After more than a year of in-depth development and testing, Wells Fargo’s Control TowerSM, a personal finance management tool, is now available to all Wells Fargo mobile and online banking consumer and small business customers in the U.S.
The digital tool — part of Wells Fargo Mobile® and Wells Fargo Online® Banking — has launched nationwide after a nine-state pilot for customers and a companywide team-member pilot that attracted a surge of users and positive reviews, the company said.
Designed to simplify a customer’s digital footprint, Control Tower enables customers to manage key elements of their financial lives through a few clicks on a computer or taps on a mobile device. Customers can view a list of their recurring payments and track where their Wells Fargo debit or credit card or account information is shared with certain third-party financial companies in a single, centralized location.
The feature also includes valuable practical capabilities like the ability to turn on or off Wells Fargo cards if they have been misplaced — a popular feature added to Wells Fargo’s mobile app and online banking in early 2017. It can also turn on or off mobile wallet access and in-person debit card international transactions.
“Control Tower empowers people,” said Jim Smith, head of Wells Fargo Digital Channels. “It gives them the capability to view their financial connection points clearly and conveniently, and also to take action when needed to manage their money wisely.”
Control Tower pays off in savings
Jill Larsen said it didn’t take long for Control Tower to make a difference in her life. When she began using the feature during the pilot phase and was able to see all of her subscription payments in one location, she discovered she had been paying twice annually for the same antivirus subscription.
Larsen is not alone. A recent Harris Poll conducted for Wells Fargo shows 31 percent of Americans have paid for subscriptions or memberships that they didn’t use in the past year. Respondents said they had an average of three paid subscriptions that were unused or unneeded.
“I hate to admit it, but I didn’t even know I was being charged twice until I used Control Tower,” said Larsen, director of the portfolio management office for Wells Fargo Wealth and Investment Management. “So I could see a real advantage immediately — that I could identify a double charge like that and do something about it. I felt like I was indeed in control, which obviously is why the tool is called Control Tower.”
Such positive experiences have helped fuel usage of Control Tower during the pilots, said Ben Soccorsy, head of Wells Fargo’s digital payments team. At the current pace, the company expects more than one million users of Control Tower by the end of 2018, he said.
“What the response says to us is our hypothesis from the beginning was right — that people really do want this capability to have more finer-grain control of things like their recurring payments and other aspects of their digital financial lives,” he said. “Customers are really getting value from using Control Tower. It gives transparency and visibility to their financial lives by bringing all these things together in one place.”
Proactive in innovation
Wells Fargo has been among the most proactive large banks in rolling out a personal finance feature like Control Tower, industry observers say. Earlier this year, Bankrate.com reported on Control Tower as a prime example of banks “warming up to open banking” — the concept of empowering consumers and making financial services more transparent across platforms.
The company has also introduced enhancements like Pay with Wells Fargo — a new interface for the Wells Fargo Mobile banking app rolling out later this year — Zelle® person-to-person payments, card-free ATM access at all Wells Fargo ATMs, and more.
The fast pace of introducing new technologies is proof of Wells Fargo’s commitment to innovation, and Control Tower is no exception, Soccorsy said. The tool is being launched to the full base of mobile and online consumer and small business customers less than 15 months since CEO Tim Sloan announced the technology in July 2017.
“We are not just talking innovation, we are doing innovation,” he said. “We have an innovative culture and we are increasingly focused on bringing new things to market fast. We know our customers demand that, and we are responding. We know we serve them best when we stay ahead of the digital transformation in their lives.”