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Review of filethisfetch.com and Evernote.

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#1 idoc

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Posted 02 June 2012 - 06:06 PM

Filethisfetch.com is a web service (still in beta) which integrates very well with EN. Essentially, this is a service which lets consumers go paperless by automatically delivering monthly bills, statements and other electronic documents, directly to their Evernote account.
FileThis Fetch, a cloud-based web service, downloads and organizes years of information from household accounts such as banks, credit card companies, insurance companies, brokerage firms, mortgage companies, and phone and utility companies. The information is securely captured regularly and downloaded to Evernote. The way it does this is by creating a new notebook called "File this Fetch" with subnotebooks for every account that you've asked it to retrieve eg: Time Warner Cable, Bank of America, Schwab, Chase, Wells Fargo etc. I was able to find 9 of my accounts in their list and gave it a test drive. Every account transferred about 2 years worth of statements directly to my folders on EN. In every case I used Acrobat to simply merge those statements into one pdf (2010-present) and will now wait for statements to appear one by one whenever they become available (with no effort on my part). I noticed with amazement that filethisfetch is able to retrieve far more statements than I thought possible from various vendors eg: when I go to Citibank I am only give the option to retrieve the last 6 months; but filethisfetch found 39 statements (including all 1099's and other tax documents). For Amazon, they were able to retrieve a statement list of all my purchases for the last 2 years in a very easy to read format (I never even knew that this was available). As of now, not every vendor/institution is on their list and I can only imagine that the list will grow considerably. It's not entirely clear to me how request a vendor to be placed on their list. However, on first blush this is a terrific service for EN users especially if they are paperless or trying to go paperless. Even though it's in beta it worked flawlessly with almost no effort required.

#2 gazumped

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Posted 02 June 2012 - 11:56 PM

It's a nice idea, but I worry about giving ALL my login details to one site. I worry more about giving my bank account login details to anyone (apart from the bank). So far as I can see FTF is US-only, which is fine for you guys, but us peasants out here in the geographical boonies have needs too! At the moment I could use this to retrieve Paypal and Amazon details, but since I'm already keeping tabs on both on a transaction by transaction basis, that wouldn't save me any time or effort. No doubt these guys will add in more agencies as they go along, but this is one task that I think I'm happier doing "manually". On the computer. With strictly local filing. Thanks.

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#3 FactMan

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Posted 03 June 2012 - 03:32 AM

I won't file my statements on the cloud. This is a good service, but the storage of passwords is a concern. Definitely need to regularly update the password for each bank site on a regular basis. I also don't like the fact that there is no way of setting the default file name for the account that you are downloading. Another thing is I noticed that quite a few of the files are not being named correctly in the note title - they are all called attachment.pdf so if you need to remove them at a later date you must rename them. Not sure if this is something with the bank site, or the FileThis conversion program.

One thought about EN that did occur to me as I was checking note titles/file names was that it would be very helpful if we could look at the attachment name more easily - with a single attachment having a column in the list view would work ...? Not sure how multiple attachments would be handled. Probably have to check manually as at present.

#4 JMichael

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Posted 03 June 2012 - 03:49 AM

It's a nice idea, but I worry about giving ALL my login details to one site. I worry more about giving my bank account login details to anyone (apart from the bank).


Yep, that's the deal-breaker for me.

#5 idoc

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 06:28 AM


It's a nice idea, but I worry about giving ALL my login details to one site. I worry more about giving my bank account login details to anyone (apart from the bank).


Yep, that's the deal-breaker for me.


Yes, I agree. It was a real struggle for me to give them my passwords and I emailed them about this before starting. I was satisfied from their response that they take security very seriously. Their entire business model depends on this very fact. Once I got beyond this I found that it worked absolutely seamlessly. It's true that everything comes across with a generic name ie: attachment(3) but this doesn't bother me in the least. Whenever they retrieved years worth of statements I simply merged them all into one superstatement and changed the name (Time Warner 2010-2012). From now on I will receive my statements one by one and simply add them to my relevant notes after renaming them. I am not exaggerating when I say that after simply inputting my username and password into 9 or 10 institutions on their list, I checked back a few hours later and saw that they had seamlessly retrieved about 300 statements which they plopped very nicely into specially named notebooks which they created for me in Evernote. For people who are going paperless this is pure heaven.

#6 ThomR

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Posted 17 June 2012 - 03:38 AM

You can always just set it up so the bank or utility or whatever just emails your statement or notifications to EN.
I have all my "your bill is ready to look at" emails set up this way.

