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

    Matthew  That's the most promising thing I've read about this - please try and keep us informed - silence on this subject is what frustrates people -as you can see above. 

    Good news though 🙂👍

    Like 1
    • Anvil Yeah, I want to be clear that "soon" probably isn't as soon as you or we would like. This just isn't as simple as signing up with the right partner or supporting Open Banking. There are all kinds of issues, including making sure we're ready to handle it on the support side.

      Like 2
  • I'd like this too, but having looked into this, I'd imagine that part of the issue may be regulatory. In the UK, even if using a third party provider, you need to register with the FCA as handling financial transactions. There are fees involved (both one off and ongoing) as well as lots of paperwork. I imagine the situation is similar in the EU.

    I looked into the third party options available with YNAB but obviously not ecstatic about an additional fee, plus I'd be concerned that as they don't seem to have regulatory approval (that I can see) they may be shut down at any point.

    TrueLayer (a provider mentioned above) wrote a blog post on this, and their opinion was that YNAB or similar organisation _would_ need to register

    1. If you’re a customer of TrueLayer using us to acquire the bank data of your customers, and then you provide this consolidated data back to your customers, then you need to go through the FCA and get a RAISP, since you are providing AIS;

    (from here)

    Like 2
  • I will be brutally honest. I am getting more and more frustrated with YNAB. It moved to cloud and now its a subscription. Okay said I and moved from YNAB 4, but i see no benefits there. Only more pain now as the credit cards now totally screwed between the way they used to work.

    And now I started looking into other apps. And I found them. I am currently on a trial version of several other apps. Which have the import and 4 times cheaper (20USD a year on average). So unless YNAB gets import done from Europe banks or gives me some really good reason to stay (which I am not even sure what). I will be gone by the end of this year subscription.

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

      Silver Stallion Please let us know what software you end up with. I haven't found any nearly as effective as YNAB. Also, you can change your CCs to work the same as in YNAB 4 by transferring them to checking accounts.

      Like
      • Dmitrii
      • Silver_Stallion.12
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Superbone so I spent last 48 hours (or so). Doing only 1 thing. Trying different software which works in Europe and will Sync with banks. I found a lot of alternatives (moneywiz -> it's an app but syncs on its own, YNAB 4 on steroids and has a manual to migrate from YNAB, Toshl -> Good alternative, i did not like the TAGS management they have and so on).

      I ended up configuring and reconfiguring and importing my YNAB settings. And now I can say that so far I did find something somewhat better for cheaper. Buxfer. It ticks all my boxes. AND it connected to my Morgan Stanely account for Employee Stock plan (investment incentive for employees). And all my banks. And my credit card looks awesome there and it's automatic from bank. And yes yes you will have to spend some time configuring your Tags aka. Categories. But I did. And now it looks great now. I setup my tags and categories. When I rename a category nothing get's lost (which I had problems with YNAB). I can change category on the whole set of things.

      And yes it is somewhat more complicated in some way, that you can create automated rules which will place in a correct category, but also they can change your description to make it uniform. And the rules can be complex like IF description contains Auchan AND more then 100 per say do one thing. If not the other.

      But you dont have to use it. It now sounds like I am selling it. Which I am not. I am just a geek and 2 days spent researching and trying.

      P.S. List of other software worth to take a look with auomatic Sync working smoothly in Europe:

      - Money Wiz (it's an APP which requires install. Like YNAB 4 but then it will use it's own internal things to sync across devices. I did not like reports on it, cannot just click feel a bit dated in a way)

      - Spendee

      - PocketSmith (I would steer clear from it, as no proper trial and just trying to get you signed up, very aggressivley and feels like scam)

      - toshl.com (it has a nice webby look, but somehow I find it not appealing, though it seems to have good enough options)

      P.P.S ah yeah and most of them are twice as cheap as YNAB which makes sense. Especially for a software which does not do anything for me. I cant see anything different between YNAB now and YNAB 4 except it's being in a browser. Nothing change for more than 3 years with syncyning in Europe.

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

      Dmitrii Thanks, I will check out buxfer. I hadn't heard of it. I see they're directly competing as they have a YNAB vs Buxfer page on their website. I do see that it is more expensive, $10 per month, if you want all their features including goals.

      Like
      • Dmitrii
      • Silver_Stallion.12
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Superbone well honestly. With what they have like investment and things. I really do not need goals. I bought a PRO version for 1 month to see how it will go for me.

      But from what I've done in last day with that is already looking equal if not better then what I have in YNAB to be fair. I mean really connection to banks already paying of. No manual entry at all for me anymore. My:

      1) Revolut
      2) Bank
      3) Company provided Stock options
      all got synced automatically.

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

      Dmitrii I just realized that buxfer is not a true envelope/zero-based budgeting solution. That's a no go for me. That was the most important thing that turned my financial life around. Best of luck to you in your financial journey!

      Like
      • Ceeses
      • Ceeses
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Superbone I had a very cursory look at it. It sells itself as a more flexible budgeting software than YNAB, which definitely means you can make it something different than envelope budgeting. But I was wondering, is it possible to implement a strict envelope budgeting? I intend to have a closer look later in any case as it's good to keep an open mind (not on the budgeting method but on the budgeting software).

