#12 hold
Virgil Dupras

OFX direct connect

Reported by Virgil Dupras | June 4th, 2009 @ 04:25 PM

Our big competitors can connect directly to financial institutions using the ofx protocol. It's called direct connect and it seems to be implemented mostly in US banks.

This seems to be something that Intuit (Quicken) holds on to. They have agreements with the financial institutions and a certification program. However, iBank does support direct connect. I don't believe that they pay Intuit anything to do that. They probably just support the banks that don't put a restriction on who can connect to their ofx servers.

The official ofx page (http://www.ofx.net) does not give any help on how to implement direct connect, but the community-driven http://www.ofxhome.com does maintain a list of ofx servers.

The problem is that I don't have an account in a bank that supports direct connect. I don't think that my bank supports it, so it's hard to test it.

Comments and changes to this ticket

  • Virgil Dupras

    Virgil Dupras June 4th, 2009 @ 04:49 PM

    • Tag changed from suggestion to from-trac, suggestion

    [tagged:"from-trac" bulk edit command]

  • Randy Becker

    Randy Becker August 16th, 2009 @ 08:05 PM

    I really like moneyGuru's focus on making hand-entry efficient. I've been looking at a lot of personal finance software lately, and many of them are focused on downloading data directly from banks, to the exclusion of making it easy (or possible) to enter data manually. This is a bug, not a feature.

    Direct downloading strongly encourages users to trust their banks, and merchants. If users just wanted to know what their currently cleared balance is, they could check their banks' websites. One big reason I use personal finance software is to keep banks and merchants honest. By manually entering my transactions, and then checking them against the bank, I know that no one has made an error. I know not only what transactions have cleared, but what transaction have not cleared. The more certain I am about the expected future balance of my checking account, for example, the more money I can safely keep in a savings account, earning interest. Direct downloading might appear to save users time, but it encourages behavior that can cost them money.

    Additionally, there are many technical issues with direct downloading. Many banks don't want to pay Quicken's fees, and so some "competitors" screen-scrape bank websites to get the data. OFX is much more complicated that QIF. Downloaded transactions need to be de-duplicated with manually entered ones using smart importing rules, as banks do silly things like putting payee names in all caps. New UI would be needed, and you would need to create and maintain a list of institutions that support downloading, and by what means, although it looks like OFX home has a list, which explains why iBank has three separate progress bars for downloading lists of OFX-compliant banks.

  • Virgil Dupras

    Virgil Dupras September 5th, 2009 @ 07:10 PM

    • Tag changed from from-trac, suggestion to feature, from-trac

    [not-tagged:"suggestion" tagged:"feature" bulk edit command]

  • Virgil Dupras

    Virgil Dupras January 14th, 2010 @ 01:53 PM

    • State changed from “new” to “hold”
  • Virgil Dupras

    Virgil Dupras June 7th, 2011 @ 02:17 PM

    • Tag changed from feature, from-trac to feature
    • Milestone order changed from “0” to “0”

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