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
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).