Nate Weiner

This is an old archived post from my former blog The Idea Shower. It's where I cataloged my product explorations and releases, one of which ultimately became Pocket.

This post was published back in 2007. It may not function as originally intended or may be missing images.

Virtual Bank Accounts

September 21, 2007

Banks, we all use them, and they (literally) have all the money in the world. Yet, it seems that for the most part, their online banking tools still have a lot of catching up to do in the web world.

Most of the major banks have been slowly trudging along bringing their users tools to better manage their money online. But I'll tell you one feature that I certainly wish they had: The ability to make pseudo sub-accounts.

A what?

Let's say you had a savings account. And let's say that you were saving up for a trip to Fiji. What would be helpful is if you could create a 'sub-account' in your savings account called 'Fiji Trip' to virtually stash the money you are saving for that trip. It would still be apart of your savings account, and to the bank it would still the same account, but online it would look and function as a separate account where you could transfer money in and out of it.

This would allow me to easily keep track of my goals. I could transfer $10 to my Fiji trip every paycheck and be able to quickly see how I'm doing towards that trip. Another example would be creating a 'sub-account' to save for a down payment on a house.

Example Bank Summary

Why should they do it?Example of Wells Fargo's Ads

Now as much as we'd like to believe that companies would build all of these features for us just to make us happy, we all know that in the end, it has to financially benefit the bank. Lucky for them, this idea could easily drive customers to the bank's other products.

By allowing customers to break apart their finances and label them with their own goals, the banks could have a clearer picture of each customer's financial interests and as a result, could serve more efficient marketing to it's customers.

Wells Fargo currently delivers ads on it's online banking pages, but the ads seem to be delivered by guesswork. If I'm out of school, ads trying to sell me a student loan are a waste. But if they saw that I had a sub-account labeled 'Down Payment for Mortgage', they would know that I may be interested in mortgage products.

A lofty wish

What would be even better? How about a secure API for your bank account to let us web devs work with? Now, I'd support THAT bank.