No one needs access to all your passwords, giving anyone that amount of control is just silly.

Yes, I agree. It was a real struggle for me to give them my passwords and I emailed them about this before starting. I was satisfied from their response that they take security very seriously. Their entire business model depends on this very fact. Once I got beyond this I found that it worked absolutely seamlessly. It's true that everything comes across with a generic name ie: attachment(3) but this doesn't bother me in the least. Whenever they retrieved years worth of statements I simply merged them all into one superstatement and changed the name (Time Warner 2010-2012). From now on I will receive my statements one by one and simply add them to my relevant notes after renaming them. I am not exaggerating when I say that after simply inputting my username and password into 9 or 10 ins*****utions on their list, I checked back a few hours later and saw that they had seamlessly retrieved about 300 statements which they plopped very nicely into specially named notebooks which they created for me in Evernote. For people who are going paperless this is pure heaven.


Does it also encrypt your data as well? I bet it doesn't.

#7 idoc

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Posted 17 June 2012 - 03:52 AM

Not quite as easy as you claim. For example, Schwab, Bank of America,Vanguard (and many others that I deal with) do not mail you a statement. Instead, they send you an email that tells you that your statement is now available on their website. This means that you have to go inot their website, log in, figure out where the statement is hiding and then download it. With filethisfetch none of this is necessary anymore. I simply find my statements waiting for me in Evernote. I love it.

#8 stevenrt

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 07:18 AM

The service sounds interesting. Like everyone else, I'm concerned about security, especially financial data. Everyone is focusing on the security of the filethisfetch service. However, have you also considered the security of Evernote? You are taking some very sensative data and depositing it into Evernote, which for me is a no go. Evernote does not encrypt your documents (except for manual encryption of selected text in a specific note). Until they offer the ability to automatically encrypt anything dropped into a specific notebook, I don't think anyone should be storing financial documents in Evernote. This becomes your weakest link.

I would be willing to give up indexing/searching capability on a selected notebook in Evernote, if it meant that I could have that entire notebook encrypted. Unfortunately, I doubt Evernote will ever provide such capability. It has been asked before, but nothing ever comes from it.

#9 jbenson2

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 08:00 AM

Evernote does not promote itself as a secure method to store financial records. They have been very clear on that issue. There are other software programs available to securely handle financial data.

"Evernote's service is primarily a consumer cloud memory service. This is reflected in our pricing model (free for most users with a single "Premium" tier of $45/year). While we're certainly happy to support professionals to use Evernote within their offices, we aren't actively pursuing an enterprise sales model (a la Salesforce.com)."

"As a consumer Internet service, we don't pursue enterprise certifications such as FISMA, HIPAA, etc. We manage our own servers at a Tier 3 data center (Quality Tech) in Santa Clara, which is itself SAS70 certified. All software and data is managed by Evernote's internal IT/Operations staff.
User data is not publicly accessible (e.g. via search engines) unless a user explicitly publishes one or more of their notebooks, in which case they may be accessed by other users."

https://support.ever...t=6&docID=23794

One can store sensitive material in a non-syn'd local Evernote notebook, which prevents the content getting into the cloud.
If that is not enough; encryption, such as TrueCrypt can be used for maximum security on Evernote.

#10 gazumped

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 10:11 AM

It has been asked before, but nothing ever comes from it.

Your comment makes it sound like Evernote are ignoring requests, but on the contrary they have always pointed out that it's impossible to provide both search and encryption. Since their model is all about finding stored information, that means no automatic encryption. And everyone here has always advocated some degree of care in what you entrust to the Cloud. The choices boil down to: add it, add and password protect it, or store it offline where encryption or otherwise is up to you. As JB says Evernote are quite clear that they're not providing high-security storage. Some choices are down to the user to make.

I use Evernote constantly but don't speak for them.  Opinions here are my own based (more or less) on age,  experience,  and common business sense.  

Evernote read what's posted here,  and take it into consideration setting priorities;  they don't normally comment on individual cases,  or offer any forecasts or promises on whether or when a new feature might be released.  

