Jwaala Archives

Card Transaction Data is Rich, Who Will Help Users Mine It?

By Jim Bruene on January 15, 2013 7:27 PM | Comments

image A few days ago, my wife and I were trying to remember the name of a restaurant where we ate on vacation several years ago.

The answer didn't really matter, but I shouldn't have needed to tax my meager memory cells because someone with perfect recall already knows its name, location, and how much was spent. In this case, Bank of America. I used its credit card.

I should be able to hit BofA's mobile app, type or speak "orlando," and instantly see the dozen or so charges I've made in Central Florida. Even better, I should be able to access the entire paper trail of card charges from that trip and to get a quick refresher of our itinerary four years ago. 

Yes, this is the vision of personal financial management and we are slowly getting there. But it's still a lot of work to manage the data flowing to third-party PFMs. And logging in to yet another program to find a small bit of info can be tedious (see note 1).

Bottom line: We can debate all we want about how many people will use the mythical thing called PFM. But most people want to know something about a past transaction at least once in a while. They shouldn't have to subscribe to a third-party service find it.

So, listen up, financial institutions. Follow Simple's lead (and Jwaala which pioneered it five years ago), and make long-term searchable transaction archives a core part of online and mobile banking (notes 2, 3).


Simple's natural-language search is an important feature (15 Jan 2013)
Note: Hashtags make subsequent searches even more powerful


Jwaala search



1. Though, for me, Mint's QuickView Mac app, has made transaction look-up much faster by doing away with the login.
2. And you can make "transaction search" a profit center. See Google's business results for ideas.  
3. For info on fee-based financial services, see the Online Banking Report (subscription) on fee-based online services (May 2011); paperless banking and online storage (late 2010); and lifetime statement archives (2005).


Fast Company Recognizes Eight Financial Startups in its NextFinance Column

By Jim Bruene on September 17, 2009 5:55 PM | Comments (1)

imageReally, we weren't looking for ways to plug our Finovate conference. Usually we just come right out and tell you to register now since it's only 10 days away. But imagine our delight when we opened up the latest issue of Fast Company (Oct 2009) and Dan Macsai's article included six Finovate companies in his list of eight startups "brimming with hope for the financial industry" (see screenshot below; note 1).

In Dan's words, these companies are noteworthy as:

Web-based financial startups creating services that embrace transparency (even in their largely fee-based pricing) and improve the customer experience.

Congratulations to the eight winners (in order of their appearance in the article): 

  • Tempo Payments: Decoupled debit (FinovateStartup 2009 alum, video)
  • BancVue: Community bank rewards checking and Kasasa national brand (upcoming Finovate 2009 presenter; FinovateStartup 2008 alum and Best of Show winner, video)
  • MarketRiders: Impartial mutual fund advice for $9.95/mo
  • Mpower Ventures: Providing financial services to the world's unbanked.
  • SecondMarket: Helps companies auction securities and other illiquid assets (FinovateStartup 2009 alum, video)
  • BrightScope: Independent advice for 401k plan participants (upcoming Finovate 2009 presenter)
  • Jwaala: Personal financial management and online banking tools for small and mid-size financial institutions (Finovate 2007 charter presenter, video; FinovateStartup 2008 alum and Best of Show winner video; 2009 Finovate Startup alum, video)
  • The Receivables Exchange: Real-time auctions for accounts receivables (FinovateStartup 2009 alum, video)

Fast Company's NextFinance column (Oct 2009, pp. 76-78, ad page omitted)


1. We'll take a .750 batting average any time. But, we'll also try to recruit MarketRiders and Mpower to future Finovate events.

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Categories: BancVue, Finovate, Jwaala, Launches

FinovateStartup Best of Show Winners Announced

By Jim Bruene on April 30, 2008 1:01 PM | Comments (4)

finovatestartup_logo An important part of Finovate Conferences, at least for the winners, is the voting process for best demo. All non-presenting attendees receive a ballot which allows them to rate each demo on a scale of one to seven. At the end of the final demo sessions, the ballots are tallied and the presenters ranked 1 through 40 based on the average score. A majority of attendees complete a ballot so it's a good indicator of the group consensus.

There were dozens of awesome demos to choose from, but the peoples' choice yesterday are shown below (in alphabetic order). Congratulations!

 First ROI (BancVue)             Jwaala

image    image

Zecco                                                                        Zopa

 image               image 


Videos of all the demos will be available soon at the FinovateStartup website.

Comments (4)
Categories: BancVue, Finovate, Jwaala, Zecco, Zopa

Online Personal Finance Heats Up: Part 1

By Jim Bruene on September 5, 2007 3:26 PM | Comments (2)

The race to become the next Quicken of online finance is heating up this fall with several launches expected before year-end (note 1). At our upcoming new products conference, FINOVATE 2007, you will be treated to live demos of five leading personal finance apps. Three are newcomers: Geezeo, Jwaala, Mint, and two are industry veterans launching new online versions, Digital Insight (Intuit) and Yodlee. Here are brief profiles of two newcomers. We'll look at the other three in part two on Friday.

