Finovate Alumni News– March 6, 2013

  • Thumbnail image for Finovate-F-Logo.jpgTSYS makes Ethisphere Institute’s list of the world’s most ethical companies.
  • Opportunity International becomes the first microfinance provider to license analytics solution, Insight, from Temenos.
  • ACI Worldwide presenting at Wedbush Securities Transformational Technologies Management Access Conference today.
  • PayPal signs agreement with Japan-based Softbank and Nihon PayPal KK to extend the PayPal Here mobile payment service to small businesses and entrepreneurs.
  • Cartera Commerce selected by AlwaysOn as OnMedia Top 100 Private Company for third consecutive year.
  • MyBankTracker compares Mint, HelloWallet, and Pageonce.
  • Billhighway announces availability of Give mobile fundraising application.
  • My Money Purdue talks about budgeting with Buxfer.
  • Pageonce COO Steve Schultz interviewed by
This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Finovate Alumni News– July 2, 2012

  • Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Finovate-F-Logo.jpgCartera Commerce recognized with a Golden Link award for its OfferLink network.
  • Coffee Not Included blog looks at how Buxfer approaches money management.
  • Madame Noir interviews Blaze Mobile CEO & Founder, Michelle Fisher.
  • InComm to continue the sale of gift card products in all new jersey stores.
  • Virtual Piggy appoints John Paul DeJoria to board of advisors.
  • Lighter Capital invests in 3 new companies.
  • SigFig Launches Native Apps for iOS, Android.
This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Finovate Alumni News– June 20, 2012

  • Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Finovate-F-Logo.jpg2 Minute Finance interviews TIO Networks at FinovateSpring.
  • 2 Minute Finance interviews Flint Mobile at FinovateSpring.
  • Check Point provides FXCM with integrated network protection.
  • IND Group’s technology initiates the world’s first Facebook money transfer.
  • Kashoo named most promising startup at 2012 BCTIA Technology Impact Awards.
  • DCisions awarded an Australian patent for business method.
  • SmartyPig, Social Money’s goal-based savings product, increases its interest rate to 1% APY.
  • TechCrunch reports PayPal rolls out a touch-friendly website redesign.
  • US News lists Buxfer, YouNeedABudget, Pennyminder, Yodlee, Geezeo, Mint as personal finance tools you should use.
This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Finovate Alumni News– May 21, 2012

  • Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Finovate-F-Logo.jpgCU Times reports Ensenta & MShift partner in joint mobile banking & RDC deployment at 5 CUs.
  • Pacific Daily News recommends Buxfer, or Budgetpulse for new grads to keep track of spending.
  • BankNXT looks at FinovateSpring Best of Show demos and Simple’s new app.
  • Taulia & SAP partner for dynamic discounting services.
  • Seattle’s KOMO News covers BillGuard.
  • Wall Street Journal suggests Mint, Credit Karma, HelloWallet & LearnVest as tools for financial novices.
This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Finovate Alumni News– January 4, 2012

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Finovate-F-Logo.jpg

  • Forbes recommends Budgetpulse,, Buxfer, and Yodlee as PFMs to help keep track of your money.
  • Fox News advocates ReadyForZero to help pay down debt.
  • Prosper launches Kindle Fire sweepstakes.
  • Fast Company breaks down how ReadyForZero works.
  • Tamebay shares how miiCard is helping to increase trust online.
  • P2P Lending News reports that Prosper and Lending Club facilitated $40 million in loans in December.
  • Expensify gives users 10 free scans per month.
  • Geezeo signs 5 credit unions during the last week of 2011.
  • Cortal Consors announces new version and expansion of Hopee.
This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Moneytrackin’ is First Major Online Personal Finance Management App to Make it Into the Apple App Store

image I’m certain most major PFM providers will have an iPhone app within the next six to 12 months. It’s a valuable product extension from a functionality standpoint (see note 1). Even more important are the marketing benefits from blogger/press coverage and the App Store listing itself. 

Mint posted a blog entry last week reviewing ten iPhone finance apps. The post drew two dozen comments, most asking when a Mint app would be released for the iPhone. Mint Product VP Aaron Forth replied, “We are busy working on one now.”

Most of the better-funded PFM companies are likely working on an iPhone app, but the approval process at Apple can easily take a month or more (one developer’s story is chronicled here). So we expect to see them trickle out over the coming months.

Moneytrackin iphone app for personal finance management 30 Sep 2008 The first established online PFM to make it into the iPhone App Store is Moneytrakin’, the Barcelona, Spain-based multi-language, multi-currency PFM (note 2). We covered its launch more than two years ago (here).