 

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#11 GrumpyMonkey

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 02:13 PM

Filethisfetch.com is a web service (still in beta) which integrates very well with EN. Essentially, this is a service which lets consumers go paperless by automatically delivering monthly bills, statements and other electronic documents, directly to their Evernote account.
FileThis Fetch, a cloud-based web service, downloads and organizes years of information from household accounts such as banks, credit card companies, insurance companies, brokerage firms, mortgage companies, and phone and utility companies. The information is securely captured regularly and downloaded to Evernote. The way it does this is by creating a new notebook called "File this Fetch" with subnotebooks for every account that you've asked it to retrieve eg: Time Warner Cable, Bank of America, Schwab, Chase, Wells Fargo etc. I was able to find 9 of my accounts in their list and gave it a test drive. Every account transferred about 2 years worth of statements directly to my folders on EN. In every case I used Acrobat to simply merge those statements into one pdf (2010-present) and will now wait for statements to appear one by one whenever they become available (with no effort on my part). I noticed with amazement that filethisfetch is able to retrieve far more statements than I thought possible from various vendors eg: when I go to Citibank I am only give the option to retrieve the last 6 months; but filethisfetch found 39 statements (including all 1099's and other tax documents). For Amazon, they were able to retrieve a statement list of all my purchases for the last 2 years in a very easy to read format (I never even knew that this was available). As of now, not every vendor/institution is on their list and I can only imagine that the list will grow considerably. It's not entirely clear to me how request a vendor to be placed on their list. However, on first blush this is a terrific service for EN users especially if they are paperless or trying to go paperless. Even though it's in beta it worked flawlessly with almost no effort required.


Thanks for posting about this service. It sounds very interesting, and I will look into it.

I know people worry about sharing their passwords (as well they should), but it is no different than what you would do with Mint or any number of other services. It is a risk, and you have to judge whether the rewards of participating are worth it.

#12 jbenson2

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 03:49 PM

I was tempted, but my gut always tells me to shy away from start-ups, until they have been vetted by others.

A few differences between Mint.com and FileThisFetch.com:

Mint has been around since 2006
Intuit bought it in 2009.
Mint has received a variety of industry awards.
Detailed information of program and history mentioned on Wikipedia.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mint.com
It is free.


FileThisFetch.com was released 5 months ago.
It is too new to even be mentioned in Wikipedia.
They did receive an award at Macword 2012.
Annual fee is $20.00


I Evernoted the FileThisFetch press release.
I'll give it another look once it has been in the market for 12 months.

Another perspective.
Once Evernote adds the Due Date field, it will be almost as easy to retrieve the documents using my LastPass acount.
.

#13 JMichael

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 08:39 PM

Your comment makes it sound like Evernote are ignoring requests, but on the contrary they have always pointed out that it's impossible to provide both search and encryption. Since their model is all about finding stored information, that means no automatic encryption.


I don't think that is completely accurate. It *is* possible to encrypt ONLY the Note contents, but not the Note metadata, and still have a very useful search capability. The user could still search on Note Title, tags, dates, and other note attributes. In fact, Adobe provides this exact option for encrypting PDF documents.

In terms of FileThis Fetch, if they would provide an option to encrypt the PDF files before sending to Evernote, that would be a big help.

#14 gazumped

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Posted 25 June 2012 - 01:40 AM

It *is* possible to encrypt ONLY the Note contents, but not the Note metadata


That's all very well provided your note has sufficient metadata to be searchable. You're right, of course; but I was replying to @stevenrt's post in such a way (I hoped) as not to start old arguments about encryption.

And FTF fails bigtime (IMHO) in requiring the access details of my bank account in order to send me its statements. I'm a firm believer in secrets being safe with two people only if one of them has expired, and the details of access to my rapidly depleting funds are something I don't want to share without having a gun handy.

I use Evernote constantly but don't speak for them.  Opinions here are my own based (more or less) on age,  experience,  and common business sense.  

Evernote read what's posted here,  and take it into consideration setting priorities;  they don't normally comment on individual cases,  or offer any forecasts or promises on whether or when a new feature might be released.  

 

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#15 regnery

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Posted 25 June 2012 - 02:09 AM

One thing that I hope we'll see is for banks and other institutions to allow you to set up your account with a different password that would allow you to only download statements. That way, I could give that account and password to FileThis Fetch or other service, but all it could do was download statements, not transfer money out of my account or make payments, etc. However, this probably won't happen, because there's little pressure for financial institutions to do so.

For FileThis Fetch, I don't think there's much fear for it having my password for certain accounts, like Comcast. I guess if someone got my Comcast password, they could add some ***** channels to my lineup, or take away HBO I guess, but not really much else. It's the banks and credit cards that are probably the issues for most people.

I have used FileThis Fetch, and it's worked fairly well. I've gone paperless with a few accounts, like Comcast and AT&T Wireless, now that the statements come into my Evernote account.

