Open Banking API

The UK Banking establishment began opening up their Open Banking API on the 13th January this year, Allowing 3rd party's access to bank account information.

 

What is the time frame for YNAB to take advantage of this facility?

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  • For the ones who have some more computer knowledge, I created a script that supports the FinTS protocol (most german banks), BBVA (spanish bank) and N26: https://github.com/schurig/ynab-bank-importer

    Mission: A script that can run every 15 minutes on a small and cheap mini-computer at your home (eg. raspberry pi) with an easy configuration and support for most European banks.

    It's already working as expected on my raspberry pi at home. It runs every 15 minutes since February this year and imports all my new transactions from my bank accounts. Of course I maintain the script in my spare time. Check out the link above to get more information. Unfortunately, you will need some knowledge about unix systems and maybe docker to set it up. I tried to make it as simple as possible.

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  • It would be great to see this function  internationally especially here in Australia. If the provider can't deliver the service your subscribers would like, why not find a provider thats able to deliver?

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  • Faness first of all, thank you for answering in this treat. My current observations with questions/suggestions:

    1. YNAB currently uses 3 direct import partner, which non of currently use Open Banking API
      1. I thought it was the purpose of Open Banking that you do not need to have Direct Import partner, but that YNAB (or any other application) can utilize standardized APIs. (I could be wrong here).
      2. Why not to search for nonUS import partner; and not only from UK, but many other EU countries.
      3. You have great community, and I bet that some people in here would be happy to help you if you would reach out to them. (For example I could help with Czechia).
      4. I dont know how much you pay the other direct import partners, but it might be also feasible to do it yourself (hire someone from EU to create the functionality. You pay your employee and not a 3rd party). Plus the labor cost could be 2x; 3x cheaper. (don't think of EU just as UK).
    2. There might not be a cookie-cutter solution. It seems to me YNAB is not proactive enough and just waits for solution to "appear". I don't know how much effort has been put into investigating the whole EU Open Banking and how to utilize it. For us (non-US) customers, it is just sad to see lots of change logs that are meaningless to us and wonder why do our subscription money go. I would really hope that the amount of money that goes to support US direct import and how much to support non-US direct import is at least proportional to your split between US and non-US customers.

    My suggestion would be to make a proper project out of it. Allocate justified resources to this support (proportional to your non-US user-base). Tap into your community, there are people that can help. With them you can also develop the solution for EU and have huge competitive advantage. Be open about what you do and are your next steps. There are no obstacles that cannot be solved, they are just challenges.

    Reply Like 1
    • Hi Stepan !

      Thank you for taking the time to weigh-in here! :)

      1. A while back, our initial Direct Import partner moved away from supporting banks outside of the US and Canada. We then found our second Direct Import partner who was attempting connections to UK banks! However, after working with them for some time, the number of issues they were having with international institutions became so great that they stopped supporting most of them (there are still a small number of UK banks they support). Our third Direct Import partner does build direct connections to financial institutions - however, we can't guarantee when they'll turn their focus on international banks specifically.

      We chose to outsource direct import because we don't have the resources or man power to build and maintain bank connections. For a number of reasons, we wanted to leave data aggregation in the hands of those more experienced, while we focused on budgeting (it's what we handle best!). ;)

      2. Have you taken a look at the API section of the forum? A number of users have done exactly what you've suggested! They've built custom integrations for their banks and some have shared their work with others! 

      We know there's room for improvement when it comes to Direct Import and we're working on it! We have a number of projects in store to try to make this experience better!

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  • I really wanted to stay with YNAB as I liked the way it works. but open banking is out there since January and manual importing is a pain in the arse, does not having a plan with dates when you will leverage it is a failure. There are sites that already supports hundreds of banks worldwide even at lower costs, and I'm pretty sure the number of these sites will increase over time.

    My subscription will end in December if YNAB does not come out with a solution to support European banks this year, I will look for another budgeting app.

    Reply Like 3
      • Matt C
      • mcothier
      • 10 mths ago
      • 6
      • Reported - view

      Powder Blue Door I feel the same. I really resent paying money to a company that just doesn’t seem to care about anywhere except the US and Canada. It’s a shame because it is great software, but why should I pay the same as the people in the US and Canada who are getting a vastly superior product with the bank connectivity? I would mind a little less if it felt like YNAB were frantically trying to resolve the issue, but I feel like they aren’t. Very disappointing.