The company recently announced it had surpassed 5 million transactions tracked. Assuming 250 per customer, that’s 20,000 active users. According to Compete, U.S. website traffic averages 1,000 to 2,000 per month. But many (most?) of Moneytrackin’s customers are outside the United States.

The Moneytrackin’ program, released on Sept. 19, is currently the seventh most popular app in the Finance category.

1. For more information, see our Online Banking Report on Personal Finance Features.

2. There are at least a dozen check registers and mini PFMs in the App Store, but none are from established online PFM providers. The only exception is iBuxfer, which claims to work with Buxfer using its API, but was not developed by the company. And in fact, according to the comments in the App Store, may be violating Buxfer’s terms of service. All the more reason to get your own app into the store before someone else does.

400,000 Users at Online Personal Finance Startups

link to BusinessWeek article In a Feb. 11 BusinessWeek Online feature (here), reporter John Tozzi listed the self-reported user bases at seven new entrants in online personal finance. The roundup led with an anecdote about Wesabe CEO Jason Knight answering phone calls from users (see inset).

The seven companies listed below are only a subset of the online personal finance space. The list does not include users at Quicken Online, Yodlee, Mvelopes, and another two dozen smaller players. Nor does it include users at financial institutions that support online personal financial management such as Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Key Bank, River City Bank and others.

Company   Users Traffic
Mint* 135,000 150,000
Wesabe* 100,000 41,000
Buxfer*   80,000   9,200
Geezeo   20,000+ 14,000
NetWorthIQ   13,000 11,000
BillMonk   10,000+   1,000
Expensr* Five figures   1,700
Total 370,000+ 230,000

Sources: Users per BusinessWeek Online, Feb 2008, figures are reported by the companies and may include inactive users; Traffic: Compete, Inc, estimated unique visitors for January 2008

*Will be presenting at our FINOVATE Startup conference April 29, 2008

For more information:

  • Previous NetBanker coverage here
  • Online Banking Report #131/132: Personal Finance Features for Online Banking
  • Online Banking Report #142/143: Social Personal Finance

Buxfer is First Banking App to Tap Amazon Flexible Payments System

Today, Buxfer added funds-transfer capabilities to its online personal finance app (see announcement here, previous coverage here). The service is free through the end of August, but could eventually carry 1% to 2% fees to cover transaction costs.

Buxfer co-founder Shashank Pandit has been dangling this bit of news in front of me for the past two weeks. But he would only tell me that they were partnering with a big player to enable funds transfer (note to Amazon attorneys, he did NOT violate the NDA). I figured it would be Chase, Wells Fargo, or perhaps PayPal. Even with the rumors this week of Amazon's new payment services, I hadn't put 2 and 2 together.  

This morning it all makes sense. announced a potentially disruptive payment service, aptly called Flexible Payment System (FPS). And it's announced, in what else, a lengthy blog post at the Amazon Web Services blog (see note 1). The FPS website is here. The company even built an FPS Sandbox where users (see screenshot below), both individuals and companies, can play with the service without moving actual money around.

Buxfer is using Amazon Payments to allow users to settle their debts electronically, a vital piece of a social personal finance app. Online personal finance without payment capabilities is like the Internet without email. Even if the company ends up charging a small fee, the convenience would be worth it for many users. 

The Amazon service potentially makes it easier for smaller Web-based companies to take on traditional financial institutions. It won't alter the payments landscape overnight, like PayPal did in 2000, but it could usher in a rash of new entrants competing with banks and credit unions for the high-end personal finance customer (note 2). But the big stumbling block: consumer trust still favors incumbent financial institutions. In any event, the game just became more interesting. For more information, see Online Banking Report: Social Personal Finance.  

Buxfer homepage noting Amazon Payments

My default account page at Amazon's payments sandbox (I have not made any transactions, so the ledger is empty)


1. The post is signed by Jeff, which is Amazon evangelist Jeff Barr, not the slightly more famous other Jeff (Bezos). 

2. Another company using Amazon Payments is FreshBooks, a small-business billing service.

MySpace Meets Quicken: What’s Happening in Social Personal Finance

Link to Online Banking Report

Last week, I promised to provide more details on the conclusions in our latest Online Banking ReportSocial Personal Finance: Will social networking revolutionize personal finance? It was mailed to subscribers last Friday, so it should be making its way through inter-office mail as we speak (or download here). 

