I just set up Open Banking with my accounting software in 45 seconds

Why can't YNAB do this?

Literally, setting up a bank account (Barclays) to auto import into FreeAgent (my online accounting software) - took 45 seconds, including logging into my bank via my phone app to authenticate.

It's easy. Reliable. Simple. Why do YNAB not offer this? I don't pay my bank anything, but I pay you £7 a month - for what exactly?

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  • Hi Tetsugaku !

    We'd love to be able to provide Direct Import for international financial institutions, but because our third-party partner moved away from supporting banks outside the US and Canada, it's not in our plans for the immediate future.

    We're still looking for alternatives and ways to improve, but for now, international financial institutions or connecting with Open Banking aren't available. It is on our (and our provider’s) radar, though! If we are able to offer it, we'll be sure to announce it loud and clear.

    Our last Direct Import partner was added in hopes of branching out into international direct import support, but it didn't go as we had planned. I know that's not news you're looking for, but where things stand at the moment.

    Like 1
      • John Smith
      • JohnSmith
      • 10 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Nicole This is a pathetic response. You provide direct import for US banks - but not for the EU, even though we have a far more robust and supported open standard. Why are you dragging your feet over features you happily provide to US customers, but refuse to even look at for those of us to live elsewhere?

      This is a free, open, hardy standard. Why will YNAB not support it?

      Like 2
    • Hi Tetsugaku !

      We aren't refusing to look into direct import for international financial institutions - it's a long term goal that we hope we'll be able to achieve in the future. When the online version of YNAB first launched, we started with only a single import partner. We've since added two additional import partner with hopes of branching out to international providers, but we learned that feat is harder to accomplish than we initially thought. Our import partner supported several UK banks, but the connections had so much trouble - importing incorrect amounts, constantly running into errors - that they removed the options so they could improve their handling of international imports. They're still working on a solution, but they've let us know this won't be fixed anytime soon - they don't have the necessary tools to repair the integrations and keep them stable.

      In the meantime, if you find that YNAB doesn't suit your needs because of this, we completely understand. The nature of direct import is unstable and while we wish we had the power to make it exactly what we all want, we don't. It will be a long journey, but we're still staying on the path with hopes we'll reach the end at some point.

      Like
    • Faness is there anyway I can get a notification once UK banks are supported using Open Banking API's please? I'd like to subscribe again for YNAB services once this is done. 

      Like 1
    • Magenta Nomad If there’s a specific international institution you’d like considered, the best way would be to suggest it in the app, if you haven’t already!

      Like
      • Tomato Colt
      • Tomato_Colt.1
      • 2 mths ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Faness Please, change the answer as to why YNAB won’t provide syncing for banks in Europe.   It suggests that you have not looked at the requirements at all.  Many apps are developing their own solutions and Open Banking mean that Europe is completely different market to the US with  a wealth of “partners” you could use to help you wanted to go down this route.   Another solution would be to rebate all non US customers the cost of SyncforYnab or perhaps strike a deal with Scott Robinson to license the service to you.  Just hold back with the “we want to do this” as the actions or lack of from YNAB tell a different story.   I am still with you as I got the grandfather rates as a long term user.  My 3 children are going to leave when there subscriptions are up.

      Like 4
    • Hi Tomato Colt !

      Todd, our CPO, gives a few details on this topic in this forum thread. We do want to support international direct import, but as you can see from our status page, supporting the Direct Import feature as we have it now is an ongoing struggle for us. We're truly focused on improving the connections we do have now before we open this up to more options. I know that doesn't solve the issue for you in the moment, but I want you to know it's constantly on our minds for the future.

      Like
      • JG
      • YNAB User. Developer of other software.
      • jgo
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Faness Nicole I see the previous reply said your "Direct Import Partner" only supports banks based in US/Canada.

      I saw a few weeks ago, that you change provider for direct import, does this change anything in the medium to long term?

      (I appreciate your short-term resources are committed to providing a reliable service for the existing direct import banks)

      Like
    • JG It does make it more likely that we'll be able to support international banks in the future! You're right, though, that it's not going to be a short-term thing. But I hope it's something we'll finally be able to do at some point.

      Like 1
  • Tetsugaku said:
    I don't pay my bank anything, but I pay you £7 a month - for what exactly?

     You are paying for a budgeting app. Not a bank import tracking app. 

