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Wells Fargo To Offer Retail Banking Customers a Personal Online Safe

Wells Fargo has announced the Wells Fargo vSafe service, calling it "the first online storage solution from a financial institution that lets retail banking customers store and organize copies of important materials, such as financial statements, loan and tax documents, wills, passports, and birth, marriage and death certificates."

By protecting information in an electronically secure and centralized location, customers can easily access and recover copies of critical documents in the event of a natural disaster, theft or hard drive crash, or while traveling. Wells Fargo will roll out the Wells Fargo vSafe service to customers this year.

Wells Fargo’s proven online security technology protects and preserves documents stored in the Wells Fargo vSafe service, providing peace of mind while helping customers stay organized. The Wells Fargo vSafe service is integrated with the Wells Fargo Online® banking service and allows customers to automatically upload account statements each month.

“Wells Fargo has stood as a symbol of strength and security for 156 years and online storage is a natural extension of that historic legacy,” said John Stumpf, Wells Fargo president and CEO. “More and more customers are turning to our online solutions to manage their personal and business finances, and we developed the Wells Fargo vSafe service to respond to their need for secure online storage.”

How Wells Fargo vSafe Works

Customers can access their Wells Fargo vSafe account from any Internet connection – unlike hard drives, flash drives and archiving solutions. To meet the needs of each customer, the offering includes:

  • The power to store virtually any popular file format (e.g., Word documents, PDFs, Excel spreadsheets, photos, audio and video files).
  • An easy-to-use interface and standard folders such as “Medical,” “Legal” and “Family” to organize materials. Customers can add, modify and delete these folders.
  • The ability to have Wells Fargo account statements automatically uploaded.

Wells Fargo takes a layered approach to security for all of its online products, and has done the same with the Wells Fargo vSafe service. From the moment account information leaves computers to the time it enters Wells Fargo’s system, all data is encrypted to securely transmit and store it. Optional security devices are available for customers who wish to have an additional layer of security.

Wells Fargo is supporting Wells Fargo vSafe customers with dedicated online help, and customers may call a dedicated toll-free customer service number if they prefer help from a customer service agent.

“Customers trust us to keep and manage their information,” said Jim Smith, executive vice president and head of Wells Fargo's Internet Services Group. “Compared to home filing systems, which can be difficult to maintain and organize, the Wells Fargo vSafe service gives customers peace of mind because it’s a safe place to store, organize and protect copies of private information.”

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It is great to see a major organization and brand such as Wells Fargo enter in to the secure online storage space that KeepYouSafe (www.KeepYouSafe.com ) has been pioneering. KeepYouSafe.com is the original Online Safe Deposit Box℠, that for the last 2 years has been serving customers from around the world with this kind of service. Secure access to "life critical" records...

When it comes to security, it is significant and logical that a bank is offering this service. At KeepYouSafe, the security of the Online Safe Deposit Boxes is paramount. We use the same encryption technology (256 bit AES) that the military employs to protect top secret data.

Looking beyond security however, one issue I believe consumers should be concerned about is what happens if you want to switch banks and stop using Wells Fargo? Do they lose their deposit box? It may be a good deal to bundle services like these but in certain cases it may be more beneficial to use an independent provider.


I’m also wondering what this service costs. Will it be given to customers for free? How much will you be able to store in one box? These are things to consider…

It will be interesting to see this product launch and to continue watching this space develop. Storing documents online is safer than keeping them on your computer or in a file cabinet where they could be destroyed or people can get to them. This may be a difficult concept for many to accept right now, but then again, so was online banking 10 years ago.

Eric Wolbrom
Co-founder and CEO
KeepYouSafe

Big applause to any major financial institution offering its customers a “paperless solution” that increases convenience and simplicity of online storage. Experts have estimated that only 15% of the 50 million plus online banking customers today have opted to switch to paperless life.

A few important considerations that are often overlooked when consumers go online and paperless include:

1/ the effort required to collect documents from a range of web sites as many consumers have accounts at different institutions for banking and brokerage transactions,

2/ authentication of document originality is now important following the recent and continuing mortgage mess,

3/ document security as seen with paper copies of financial documents lifted from trash bins,

4/ centralized organization for time savings,

5/ secure availability of documents with a registered “investment advisor” (e.g. tax accountant) and then disaster recovery in the event of fire, flood or earthquake as illustrated with the California fires last year.

Unfortunately, Wells has chosen to address only a few on this list.

As financial services consumers seek to reduce paper clutter and streamline their financial lives, the need for an easy-to-use, convenient and secure service with a flexible set of financial management tools becomes more critical. I would invite you to review a new online service recently made public last week known as VaultStreet at the web address www.VaultStreet.com to learn more.

Bruce Huie
CMO
Docuthentic, LLC

They all sound like great concepts. Unfortunately they were already conceived and patented by a company called Datatreasury in 1997 and 1998. http://datatreasury.com/technology.htm
Wells Fargo is well aware of this I'm sure, as they are currently being sued by Datatreasury for patent infringement relating to check imaging. After failing to invalidate their patents they've resorted to trying to rewrite the Constitution at the taxpayers expense. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/13/AR2008021303731_pf.html If they hurry, maybe they can get Congress to tack on another amendment to the Patent Reform Bill to cover this one too!

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