      Reply Like 6
    • Matt C Couldn't have said that better. 👍

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    • Matt C feel the same. Will not renew next year if this goes on

      Reply Like
      • Michael
      • Developer
      • ganey
      • 10 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Navy Blue Mainframe (921c4670f192) 

      I'm reaching the same point for renewal, tempted to go back to YNAB4, at least I've already paid for it and it basically does everything the web version can for the non-US customers.

      Reply Like
  • The trouble for UK users is for them to be able to use YNAB safely, the company must be registered as an AIS or AIP:

    https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/saving/article-5174477/You-share-online-banking-passwords-safely.html

     

    It's not fair, YNAB is a great concept but who really wants to risk losing everything because it makes some things easier?

    Reply Like 1
  • Am super disappointed with the apparent movement away from non US banks. I've been usingg YNAB for a number of years and my yearky subscription renewed a couple of months ago, if i had been keeping up on this topic i would have cancelled. As it stands you have my money now. But i activly trying other options and i have no doubt that if this is the same position in 9 months then i will be cancelling my subcription and moving elsewhere.

    Truly disappointed with this as i think you have a great product.

     

    Paul

    Reply Like 4
  • Harry Knoener  Thanks for mentioning the alternatives. I have been a YNAB user for many years (since 2011 I think), but my patience has also worn thin; especially considering we're paying the same price. It's very useful with a good list of alternatives, so I'll be looking into those.

     

    YNAB: You have a wonderful product in many ways, so if I do switch I will be looking at YNABs progress once in a while. But I don't think I will renew come February due to this issue not being prioritized, while price is not being differentiated.

    Reply Like 2
    • Gandalf Saxe Couldn't agree more.

      We might be a audience that is too small for them to invest precious DEV resources. 

      But solving the pricing issue is not rocket science. Even a discount code for non US citizens would do the trick if they can't manage to offer pricing based on location.

      But to charge the same for a product without it's best feature and not planning to improve any time soon is a very disappointing approach.
      My renewal is early 2019 and I'm also heavily researching alternatives as, while I love the product, I don't want to support a company that cares so little about its (non US) customers.

      Reply Like 1
      • Michael
      • Developer
      • ganey
      • 8 mths ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Blue Motherboard 

      What's amusing is, the guy that maintains the fintech-to-ynab on GitHub has been working on integrations with truelayer in his spare time and it works really well. Support for quite a lot of UK banks on it too!

      So if a single developer can manage it in his spare time, YNAB obviously don't care about UK users or better integrations for them. 

      Reply Like 4
    • Michael They should just hire the guy who did that (fintech-to-ynab/syncforynab)! Problem solved for all.

      Reply Like 1
      • Matt C
      • mcothier
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Michael This was exactly what I was thinking!

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  • Have a look at EMMA.  Currently only app based but web version in Q1.  Also only default categories at present but user defined ones coming along in December.  Direct Import from most UK banks and financial institutions.  Again if YNAB reading this I do not want to move.  No problem with paying premium price but feel not getting the love :-(

    Reply Like 1
  • I have been following this thread for long. Wanted to bump it again. I submitted a feature request with below description.

     

    To be able to direct import from EU banks. I myself live in Denmark and use Danske Bank, the biggest bank in the country. They have lots of modern tools coming out and with PSD2 I am sure that it would be possible to integrate with YNAB. At the moment I am dependent on a third party provider to convert a csv-file to QFX to import in YNAB. Not really that smooth for a subscription service as your own. Your EU users gets much less money for their buck than your US users. Please shift just a bit of your attention to this problem :-)

    Reply Like 2
      • Michael
      • Developer
      • ganey
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Alexander G I wouldn't have wasted your time. Feature requests seem to just be ignored if you are outside the US.

      I've been a YNAB customer since YNAB 4 and am fed up with the lack of Europe support. YNAB doesn't care about customers outside the US. As much as I support the work done for https://syncforynab.com/ it should have been developed by YNAB.

      What's the point in me subscribing to YNAB if i then have to pay for a separate service to make full use of YNAB features? 

      Just to have decent UK banking support makes my total annual subscription close to $100. With so many other providers coming to market now for FREE and offering much better UK/EU support, I won't be renewing YNAB this year.

      Reply Like
    • Alexander G Thank you for taking the time to submit that feature request! Direct import for international institutions has proven to be evasive for our current Direct Import partners. We had hoped our most recent Direct Import partner would be able to handle international connections, but things haven't exactly gone as planned. Our development team is always looking to make improvements and we're considering better import options for the future!

