Update on Direct Import in the UK and EU

Hey everyone—but especially our customers over in Europe. I want to give you an update on UK and EU Direct Import. 

To put it as plainly as possible, the process is underway. Our initial focus is on the UK, but we are optimistic that at least a few EU countries will not be far behind. In order to turn on Direct Import in the UK with Plaid, one of our transaction aggregation partners, we are required to set up a legal entity in Europe, and that’s what we’re working on currently. There are contracts and lawyers and regulators involved, and things are moving as fast as they can when contracts and lawyers and regulators are involved. It's hard to say when the legal portion of the implementation will be completed so any date target I give you today would be a guess. However, once we’re in the clear there, we’ll make the required changes to add UK institutions to YNAB. 

I also wanted to address some of the questions about TrueLayer. For anyone not yet aware, this is the transaction aggregation partner Sync for YNAB uses to import transactions. Implementing TrueLayer would mean going through the same legal process we are currently working through with Plaid, so there’s no way for us to shortcut or expedite this. We’re also not looking to add another transaction aggregation partner to our mix at this time. 

Last year the team that works on connections, accounts, and transactions (all seven of us!) completed several large projects, alongside the usual bug fixes and smaller improvements. Since Todd’s last update on Direct Import we’ve reduced the number of transaction aggregation providers from four to two, released pending transactions, and added support for OAuth institutions. Our work on OAuth was a prerequisite for supporting Direct Import in either the UK or the EU, and we had a few other stray ducks we needed to line up before expanding into new regions. 

If there’s one thing you take away from this message it should be this: Direct Import for the UK is happening. It’s no longer a dream and it’s more than an intention. It’s in motion and we’re working on it right now. We hope that the EU will not be far behind. We are unbelievably excited to bring Direct Import to many more customers this year—we know it’s been a long wait. I’m around if you have any questions. 

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  • Thank you for this update. So if I understand correctly, Truelayer will be used for the EU banks? If yes this means, I can immediately put a red cross on Swiss banks as they do not support any as of yet. Correct me if I am wrong.

    Like 1
      • Tomato Colt
      • Tomato_Colt.1
      • 7 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Slate Blue Cartridge Hi, I think Hannah is saying they will not be using Truelayer as they have been consolidating partners and don't want to start adding them again.  Looking at PlaidI believe 

      Like 1
    • Tomato Colt Thanks for correcting me ! 

      Like 2
      • Hannah M-M
      • Product Manager
      • hannahmm_ynab
      • 7 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Slate Blue Cartridge good question. As of now, the plan is to use Plaid for both EU and UK banks. Unfortunately, at the moment Plaid does not support Swiss banks either, but we're hopeful that will change soon. 

      Like
    • Hannah M-M OK :(

      Like 1
    • Slate Blue Cartridge i think truelayer supports more banks than plaid. so not that great. 

      PDS2 should of made this great. somehow all these integrators struggle. 

      Like
  • Thank you Hannah.  A comprehensive update and a positive one😄 Please keep us up to speed with progress in this forum.  

    Like 1
      • Hannah M-M
      • Product Manager
      • hannahmm_ynab
      • 7 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Tomato Colt absolutely! Will do. 

      Like 1
  • Hi Hannah, thank you for the update and for the details!

    I recently tried a different budgeting provider who could no longer sync with EU banks because their provider was UK based and Brexit threw a wrench in that cog.

    Is there reason to believe Plaid will not run into similar problems when working towards integration with EU banks?

    Thank you kindly. Keep rocking!

    Like 1
      • Hannah M-M
      • Product Manager
      • hannahmm_ynab
      • 7 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Sea Green Griffin that's a great question. Brexit is definitely throwing wrenches into many fintechs' cogs and we're keeping a close eye on it. Plaid has a base in both the UK and the EU so we are optimistic that we will be able to move forward with both. If that changes we will let you know! 

      Like
    • Hi Hannah M-M , it's been nearly 4 months since this update.

      Are things still moving? Have there been snags along the way? Has the strategy needed to change?

      As someone who has worked in software for the last 16 years, I understand things change. Often. More than we think. But keeping paying customers in the dark about the roadmap makes them feel devalued. Consider showing a peek behind the curtain. You guys have a rocking product and are working to make it better. That should suffice. 

      You don't need to get it on the first go, but we are waiting for this for a long time now and you eventually need to get it. Give us something. Tentatively for Q3? Q4? 2022H1? Even if you have to update your expectations later, that is still alright.  In my experience, if your users are very keen on a feature, and it's a big journey to get there, it's generally a good thing to bring them along for the journey.

