A Virtual Lock Box

Store everything from wills to family photos in an online safe.

Say somebody steals your wallet while you're traveling. Wouldn't it be convenient to recover copies of crucial credit-card infor-mation and other documents from any computer, anywhere?

How about a record of your will, trust documents, medical or tax records -- even family photos, favorite songs and the video of your daughter's first dance recital -- in the event of a house fire or other disaster?

Starting this summer, Wells Fargo customers can lock away copies of such treasures in the vSafe, a virtual safe-deposit box. A virtual copy isn't a legal document, but it sure can help reconstitute one that's lost or destroyed.

Subscribe to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

Be a smarter, better informed investor.

Save up to 74%

Sign up for Kiplinger’s Free E-Newsletters

Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice on investing, taxes, retirement, personal finance and more - straight to your e-mail.

Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice - straight to your e-mail.

Sign up

The vSafe will be rolled out nationwide by year-end. Prices range from $4.95 a month for a 1-gigabyte safe to $14.95 a month for 6GB of storage -- enough for 60,000 documents or 3,900 digital photographs.

Wells Fargo isn't the first to dream up online storage. But don't discount its old-line banking reputation, says Celent analyst Bob Meara. "You've got to believe that Wells will bend over backward to make things secure."

If you're happy with your current bank, says Meara, there's probably no need to switch. He expects online vaults to catch on at other banks soon.

Anne Kates Smith
Executive Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

Anne Kates Smith brings Wall Street to Main Street, with decades of experience covering investments and personal finance for real people trying to navigate fast-changing markets, preserve financial security or plan for the future. She oversees the magazine's investing coverage,  authors Kiplinger’s biannual stock-market outlooks and writes the "Your Mind and Your Money" column, a take on behavioral finance and how investors can get out of their own way. Smith began her journalism career as a writer and columnist for USA Today. Prior to joining Kiplinger, she was a senior editor at U.S. News & World Report and a contributing columnist for TheStreet. Smith is a graduate of St. John's College in Annapolis, Md., the third-oldest college in America.