    Like 1
      • John Smith
      • JohnSmith
      • 10 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      MXMOM Actually if you live in the US you ARE paying for a "bank import tracking app" - as US customers can well see. I am puzzled as to why YNAB will not support such an easy to use standard - actually not that puzzled. YNAB puts development of useful features like this behind - hmm, not sure what in fact!

      Like 1
      • MXMOM
      • MXMOM
      • 10 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Tetsugaku actually I am not in the US either. But yes, I can see how that would be frustrating. My only thought is that YNAB is a proactive application whereas downloading transactions that have already happened is counterintuitive to the philosophy. But I don't work there, so I have no clue.  I have other issues (hello printing budget reports!!!) that I am championing. Good luck.

      Like 2
      • JG
      • YNAB User. Developer of other software.
      • jgo
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      John Smith Only YNAB know where the majority of their customers are based.

      If the majority are US based, unfortunately for the minority of us outside of the US, any features that don't benefit the main customer base are unlikely to be high priority - they will be investing in features for either the US or the whole customer base.

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

      MXMOM I am paying for a budgeting app that lists direct import as a feature - a feature promoted heavily when it migrated to the new cloud version.    YNAB is head and shoulders above other budgeting tools but a feature which I regard as important is not available to a significant group of users.  My other beef is that the reasons given for this seem disingenuous.   "We've tried numerous import partners"  Either the selection criteria is poor or Europe/ROW is not being considered as import here works very well - YNAB even recommends syncforynab which is a first rate solution, but how would you feel being told to shell out more money for a feature you are already paying for.  Just do a deal with SYNCFORYNAB

      Like 1
  • I've yet to see a reason WHY this open international standard is not being supported - other than the third party you already use dont have any idea how to do it.

    Which is a very very poor way to run a software company.

    Like 1
  • If any other users can add their voice maybe we won't sound like we are shouting into the ether.

    Like 1
  • I just cancelled my subscription due to lack of open banking support. Currently looking at alternatives like spendee etc but would prefer to go back to ynab if PSD2 support ever added.

    Like 1
    • Lavender Hail We're sorry to see you go, Lavender Hail and hope it's something we'll be able to offer in the future. 

      Like
  • I am in the US and my personal preference is to not use direct import.  Direct import should be an add on price if one chooses to use it since it is a service that YNAB apparently has to pay for.  If not an add on price then at least give non US customers a discount until their country is added to the service.  Other customers in the world cannot use it but they are subsidizing the US customers who have access to it.  I can definitely understand their frustration.  

    As I read the forum it seems like a good portion of the complaints are centered around connectivity issues with bank-x or bank-y and a lot of development/support time is used addressing those issues when so many other issues have not been addressed yet such as stealing from the future.

    Like 5
      • QC
      • HaplessFinanceProfessional
      • Queenofcoin
      • 2 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      ynaber2613 If it were available to me, I wouldn’t use direct import. But I am aware that part of my subscription charge goes towards the upkeep and development of a feature I cannot use and it’s so frustrating. I also think DI should be charged as an add-on so that only users pay for the significant time and resources the company spends on it. 

      Like 1
  • Try: https://syncforynab.com/

    game changer for UK banks..

    Like 2
      • Anvil
      • anvil
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      https://syncforynab.com  -  has anyone used that - do they seem reliable and legitimate? :)

      Like
      • Simmantix
      • Simmantix
      • 4 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Anvil I’ve been using it for months now and the only bad thing is that the banks force syncforynab to re-establish the account link every 90 days but that is the bank, not the API. I don’t notice the integration, it happens in the background.

      Like 1
      • Anvil
      • anvil
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Simmantix Great - I'll give it a go. Thanks.

      Like
  • Nicole Do you see any reason it should be impossible to use YNAB's API to create my own Open Banking integration?

    Like
    • Hi Sea Green Wildcat !

      No, it shouldn't be impossible to use the YNAB API to work with your own Open Banking integration. A number of users have mentioned using the API to work with their specific bank.

      The API was developed primarily for people who are familiar with API setups and coding, but we can definitely see what we can do to help.

      The best place to start is our API Starter Kit, which may give you some resources. You can also post any questions you have here in the API & Integration section of the forum. :)

      Like 1
  • This my reason to unsubscribe from YNAB. I prefer the YNAB software but with free alternatives such as YOLT which is more convenient I have decided to unsubscribe from YNAB. Once YNAB delivers open banking api integrating with UK banks I will subscribe again.