      We know this thread has some history to it and we appreciate your patience! You can continue to submit those feature requests when they come to mind and we'll make sure to announce any progress we make! :)

      Reply Like
    • Michael I truly apologize for the frustration. I know this has been a long awaited feature but it just isn't within our grasp yet. We still fully advocate for File Based Importing as the first line of importing, but we know it isn't as convenient as direct import. While direct import for international institutions isn't in our plans for the immediate future, we are still striving towards improvements. We don't want to see you go, but we understand your concerns and we hope to someday provide international support. 

      Reply Like
  • Hi there I've been following this feature request and one thing I still don't quite understand is - why does YNAB have to wait for the import partner rather than experimenting  with other options as well? TrueLayer as suggested a while ago offers a free sandbox account for testing and provides balance and transaction data for many EU banks in a standardised format. Is it not feasible to incorporate this into the YNAB system? What format do the import partners provide their data in that it is so difficult to recreate from a comprehensive API such as this? It seems to me that more time and effort has been put in to frustrated communication with middlemen who do not seem like they are going to provide the service requested than it would take for a couple of developers to effectively integrate a service like TrueLayer which is targeted specifically at EU banks. It certainly seems like there is a lot of demand for this feature and market-share which is at risk of being lost to more agile competitors.

    Reply Like 2
    • Hi Orchid Viper !

      We completely understand your frustration. We originally had one Direct Import partner and branched out in hopes of better supporting stable connections with financial institutions (international institutions included). We outsource direct import because we want your information to be as safe as possible, so we trust companies who specialize and have experience in bank aggregation and import. At the moment, this isn't something we want to bring in-house but the need for improvement is not lost on us!

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      • Freitas
      • Violet_Captain
      • 5 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Faness here you go.. just use them: https://truelayer.com/

      Reply Like 1
    • Faness  Thanks for your reply. I can see some of the reasons YNAB might do it this way and I hope they fully explore whatever options are available to them. I don't think it's a moral thing though I don't have any particularly strong positive or negative feelings towards the company. At the end of the day I'll just use whichever platform I prefer. Also none of this frustration is directed at you personally, I hope you have a good day.

      Reply Like 1
  • Ugh. +1 for everything that's been said by customers. I'm out.

    Reply Like 1
  • I've started using https://syncforynab.com who was created by a developer who was tired of YNAB's neglect of non-US customers. It's working really well with HSBC and Monzo.

    I can't believe that YNAB has even tried to solve this, if a one man band can sort out so nicely.

    It's frankly outrageous from YNAB, and the moment a good competitor shows up, they'll lose all their non-US customers in one go... that moment is near with so many solutions coming for Open Banking and all the Fintech.

    Reply Like 1
      • Michael
      • Developer
      • ganey
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Freitas sync for ynab is great, I used the GitHub version for quite some time and trialed syncforynab to help find any issues. it frustrates me that it fills a gap that shouldn't exist. And now that it does YNAB have no interest in having EU integration because someone else has done it. No costs, maintenance or bug fixing for YNAB.

       

      Have you tried Yolt or Emma? The behaviour is different to YNAB but still has the same end goal. Various UK banks are now adding budgeting tools inthier own apps/websites, so personally I feel YNAB may loose what grip it still has on its EU customers this year.

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    • Freitas totally agree. I do not understand YNAB devs nor the mangement. The moment the first good EU competitor comes around they will loose all their customers

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  • Totally agree with the level of frustration of all the non-USA users in this thread. Unless YNAB sorts something out by the time my subscription expires I'll also be moving elsewhere. If independent developers can get 1 of the 2 banks that I use working with syncing to YNAB (for an extra monthly fee) then I don't see why YNAB can't add this. But they have said it themselves, they really don't have any plans for non-USA based customers banks. Good to know the reality of the situation. But its' really frustrating I need to pay the same amount as USA based customers and then either hack something together or pay an extra subscription fee to have my non-USA bank syncing. 

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  • Agree with everything here. Moneyhub are using Yodlee which seems to work pretty well. 

    There's plenty of these companies out there I can only assume YNAB doesnt want to open its purse strings and pay for a new partner contract  to sort this out. 

    They've taken they're own frugality lessons too far and clearly aren't interested outside America. 

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  • The big pain with Open Banking is that it is actually NOT a standard API.

    PSD2 just says that you, as a bank, have to provide APIs to access certain types of data.That means that you have to implement connectivity over and over again for EVERY bank, because every API is different.

     

    missed opportunity really.

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