Wednesday, January 2, 2013

PowerWallet - YES you can do it all!


Oftentimes it seems that Personal Finance Management software are a dime a dozen with each new comer offering just a slightly different twist.  However, I believe we have a new player in this space who can change the game for good – PowerWallet.

I recently partnered with PowerWallet and believe that their one stop solution to financial management can give them a competitive edge over their competitors.

Company History

PowerWallet was founded by an industry leader, Howard Dvorkin, the founder of Consolidated Credit in response to the Great Recession of 2008 as a means to “give everyday people the tools to help weather the current economic storms and manage their money going forward.”  To make this a reality, they interviewed real people with real financial problems to understand what they can do to help.  The result of those conversations was to build an online PFM platform that was user-friendly, simple, and accessible to everyone.

Competitive Advantage

Like all PFM software, PowerWallet allows you to connect your online financial accounts so that you can see the transaction history of all your accounts in one place.  In addition, each transaction is automatically categorized (you can also change them to your liking) based on the merchant name so that you can keep track of your spending across most common categories. 

What sets PowerWallet apart from their competitors is what they do with your transaction data.

In the past I’ve used my share of deal sites like envaluted, offermatic, and mylinkables and was willing to share my purchase history to get great deal offers.  However, the business models of envaulted and offermatic were not sustainable and they have both gone since out of business.  PowerWallet is attempting to do what these companies have tried and failed by making their product not just a PFM tool but also an integrated and customized deal finder tool.  

They accomplish the goal of finding relevant deals (to places you actually shop or visit) by analyzing your recent transactions and matching it against their database of coupons, discounts, and offers online through their partnership with yipit (my sources have told me that they hope to expand the daily deals network in the near future).  The end result is that not only can you manage your money using PowerWallet but they will also identify daily savings opportunities for you to take advantage of.
Another competitive advantage is that unlike other more popular tools, PowerWallet makes creating budgets easier by automatically showing you what your spending habits have been for any given category.  This helps the user in creating a more realistic budget.  You can also choose whether you want to apply this budget for specific time periods – 3 months, 6 months, 1 year or 2 years.

They have also taken a page from online bill pay services and incorporated storage of bills directly in your PowerWallet account.  From the Bills module, you can directly access your bills from specific service providers.  Once you’ve connected all your service providers, the Bill Calendar will show you all your upcoming payments (including the amount) and from here, you can easily access your provider’s website to pay your bill.

My Summary

It will be an uphill battle for PowerWallet to challenge PFM stalwarts like Mint, Quicken, and Yodlee but I think their approach in integrating multiple solutions into their product can work in their favor.  The only drawback I see at the moment is that they do not have any mobile solutions and that’s a must if they want to survive.

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