Lack of working Account Linking is going to drive me away

The ability to link my accounts and import my transactions automatically is 100% vital to my use of this product.  Yes, I know YNAB is supposed to be different in how you manage things, and I do manage things the YNAB way, but I am far too busy, far to scatter brained, and far to "fragmented" to manually keep up with entering and importing transactions manually.

Lately the import side of YNAB has been a complete mess, and as of today I now have more accounts that don't work than I do accounts that do work.

Apple Card - Can't link
Capital One Accounts - Needs to be manually reauthorized every day
RBC accounts (US and Canada) - Haven't worked in like a week
Chase Accounts - Now being told will need to reauthorize manually once a month

Literally at this point the ONLY account I have left that works properly is my Citibank account.  That's it.

I love YNAB, and I've never found any other software that is near as good in letting me pro-actively manage my finances, but automatic import of transactions is a non negotiable feature for me.  I absolutely must have it, and if YNAB can't offer that anymore I'm sad to say I will have no choice but to find another product, even a worse one, that does.

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  • Try file-based importing of your transactions. 

    Like 1
  • First off, that isn't automatic which is the point.

    Secondly, I did try to use file based importing to "full the hole" until things were fixed, but the file based importing imports things with completely different names than what was already imported via link and just made a mess that took me hours to fix.

    Like 1
  • i left Capital One rather than give up YNAB, since they were just pointing fingers.  My Chase account works fine.

    Like 2
  • Excerpt, Capital One works fine in multiple other apps I have been trying.  And it isn't just Capital One.  

    Like
  • I'm right there with you - without the automatic importing I might as well go back to pen and paper (RBC client).

    Like
  • You have a few choices:

    1. Stay the course.
    2. Start inputting manually as things happen.
    3. Use file based import. 
    4. Change banks and credit cards to ones that are YNAB friendly.
    5. Move on.

    I personally chose 4. None of my accounts have issues most of the time. The only exception is Apple Card but I decided that it's worth it as it doesn't get much use and I just handle it manually.

    Mint has world class direct import but unfortunately, their budgeting isn't very good and you have to deal with a bunch of ads. Good luck.

    Like 4
    • Superbone If you think I'm going to completely upend my financial live just to conform with a piece of software then I am sorry that isn't going to happen.  NO software is that good.

      Like 1
      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 2 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      Forest Green Memory Your choice, obviously. Good luck!

      Like
      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 2 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      Forest Green Memory I sincerely hope you find some life-changing financial software like YNAB was to me. Keep us posted on what you end up with.

      Like
    • Forest Green Memory Most of us did "completely upend our financial lives" when we decided to learn to budget the YNAB way. And for many, that upheaval turned out to be life-changing. 

      If the fact that the software designed to support this method isn't perfect is too much for you to overcome, then you should probably just move on...

      Like 4
    • Periwinkle Flute No, we changed how we look at our finances.  We didn't throw away our banks and cards to get new ones just to conform to YNAB's technical support parameters.  I'm not going to change my primary bank just so it works with YNAB, and I'm not going  to get rid of my existing credit cards (which would TANK my credit score) just because YNAB can't import them properly.

      I've been a user of YNAB since before it was even a web service.  I started using YNAB back when it was an offline software program like Quicken or Quickbooks.  I get YNAB and I love it, but there are features I absolutely must have, and proper automatic importing of my accounts is one of those must have features.  Ever since they switched over to this new back end importer service though it has been utter crap and getting worse everyday :(

      Like 1
      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 2 wk ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Forest Green Memory How did you get by with the previous YNABs that had no direct import?

      Like 2
    • Superbone Honestly, I barely used it when it was the offline app.  I had bought it, dabbled with it, but never managed to keep on top of things well enough to really use it.

      When it went online and I could direct import, that was when I managed to finally use YNAB to get "on track" which is another example of why importing is so important to me.  I am just not disciplined enough to do it manually on a regular basis.

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      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 2 wk ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Forest Green Memory Got it. I like direct import too. In fact, with YNAB 4 I used something called PocketSense with a batch file that would do file based importing on most of my accounts. I don’t know what the costs are behind the scenes but let’s hope YNAB figures out the account aggregation game before a decent competitor steps in. I have to agree that it took a step back overall with the PLAID change.

      Like 1
  • The account linking used to work flawlessly.  All of my Fidelity accounts started having issues in June.  The import partner doesn't really seem to care if they are working.  I usually get noncommittal responses from customer support.  YNAB needs to fire their import partner and get a new one.  

    Like
      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 2 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      Mel Nutter There’s no question that DI complaints rose greatly on this forum after the PLAID change.

      Like
    • Mel Nutter Yep, used to be fine for years.  Now its horrible and getting worse every time I turn around.  Capital One has been broke for literally a year despite updates saying it is a top priority.  Well if that's how a top priority shakes out, I hate to see the lower priorities.

