorrow.
1. Zions eZ Budget homepage (23 Nov 2009)
2. Gift Planner module
Note: Default setting is "Christmas"; but can choose Birthday, Valentines, Wedding, Mother's day, Father's day, Hanukkah, or create your own.
3. Monthly Planner module
4. Project planner module
Note: Default setting is "home remodel"; but can choose landscaping, baby room, or create your own.
5. Event planner module
Note: Default setting is "wedding"; but can choose birthday, vacation, or bridal shower or create your own.
6. Zions Facebook page (link)
Note: Zions is giving away a $100 Best Buy card each month to new Facebook fans.
1. For more information on the PFM space, see our Online Banking Report on Personal Finance Features.
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