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

      Ceeses I don't know. That's a good question. I didn't look into it enough to see if you could enforce your own zero-based system. I did realize that I'm paying less than their Pro version for YNAB due to my early adoption and their Prime version is twice the cost of their Pro version. So, it didn't make sense for me to explore it further.

      I did try it enough to see that their direct import is miles ahead of YNAB. I'm curious about Buxfer's history. From my limited research, it looked like it was about dead in 2010 but has been resurrected. I found their twitter page but the last tweets were from April about a connection issue they fixed. Before that, the last tweet is from 2018.

      Like
      • Ceeses
      • Ceeses
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Superbone Indeed. For the same price as YNAB, I would have bank syncing which I wouldn't use (I don't share my bank login details with anyone on principle), multiple currencies support (very limited and sporadic use, far from essential), IOUs (I never have any in either direction), more sophisticated payee renaming rules (the only one that might be of some interest to me). So in short, it would add next to nothing to me.

      But I can see how it could be interesting to others. Depending on the budgeting...

      Funny history.

      Like 1
  • I’m very pleased to see that YNAB are looking into this. YNAB has really turned my financial awareness around - perhaps to the degree that I decided not to pay for the third party subscription.   I’m not sure I’ll like or use the auto-import feature - but I do think that it’s extremely important to show that YNAB are listening and supporting their customers properly. I was a bit put off a while back when I reported a bug in YNAB (dragging a downloaded file onto YNAB consistently gave a message that the file didn’t contain any transactions the first time, but imported properly the second time) and it felt like they dismissed my report. Eventually sheer persistence of reporting it they fixed the bug and my opinion of YNAB was restored.  
     

    Though my knowledge of these things is limited, it feels as though the Open Banking API should be designed in a way that YNAB should be able to integrate it without needing a third party, and I assume that avoiding third party involvement, if done properly, should be the most secure way of achieving this functionality with the least risk of privacy issues. 

    Like 2
  • There are so many apps, even before open banking, that are quick, easy and efficient for connecting bank feeds. Unfortunately non are YNAB. I got to the point where I was finished waiting (and paying) in the hope this would get to be a priority. It's not just to do with countries. A big part of the trouble is that YNABs method of importing transactions is out of the ark. It's not even allowed in the UK anymore. Because my partner likes to do things manually I still have the subscription going out of my account, but I've given up on it now. I'm still trying various other things. Emma is quite good and plays really nicely with my Starling account. I also use the 'spaces' in Starling. Starling are offering me a business account with built in books for a modest charge. At this rate, I'll end up using some kind rolling budgets/home finance directly on my personal Starling bank account before YNAB pulls its finger out. 

    Like
  • With respect to using other software/apps, Superbone got it right. The others aren’t YNAB and, for me, this is because no-one else provides a zero-sum budgeting solution. 

    People may not have heard this term before but it is the difference between arbitrarily setting individual budgets for different categories and seeing how you go against those budgets versus budgeting everything you have down to the last penny and then having to swap between those categories if you go over, that is the beauty of the YNAB offering. They make you account for all of your money in a category somewhere and so the budgets aren’t arbitrary, they are a balance/compromise across all your available funds. 
     

    I have tried all the different ones mentioned above and none of them do what YNAB does. I use syncforynab too as it is better at remembering to enter my transactions than I am. And my categories are detailed enough that auto-categorisation is rarely wrong.

    Like 1
    • I totally agree with that. I put up with the other shortcomings because it's a working zero-sum budgeting app.

      But if another app came along with true zero-sum capabilities who also took direct import / auto categorization seriously, I would abandon YNAB in the middle of a forum post.

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

      Gold Router Now, that's quick! 😄

      Like
  • It just dawned on me that YNAB is a "USA first" company that doesn't really care about its international users. I feel slightly foolish for believing their carefully rehearsed and crafted "friendly replies", which amount to nothing but empty promises.

    It feels very unfair to me that US users pay the same $11 a month as me, but they get direct import, and I don't.I also had long suspicions about why YNAB web interface is so slow, and I suspect all the servers are in California too.

    I looked it up and Open Banking in UK was established in 2016 (wikipedia), and what does YNAB tell me these four years? Go get that 3rd party supplier that implemented a feature that we're not interested in implementing, and you have to pay extra for it. Or implement it yourself, here's an API. Don't bother us, we are overwhelmed with supporting US banks.

    Just looked up https://www.buxfer.com and it seems very promising - envelope budgeting is not front-and-center there, but I think it might just be enough for my purposes. I have a fixed salary, and my expenses from month to month are not that different either, so 70% of my "envelopes" just get copy-pasted from month to month.

    Like
    • Le Mirador All around the world, in dozens of different currencies, people are budgeting successfully with YNAB.

      Some of those people have access to Direct Import. Some don't.

      I've used YNAB both with and without Direct Import. On the whole, I would rather have Direct Import, and have it work well. And we genuinely are taking steps toward supporting international Direct Import and improving reliability in the US and Canada. I don't have anything concrete to announce on the international front.

