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