      I wish you luck and continued success!

      Like 3
    • Sea Green Griffin A little more generous than I feel right now but I couldn't agree more about the need for YNAB  to communicate proactively.   Especially true when UK/EU users have the perception that we are paying for something which is not being delivered.  

      Like
      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 3 mths ago
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      Sea Green Griffin If you looked through the thread, you would have seen that yesterday (before your post), Nicole posted that they are still working through the legal/regulatory issues.

      Like 2
  • Excellent news. Thanks for the update and glad those of us on this side of the pond will soon get some sort of feature parity without having to pay for additional services. 
    :)

    Like 2
  • Thanks for the update which is good to hear. Any rough timeline for this?

    Like 1
      • Hannah M-M
      • Product Manager
      • hannahmm_ynab
      • 7 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Orange Python the lawyers would probably advise me against it, but I think it's safe to say that we are looking at months. Not weeks, not years, but still months. We are doing our best to keep the number of months low, but the regulatory review timeline is largely out of our control.  As soon as I can confidently share anything firmer, I will. 

      Like 1
  • I am a former user from Europe Sweden, that skipped YNAB due to no bank sync - even though there are providers such as SaltEdge and budgetbaker etc that do provide connection to a lot of European banks, And also to banks in Asia, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and some banks in Americas outside of US.

    And apps like MoneyWiz placed in US? using them

    Will start with YNAB again as soon as bank sync works.

     

    Checked Plaid and they have very few setups in Europe

    https://plaid.com/global/

    - if you would use SaltEdge you would have a much bigger direct coverage in both EU and in UK, as well as mentioned Asia, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and some banks in Americas outside of US.

    They also seem to be located with offices in several parts of the world - maybe faster onboarding?

    I can log in to them also as a private user and see my account and from there let my apps that use SaltEdge get access (or go via the budget app e.g. YNAB ...)

    https://www.saltedge.com/pages/about

    https://www.saltedge.com/products/spectre/countries

    5205 banks in 52 countries

     

    No I am not associated with SaltEdge in any way - just still hoping to use YNAB in the future :-)

    Like 4
      • Hannah M-M
      • Product Manager
      • hannahmm_ynab
      • 7 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      EuropeBankSyncSaltEdgePlease I hear you, and thanks for the info! As you can well imagine, there are a lot of different factors that we have to consider when evaluating potential new transaction transaction aggregation partners. In the spirit of transparency, we're not looking to add any new partners at the moment. That being said, things change. We'll learn a lot from these expansion initiatives and will be better situated to chart our next moves from there. 

      Like
    • Hannah M-M EuropeBankSyncSaltEdgePlease I just had a look into the Plaid list... I am sorry to say this but unless Plaid is dramatically accelerating their adoption with more countries this is a big strategy mistake... and I second the post here. We were all expecting to get our transactions synced within Europe with the latest announcements but now 1/ we understand that it will take months  2/ Europe is summarized as France, Ireland, Spain and the Netherlands (3 of them being in beta btw). It’s a double disappointment. I understand that you can’t please everybody but Plaid don’t have to fill a gap here, it’s a Grand Canyon.... 

      Like 3
      • Hannah M-M
      • Product Manager
      • hannahmm_ynab
      • 7 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Slate Blue Cartridge your point is well taken and I've edited my original post slightly to better set expectations regarding the EU. I too wish the list of countries Plaid supported today was longer. We do expect that list to grow, but perhaps more importantly I want to emphasize that we're taking any and all expansion efforts one step at a time. As I alluded to above in my response to EuropeBankSyncSaltEdgePlease , the process of integrating with any new transaction aggregation partner is complex and takes time. Our existing partnership with Plaid gives us a big leg up in terms of the time it will take us to go live with Direct Import in the UK and parts of the EU. That being said, moving ahead with Plaid to support Direct Import in the UK and parts of the EU today doesn't preclude us from adding another partner in the future. 

      Like
    • Hannah M-M  

      Slate Blue Cartridge

      It is actually so that at present after brexit, Saltedge is waiting for their approval in EU since june, they are based in UK.

       

      but to fix for their customers they go via budgetbakers until they get fca? Approval in EU.

      so their customers still have access to all banks .

       

      maybe plaid can do the same until they fix their own connections?

       

      I understand that this will take time, so I will use something else for next 6 months and then come back and check status :-)

      Like 1
      • Tomato Colt
      • Tomato_Colt.1
      • 7 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Hannah M-M  Hi Hannah, can you tell me which UK banks are currently supported by Plaid?

