Category: Bank connections

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

Bank Connection News – May 2021

Which banks are new on Toshl? What’s updated, removed and what shitty. Here’s a summary of what’s been happening with the available financial institutions on Toshl, since we last posted updates in March.

New or re-added bank connections

Austria

  • Oberbank
  • UBS

Belgium

  • Banque Transatlantique
  • Banque de Luxembourg 
  • CBP Quilvest

Denmark

  • Pleo

Estonia

  • Luminor

France

  • AXA Banque
  • Banque BCP
  • Banque Courtois
  • Banque Kolb
  • Banque Laydernier
  • Banque Nuger
  • Banque Populaire (with regional branches)
  • Banque Tarneaud
  • BBVA
  • BRED Banque Populaire
  • Caisse d’Epargne (with regional branches)
  • Crédit Coopératif
  • Crédit du Nord
  • Crédit Mutuel de Bretagne
  • Crédit Mutuel du Sud-Ouest
  • Max
  • Natixis Wealth Management France
  • Société de Banque Monaco
  • Société Marseillaise de Crédit
  • UBS

Finland

  • OP

Germany

  • WEG Bank
  • UBS

Hungary

  • Takarék Bank
  • Erste Bank Hungary is a special case. While an API connection has been re-added to test, the bank is very unresponsive and slow in fixing their API connection. We’ve had to resort to re-enabling the older semi-automatic scraping connection under “Erste Netbank”. Erste Hungary remains on our Shitty Bank List.

Italy

  • UBS
  • Credem – Credito Emiliano Privati e Famiglie (Carte)
  • Banco di Credito P. Azzoaglio Corporate
  • Banco di Credito P. Azzoaglio

Latvia

  • Luminor

Lithuania

  • Luminor

Luxembourg

  • Banco Safra
  • Bankinter
  • Banque Transatlantique
  • Banque de Luxembourg
  • Banque de Patrimoines Prives
  • CBP Quilvest
  • DNB
  • East-West United Bank
  • Eurobank Private Bank
  • Intesa Sanpaolo Bank
  • Julius Baer
  • POST Luxembourg
  • Raiffeisen
  • Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken 
  • Spuerkeess
  • UBS
  • Union Bancaire Privée

Norway

  • DNB 
  • Nordea Business
  • Nordea Corporate
  • Nordea
  • SEB

Netherlands

  • bunq

Romania

  • CEC Bank

Spain

  • UBS

Sweden

  • SVEA Bank

Turkey

  • ING Bank
  • ING Bank – Corporate

United Kingdom

  • Coutts ClearSpend
  • NatWest International 
  • NatWest International Online
  • Royal Bank of Scotland International Limited ClearSpend
  • Royal Bank of Scotland International Limited EQ
  • UBS

United States of America

  • Capital One (almost, pending) – the bank has not been available for connection for a while, due to past disagreements between our bank connection partner Plaid and the bank. They’re reached an agreement, we filled a bunch of paperwork and the connection is supposed to be available from April 30th onward with the authentication done on the bank’s website. However Plaid still has technical issues which prevent us from displaying and linking the new connection. We hope and expect  that this will be resolved shortly.
  • Many, many more banks and credit unions were added, some removed. The US have A LOT of smaller banking institutions like credit unions, so the changes to the list are too numerous to list here. Best to check searchable our bank connection list.

Removed connections

Canada

  • Capital One – Plaid had issues with the scraping type of connection of Capital One Canada for a long time, it was recently removed. We’re expecting the bank to be connectable under the new Capital One API connection, but are still experiencing some technical difficulties there. See under United States above.

