Category Archives: Banking

Here come the Mint.com “me-too” companies

Bloomberg has reported that Citi and Microsoft are working together to build an online money management site like Mint.com, which recently agreed to be acquired by Intuit.

Mint.com lets users monitor their accounts at banks and brokerages and keep track of their budget, spending and investing. The Citi/Microsoft version would do the same and is tentatively called Bundle, according to Bloomberg.

Citi recently shelved its myFi project, which was going to provide online investing for moderately wealthy brokerage clients. Microsoft ditched its Money personal finance website in June.

The Bloomberg article is posted on Microsoft’s website and it has generated several comments from apparent former Microsoft Money users there.

Dominick said, “If Quicken gets my MSMoney file converted successfully I am onto Quicken and never looking back. MS lost me as a customer on the MSMoney cancellation.”

RichT wrote: “What a crazy strategy — first they abandon a large customer base of existing Money users, then they try to set up some new online system. Why would anybody trust Microsoft with their data? How do we know that after a few years, once they realize that they can’t make money out of an online system, that they won’t just abandon that too?”

Even a poster whose title suggested he works for Microsoft had a negative comment: “There is no way I’d consider signing up for another financial package of any sort with Microsoft, not after I’ve been using Money for 14 years and they just pull the plug to try something new.”

Mobile Phones Help Secure Online Banking

Bank of America customers can now ad an extra level of security to transactions.  The new SafePass system, which uses VeriSign authentication technology, sends a six-digit code to the customers mobile phone.  The code can be used only once and expires after 10 minutes, making it harder for criminals to access accounts.

SafePass (which is optional for customers) works in conjunction with the banks siteKey anti-phishing technology.  E-Trade, Charles Schwab and PayPal have deployed similar “two factor” authentication systems. By requiring a code number in addition to the password, these systems make fraud harder, but not impossible.