Here are the major themes/conclusions from the report:

  1. Social networks are the new main street; so banks that want to be where their customers are should NOT ignore social networks.
  2. There are many ways to bring social networking concepts into mainstream banking sites, for instance blogs and forums allow conversations to take place with both customers and employees participating.
  3. The leaders in the space now are startups such as Wesabe and Lending Club. But what they gain in social networking savvy, they more than give back in lack of trust. So financial institutions are still incredibly relevant in social personal finance.
  4. In the future, social networks may become so trusted that they can function as a virtual credit union, bringing together members to provide each other with financial services (e.g., P2P lending) or using their clout to negotiate deep discounts with financial providers (e.g., affinity credit cards).

 Social personal finance innovators profiled in the report include:

  • Buxfer — Named OBR Best of the Web in the report for several pioneering features, including login via third-party APIs, transaction input via email, file appending, Google gadget, and budget alerts
  • Wesabe — Also named OBR Best of the Web for its integration of personal spending records with the wider community

We also looked at Mint, Geezeo, Lending Club, Wells Fargo, and Intuit's new Personal FinanceWorks and Small Business FinanceWorks.


For more information on the report see the landing page here or download the abstract here. And for Colin Henderson's take at The Bankwatch, go here.






Buxfer Showcases Personal Finance 2.0 Features

As Web 2.0 meets personal finance (see note 1), we are seeing for the first time, tiny one- and two-person startups entering the online banking and personal finance space. Back in the bubble days, there were numerous startups such as, dotBank, and PayMe, but they usually required a bankroll of $10+ million just to push something out the door. Today, an innovative personal finance site can be created in a programmer's spare time (eg. BudgetTracker) or for less than $100,000 if the principals take their salary in stock.  

Despite being overly fascinated with issues of shared expenses, such as splitting the dinner bill (see Buxfer main default page at login below), there is much to be learned from the newcomers (note 2). They tend to be refreshingly designed and clever in their use of modern navigation and communication techniques, something that cannot always be said about typical banking sites.

And the newcomers are also trying to ride the "social networking" wave, and expense-splitting provides a so-called "social money" benefit for use in elevator pitches and press releases. And for couples with his and her checking accounts that divide bills and expenses between the two, expense-splitting features could be a marriage saver. 

Buxfer widgetWe'll be looking at a number of these sites during the next few weeks as we prepare a follow-up to our August 2006 Online Banking Report on Personal Finance 2.0 (link here). Wesabe is the best known of the bunch, having received a considerable amount of press as a social money site. But before we get to them, take a look at one of their competitors, recently featured on TechCrunch (here).

Buxfer is similar in many ways, but has not had near the attention. The company which recently relocated to Silicon Valley as part of the Y-Combinator program, came out of beta in September, but has recently added several new features. 

They have several impressive features that no bank or credit union has offered to date:

  • Login via third party authentication APIs from Google, OpenID, AOL, Yahoo and Facebook; really helps get users past the "do I really want to give this company my personal info" stage (see note 3)
  • Transaction import, via simple browse/upload function (see note 2)
  • Buxfer email transaction entry Transaction input via custom email address: Buxfer provides users with their own email address that can be used to send new transactions into the system (see inset
  • Auto-tagging: users can select any key word in a transaction description and have it auto-tagged, for example, say Fred works for you, and when you have a transaction called "lunch with Fred" you can have it auto-tagged with "business" 
  • File append: You can easily add note or attach files, such as receipts, to individual transactions
  • Widget/gadget that shows expense breakdown that can be displayed directly on the desktop (see screenshot above


  • If you enter an email address for someone who you are setting up as a participant in a shared transaction, eg. splitting the dinner tab, Buxfer prompts you to save them as a new contact. In doing so, an automatic email is generated from the user, inviting them to join the service. That's fine, but the user needs to have more control over the invitations. Buxfer's blog provides a work-around, suggesting using something other than an email address, but spamming your friends should never be the default.
  • The main page (screenshot above) focuses on who you owes money to whom, instead of the more common issue of what bills are due and when.
  • No support for transactions. Other than being able to import transaction files that have been previously downloaded from banks and card issuers, it's all manual data entry. Helper tools such as "copy", "repeat entry" and "auto-tagging" help a bit, but to be an effective tool the service needs to integrate more closely with the actual bill and the payment. That's why these companies need to forge close ties with financial institutions to move beyond the outlier Tracker 2.0-user into the mainstream market.


1. For more on online personal finance, see our full report on the subject, Online Banking Report #131/132 (here)

2. I suspect the expense splitting priority is a result of founders who are young, single, frugal, and obsessed with tracking personal finance details. They are the types that worry about whether the bar tab was split equally, and go home and code solutions to it, while the rest of their group is sleeping it off.

3. When logging in through a third-party service, users are not required to provide ANY personal info, i.e. there is NO registration process, an amazing experience. 

4. Screenshot of file import:

Buxfer transaction uploads