Innovation That Matters

A virtual vault for information-age valuables

Work & Lifestyle

Slated to launch this summer, Wells Fargo’s vSafe is a secure online location where customers can upload and store copies of everything from the deeds to their homes to precious family photos. The bank also uploads each customer’s bank statements to the vault, which can be accessed by logging on to customers’ regular internet banking accounts. Reported fees of USD 4.95 for 1 gigabyte to up to 14.95 for 6 gigabytes might seem high when you consider that webmail accounts like Gmail and Yahoo offer multiple gigabytes of storage space at no cost. But Wells Fargo adds layers of security and throws in a dedicated phone help line. Plus it provides a single, central location for an individual’s or family important documents. Wells Fargo claims it is the first large financial services company to offer virtual storage of vital documents. In the Netherlands, ABN Amro Bank offers a similar service: Digitale Kluis (digital safe). ABN Amro’s safe stores a maximum of 500 MB of storage for EUR 14 per month, and is accessible to anyone who has access to an account holder’s online banking—including authorized accountants or family members. The focused service is an order removed from the general purpose online storage services that have been available for years. Whether or not the US bank can make the service pay, imitators are sure to enter the space. Besides competition from other financial service providers, look for online storage firms to bundle-in virtual vaults as part of their regular offerings. Spotted by: Bill McMahon



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