Italy

  • UBI Banca – while the API connection was removed, scraping connections remain available. Likely due to API issues on the bank’s end.
  • UBI Banca (Carte)
  • UBI Banca Corporate
  • Enel X Corporate
  • Enel X
  • Igea Banca Corporate
  • Igea Banca
  • BCC di San Biagio Platani
  • BCC di Verona
  • BCC Trevigiano

Mexico

Mexico enacted a new law, requiring location checking on bank log ins. A workaround was possible for most institutions, but problems remained with 2 banks. The Scotiabank connection was disabled. Our partners are continuing work on BBVA, but the viability remains in question. We hope that official bank APIs become a mandatory requirement in Mexico in the future to avoid such issues.

  • Scotiabank
  • BBVA Bancomer?

Moldova

  • MobiasBanca

Shitty Bank list updates

We’re glad that we could remove Intesa Sanpaolo Italy from the shitty bank list. They’re resolved the API errors that have come up and we hope the connection remains in working order this time.

Unfortunately not all is well with the Intesa Sanpaolo group. We’re adding Privredna Banka Zagreb (PBZ), who is also a part of the Intesa Sanpaolo group. They have proven extremely unresponsive in resolving API issues an onboarding valid PSD2 licences. Intesa Sanpaolo Slovenia also continues to be unable to offer a stable API connection.

We’ve also added SKB and Sparkasse (Slovenia), Aqua Card and all Newday cards (UK). See why they’re shitty on the shitty bank list.

In conclusion

Overall, the connections are slowly but surely improving. We sure wish it was faster. Our bank connections partners at Salt Edge and Plaid take the brunt of the work here and we’re thankful for their efforts.

Posted in Announcements, Bank connections

Bank Connection News – March 2021

2021 has so far been eventful when it comes to bank connections, to put it mildly. We’ve experienced some Brexit and connection partner related issues, which resulted in having to reconnect EU bank connections and even an extended dowtime in the case of certain banks, where replacements weren’t provided by partners.

We have better news today. The issues with connections have been abating for a while now, as our bank connection partners resolved the issues. Salt Edge provided an alternative AISP registration and onboarded banks shortly after, but still experienced delays in some cases due to the onboarding process. Plaid’s complete EU downtime continued for 2 months. They were granted a new AISP registration in middle of February and have been onboarding banks again since, most are now available again, but some exceptions remain. Where the connections are still not available, the ball is likely in the bank’s court, either due to slow processes of approving the new registration or errors on the connection itself.

At the time of writing 15 152 bank connections around the world are available on Toshl.

Yesterday, a larger batch of French and Spanish and Irish connections have been re-enabled. Where Salt Edge provided replacements during Plaid’s downtime, those connections will continue to use the Salt Edge connection. The connections which remained missing on Salt Edge, but are available again over Plaid, have been enabled.

Recent additions and re-additions to bank connections:

  • Ireland Allied Irish Banks, Bank of Ireland, Permanent TSB (now over API), KBC, Ulster Bank
  • France Credit Lyonnais (LCL), Société Générale, HSBC, La Banque Postale
  • Netherlands American Express, Garantibank
  • Poland PKO Bank
  • Italy Banca Sviluppo Tuscia, Intesa Sanpaolo Corporate, BCC di Massafra, CRS, Banca Capasso Antonio, Banca Macerata, Banca Santa Giulia, Banca d’Alba, Banca di Sconto e Conti Correnti, Banco Marchigiano CC, Mediocredito Trentino, Prader Bank, Solution Bank
  • Belgium AXA
  • Germany Sparda Bank (7 regional veriations now over API), Barcalycard (now API)
  • Hungary MKB Bank
  • Spain Novo Banco
  • United Arab Emirates ADIB (Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank)
  • Croatia HBP
  • Slovakia OTP Banka
  • Czechia Fio Banka
  • Slovenia Delavska Hranilnica started supporting business accounts

Notable removals

  • Unites States several Charles Schwab connections in the US.
  • Israel Yahav Bank due to “technical issues” with scraping.

Still Missing in action – were available until Brexit issues, waiting to get them back. In most cases waiting for the bank to approve the new registration.