#16 idoc

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Posted 25 June 2012 - 02:17 AM

Let's get real for a moment. Admittedly we're all worried about online security, identity theft etc; I am too. I've been the victim of credit card and banking fraud over 5 times in the last decade. It's been a tremendous hassle and I ultimately had to take certain steps such as freezing my credit, going online every week to monitor my bank and visa statements etc. Identity theft is the real threat here and it's getting easier for online hackers to steal credit card and bank account numbers by the thousands. I would suspect that if you investigated the millions of such attacks you would find that extremely few (if any) of them occurred as a result of a breach at cloud based services. I suspect that low lying fruit such as the average desktop or corporate based computer is about 1000 times more vulnerable to hackers than cloud based servers. One can argue that vendors are acutely cognizant of the reputational risk of a major data breach and that it would only take one major breach to sink a business. For these reasons, I actually feel safer having my data in Evernote, Mozy or filethisfetch than on my own computer.

#17 JMichael

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Posted 25 June 2012 - 02:34 AM

Let's get real for a moment.


As long as we're getting real, it might be good to remember that most server and network break-ins are done by insiders.
It only takes one bad employee/contractor with the right access to get in and do a lot of damage.

Getting access to your credit card# and associated details can result in damage, but usually you are protected.
If someone gains access to your online banking login I suspect you are at much higher risk. While there are federal laws that protect your credit card liability, I'm not sure what, if any, protection you have from unauthorized login, other than the normal theft laws. IOW, I'm not sure if your Bank will refund you for unauthorized online logins.

It boils down to risk/reward. Is the risk of someone gaining access to my bank login worth the convenience of downloading my electronic statements?

Let's get real. It's not that hard to download your monthly statements once a month. ;)

#18 FactMan

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Posted 25 June 2012 - 02:38 AM

I also noted that actually, the service is not keeping up to date with some of the downloads - so for the latest statement you still need to go online. IOW, why bother with FileThisFetch?

#19 idoc

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Posted 25 June 2012 - 04:12 AM


Let's get real for a moment.


As long as we're getting real, it might be good to remember that most server and network break-ins are done by insiders.
It only takes one bad employee/contractor with the right access to get in and do a lot of damage.

Getting access to your credit card# and associated details can result in damage, but usually you are protected.
If someone gains access to your online banking login I suspect you are at much higher risk. While there are federal laws that protect your credit card liability, I'm not sure what, if any, protection you have from unauthorized login, other than the normal theft laws. IOW, I'm not sure if your Bank will refund you for unauthorized online logins.

It boils down to risk/reward. Is the risk of someone gaining access to my bank login worth the convenience of downloading my electronic statements?

Let's get real. It's not that hard to download your monthly statements once a month. ;)


I'm not entirely sure if there's ever been a single instance of a major cloud breach. I googled this extensively and could find no actual evidence of this. This is particularly impressive since last year there were over a 1000 major corporate breaches and millions of individual attacks. Regarding how hard it is to download my monthly statements: filethisfetch is currently fetching statements from over 25 accounts for me. It does this flawlessly and saves me a ton of time. The problem is that many of these vendors simply send you an email saying "your statement is ready". They do not, however, provide a link that takes you straight to your statement. They expect you to log on to their website, input your username and password, navigate to the part where they store your statement, open that statement and then save it into Evernote. Since every website is a little different I often waste a lot of time figuring out where in the site the document is. With filethisfetch I literally do nothing! I glance at my filethisfetch notebook in Evernote every few days and check to see if a document has been pulled and is sitting there ie: it will say Charles Schwab(1). I then now that my latest Schwab statement has been pulled and is ready for me to review. Every once in a while there will be a lag and I will receive a notice from American Express saying that my statement is ready (but I won't see it appear in Evernote). Whenever this occurs I simply have to go to filethisfetch and click once on " American express " and it fetches it immediately. In fact, I think that ultimately it may make sense to simply visit filethisfetch every week or so and simply click on all the accounts. It's a great service and probably more suited to people who have a lot of services that they interface with.

#20 idoc

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Posted 25 June 2012 - 04:24 AM

Incidentally, just after I posted I received the following email:

"You have just a week or less left on your FileThis Fetch Trial. Are you ready to upgrade?

FileThis Fetch has already fetched 486 documents from 11 connections and delivered them to your Evernote account. Subscribe now and help us grow this great service. Simply click here to subscribe."


- The FileThis Team

Needless to say I clicked and subscribed. Incidentally, when they say "11 connections", each connection can fetch several different statements eg: if you have 5 accounts at Schwab they will retrieve 5 different statements but count it as 1 connection.





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