    Like
  • I’m outside US, with accounts in Europe. The PSD2 norm is a revolution in open banking environment. Every month I notice new App providers with this capability. Still, I have not found yet one with YNAB philosophy. 
    I canceled my subscription quite time ago due to the heavy process of importing through CSVs. 
    I value players that follow innovation,  understand friendly usage on importing and managing info and relevant reports. 
    I was an YNAB user since almost beginning but due to this heavy process, the benefit from a payment service I felt not being proportional. 
    I’ll continue following you wondering to see the day you present such feature, because I strongly respect your path on the budgeting philosophy. 

    Like
  • Just to add my voice to chorus of people requesting this feature. I've been a user and subscriber to YNAB for several years. The lack of progress on this for UK banks, despite what seems like a single developer implementing it through 'syncforynab (at an additional cost of £4 per month), shows that it is imminently possible but clearly just not something YNAB are interested in. The whole idea of moving to a subscription model was that it would facilitate constant development, but clearly that isn't happening in this case. I'm afraid when renewal time comes round I'll be searching for an alternative.

    Like
  • 3rd party aggregators won't support PSD2, because they can't monetize it (the way they can monetize the lack of standards in North America). It would make sense for YNAB to develop this natively in the application and thus have a lower overhead.

    Like 3
  • this is the reason i left ynab 2 years ago
    and seams its still not happening.
    i like ynabs way of handling money but i am to lazy to import things manually.

    Like
  • I'll be leaving at my next renewal because of this, it's such an absolute time sink as a UK customer, with 8 different accounts to manually import and reconcile, it's just not worth the time when something SO bloody simple can't be implemented (coming from a software engineer).

    Like
  • I've been using https://syncforynab.com/ ever since I discovered it in the comments above. It costs a little bit of money, but compared to the time spent doing everything manually, it seems to be good value for me personally.  I think it also means I use my budget more and stick to it - which I don't think I would do if I was entirely manual!

    I'd love YNAB to support the open banking standards and do it natively, but this works well enough for me now not to worry too much. 

    Like
  • What I would like to see is YNAB represent its user base, embrace the Open Banking standard, and put pressure on US banks to adopt it.

    But YNAB is not a forward-looking company, so I'm not holding my breath.

    Like
  • I'm also looking forward to this open banking integration.
    As it should be fairly easy to integrate and it's a one shot, with the potential of growing the user base significantly in Europe.

    Like
  • I've given up hope and cancelled my subscription. The subscription based-model that YNAB have moved to creates an expectation, at least in my eyes, that there will be constant development so the lack of any progress became a deal breaker for me. 

    Like
    • Magenta Moose its a shame YNAB for me is head and shoulders over the alternatives but thier approach over this is really p****** me off. 

      Like
  • I keep checking back on this every few months to see if YNAB have change their position. It’s disappointing to see they haven’t. I have used YNAB for years so have the cheaper price but just can’t justify the full price when recommending it to friends as it doesn’t link to banks like other FREE apps or you need to pay £48 a year more (syncforynab) to get it to do what it does for US users. Seems to me like striking a deal with syncforynab would be a good option  

    Like 1
  • Yes, this is very frustrating. I'm in the UK and I just started using YNAB. It's head and shoulders above anything else in terms of budgeting, but the lack of transaction importing is already annoying me enough to consider not extending beyond the free trial. There are loads of tracking/budgeting apps that are free or cheap and import transactions, but the budgeting methodology is awful. It seems we can currently only have one or the other!

    I've noticed syncforynab.com and I might give it a try, but I don't know if I feel comfortable paying an additional monthly fee for a feature which YNAB should already have. There is also the fact that it's run by one guy. I have no doubt that it's safe and secure, but why on earth YNAB aren't snapping his hand off and rolling this into the core product is absolutely baffling. It's not like he's not actively trying to sell it due to being too busy!

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

      Coral Violin syncforynab.com is great and very stable now.  The regulations require you to authorise bank connections every 90 days but that is a minutes work.  One is just left with the impression that YNAB are only paying lip service to non US & Canadian customers.  That's fine , its a business decision, which is YNABs to make, but please stop with the lame reasons for being unable to deliver a direct import service for the EU countries. 