      Yet I am on a trial now of Tiller Money and everything imports perfect, including RBC, including Capital One.  Every account I have imports PERFECT over there.

      Like 2
      • MXMOM
      • MXMOM
      • 2 wk ago
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      • Reported - view

      Forest Green Memory

      never heard of it but copying this portion of what I found here since it mentions the financial institution aggregator Tiller uses. YNAB probably have looked into this but thought I would put it here front and centre. 

      Matthew

       

      2 days ago · Tiller Money uses Yodlee, a financial aggregation service, to connect to 21,000 financial institutions. 

      Like 2
    • MXMOM Yeah Yodlee and PLAID are the two main services.  YNAB switched over to using PLAID as I understand it which is when import service went to hell :(

      Like 1
    • Mel Nutter Just noticed that the RBC issues aren't even listed as issues on the status page, so I guess they don't even care to bother fixing it.  

      Like 1
  • I used to manage Digital Operations  for a major bank and we used Yodlee.  Yodlee is the big player in this space and I don't know if it's a price point issue or what.  I have suggested before that YNAB look at Yodlee.... Sorry so many people are having issues.  One more reason I stay on YNAB 4 for now. 

    Like
  • Just agreeing here. YNAB was life-changing - but the import issues have made budgeting and classifying things a nightmare. I log in less now and get more frustrated when I do. Yes, I'm doing file based imports, but when it's for three accounts, it takes time. Really annoyed and desperately hope this gets addressed.

    Like 1
    • MJC Do you realize that just manually entering your transactions for 3 accounts might take you 10 mins or less per day (including daily reconciliation)? Less if you are entering transactions when they happen... 

      Like 1
      • MJC
      • mjclemente
      • 10 days ago
      • Reported - view

      Periwinkle Flute Yup. Totally aware of that. But there are a lot of good things that you could say the same thing about. Doesn't mean that's how I want to be spending my time, especially when the auto-import functionality used to work seamlessly.

      Also those 10-15 minutes a day add up. An hour or more a week, 2+ days in a year, etc.

      Like
    • MJC So I did an experiment. Last week I linked my busiest credit card and spent a couple of days getting used to how imports worked. Today I imported 14 new transactions. (I had purposely manually entered 4 of those ahead of time.) Of the 14 transactions imported only 6 were fine the way they were. Three of the transactions  came in with weird names and no categories (new Payees) and the other 5 needed to be split manually into more than one category. It took a total of 7 minutes and 23 seconds just to correct and approve the transactions on that one card (and I didn't even reconcile). I entered transactions and reconciled the other 4 accounts in 7 minutes and 42 seconds.

      My point is, it all takes time. I would rather spend that time entering manual transactions correctly, splitting them accurately and checking for overspending and reconciling daily. By doing this my Available balances are always up to date and I have never had a Credit Card Payment not equal the account balance, nor have I ever had to make a reconciliation adjustment. I would almost guarantee that I spend no more TIME per month dealing with my accounts than does the person reconciling once a month and/or using Direct Import. The real difference is the time I do spend budgeting is pleasant, not annoying or frustrating!

      Like 10
    • Periwinkle Flute I appreciate your data driven approach and analysis.  I am curious in your experiment, how much time would it take to enter all 14 transactions?
      In my case, I can't get around importing, since I can never get everyone to always input their transactions in a family setting.

      Like
    • Slate Blue Case Not sure! If I did them all at once maybe 5 or 6 minutes? But they would have been entered over the course of the weekend as well, since I enter daily.

      BTW, I have 5 people using my 4 credit cards and I do all of the entering. That's one reason I started logging into the accounts daily - to catch their transactions early enough so that the person in question would remember what they had purchased (I may be handed an actual receipt by them in 1 out of 10 purchases). While in the account I eventually just started actually entering/reconciling the transactions (takes just an extra couple of minutes) and that's where I am now!

      Like 1
      • Herman
      • herman
      • 9 days ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Periwinkle Flute I'm a manual entry with import as a back up user and I would not give up ynab if import went away.  However, I will say the flaw in your calculations is that once you are importing for a while, the payee and categorization updates will happen automatically.  You're analysis would really be for new payees and categories or split transactions.

      That said, I agree that manual entry time is negligible and most arguments about the amount of time it will take are ludicrous.  

      Like 3
    • I'm a manual transaction person, and I manage 3 budgets, with probably more than a dozen credit cards/accounts, and I would rather do it myself, and know it's right than try to fix things.

      Like 1
  • Just to add that that the import issue is a huge problem, other than not working or require resyncing all the time it often also produce the wrong balance for me in my accounts that I'll have to manually reconcile.

