Online Personal Finance Traffic More than Doubles; PNC Virtual Wallet Grabs Second Place

image As I was drilling into the latest Compete traffic numbers for the annual Online Banking Report planning issue, I noticed a significant uptick in traffic to online personal finance specialists, almost across the board.

Sept. traffic revealed a total of 1.2 million unique visitors (note 1) compared to less than 400,000 a year ago. Not surprisingly, consumers appear to be taking a closer look at their finances. 

The big three newcomers last year: Mint, Wesabe, and Geezeo saw combined traffic increase by 450,000 users, a nearly three-fold increase from 2007. Geezeo was the star percentage-wise, growing more than six-fold. But Mint accounted for three-fourths of the net gain across the existing players with 330,000 more visitors (see Table 1 below):

Also, two newcomers made a big splash last month:

  • PNC Virtual Wallet launched in July (coverage here) by PNC Bank, which trailed only Mint last month with nearly 140,000 unique visitors (see 2 below).
  • Rudder (a relaunch of Spendview) drew 50,000 visitors last month after its launch at DEMOfall in early Sept.

Granted, the PNC Virtual Wallet benefits enormously from the 2 million monthly visitors to parent and Yet, it’s still an impressive total and is encouraging for banks and credit unions considering similar efforts.

Table 1: Online PFMs launched more than 1 year ago

  Sep 2008 Sep 2007 Gain ’08 vs. ’07 Multiple
Mint 530,000 200,000 330,000 2.7 x
Geezeo 72,000 11,000 61,000 6.5 x
Wesabe 89,000 33,000 56,000 2.7 x
Yodlee 97,000 50,000 47,000 1.9 x
Finicity/Mvelopes 91,000 73,000 18,000 1.2 x
Buxfer 9,000 3,500 5,500 2.5 x
PearBudget 6,300 2,100 4,200 3.0 x
ClearCheckbook 6,200 2,800 3,400 2.2 x
BudgetTracker 12,000 12,000 0 Flat
  Total 910,000 380,000 530,000 2.4x

Table 2: The online PFM class of 2008

  Sep 2008 Sep 2007 Gain
PNC Virtual Wallet 140,000 0 140,000
Rudder 50,000 2,000 (1) 48,000
Expensify 9,600 0 9,600
GreenSherpa 6,300 0 6,300
RateSurfer 4,400 0 4,400
Thrive 3,500 0 3,500
Expensr 2,900 0 2,900
Banzai 2,700 0 2,700
iThryv 2,000 0 2,000
220,000 2,000 220,000
Grand Total 1.2 million 380,000 750,000


1. Sum of the monthly unique visitors from all PFM companies, visitors that went to more than one PFM provider are not eliminated from the total, so there is double counting in the totals. Data source is Compete, pulled 21 Oct 2008.

2. Rudder was previously Spendview, but we consider them to be essentially a new company.

Rudder (formerly SpendView) Launches New Mint-like Personal Finance Site

image There's a new challenger in the online PFM space, aptly named start-up Rudder which is headquartered in Houston, TX (see note 1). The company was founded in 2007 and launched last year under the name SpendView (note 2).   The company raised $2 million in January from Meakem Becker Venture Capital. The founder is Nikhil Roy

What's innovative
While it's a bit busy for my tastes, Rudder's homepage is aesthetically pleasing, and more importantly, lays out a number of remarkable benefits that every financial institution should be able to deliver on:

  • Finances in your inbox: emphasizes that it's pushing info to you, not relying on your obsessive monitoring of a website
  • Paying bills on time: They don't just help you pay the bills; Rudder makes sure you pay them ON TIME, a huge difference in terms of consumer benefits
  • Think forward: Everyone has a sense of what they really have in the bank after upcoming expenses are met, but Rudder actually does the math for you and shows you what's truly "free cash" in your account after accounting for upcoming payments
  • Every morning: Rudder provides a personal-finance heads-up each morning so you can go about your day without thinking about your finances
  • Safe & secure: Self-explanatory, but cannot be overlooked

Clearly, Rudder has been studying how Mint grabbed an early following with great design, advanced functionality, and a brash point of view. However, it won't be able repeat Mint's PR coup last year of winning at TechCrunch40 and our Finovate 2007 (see note 4). Rudder has scheduled its public debut at competing techfest, Demo Fall, running Sept. 7-9 and unfortunately were not on our radar screen until after the Finovate 2008 lineup was set (note 5).

What it means
You gotta love Web-based startups. It took a decade for Wells Fargo to move from delivering plain old statement info on its website to offering rudimentary personal finance functionality in My Spending Report.

But less than two years after Wesabe (note 2) kicked off the Personal Finance 2.0 era, we have dozens of cool personal finance companies looking to make a name for themselves. Mint (note 2) is the most hyped (see coverage), but there are also great things going on at Geezeo, Jwaala (note 3), Buxfer, ClearCheckbook, Mvelopes, and, of course, Quicken Online, which has Coke-like brand awareness.

And don't rule out the incumbent financial institutions. PNC Bank (post here) and Frost Bank (post here) have both introduced novel accounts that incorporate advanced personal finance functions. And Bank of America has offered full-service PFM functions since late 2006 with Yodlee-powered MyPortfolio.   

Rudder homepage with five key benefits highlighted (21 Aug 2008)


Your "real" balance widget
I love the focus on what you really have in your account, after netting out all the known bills in the coming month. Here's the graphical feedback Rudder provides.


1. Rudder seems like a good name for a financial management app. What do you think Jeffry?

2. The previous version, SpendView, is still live at <>, but the original now redirects to

3. See Wesabe and Mint demo their latest features at the upcoming Finovate 2008. Mint won Best of Show at Finovate 2007.

4. Jwaala was Best of Show winner at Finovate Startup, April 2008.

5. Attention startups: It's never too early to make an introduction and get on our Finovate watch list. We're already putting notes together for 2009. Contact Online Banking Report/Netbanker editor Jim Bruene

6. For more info on the space, see our Online Banking Report on Personal Finance