Wesabe Review: A Free Online Money Management Tool

by Emiley Thacker on March 6, 2009

Check out my Wesabe review!

In my own quest for achieving financial security, I stumbled across a very interesting free online money management tool called Wesabe. Founded in 2005 and recently redesigned, Wesabe offers strong financial planning tools, as well as a very active community of people looking to help each other reach their financial goals. It’s kind of like what you’d expect to get if Quicken and Facebook had a love child. So what’s Wesabe like?

wesabe review, free online personal finance tool, money management tool

My Wesabe Review: A Free Online Money Management Tool

Wesabe has four parts, set up as separate tabs:

1. Accounts

Like all other money management programs, Wesabe allows you to link to your bank accounts and download your transactions. Or, if you prefer not to link directly to your accounts, you can manually download the data from your bank, and then upload it to Wesabe. Either way, once the data is there, you can then go in and tag your purchases with categories that make sense to you, and the system then remembers those tags.

For instance, if you tag a transaction from Outback Steakhouse as “Eating Out”, the next time the system pulls in an Outback transaction on your account, it will automatically add the same tag. You can then run reports to see what spending categories may be problem areas.

2. Tips

This is a very cool feature of Wesabe. Tips you receive are based upon your shopping habits. You can compare retailers that you use to other businesses that offer the same types of goods or services. If you commonly buy groceries at Safeway, for example, the tips displayed for you might show a comparison between Safeway and Albertson’s, showing details such as the average amount spent at each store by other users, the percentage of users who make repeat visits to each store, and how likely those “Wesabeans” are to recommend each store to others. The Tips feature also displays relevant advice from fellow members.

3. Goals

This allows you to set up customized goals (i.e. “Pay off credit cards”) and lets you link your spending tags to your goals so that you can see how you are doing.

4. Groups

This social networking feature works like your average message board. There are different boards for different subjects, and different threads for each topic within a board, making it easy for the user to connect to others with similar financial interests and/or goals.

What I Like About Wesabe

A few specific things about Wesabe really impressed me:

  • They’ve got a very strong commitment to privacy and security.
  • They do not use advertisers, so there’s no outside temptation to spend money while on Wesabe.
  • It’s free.

Ok, so, it’s free and they don’t use advertisers. How do they stay in business? Right now, Wesabe is funded by venture capital, and they intend to offer a Pro version subscription service in the future. Better yet, they intend to offer this for-charge version without removing any of the functionalities of the free service.

One more thing that struck me about Wesabe: its leaders are committed. CEO and co-founder Marc Hedlund has a pretty impressive background, and goes so far as to make himself available to Wesabe users (via phone) for four hours each weekday.

Where Wesabe Needs Improvement

Not everything about Wesabe is perfect. For example, I had difficulty getting my ING Direct Electric Orange account linked to Wesabe. The system asked me to provide my ING Direct security questions, and gave me boxes in which to do so, but didn’t actually display the questions that they wanted me to answer.

I also found that Wesabe was a little light on setup information and how-tos. I think, however, that these issues are just some of those little growing pains that a site goes through on the path from good to great. Overall, judging from the obvious care and professionalism that went into building Wesabe, I believe that continued growth and improvement of the site are imminent.

For more on personal financial tools (desktop or online), here are a few more reads:

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Marc Hedlund March 6, 2009 at 7:13 am

Thanks for the review! (I’m the CEO of Wesabe.) I’m very glad you like the site so much. I certainly agree with you on the shortcomings of our documentation, which we are nearly done correcting. On ING Direct, we do support them and it should work – if our setup process isn’t working, could I ask you to drop a note to support@wesabe.com so we can sort that out? I’m sure we can get it corrected for you.

Thanks again and please feel free to let me know if you have other ideas for ways we could improve the site. Best wishes.

Marc Hedlund, CEO, Wesabe

2 Ellen March 13, 2009 at 7:39 am

I use Wesabe simply because you have the option of manual uploading instead of having to give your banking credentials in, say, a website like Mint (though, honestly, not sure if it’s really all that much better when it comes down to it.) It is good for tracking but I dislike the budgeting limits you set and for some reason they simply don’t have any tips for me. It’s, sadly, a little depressing when I log in and upload day after day and no tips or member posts come up on that tab. Makes the site a little boring to me. I wish Mint would just allow manual uploading, I’d switch and see if it were a little more lively there.

3 Meaghan March 15, 2009 at 3:33 pm

This sounds like a good tool to use. I’m going to check it out and post this on my blog for my readers to see. Thanks for sharing!

4 ben June 10, 2009 at 3:45 am

Looks impressive but really don’t know much as I manage my personal finance with manageME7 and find it so convenient that I did not bother to shift to another money tool.

5 Eva January 6, 2010 at 12:14 am

I tried Wesabe.

You are right about little light on the trouble shooting. Lack of support also adds to it. In fact, don’t even try emailing support, you wont get any response back.

I hope Mint.com will come to Canada soon!

6 Personal Finances February 21, 2012 at 2:47 pm

I’ve tried many personal finance management tools available online over the last couple of years, but I’ve settled for inexfinance.com since it supports multi-currency transactions, and this is something I need badly since I travel a lot and often handle cash transactions in various currencies. Moreover I feel kind of uncomfortable when I’m asked to share my private banking information online, and conveniently this site allows to input manual transactions or upload my financial statements via the import tool.

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