    I lol to the people suggesting changing accounts and card for a financial service that doesn't do what it's supposed to do.  You do realized your account history and length does impact your credit score right?

     

    I guess I'm definitely in the camp of moving on, if there're reasonable alternatives, please share.

    Like
    • Slate Blue Case There really isn't anything else that works as well if you like YNAB, which is part of the problem.  No competition means no drive to improve.  I spent the last couple of weeks trying out alternatives and while they offer some nice features, nothing really clicked with me like YNAB does.  So for now I continue to suffer the pain of DI not working.  

      Actually it isn't the pain so much as the fear that persistently clouds me, fear that I missed something which is annoying because for me personally one of the biggest advantages to using YNAB when everything worked properly was knowing that everything was accounted for.  Now I don't have that anymore.

      Like
  • The import issue is not a problem unless you make it one. Manual transaction entry and file based import are trivially easy.

    I have 16,656 transactions in 2,387 days of using YNAB, or right about 7 per day.

    Like 4
    • nolesrule I'm glad manual entry works for you, but not everyone is you.  For myself personally, I don't like manual entry because I'm just not that organized, not that on top of things, and I accept that as a limitation I have.  I absolutely can not count on myself to enter transactions by hand as they happen, which means that they don't get entered and that leaves me in a very bad situation.  Even just doing them by hand every couple of days or so from my bank transactions isn't getting done often enough because I keep forgetting to do them.  Additionally I have literally like 10 different accounts to try and keep track of.

      Without direct import I'm left constantly worrying that I am losing track of important financial information.

      I also don't see why so many people are defending what is clearly a sub standard part of the service. It is a feature, an advertised feature, of the service that used to work quite well. Now it doesn't.  

      Like
  • Slate Blue Case said:
    You do realized your account history and length does impact your credit score right?

     You also realize that you don't have to cancel your credit cards when you start using another, right?

    Like 2
    • Superbone Good point about not closing existing account, but the credit score is based on the average of all your accounts, so they do impact your credit scores.  Not to mention the credit check will have a small hit in a short term.


      In the case of nolesrule here, I applaud your heroic effort of keeping things in sync.  But let's say it takes 30 second to pull out your phone and manually enter a transaction.  It took you some 8328 minutes.  Let's say your opportunity cost is $20/hr.  Your time spend on manual entry would cost you ~$2700.  Of course your time could be more or less valuable than that.

      I don't deny YNAB is useful as an updated digital envelop system.  But that's all it is, don't worship the tool and don't become a slave to your tools.

      Like
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 9 days ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Slate Blue Case My opportunity cost is zero, because I'm not earning money anyway during the time I'm entering the transactions. I'm drinking coffee, eating my breakfast, and making sure my elementary school student logs into her online classes while keeping in touch with my finances.

      One could also argue that even with direct import working flawlessly, there is an opportunity cost for waiting for transactions to import,  because your category balances are inaccurate during that time. Or if there is a screw up by the bank and the transaction gets delayed in processing. And Look at all the people who get messed up because some transaction comes in after the month changes over and they end up with overspent categories without realizing it and don't know what to do.

      Opportunity cost is overrated when there isn't some real other opportunity with a value that you could be doing instead.

      Like 2
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 9 days ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Slate Blue Case Also for me the opportunity cost of overspending a category because my category balance wasn't up to date in YNAB is 432% over 30 years (assuming a 5% real CAGR).

      Like 1
    • Superbone If you stop using the credit card, the bank will auto close it after a while.  So you need to keep at least semi regular hits on the card to prevent that.

      Like
      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 8 days ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Forest Green Memory That has not been my experience. At least not until after a long while and not without notice. I haven't used my AmEx in over 3 years. A couple years ago, Discover said they were going to close my account if there was no activity (probably my longest open card). I put one or two transactions on it and haven't touched it since. Recently, a Chase Sapphire card I had opened for rewards, also said it would be closed unless I asked them not to. Being that it was a more recent card and would actually improve my length of credit, I let it close.

      Like 1
    • Superbone Yes the usually do notify you.  But there is no law saying they have to, and people have had accounts closed without warning.  Personally, I'm not willing to risk my credit getting tanked for example if my oldest card, which is Capital One, just got closed without warning.  IT would absolutely TANK my credit given how much older that card is.

      Like
  • Slate Blue Case said:
    I can never get everyone to always input their transactions in a family setting.

     this is a whole other problem. I feel your pain on this.  For years I was the only person keeping track of this stuff.  Fast forward to today and hubby enters (almost) every transaction in real time.  And I am not going to say that it is ok that a feature that is supposed to be part of the software doesn't work.  But a couple of things to mention that I have found helpful. 

    - you say "everyone". That sounds like a lot of people. Generally people are in a 2 user setting. Do you have more than 2 people spending money from your accounts? None of my business I know but it would help me understand.

