Wesabe, a personal finance competitor to Mint.com
that emphasized its community features, ran out of money. CEO Mark Hedlund wrote in his farewell message that the site had been operating on starvation rations recently, which is “unacceptable” considering the security demands of hosting users’ personal account information. Only the bulletin boards will remain operational after the end of the month. The site launched in 2005.
This could just be a case of a company failing to distinguish itself or find solid revenue sources in a crowded space increasingly dominated by one company. Mint has continued to add users and features–3.5 million registered and 1 million active users today, compared to 1 million registered users last March before its acquisition by Intuit. Their newest feature, Goals, debuted just last week. It moves Mint farther into the financial planning space by allowing people to identify and work toward spending goals like a vacation or a house, rather than just tracking their spending, saving, and investments.
But new companies are still lining up for the job of helping Americans better manage their money. Most recently, a site called HelloWallet has drawn the backing of Steve and Jean Case of AOL and the endorsement of none other than Bill Clinton. Their uniqueness is not in their financial planning tools and widgets, promising to help you find a better interest rate on your savings account, etc., but in the books–HelloWallet markets itself as the only truly independent personal finance site, accepting no money or advertising from banks. (They plan to charge users a monthly fee to participate–we’ll see how well that works out.) This is an area of vulnerability for Mint–their crucial bond of trust with users is inescapably compromised by the realization that their money comes from advertising deals with financial institutions.AK