October 22, 2019

Refreshing Secure Document Storage

CONSIDER THE SAFE DEPOSIT BOX

Consider the safe deposit box: a locked box at a bank, that no one besides the person who’s renting it can access—not even the bank. Built to survive a disaster, and store the valuable things a person probably wouldn’t want to store in their house, like their jewels, fine artwork, and copies of important documents. There are 25 million safe deposit boxes in the United States, and only about half of them are in use, as secure climate-controlled self-storage, electronic financial transactions, and digital document storage become safer, cheaper, and more convenient than having your stuff in a bank vault you can only access during bank hours. What if you need your antique oil paintings in the middle of the night?

You might wonder how, in the age of all-digital everything, the safe deposit box could still be relevant. Before we (Jason and Roland) founded Safely Deposit, we would have wondered that too.

But, as we found out, there are still plenty of situations in which you need to have an actual paper copy of something. And those situations are attached to some of the most important things we do in our lives. Digital copies of our most important stuff should be standard practice — and we’ve got that taken care of too — but many of us need to store physically signed (“wet signature”) original copies of things like wills and insurance documents. Or we need somewhere safe to put our children’s original birth certificates, instructions for how to deal with our digital assets after our deaths, backup keys for cryptocurrency, or redundant digital storage.

It may not be antique oil paintings, but in a whole other way, it’s still big stuff. When it’s important to keep a physical copy of something, it turns out, it’s really important. And yet, a lot of people don’t have a great way of storing the important papers in their lives: they hope a digital facsimile will be enough, or they store the documents in a special drawer or safe in their home. We wondered what was keeping people from protecting those very important pieces of paper. And of course, what might be a better way to help them do it.

BUILDING BETTER OPTIONS

In answer to the first question, we found out: storing physical documents is just... kind of hard to do. Remember those 25 million safe deposit boxes? And the half of them that are empty? Turns out, most of them aren’t the right size to store documents. When Jason was trying to find a safe deposit box for his son’s birth certificate, he tried every bank within ten miles of his house—no one had anything that could fit the document. Between the two of us, we’ve now talked to over 100 banks, and only found a small handful of document-sized safe deposit boxes.  

You might think home safes are a good choice for this—after all, what if you need those documents in an emergency situation? We thought that too, and then we learned how hard it is to actually secure a home safe. Many are not actually fire- or flood-proof. They’re also hard to secure from theft: did you know a safe needs to be anchored to a wall to be properly secure? It involves pouring concrete a lot of the time, and it costs thousands of dollars to actually secure properly. We came to see that this is why so many of us have a drawer or special cabinet to store these things, but that’s not really ideal either; it’s even less fire, flood, and theft-proof. Plus, if something happens to you, people may not know where to find your important documents.

So, when we wondered why people don’t secure their important papers? It’s because there isn’t really a secure and easy way to do it—and because people are worried that they might need those documents at a moment’s notice.

As for what might be a better way, we realized that safe deposit boxes are almost a great solution. For instance, the security that comes with being housed inside an actual bank. Unlike the home safes we mentioned, bank vaults can (and do!) survive natural disasters, because they’re built to. They’re official: you can use it to store things in a neutral location, for example documents that you’d want all your children to have equal legal access to. 

There’s kind of a paradox in needing documents in an emergency: important documents need to be protected, and the average household doesn’t have a great way to do that. But you also want to have access to them at a moment’s notice—after all, they’re important. Plus, as we learned earlier, there’s the problem of finding a safe deposit box to begin with.

We realized this is a unique situation, one in which we have the opportunity to combine the security of physical storage with the efficiency and convenience of technology. So our goal has been to design something that makes it quick and easy to keep your stuff safe. 

HOW IT WORKS

Safely Deposit is refreshing secure document storage for the digital age. 

When you sign up, we’ll send you a welcome kit, including an insured FedEx envelope and a checklist of important documents you might want to store. Then, (optionally) we make high-quality digital copies for your records before it all gets sent to one of our partner banks for storage. You now have a secure digital copy of everything you sent us, ready when you need it. When you need your actual stuff in-hand, you just request it through our app, and it’ll be at your home, office, or wherever you need it to go, usually within about 48 hours.


We are very aware that you’re trusting us with some of the most important stuff in your life—it’s important enough that you’re bothering to keep a physical copy of it in the first place. We take that so, so seriously. This stuff is precious and represents some of the biggest choices and life events you will ever have.

GET IN TOUCH

We’re not the type of people who like to be front and center. We like to solve interesting problems in such a way that it’s almost unnoticeable—our style is making things seamlessly easier and better. 

We hope that’s what Safely Deposit does for our customers’ lives: fades into the background until you need us. Because for things that could cause so much anxiety if they were lost or damaged—things that represent life milestones, contingency plans, and stability—the goal is to worry about them as little as possible. If you’re not thinking about us, we’ve done our jobs.

And we mean it: we want you to feel 100% secure trusting us with your documents. So, we’re here to answer any question you have—really! If you’re wondering what it would look like to work with us, or if you just want some cool safe deposit box trivia (we’re experts now), feel free to send us a message—you can email at info@safelydeposit.com, or send us a message through the chat feature on our website


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