      Like 1
      • Hannah M-M
      • Product Manager
      • hannahmm_ynab
      • 7 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Tomato Colt I think the easiest way to see the list is using Plaid's demo tool (make sure the "Transactions" product is selected). 

      Like 1
      • Tomato Colt
      • Tomato_Colt.1
      • 7 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Hannah M-M Thank you.  Actually if you use the search function in the demo tool Plaid supports far more UK Banks than appears at first glance

      Like 2
    • Hannah M-M Hi Hannah, 

      It is a bit disappointing how "fast" PLAID is expanding to europe. for the past year, they have not added any new bank or changes the status of the betas. 

      we have the PDS2 in EU which basically standardized all the banking interfaces. Plaid seems to be more focused on US and less on EU. and at their speed, by the time they reach my small german bank I would retire. :))

      can't you reconsider looking at an EU based integrator?

      There are a bunch of them everywhere. Pick a country and you will find a dozen of them.  

      Like 1
      • Hannah M-M
      • Product Manager
      • hannahmm_ynab
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Cornflower Blue Pony I hear you, and we are keeping a close eye on the pace and breadth of Plaid's expansion. There are many factors we have to take into account in the choice of aggregator(s) and a lot of complexity involved in adding new ones, so it's a decision we don't take lightly. 

      Like
      • Mr Cybs
      • Navy_Blue_Mainframe_921
      • 1 mth ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      EuropeBankSyncSaltEdgePlease Hannah M-M
      Hi Hannah

      The overseas community has asked fo that feature for years and it has been delayed year after year. Now it seems you will provide a partner that will be more then insufficient for that task.

      It really feels like you dont value us loyal customers from overseas.

      Like 2
      • Hannah M-M
      • Product Manager
      • hannahmm_ynab
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Mr Cybs as I've said in the past—we take our third party partnerships very seriously and there are a lot of factors we have to consider. I hope to have more updates here soon but suffice to say we will not move forward with a partner that is not up to the task. 

      Like
    • Hi Hannah M-M ,

      I am a big fan of your content and I mean no disrespect, but it seems like we might be talking past each other here (we ~= the users in this thread, though I can't speak for them and you ~=YNAB ). Let's break this down a little to see how we can get some common ground here.

      When you say "a partner that is not up to the task", what "the task" means to YNAB seems to be disaligned with what some (many?) users are allowing themselves to believe it is.

      For a long time "the task" was primarily US-based, which makes sense. And now "the task" seems to be "everything that PLAID UK provides". We can assume that will cover all of UK (which is likely great for the UK clients you have), but it is not clear what else it covers (for all your other clients), because this is as opaque a process as it goes.

      And to be very clear, you did not just take Plaid and then made your plan from there. You decided your international sync strategy, then you chose Plaid for it. We keep discussing partners, but we don't know what your strategy is in the first place, and that is really the most important thing.

      So... common ground time :) Feel free to punt this if this is information you are not prepared to divulge. But:

      What is your international sync strategy? Yes, technical difficulties will arise and dates will shift, and partnerships will flow, that is always true in software. But forgetting that for a moment, what countries do you intend to cover this year if all goes well? Do you have an inkling of an impression of a splotch of a roadmap you might want to share, even without specific dates - or veeeeeery padded ones? Or no dates at all, just a sequence of countries you are expecting to cover, so we know we are 1st or 37th in line.

      In my experience building software for 2 decades, working in/with teams and with clients, situations like this may devolve into a weird semi-grudgy space (which we might be observing a little bit) if we allow expectations to go where they sort of want to go, as opposed to explicitly managing them.

      For clarity, I'm a big fan of the product. All of it. The app sure, it rocks, but the philosophy, the materials, the ecosystem and the community. It's just that on this you are facing the expectations of a lot of people around the world and the dynamics of that relationship may be a little different. You've got this. Just don't keep us in the dark.

      Like 3
  • Brilliant news! Thank you for the update. 

    Like 1
  • Australias open banking rollout should make direct import easy. still waiting

    Like 1
      • Hannah M-M
      • Product Manager
      • hannahmm_ynab
      • 7 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      SgtBatten absolutely, open banking initiatives definitely make the process easier. We'll learn a lot from our expansion efforts in the UK and EU and will be better able to chart our next moves from there. 

      Like
  • Good news. It’s sheer coincidence I found this so soon after it was announced. How will we know when it’s available if you don’t visit these forums often?

    Like 1
      • Hannah M-M
      • Product Manager
      • hannahmm_ynab
      • 7 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Beige Drill great question! We'll be making announcements here, in our Weekly Roundup email, via our Up Next page, in our Release Notes and via in-app message. 

