Thursday, May 31, 2007

Test drive of Yodlee

So I've been hearing a little about Yodlee, which offers an account aggregation service. That is to say, they will track all of your accounts - bank, mortgage, credit cards, stock, 401k, student loans, etc on one page, as well as offering billpay services and other benefits, all for the low low price of free.

My first thought is that it solves a real life pain point - and the plusses would be a godsend. That thought was immediately followed by another - if someone got ahold of your Yodlee account, and that account has full access to every other account you hold, you could be up a very deep creek without a paddle.

Still, after a little research, I found that Yodlee has a partnership with HSBC, with which I already have some accounts. HSBC in general has some good security methods, so I went ahead and took the plunge and signed up for their EasyView service.

I did take some efforts to protect myself for now. I chose a unique password that's more complex than the one I normally use. I also left my largest accounts - those holding my stocks and 401k - off for now. I did include all of my mortgage info because, while those accounts are large too, there isn't as much someone could do to screw me up by accessing my mortgages online.

So what did I think? I loved it as much as I thought I would. Accounts like my student loans, that I access rarely and have to look up my account information anytime I want to see them, come up as part of the dashboard, just as easily as my bank accounts and credit card info. Bonus - it computes your net worth for you based on the assets and liabilities in it.

There were a few accounts I couldn't get it to synch with - my car loan, for example - but it gives you a method for manually entering the information. I'll just have to update it periodically as I make payments. I've also heard they have partnered with Zillow, so soon it may go out and automatically get the value of my real estate assets and include that as part of my net worth. I've done it manually for now, because having the liabilities listed without the assets was making me cranky.

Overall, I'm very happy and plan to keep using it. I'll wait a while to decide whether to add any login information for my most sensitive accounts. Your risk tolerance may vary.