      However, having had it both ways: using YNAB with and without Direct Import is a very small difference.

      I definitely encourage you to try other solutions. If solid, consistent Direct Import is vital to the way you want to budget, whether you live in North America or elsewhere, YNAB probably isn't going to be the best choice.

      We only make money by selling YNAB, and if you find it useful with the features we have now at the price we charge, that's great. If you don't, for any reason, we offer fast, no-questions-asked refunds. We never want you to feel like we're stringing you along because of some feature we hope to introduce in the future, including international DI, and I'm sorry if we've made you feel that way.

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

      Matthew  Direct Import isn’t ‘vital’ .  It is however what YNAB sold us as a benefit of moving to a subscription service.  That is what rankles! We continue to be charged the same as North American customers but don’t get the same  solution.

      And a solid, consistent Direct Import IS available in the UK through syncforynab which is quite brilliant.  YNAB promoteS sync for YNAB and your customers have to pay again! Syncforynab uses Truelayer, something YNAB could do to support your overseas customers.  

      Enough with the excuses

      Like
      • Le Mirador
      • Pink_Banjo.8
      • 10 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Matthew , all around the world, people are dedicating their personal time to implement the feature your company chooses to ignore with outrageously vague excuses. Customers like YNAB so much they are willing to pay extra money just to be able to use it in the countries where you don't support direct import. And yet this feature is poo-poohed as something insignificant?

      From the start, I loved how YNAB establishes themselves as not being one of those faceless greedy corporations. They are friendly, they are cordial and down-to-earth, and they listen to their customers. I believed it when I bought the first Windows app, don't remember how many years ago. I felt betrayed when the company moved to web services, which made my experience worse, and didn't listen to my feedback.

      Now I'm feeling betrayed yet again when I realise that all those years I could have not have to download my weekly transactions from my online banking every saturday, if only YNAB lived up to their image of valuing their international customers.

      I'm only on this forum because of what remains of that trust. When Apple made their Books app unusable, I just shrugged and moved on. It's what they do. But to get the same treatment from YNAB - it stung.

      For me it's not as much about the money. It's about being listened to and respected, as YNAB promised it would. But I seem to have the misfortune of living in the wrong country for that.

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

      Le Mirador Scott Robinson of syncforynab is now working with YNAB.  

      Like
      • Le Mirador
      • Pink_Banjo.8
      • 10 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Tomato Colt , thats great news, thanks for sharing!

      Like
  • Matthew said:
    However, having had it both ways: using YNAB with and without Direct Import is a very small difference.

    This may be your personal opinion (and clearly that of your company), but I think you would find that most of your users disagree. That's why we're here expressing our frustration at your attitude toward supporting a reliable direct import.

    Like
    • Gold Router Understood, and I'm sorry for sounding flippant about it. Again, reliable Direct Import is extremely important to us, and bringing Direct Import to more countries is something we're actively working on.

      I know we've said that before, but I assure you that we're genuinely working on it and have made some key hires in that area. I wish I could tell you, "We will have international DI available in these countries on this date," but we just don't have that information ready to share yet.

      I understand that this makes you feel like a second-class YNAB citizen, and that's certainly not our intention. The last thing I want to do is devolve into corporate speak, because you're right, we strive to avoid that. All I can say is, we want to do a lot better here, and I believe we will—but not nearly as fast as you or I would like.

      Like
  • I've been using YNAB for years and have to do without DI as well. However, I think DI is overrated. I have tried almost all other tools, some of which also offer synchronization (e.g. via Saltedge) with the banks and have found that this does not work for my bank (1822direkt), although it has a PSD2 interface. As a German YNAB user, I use Outbank to access accounts and export the transactions to YNAB. I do this twice a month and it takes a few minutes and it works with all of my accounts - I don't need more. Yes, it is a bit rough that international users are paying for something that they cannot use. On the other hand, I can at least say for myself that after a long search and trial, I have not found any software that works better than YNAB.

    Like 3
      • ddiran
      • Ivory_Hail.11
      • 9 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Turquoise Moose I've been living in the London for just over two years. In all this time, I think I have only touched physical money once. 9/10 transactions in the UK are now digital.

      Every day I'll sit down and look at my Revolut transactions on my phone and manually enter them into my YNAB. This is a waste of time. Why can't the two speak to each other? 

      When I trialled syncforynab (which worked great) I would still sit down once a day, but this time my transactions would already be there, and I would review them one-by-one and approve / ensure the category and payee  is correct / rebalance categories as required.

      Subtle difference, but makes me feel like I'm running my budget as opposed to working a manual entry / admin part time job.

      Eventually cancelled syncforynab, not because of any fault of the product but because, as countless people mentioned above, I didn't feel like paying extra for a feature that should be part of YNAB. 

      Like 1
  • Extra, extra! Read all about it! 📰An update on International Direct Import: it's happening and progress is being made. Head over to the new thread for more details!

    Like 1
    • Lauren Thanks for the update. If we statesiders could just get Capital One to link the way it does with my other financial software -  boo-ya! 😉

      Like
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