Wells Fargo to sell online safes

Wells Fargo to sell online safes

By MICHAEL LIEDTKE, AP Business Writer
Wed Mar 19, 2008 4:33 PM ET

Recognizing not all banking customers want a safe deposit box, Wells
Fargo & Co. plans to sell online vaults as a secure and convenient
alternative for storing vital records.

When the service rolls out this summer, Wells Fargo believes it will
be the first major U.S. bank to offer an Internet alternative to the
safe deposit boxes that have been an industry staple for decades.

Because it can’t store jewelry, cash and many other precious assets,
Wells Fargo’s online version isn’t likely to replace the traditional
safe deposit box. It’s more likely to replace shoe boxes and home
filing cabinets, said Jim Smith, who oversees the bank’s Internet

Called "vSafe," the service is perfect for storing digital versions
of birth certificates, wills, driver’s licenses, passports, family
photos and other important documents, Smith said.

Customers will be able to retrieve the documents from any computing
device with an Internet connection — a major advantage for frequent

Always on the lookout for new sources of service fees, Wells Fargo
will charge nearly $180 per year for its biggest online safe. The
planned monthly fees will be: $4.95 for 1 gigabyte of storage: $9.95
for three gigabytes; and $14.95 for six gigabytes.

Those costs could discourage many customers from using Wells Fargo’s
online vault, given that several major technology companies, including
household names like Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp., already offer
some Internet storage space for free.

Wells Fargo hopes its 156-year history of helping protect customer
assets will give it a marketing advantage among people who have been
reluctant to entrust Web sites to store important information online.

All documents put in vSafe will be encrypted, using the same measures that the bank deploys to protect other Internet accounts.

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