Toshl Finance Blog

Taking Liberties With Your Own Transactions

Freedom! Today we bring more freedom to your transactions, tomorrow we’ll perhaps take a shot at redefining the modern social contract and the balance of positive and negative freedoms within a society. Perhaps. Just don’t ask us for delivery time estimates.

Before we get too off track, here are the kind of liberties that we’re enabling in Toshl today.

Let’s say you have a bank connection and automatically import your expenses, incomes and transfers that way. Until now, a few entry properties that were provided by the bank were locked from editing. With today’s updates of the Toshl mobile apps, all entry properties are freely editable, including:

  • amount
  • date
  • currency
  • exchange rate
  • account
  • reminders

Categories, tags and descriptions were already fully editable before.

It’s now also possible to add manual entries on accounts that are connected to the bank and usually add entries automatically. Connected accounts are the ones marked with a green globe icon.

Why this change?

Initially, we thought that banks would be much better at providing accurate data via their official channels, so locking some info from editing seemed like a safer option. After a few years of experience with various banking APIs, we now know that’s often not the case and now occasionally consider keeping our money in socks beneath our beds instead of bank accounts. Coincidentally, we also sell socks (see 3-year plan).

Only some banks are that problematic though and lots of bank APIs work well. The Shitty Bank List keeps track of worst offenders, if you’re interested. In some cases, the data is fine, but you’d just want to change the date for personal budgeting reasons or similar.

Bank connections in more detail

We’re now also providing more info about how bank connections work and how often they update. Go to main menu / Bank connections and tap Edit next to an existing connection to check it out.

There are several types of bank connections, depending on which technical capabilities the banks provide or don’t, which technical partners provide them and the type of regulations exist in the country. In short, this should help you better understand when and how often the connection updates.

Optional categorization

Entires imported from bank connections are automatically assigned categories and tags, if they can be deduced from the entry description. It also learns from your corrections. While most transactions should be categorized well, this can vary a bit depending on your bank and the type of information they provide. For example, if your bank reports only random numbers or huge blocks of text with every entry, the categorization system will have much a harder time determining the correct category.

To better accommodate such circumstances, we’ve made both this automations optional. They can be set on the level of the individual bank connections, so you can keep the auto-categorisation with the other banks that work well with it, for example.

If the categorisation is set to OFF, all the transactions imported via that bank connection will import as “unsorted” and you can manually assign categories later.

Optional transfer detection, improved review system

Transfers between accounts are also automatically detected, based on expense / income pairs on different accounts. If you have lots of financial accounts, with similar transactions that could be mistaken for 2 ends of a transfer, this could produce false positives. Transfer matches are now also optional and can be turned off per-connection.

We’ve also made other improvements to the detection system, removing the transfers category as detection criteria which should help with the accuracy and result in a lot less potential transfers to review.

Connections that clean up after themselves

When you remove a bank connection, the financial accounts and transaction data that it previously imported, remain. The financial accounts become manual and no longer update automatically, but the transaction data up to that point is still there. While this data preservation is desired in most cases, it can sometimes leave you with a bit of extra work, if you want to delete the transactions and accounts as well.

When removing a bank connection, you’ll now also be offered an option to delete all the data that the bank connection imported. Use this option cautiously as the deletion of data cannot be undone. This option requires a password or social log in confirmation. Additional warnings and explanations were added to make the data removal peril apparent.

Availability

All these new features are available in the latest versions of Toshl apps on Android and iOS. They’re released gradually, so they become available to a larger percent of all Toshl users each day and will be available for everyone within a few days. Once available for your account, it will update automatically. If it hasn’t updated yet, you can also start the update manually on the Toshl app page in the App Store or Google Play. The features are not available in the web app yet and are expected in a larger overhaul later on.

Monstrous advisory: If your bank account gets frozen, global warming won’t help. Act and vote accordingly.

Posted in Announcements, Bank connections

Solana, Polkadot, Tether and Other New Currencies in Toshl

Today, we’ve added a few new crypto currencies in Toshl with fresh exchange rates provided by Coinbase.

  • Tether (USDT)
  • Solana (SOL)
  • Polkadot (DOT)
  • Avalanche (AVAX)
  • Internet Computer (ICP)
  • SHIBA INU (SHIB)

This brings the total to 289 currencies supported in Toshl. 170 fiat currencies, 103 crypto, 4 commodities (e.g. gold) and 12 deprecated currencies. Deprecated currencies are no longer in active use, but historical exchange rates are kept for archival reasons. Ever heard of the Slovenian tolar?

A short prayer to bring Javier Solana out of retirement, now that there’s a currency named after him.
Posted in Announcements

Connect Monobank in Toshl Finance to Better Track Your Spending

We try to track customer demand for new bank connections which we don’t yet cover. With about 15 000 connections to banks and other financial institutions around the world, we connect to quite a few. That being said, with all the financial services globally, we cannot connect to every single one instantly.

When we sum up all the requests for new connections to particular banks, a clear winner shows up – Monobank Ukraine. As we get a not-so-preverted sense of pleasure from fulfilling our customer’s wishes and requests, we’re quite giddy to announce that connecting to Monobank is finally available to everyone in Toshl Finance.