Jwaala, out of Austin, Tex., made a splash in March when it debuted on Amplify Credit Union's site, winning our OBR Best of the Web award in the process (see post here). The specific feature to win recognition (see note 1) was the personalized RSS feeds available to MoneyTracker users. The natural language search is also a significant improvement over typical expense manager search functions.

Jwaala, which was a finalist in the TechCrunch 20 start-up conference, has also built a simple Google-like, text-based ad server into its MoneyTracker interface. It allows CU and bank marketers to run relevant marketing and educational messages next to transaction data and query results (see screenshot #1 below). Amplify CU, which is an investor in Jwaala, has given the service considerable marketing play with several links on its homepage (see screenshot below) and a series of instructional/marketing videos accessible from the MoneyTracker landing page (here).

Mountain View, Calif.-based Mint is still in limited private beta, so we can't say much about its online personal finance manager. However, the company says this about itself:

Mint is building a free, simple, and secure personal finance web-app. Designed to be effortless, Mint consolidates your financial life in one place. Easily see how much you have, how much you owe, and where your money goes. Advanced alerts notify you before you bounce a check or forget to pay a bill. Patent pending algorithms even show you personalized ways to save and make more money. If your finances could use organization without effort, Mint is for you.

After putting our name on its mailing list several months ago, we finally received an invitation to its private beta Saturday. I am about to sign up, but since I will be sworn to secrecy, I wanted to finish this post first, so that I wouldn't have to worry about accidentally revealing a feature. As we mentioned in our previous post (here), you can learn quite a bit about the product and the company's outlook by reading the active Mint blog (see screenshot #3 below) which has published 102 articles in its 6-month history, an amazing amount of content for a company that hasn't yet launched its product.

1. For more information, consult two recent reports from Online Banking Report: Online Personal Finance and Social Personal Finance.

2. OBR Best of the Web awards are given out occasionally for features that raise the bar in online financial services. It is NOT necessarily an endorsement of the company or its full product.


Screenshot 1: Jwaala interface showing personalized "marketing bar" (4 Sept 2007)


Screenshot 2: Amplify CU homepage with links to Money Tracker (5 Sep 2007)

Amplify CU homepage 5 Sep 2007

Note: Amplify makes great use of video to sell the benefits. Check out the video tour of its "cafe style" branch (on the Amplify homepage here, click on the "play video" button to the right of the branch photo).

Screenshot #3: Mint blog main page (5 Sept 2007)

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Amplify FCU's MoneyTracker Features Personal RSS Feeds

By Jim Bruene on June 11, 2007 3:49 PM | Comments (2)

When researching new mobile banking launches (see our earlier post here), we ran across one of the more innovative financial institutions in the country: Austin, TX-based Amplify Federal Credit Union <>, a $400 million asset institution with 40,000 members. The CU's tagline, Bank less. Live more. is right on target for the majority of financial consumers. 

It's possible that Amplify uses more of the ideas we've featured in Online Banking Report and NetBanker than any financial institution we've come across. For example, cafe branches with free WiFi, mobile banking (WAP), Web 2.0 look and feel, high-yield checking (up to 5.1% APY), online chat, fee-based ($5.95/mo) value-add checking account (Amplified checking) loaded with online and mainstream features, and a host of other services from college planning to eBay bidding (see menu here). One surprising omission: no blog.  

OBR Best of the Web
Link to Online Banking Report But our favorite feature, and winner of our fourth OBR Best of the Web 2007,* is Amplify's new personal finance management program, MoneyTracker. MoneyTracker uses natural language search so members used to Googling there way through the day will feel right at home. Instead of using slower drop-down search, a customer wanting to review recent Costco purchases simply enters "costco this year" in the search box.

The program was developed by Austin startup, Jwaala, which announced it in November. Amplify, which went live March 5 (press release here), is Jwaala's first installation.

MoneyTracker also includes an account aggregation engine so accounts at any financial institution can be tracked. And like eBay, it allows users to turn any search into an automatic alert with the option of receiving the information via email, SMS, or an RSS feed (see inset). As far as we know, Amplify is the first financial institution in the U.S., if not the world, to institute personal RSS feeds for its customers, and it is the basis for the Best of the Web designation.

Amplify posted a series of six videos (here) that do a great job explaining Money Tracker, an important part of gaining trial. The style, copywriting, on-screen talent, and staging, are among the best we've seen online.  

Amplify's Main MoneyTracker page (link here):

Amplify FCU landing page for Jwaala's MoneyTracker    


*OBR Best of the Web awards are given out occasionally for features that raise the bar in online financial services. It is NOT necessarily and endorsement of the company or its full product.

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