      Like
  • Yay!!!

    Like 1
  • This is great.  I sent a feature request for this last week. Domiciled in the Netherlands. 

    Like 1
  • It’s really disappointing news for customer in EU beside UK, France, Spain, NL and Ireland.  As a customer in Germany it’s still a long way. I guess 1-2 years...?   Direkt Import is available since 2015 and I paying  for a function I can’t use already 5+ years. I use sync for YNAB now and it cost me 55€ more to have the same functionality than US customer.  It’s  nearly double the price....

    How about a discount for people who can’t use the direkt import function till it’s available in there county?  
     

    Like 6
  • I hope you can implement Netherlands / Dutch banks via Plaid soon (especially bunq). This would finally allow me to stop using my own importing tool built with bunq's and your API. It's great we can basically do these integrations ourselves if our banks give us the access needed but having it supported by YNAB would be so much better. And I'd finally be able to rectify the subscription price, which I think is too high for what YNAB offers us currently. With Direct Import from Dutch banks (and hopefully Germany and other European countries soon, too) this will finally change.

    Like 3
  • Can I clarify.   I'm currently using SyncForYnab which has a Webhook feature for Monzo and Starling.  In other-words, when I use my card, its instantly updated on YNAB before I leave the till.  Is this supported on Plaid?  -  Whats the preferred importer - SyncForYnab or Plaid?

    Like
      • Hannah M-M
      • Product Manager
      • hannahmm_ynab
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Violet Mainframe this is a good question and I'm looking into it.

      Like
      • Brad B
      • Salmon_Jackal.3
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Hannah M-M Did you get any information about this? I was going to ask the same question 👀

      Like
      • Hannah M-M
      • Product Manager
      • hannahmm_ynab
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Brad B  (thanks for the ping!) Violet Mainframe some more info here: the webhook feature is provided by the individual financial institutions (Monzo and Starling in this case), not the direct import provider. That means we would need to implement these webhooks ourselves on the YNAB side, as Sync4YNAB has. Speaking candidly, it's unlikely we will add this feature for the initial UK launch, but we may look into it again down the road. 

      Like
    • Hannah M-M thank you for the update. I don't know if it makes a difference, but I opened a Monzo USA account (which has all the same API features that the UK version does) and would absolutely love to take advantage of it, especially since it (currently) doesn't work with Plaid. Is there any difference in supporting Monzo on the US side vs the UK one?

      Like
      • Hannah M-M
      • Product Manager
      • hannahmm_ynab
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      DaveyDave5150 apologies for the delay in responding here! In general, my understanding is that the direct import providers have to treat institutions like Monzo US and Monzo UK as distinct, each with their own unique integration. This is already the case for many banks that provide services in both the US and Canada. The UK regulations also require additional layers of permissions to be present when connecting to UK banks, which is great, but can introduce further complexity for providers accustomed to dealing with US and/or Canadian institutions. In your case you might actually be able to get more specific information by reaching out to Monzo or Plaid directly. My impression is that Monzo is still pretty new in the US so it may just be a matter of patience for them to get integrated with Plaid US. 

      Like
    • Hannah M-M thanks for the detail. It’s frustrating because there are developers that are hooking directly into the Monzo US API and I’d love to do that with YNAB. I don’t have the developer chops to set up my own web services server and utilize the API on both sides, it’s all there ready to go, I just need someone to set up the middleware. I don’t want to wait for Manzo US to support Plaid, that could take forever. Plus plaid is very slow on importing, where the API is instantaneous. As soon as I swipe my card it shows up wherever I hook it to. As far as IFTTT goes, it’s frustrating that it seems to authenticate with my Monzo account perfectly, and with wine ab, however nothing shows up and wine out because it gets lost in the middle somewhere. So I’ve been 100% manual entry unfortunately. 

      Like 1
    • Hannah M-M  I have no idea what happened, but all of a sudden my Monzo IFTTT app started working out of the blue. It never worked but today when I paid it immediately pushed the transactions to YNAB! I figure it was IFTTT updating the connection to fully support the US version of Monzo. So happy!

      Like 1
      • Hannah M-M
      • Product Manager
      • hannahmm_ynab
      • 2 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      DaveyDave5150 that's amazing news! Very glad to hear it—thanks for letting us know 😃

      Like 1
  • finally!

    Like 1
  • Brilliant brilliant brilliant. At last! Look forward to updates I hope in the not to distant future...

    Like 1
  • Please don't forget about Germany. I beg of you.