Instructions to connect:

Mobile app (Android, iOS)

  1. Go to main menu / Bank connections, tap Add connection.
  2. Find Monobank and tap it – it will show up among popular connections in Ukraine, or via search.
  3. The web browser will open up. Tap the link “Open Monobank app and confirm”.
  4. You’ll be redirected to the Monobank app to confirm the permission to connect.
  5. Switch back to the web browser (step 3).
  6. Tap the button “Finish connecting in Toshl”.
  7. You’ll be redirected back to Toshl where you can limit the import by date and finish the importation. Accounts and transactions from Monobank will now import and continue updating automatically.

Step 5 is the crucial one, it’s the only thing you’ll really have to do manually other than tapping next/confirm, or similar.

Web app (toshl.com)

  1. Go to main menu / Bank connections, tap Add connection.
  2. Find Monobank and click it – it will show up among popular connections in Ukraine, or via search.
  3. A web page with a QR code will open up. Use your mobile phone’s camera app to scan the QR code and open the contained link.
  4. Provided that you have the Monobank app installed on this mobile phone, you’ll be redirected to the Monobank app.
  5. Confirm the permission to connect with Toshl.
  6. Check the web page on your computer again (where the QR code was displayed). The connection should now already be confirmed. Just click on the button “Finish connecting in Toshl”.
  7. You’ll be redirected back to Toshl where you can limit the import by date and finish the importation. Accounts and transactions from Monobank will now import and continue updating automatically.

It sounds longer than it really is, the whole thing shouldn’t take more than a minute. The transactions coming in should also be categorised, provided that there was enough information in the transaction description. Also keep in mind that the transaction categorisation automatically learns from your corrections and transfers between accounts will also be detected.

Pictured above: A monocled monstrosity seeking Monobank for a monogamous connection.

Posted in Uncategorized

Save Text From Receipts to Expenses Using Your Phone’s Camera (OCR)

You’re saving an expense. You got the amount and category noted in two taps, just tap Save and you’re done. But the receipt is right in front of you and there’s so much more information there; exact items purchased, company, time, location, salesperson etc. You know that you can take and save a photo of the receipt, but then the content wouldn’t be searchable…

There’s a better way. With iOS 15, you can tap into a text field use the camera to instantly scan text and insert it into the field, right from the app. Best you see how this works for yourself in the videos below.

This way, you can add lots of extra info to your expenses, incomes and transfers in a second or two. The text remains searchable and if you want the full photo, you could also save it in the photos tab.

While this excitement comes hot on the heels of the iOS 15 release, Android users, fret not. A similar feature has been available for a while on Android devices, albeit through the Google Lens / Camera app.

To use it, tap the Google Lens button on the top right corner of the camera app. Select the text you need in the camera app and copy it. You can then paste this text when adding the expense in Toshl.

Posted in Announcements, Goodies, iOS Tutorials, Tips & Tricks

Budget History. Up Close and Personal. Including All the Naughty Bits.

It’s one thing to say; “My budget and I, we go waaay back”, but how much do you really know about your budget’s past? I’m not talking about that one time they experimented with tags and financial account filtering back in college. I mean the real nitty gritty stuff, the budget’s historical performance.

We’re all a bit optimistic when we first set up the budgets. Yet the real trial of your budgeting resolve, comes when you see the results of past budget periods and decide what you’ll do about them. Sometimes your spending or the budgets just need a little re-adjustment, sometimes a whole new strategy is needed.

We’re introducing a much improved budget history graph to help you with that.

There’s been a budget history graph in Toshl for a while. You could just open any budget’s details and scroll all the way down. The budget history is still there, but the new graph tells you a lot more.

Before, you’d see how much you spent in total in any given month.

Now, you’ll see:

  • The budget amount for the month.
  • Total spending.
  • How much you went under or over your budget amount, clearly marked with red where you went over or the light grey area, showing how much space you have until the budget amount would be reached.

You’ll notice that monthly budgets feature a bit more info still:

  • Yearly sum of monthly budgets. In the case above, it’s a monthly category budget for food. The budget for the individual month in this case is 350 €. The budget history graph will now automatically project this for the full calendar year, showing the 4200 € yearly sum (350 € x 12) and also sum up your past monthly budget to see how much you’ve spent so far.

The budget details are already featured above the history. So the graph doesn’t show exact numbers by default, but you can easily dig into more detail. As with other graphs in Toshl, click and hold on the graph column to show the details for each column.

As with this yearly budget history, you can see exactly how much was spent in a particular period and how that compares with your budgeting goals.

Toshl adapts the graph scale based on the results, so you can see the differences in your budget’s performance between periods. Making those differences clearly visible, also means sometimes cutting off some outliers – columns with spending so far out of proportion with the rest of the periods, that they go over the graph’s scale. In those cases, you’ll see that as a dark red column being cut-off, to signify it goes over the graph’s scale.

See that dark red column above, going out? In the immortal words of Flight of the Conchords channelling Bowie; How far out are you man? I’m pretty far out man! Worry not, click on it and you’ll know exactly how far out that budget overspending really is. Though, I hope your bank account can handle what the graph’s scale can’t.

We’ve been gradually releasing this feature across the Toshl apps on the web, Android and iOS, so you might have already seen this in action. If not, make sure you’re updated to the latest app version, tap a budget and take a trip down the memory lane of your finances.

Okay, perhaps don’t take the memory lane all the way back to hunting-gathering times. You might want to focus on budget history after currencies were invented.

Posted in Announcements, Budgeting, Tips & Tricks