      Like 1
    • Tomato Colt I think you're right. I'm a software developer by trade, and it's the very transparent excuses that bother me more than the lack of the feature. If they don't want to build the feature and instead offer an API to encourage a third party ecosystem to fill the gaps, then that is a perfectly valid strategy. But be clear about that and don't leave user expectations hanging.

      Like 2
  • I'm also in the UK. I am having difficulty in understanding why anyone would _want_ automatic transaction importing. Surely you should be entering transactions using your mobile at the time you make the transaction? Reconciliation then consists of checking your balance at your bank matches the balance in YNAB. Takes me about 10 seconds to do on a daily basis.

    Automatic import, in my mind, turns YNAB from a useful budgeting too into just another tool that lets you see what you've been spending, but does't help you budget. (If you looked at your budget for groceries, saw you had £100 in there, and spent £50, but didn't enter the transaction immediately, your partner or you could then go to the shop tomorrow, see there's £100 available because you didn't enter the transaction, relying on automatic import, and then spent £75, leaving you actually £25 over budget once your bank catches up and the feed updates)

    Like 1
    • Richard Holland I think the point is that it relieves you from having to do that manually. Instead of logging into YNAB, importing my transactions and then reconciling, I would rather log into YNAB, see my transactions and then reconcile that they are indeed correct. I can certainly appreciate why the process of needing to manually input all spending is actually beneficial for some. Each to their own though.

      Like 1
    • Richard Holland Understand your point , I think it's just personal preference.  We have regular mini "catch ups' - and I mean mini; which tend to flag up areas nearing the red which works for us.  What you an Iboth agree on though is that the methodology which sits behind the data entry is great.

      Like
    • Tomato Colt I see auto-import as a bonus rather than required. I can see a use case where you manually enter your transactions using the web or mobile apps when you make them, then the auto-import can auto-match those transactions. 

      But I'd argue that auto-importing not available is not a showstopper, and should not prevent you using YNAB.

      But, as Coral Violin says, each to their own!

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

      Richard Holland don't disagree with you Richard, its not a show stopper and the system if great.  It is though something I was sold for my subscription which YNAB haven't delivered.   Unfortunately I'm getting hung up on the line they're taking as to why it isn't available which seems somewhat disingenuous.  My bag :-)

      Like 1
      • Gold Router
      • Gold_Router.9
      • 6 days ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Richard Holland Everyone is going to use the tool differently.

      The vast majority of my dollars go to things like my mortgage that do not ever change or similar fixed or mostly fixed, non-discretionary expenses that are often paid less often than monthly. Even the act of having to "approve" my mortgage into my mortgage category every month is annoying. It literally serves no purpose except making the tool feel like a source of friction rather than empowerment.

      Many users start out using YNAB because they have not achieved financial security. They may or may not even be solvent. But the tool helps users progress to a state of financial security. All the users should wind up in that state, and hopefully sooner rather than later. But once you have financial security (and a solid understanding of your actual observed spending habits), for many, the value of tracking every penny at the point of sale vanishes. I check in every 1-3 days to make sure things are on track. If I want to make non-pattern spending (book a vacation, buy a fancy gadget), I look first to make sure I have the money. But if my $50 dinner doesn't get yanked out of my food budget until transactions sync tomorrow, it's not going to knock my budget out of balance.

      So, for me, having pattern activities dealt with automatically reduces the amount of time (and stress and frustration) I spend doing menial tasks in the tool. I use tools to do the stuff that is meaningless and error prone -- and for me, that includes data entry.

      Automatically synchronized transactions are an advertised feature that people pay for. They should stand by it, stop advertising it, or offer price concessions when they can't deliver it.

      Like 1
  • If your budgeting as a couple and one of you isn't great at entering transactions then it saves a lot of 'we need to talk'  moments about admin with the budget manager able to reconcile and check.  Conversations can then remain positive and about budgeting and priorities rather than transactional.  Automatic import doesn't alter the way we apply the YNAB methodology at all.      Its just a matter of preference.

    YNAB  began to drip feed this philosophy when problems with direct import in the US became a source of dissatisfaction/

    Like 2
  • syncforynab.com - Just frustrating that we have to pay yet another subscription.... 🙄 Faness Nicole Matthew  - YNAB should be looking into TrueLayer as a interim solution if you don't have time to develop yourself. This is what syncforynab is using for their Direct Imports to YNAB. 

    Like 1
    • YNAB Sound Thanks! We're currently working on expanding into international Direct Import, and I hope we'll have something to announce soon.

      Like 4
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