I have yet to see the first financial portal that can be called user-centric and user-friendly. When I look at the website to manage my bank or credit card account, it’s quite sad to see that most of them are like still stuck somewhere in the pre-Web 2.0 era. I am not only talking about the fancy hocus pocus Ajax stuff, but really about usability and the YOU experience: the application should be centered about what I want and centered around my life (yes I am very egocentric) and not that I have to figure out how the bank thinks I should handle my account.
One of the frequent readers of this Technology Blog pointed me recently to some proof of concept (PoC) of the bank for the digital natives, where every feature has been thoroughly investigated how it can come forward to my needs: the Frank Bank (http://www.thefrankbank.com). It incorporates all the Web 2.0 concepts like tagging, gadgets (small applications you can add) and personalization of data. On top of that it lets you administer your budget with fancy bar- and piecharts and gives you different views on your data.
When you look at the video on the URL mentioned earlier you can see that one of the interesting features is that everything is based on tagging. You can add tags like “shopping” or “work” to every expense and thus create views on your expenses based on the tags. This is a similar approach that Google’s Gmail use to categorize your emails (instead of using the old-skool folder based approach). That gives you a grip on your shopping expenditure because you can perfectly get statistics of your shopaholic alter ego and decide whether you still need those Manolo Blahniks or not.
I’d say that the first bank that offers this to its clients will change the way how we look at financial portals. Trust me, this is quite revolutionary. It’s banking, but redefined.