    - I do 100% manual entry with import to confirm the transaction, fix any mistakes in the amount entered, and catch any transactions that have not been entered.  I will admit I get a sweet pleasure when I import and the link appears.  Most often, all of the transactions are already there and the import confirms it. That is a 2 click process to finish it off. That said, some banks take FOREVER to push those transactions through. (I am in Canada so I can't speak to other countries). I find this in particular with credit cards which we use for 95% of our non-automated transactions. The way it works is the charge goes to pending and then sits there for several days, especially over the weekend. If I wait for the import to reflect the expenditure, my budget could be way off for days leading to potential issues. By entering right away, the budget category is updated immediately and I know that I can't order $50 takeout dinner because the restaurant budget is done for the month.  If I were to wait, it is possible that I think we have the funds available when in fact we don't.

    - How did I get my husband to enter transactions? Well, that is a whole long saga with various stages but I will try to keep it short.

    First we got YNAB on his phone.

    Then I got him to check available funds BEFORE spending.

    I pinned the categories that he uses most often to the top of the budget.

    In the meantime I was still entering his transactions from the receipt when he came home.  Time used - 60 seconds.

    Then I taught him how to enter a basic transaction for a purchase that he makes often - groceries. 90% of the time we shop at the same store so when the transaction is started and he starts typing REAL the rest of the payee (Canadian Superstore) pops up. And since it was a transaction before, YNAB makes the assumption that we are again buying groceries and using the same payment method. The date also auto populates. So in reality he has to open the app, click enter transaction, enter the amount that he just spent, type REAL and save. Takes 10 seconds (well maybe 30 because he is a slow texter). Does he make mistakes? Yes. sometimes the amount is off or the payment method changed (when we changed our main card).  Do I use the import function to match and catch these? Yes. But I don't have to since most of the time they are correct and even the "wrong ones" are close enough that the budget is accurate.

    - If other people are spending money, they need to be an active part of the budget. The best way to do this is to have them enter transactions. Sometimes my husband goes over budget. But he gets "warned" right away and usually lets me know. Then I can move funds immediately to resolve it. (no one moves money but me!!!).

    - for the other 5% of transactions that are pre-authorized or recurring, I enter these as scheduled repeating transactions in YNAB and they enter automatically on the date. This also help me with the quick budget process but that's another subject for another day.

    - there are widgets available to put a transaction entry shortcut right on the screen.  I am using iOS and hubby is on Android.  I do have a shortcut that I click and it opens up YNAB and the add transaction screen. All I would have to do is enter the amount and the payee (although I am sure I could probably set something up for a regular payee). 

    I would suggest that YNAB actually works better as a budget tool when transactions are entered manually. It makes every transaction a conscious decision point. Luckily we are now at the point where are budget amounts are pretty accurate so there is usually enough there to pay for the regular stuff without reallocating. But that took a very long time.  I reconcile every couple of weeks and that usually is a 2 minute task (due to import) but if I had to do file based then I would do that and it would take a bit longer. But technically if your balance is accurate you should be able to clear all and reconcile without any import at all. Or (gasp) not ever reconcile. 

    Again, my answer is very long but I would hate to see someone not use YNAB because of the import issues. To me it would be like not driving my car because the keyless entry didn't work.  Nice to have but not necessary for the primary function.

    Like 3
  • Like 4
  • I agree with MXMOM. OP keeps saying they do not have discipline to either enter transactions manually or to do file based import. I think that perhaps YNAB is not the right software for them. YNAB simulates the envelope method and the best way to keep a handle of your money is to manually enter transactions, so that it simulates the feeling of taking cash out of an envelope. 

    Look, I'm a RBC customer too and don't like that my manual transactions don't import anymore. It's more of a convenience than a necessity though.

    PS. Having said all that, I do think YNAB needs to reconsider their pricing if they can't get it to work.

    Like
    • Orange Storm There is nothing about the YNAB system (which I have used for many, many years so please don't say it isn't right for me) that requires manual entry of transactions.

      When my paycheck shows up, I budget what I have into my categories based on what I know about past spending, and recurring transactions.  When expenses occur, they come out of my categories. What part of the requires manual entry of transactions? None of it.

      Like
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 8 days ago
      • Reported - view

      Forest Green Memory 

      Forest Green Memory said:
      When expenses occur, they come out of my categories. What part of the requires manual entry of transactions? None of it.

      The part about the money coming out of your category when expenses occur. Unless your expectation is for instantaneous transaction import. I mean how else will they come out of your category when they occur?

      Like
    • nolesrule Well with automatic importing they should up usually in less than 24 hours which is fine by me.  Maybe that's unique to me, I don't know, but I am never playing things so close to the edge that a 24 hour delay is going to wreck me.

      Like
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