The Caisses d’Epargne, the
association of French savings banks, has launched an online ‘vault’
for its retail and SME customers. The Webcoffre tool is an
electronic vault – a secure online storage space in which to store
documents – accessible 24 hours a day. The product is being offered
in three tiers: Bronze, Silver and Gold, with respective storage
capacities of up to 1GB, 5GB and 10GB of data. The largest
individual file size permitted is 50MB.
Fees range from €30 ($42) for a 12-month Bronze account to €120
for a yearly Gold account, and are subject to a 10 percent discount
for a second year and a 20 percent discount for the third.
According to the bank, France’s fourth-largest retail bank, a
Webcoffre Bronze account would typically be able to hold more than
1,000 documents, while a Gold account would be able to store more
To protect documents from computer viruses or hacking, Webcoffre
offers high security storage provided by Atos Worldline, a leading
European IT player specialising in high-volume electronic
transaction processing, electronic payment services, card
processing, client relation management and e-services.
A safeguarding check is carried out daily, and the vault can be
accessed only by the account holder, although plans are under way
for the Gold account to contain an option for other designated
users. After the current term of the account has expired, customers
will be able to access their documents for up to three months. In
addition to this, Caisse d’Epargne will send the customer an e-mail
15 days before the account closure deadline as well as a mobile
phone text message one week before the date.
Customers can have their electronic documents certified to prove
that a file has not been modified since the date of its
certification. This works through the creation of a unique
footprint solely related to that particular document. To certify a
document, a customer selects the certification option when
depositing the file into the Webcoffre account. The unique
certification number allocated to the document costs €0.10 per
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A recent survey of 8,000 customers, conducted by Caisse d’Epargne
and used to support the launch of the product, concluded that one
in three of them approved of this new product.
This type of online service is not new and technology companies are
some of the bigger players in the market. A similar product is
offered in the UK by the country’s dominant telecommunications
provider, British Telecom, which offers 2GB of free storage as well
as a 20GB vault that costs £4.99 ($9.96) a month. AT&T, the
US’s largest telecom, provides an online vault service for $7.95
per month for 2GB, and then charges $2 for every GB
A number of banks in the US also offer web vaulting. Commerce Bank,
for instance, rolled out its Virtual Private Bank last year, a
service that came with a tool called The Vault. The product was
marketed as an online safe deposit box for documents such as wills,
trusts, passports, birth certificates, medical records, tax
returns, warranties, insurance photos, family photos and videos,
and other invaluable records.