Secure your Passwords on the Cheap with MyWallet

Posted by | September 03, 2011 | Apps | No Comments

Think fast, how many web app accounts do you have? Now, how many software licenses? What about bank accounts or email addresses? I’d wager at least several dozen. That’s a lot of user names, passwords and numbers to remember. To help Mac users keep track of their myriad digital profiles, a number of apps have been developed to store and organize all your personal and private information.

I’ve been an avid 1Password user for almost a year now, and I’d be useless without it. However, at $40, it’s not the most affordable option available, and major competitor Wallet is still a bit steep at $20. MyWallet is a newer app offering the basic functionality of a password manager at the much more palatable price of $2.99. Read on to find out if you can still enjoy the benefits of password management without shelling out the cash.

Getting Started

When you first open up MyWallet, you’re asked if you want to encrypt your data and add a master password. Seems like a bit of a no-brainer to me, but then again, my sister keeps all her passwords in Dashboard sticky notes.

The MyWallet lock screen

The MyWallet lock screen

Adding Accounts

There are five templates for account info: credit card, bank account, web login, passport/ID, and software license, in addition to secure contacts or notes. Each account type offers a different set of default form fields. Though you can’t edit the default fields, you can add custom fields to an account, which is especially useful for bank information, since you might want to add important information like a routing or transit number.

Adding account info

Adding account info

You can also create different types of fields, such as “secure” which only display when you click “show.” Custom fields are actually better supported in MyWallet than in 1Password, which only lets you add custom fields to certain account types.

Adding a custom field

Adding a custom field

Viewing and Browsing Accounts

Unlike more expensive competitors, MyWallet doesn’t offer many organization options. You can choose how to sort your accounts, but you can’t organize them into folders or tags, and there isn’t a search option.

One long list of logins

One long list of logins

Viewing account information is much like in other password managers, where you click on a field to copy it to your clipboard. A bit of an annoyance with MyWallet is that empty fields are displayed, and you can’t re-order fields, so that any custom fields you added will appear at the bottom.

Different field types also offer different actions: click the envelope icon beside an email address to open in your mail client, or the one beside a phone number to call with Skype or FaceTime

Phone number actions

Phone number actions

Interface and Design

Unlike some of the other free or cheap password management apps out there, MyWallet boasts a simple yet attractive design and friendly interface. MyWallet offers customizable backgrounds (reminiscent of Wunderlist), and non-standard but inoffensive form fields (and yes, you can get rid of the handwritten font). One seemingly random and annoying feature is that the window is not resizable, which is especially irritating when you have accounts with many fields.

You can always add your own backgrounds by replacing the files in the application package

You can always add your own backgrounds by replacing the files in the application package

Encryption

MyWallet offers similar encryption technology to the more expensive applications, using the same 256-bit AES encryption as Wallet (though some might argue that 256-bit is overkill). Your data is stored locally on your computer in an encrypted SQLite file in the documents folder.

iPhone App

MyWallet offers a similar iPhone and iPad App, which doesn’t sync with the desktop version, but can import data from it through basic iTunes document sharing. The developers promise eventual WiFi syncing via Bonjour.

What You’re Missing

At only a fraction of the price of more fully-featured password managers, you’re bound to be missing some key features. If you’re looking for the following features, you’ll find MyWallet insufficient:

  • Browser integration (1Password integrates with all major browsers, Wallet integrates with Chrome and Safari)
  • Folders, smart folders, tags, and search
  • Easy device syncing
  • Strong password generation

Other Options

If you’re looking for a free or affordable password manager, MyWallet isn’t your only option:

LastPass

LastPass is probably the most popular password manager out there, it’s multi-platform, browser-based, and, best of all, free. If you’re looking for a free solution to integrate with your browser, LastPass is probably the way to go.

However, some people don’t feel comfortable storing their sensitive data online, and LastPass was hacked in May, though the company claims to have made significant security improvements since.

KeePassX

KeePassX is an open-source, multi-platform password manager that received a lot of support from Appstorm readers in a previous password manager roundup. It doesn’t feature browser integration, but does offer much better management options than MyWallet, like search and groups.

Conclusion

I was pleasantly surprised by MyWallet’s functionality and interface. Though missing some of the key features of more expensive apps (especially browser integration), it’s still a solid password manager that performs its function well. If you usually stick to one browser, MyWallet would be a nice complement to your browser’s built-in autofill for when you’re using a different browser or computer.

Though I’d never switch from 1Password, I would absolutely recommend MyWallet to anyone that struggles to remember passwords (or stores them in unencrypted sticky notes), and doesn’t want to spend $20+ for a more fully-featured application. I’m hoping the application continues to develop, some better organization and browsing options would be welcome additions.

I’m guessing that a lot of Appstorm readers are devoted 1Password or LastPass users, but I’d be curious to hear what other applications or methods are being used. How do you keep your online life secure?