  • France Banque Populaire (multiple regions), Caisse d’Epargne (multiple regions), Crédit Coopératif, AXA, BBVA
  • Sweden ICA
  • Finland OP
  • Norway DNB, Danske
  • bunq (in multiple countries, originally Dutch)

Providing transparency about shitty banking

With API connections – which banks need to provide by law in the European Union, the banks provide a large part of the functionality on their end. The authentication and the sending of account, transaction data, if we simplify a bit.

While we understand that there are usually some glitches with the implementation of new solutions, some banks are showing remarkable consistency in not resolving issues for long periods of time. As for the reasons, we leave the Hanlon’s razor to you.

To better explain what goes on in some of these cases, what are the legal limitations of PSD2 and in hopes of improvements in the future, we’ve started the Shitty Bank List, where we’ll keep you updated on the depths of bank depravities. Our sincere hope is to shrink that list to 0 as connections and attitudes to Open Banking improve.

Posted in Announcements, Bank connections

Toshl Granted an EU PSD2 AISP Registration by Bank of Slovenia

If you’re confused by that alphabet soup in the title, don’t worry, you’re normal. If, however, you work in the FinTech or European Union (EU) legislative space, you’ll know that this registration is a sort of licence that allows us to access balance and transaction data from banks in the EU.

Quick recap:

PSD2 – Payment Services Directive, is an EU directive, further implemented in national legislations of EU member states. It, among other things, mandates all EU banks to provide automated access (APIs) to account and transaction data to third party providers (like Toshl) and regulates how that can be done.

AISP – Account Information Service Provider. Toshl Finance in this case. We help our customers access their bank account data and provide services built on top of that, like helping to analyse how you could spend less and save more money, budget better etc.

As per the PSD2 directive, third party providers like us need to register with a national banking regulator in the European Union, to access the data and provide information services. As Toshl d.o.o., our European subsidiary and where much of Toshl development is done, is registered in Slovenia, we registered with the Slovenian banking regulator – Bank of Slovenia.

The registration requirements and process

It wasn’t an easy process. All together it took us almost a year to complete. We’ve had to provide hundreds of pages of documentation, ranging from our security practices, information infrastructure, risk management, various proof of ethical unencumberedness of key personnel, professional liability insurance, business plans, contracts with business partners related to account information and so forth. Last, but not least, it involved a lot more paper and physical mailing that an all digital company would prefer to deal with.

Yet on a hot summer day, we finally got the news:

As you can tell, there was much rejoicing among the Medici branch of the Toshl monster family.

The registration of TOSHL, razvoj aplikacij d.o.o., can also be accessed on the Bank of Slovenia website: AISP registrations English version, AISP registrations Slovenian version.

Passporting

At the moment, with the help of Bank of Slovenia, we are also sending our registration to all other EU member state banking regulators for confirmation and entry into their national registries. This process is known as passporting.

Benefits

Based on this new registration, we’ll be gradually updating our bank connections to connect in a more direct manner, using our own QWAC and QSEAL eIDAS certificates and with fewer required legal agreements with our partners to confirm, when adding new connections. It will also enable us to work better with banks to provide great new services to customers in the EU. So far, we’ve been using the shared or “umbrella” registrations provided by our bank connection partners Salt Edge and Plaid which help us in providing a more unified bank connectivity.

While we’re glad to have finally obtained this registration, one would be foolish to think all is sunshine and roses in PSD2 land. Even a year after the final deadline for PSD2 connectivity, many banks’ implementations remain abysmal or non-existent, EBA‘s (European Bank Authority) interpretations of the directive perplexing, to say the least… We’ll soon share more on the current PSD2 landscape and challenges ahead in an upcoming blog post.

In the meantime, see which bank connections are already on offer in Toshl and how you can switch to the new type of fully automatic connection (API), if you’ve been using an earlier type so far.

Posted in Announcements, Bank connections

1400 New and Improved Bank Connections in the European Union

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.

Any downside?

  • 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.

Posted in Announcements, Bank connections