Our sister publication, Online Banking Report, is constantly on the prowl for innovations in online finance. When it finds a new one, it awards the new development an "OBR Best of the Web." During its 12-year history, the newsletter has handed out about 80 such awards (click here for the pre-2006 list). The main criteria for winning is "raising the bar" in online consumer banking, credit/debit cards, payments or lending (see note).
The 2006 winners in chronological order were:
- Prosper (March) for its eBay-like take on
person-to-person lending (coverage here)
- billQ (August) for its Web 2.0 bill payment
reminder service (coverage here)
- USAA (November) for the first in-home, remote deposit-capture service (coverage here)
- Wells Fargo (December) for fully embracing
blogging with the launch of four blogs in 2006
(coverage here); also, a belated award to Verity Credit Union for being the first to blog in
December 2004 (coverage here)
- Bank of America (December) for its Yodlee-powered, full-featured online personal
finance service, MyPortfolio (coverage here)
It was a good year innovation-wise, and we look forward to continued growth in 2007. One prediction: multiple winners in the mobile finance arena. For more information on the top developments of 2006 along with the latest 10-year forecast, see Online Banking Report #137.
Note: Usually, the first company to implement a significant new feature wins the award. And generally there is only one award for each new feature. For instance, Signet Bank was named best of the Web in 1997 when it launched the first triggered-email alert. Then Charter One won the award in 2002 when it took the triggered-alert feature to a whole new level, integrating voice, fax, and email options into a full suite of alerts. Online Banking Report founder and managing editor Jim Bruene makes the final decision. The only way to win the award is by being innovative. There is no nomination process, no deadline, nor any way to influence the decision.