Innovation Exercise: Tagged Financial Management

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I was using Flickr the other day to upload and organize some pictures I took over the 4th of July weekend, and it got me thinking about how banks and credit card companies should be using tagging, and effective use of Ajax, to super-power their standard web-based service applications.

So, that got me thinking about what if a banking company provided me with a real easy way to categorize all my checking account expenses, if it could remember previous tagging (eg. all Wal-Mart purchases should be tagged “groceries”) and used a easy-to-use Ajax interface just like what Flickr uses. Then, what if it let me create “envelopes” or categories which I could then “link” to each incoming expense. The idea is to create an electronic version of an old fashioned envelop budgeting system. The more data I inputted, the more it would learn and remember, making it easier and easier to manage my expenses.

Tagging through an Ajax interface is such a powerful way of organizing data, and I sometimes find the archival systems on my banking web-interface to be limiting. I really don’t do much with my bank website, and whenever I need to further organize my finances, most people depend on other software. I suspect that an easy way to create barrier of entry for competitors is simply to provide banking customers with an easy-to-use and simple money management tool. I would bet this would be particularly attractive to the coveted college student demographic, who are getting their first credit cards and who spend a lot of mom & dad’s money.

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