You’ll now find a lot more bank connections available in Toshl Finance. 1418 new ones were added to be precise, bringing the grand total at the time of writing to 14 073 bank connections available worldwide. As new connections are added replaced all the time, you might want to click on the link to get the current number if you’re reading later on.
Rather than the raw numbers, what matters more with this update is the way that these new bank connections work. All of the new additions work by using the bank’s official automatic connection (API).
Why does it matter if the connection is API-based?
- It means the connection will always update fully automatically. No need to click “Update” and authenticate each time anymore. The connections need to be re-authorised every 3 months. Toshl will send you a notification when that’s due.
- The authentication is done directly with the bank. When you connect one of these new connections, the bank’s website or mobile app will open and you enter your credentials there. This approach is preferable as your credentials only need to be stored and checked by the bank, we and our bank connection partners only get the confirmation that you have logged in successfully and transaction data to import.
- Such connections are much faster to update. As before, they’ll update at least daily and more often if you open the Toshl app frequently. Whenever you open the app, and the connection hasn’t been updated in the last hour, it will try updating it again, up to 4 updates per day.
- While mostly available, some rare banks do not yet include credit card accounts in the API connection. Often, this is based on technical limitations or uncoordinated opinions by national regulators. As this goes against both the spirit and the letter of the PSD2 EU directive we expect these initial omissions to be resolved in the future.
- There can be some other transitional issues, usually depending on how the new connections were implemented on the bank’s side. If you experience any issues with authentication or details of transactions, contact us via support and we’ll try to resolve the issues together with the bank and our bank connection partners.
How do I add these new connections?
Just search for your bank in Main menu / Bank connections and click on it. Where newer API-based connections are available, we’ve already set the new API connection as the default one.
The bank’s authentication will open up, just follow the steps. Once you finish, you’ll be asked if you want to import all the past data, or only some. Once you confirm, the new accounts and transactions will import automatically.
What about my existing bank connections? How can I switch to the new API-based ones?
Your existing bank connections will remain as they are. If the new API type of connection is now available and you would like to switch, you would need to add it as a new connection.
One thing to note, is that the new connection will also add new financial accounts to import on. To avoid overlap of transactions with your earlier accounts, make sure to set the new connection to only import from a certain date onward. Set it to the last day for which you have the data from your older connection.
When your new accounts have imported the data, you can simply merge them with the older accounts and unify them again.
To merge accounts, click Edit below the account list, then Edit again next to the individual account. You’ll see the Merge option there. Set the merged account to keep updating from the new connection.
How do I know which connections are API-based?
When searching for banks, a grey API icon will appear on the right of the results.
To check whether existing connections are API-based, click Edit on the bank connection list. If this notice appears on the Edit form, the connection is done over API.
Got any examples of new connections?
Sure, but all the new 1418 connections would be hard to list. The total of API-based connections on offer is currently 1534. A large part of the number are also regional variations of the same bank federation, like Raifeissen in Germany, Crédit Agricole in France etc.
For example, we’ve added banks for the first time in Slovenia, Luxembourg, Greece, Cyprus. We’ve replaced and added heaps of them in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Czechia, Belgium, Spain…
Among the widely used multi-country connections, N26 is now API-based and fully automatic, Revolut has been for a while, bunq is new, TransferWise was also a recent addition…
Why only in the European Union? Why aren’t all the bank connections like that?
To connect with a bank as described above, the bank needs to provide tools, for us to be able to connect like that. As very few banks are in that much of a cooperative mood on their own (to put it mildly), legislation is needed to ensure that people have access to their own data stored at the bank. They can then enable other financial services (like Toshl) to access those data in order to provide services. Sorting out and tracking your finances, in Toshl’s case.
In 2015 the European Union adopted the Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2), which obliges all the banks in the EU to provide APIs to access account information. With the time needed to get that directive transposed into national laws and for it to enter fully into force, we’re now finally seeing the real fruits of that labour.
There are similar initiatives going on in other parts of the world. In the long-EU-departing UK, there’s Open Banking that adheres to the same principles as PSD2 and is still part of the EU scheme. Similar initiatives are gradually taking place in Australia, Brazil, Mexico, India, Ukraine, Canada and elsewhere. However, most are still in the legislative phases and will need some time before they can be used in practice. For the time being, we remain rather doubtful of the US’ industry-led approach, as the voluntary nature of such integrations doesn’t really ensure a level playing field and full availability for all banks and financial institutions.
Do you enjoy posing yourself questions and answering them? Do you get some sort of perverse pleasure out of this?
Yes, very much so. Thank you for asking.