    Like 1
  • Hi Hannah M-M  is there a progress update  for the UK since your post on Feb 23rd.  Thanks

    Like 1
      • Hannah M-M
      • Product Manager
      • hannahmm_ynab
      • 5 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Tomato Colt no updates of note. We're still working on the legal and regulatory requirements, which are significant. I hope to have a more substantial update in the next few weeks. 

      Like 2
      • ddiran
      • Ivory_Hail.11
      • 5 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Hannah M-M I suspect that when legal and regulatory requirements are involved, the actual technical aspects of getting the integration up and running are a piece of cake in comparison! Wish you luck navigating the EU’s complex bureaucracy 🤞  

      Like 1
  • Hi Hannah , thanks for the update!

    It's great to hear about the efforts that the team is putting into moving this forward.

    I'm writing this comment because you mentioned that the team would also like to use Plaid for the EU market. I wanted to ask if you already checked into the data quality of the transaction data that Plaid provides for european banks?

    Last year I wrote a Plaid importer which I since then host for myself and two friends - in total it's fetching transactions from 5 different EU banks (3 different countries). The quality of the transaction data from Plaid is very poor and leads to a degraded user experience. By poor I mean that if you're really lucky you can find the payee, but what they return doesn't have anything to do with structured transaction data. I don't see any way around writing custom matchers for each individual bank (and country) to parse the result obtained through Plaid. I have also played around with TrueLayer and Saltedge last year which both provided better data quality but as an individual person it was impossible for me to use their service longer than for a few months due to their restricted demo/development mode (I'm an individual, not a company with a PSD2 licence).

    If you feel it would be beneficial to have a chat about that, feel free to reach out to me using the email linked to my account here. I would be happy to show any shortcuts or examples if the team would benefit from them to move forward in the EU market.

    Like 1
    • Martin I can only speak for the quality of the service provided by syncforynab using Truelayer.  It is excellent and I wouldn’t want to see it degraded through a change in provider.  Hopefully, as Scott Robinson is working / consulting with YNAB that mistake won’t be made

      Like
      • Martin
      • Blue_Pilot
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Tomato Colt Oh I didn’t know he is working with them, that’s great! His service also uses Plaid, so I’m sure he can second what I wrote (as far as I know he offered a beta for European bank institutions). I’d say, then it’s in good hands and they will together take the best decision given all the options.

      Like
    • Martin Scott was working with them not certain he still is.  In the UK syncforynab uses Truelayer - or it does for the 4 banks / card providers I’m taking feeds from

      Like
    • Tomato Colt Scott is still with us! I can't say for sure yet which data providers we'll be using for UK and EU Direct Import, though.

      Like 1
      • Hannah M-M
      • Product Manager
      • hannahmm_ynab
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Martin thank you so much for sharing this feedback.  There are a lot of factors at play in this process, but our highest priority is ensuring a great experience for our users. We are keeping a careful eye on data quality (and I really appreciate the heads up about your experience with Plaid). 

      Like
  • This is great news. I didn’t renew my subscription last year due to lack of this feature. Will be back in heartbeat if you can implement it!

    Like 5
  • Hi, I'm an Italian Ynaber and I still keep on my subscription because Plaid is able to handle Amex transactions worldwide. I'm an heavy amex user, so the majority of Tx goes through there. Anyways, I miss many other Tx's that I have to update manually.

    As said, please deliver any plan for EU customers as well.

     

    Thanks

    Francesco

    Like 3
  • Finally and thank you for listening guys - This is a step in the right direction!!

    I have waited so long for this and cant wait to try out the first implementation - My excitement is immeasurable! 

    Like 1
  • Very exciting!! This is my second attempt at picking up YNAB, after trying it for a year and abandoning it. I find manually inputting transactions to be such a drag and is a huge barrier for me to use the app.

    Like 1
  • Fantastic news for us in the UK can't wait. Will make the use far more user friendly..

    Like 1
  • Glad to hear that YNAB is heading towards DI in the UK. I left after many years because I got fed up with the bank integration situation. 

    Since then I've been using Buxfer which uses Salt Edge to import transactions. This seems to work fine with Barclays and Santander but not at all well with Amex. The system just fails a lot of the time and you have to operate it manually through Amex which requires a second layer of authorisation by sending you a text with 6 figures. (Maybe its more mysterious why it does work sometimes without human intervention.) Also, I'm not sure that it actually works because there seem to be difficulties in picking up all transactions. 

    Interestingly, the Salt Edge product feeds the details of my Nutmeg Isa into my Buxfer account - but no similar institutions so far as I can see. 

    Like 1
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