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How do I activate my bank feed?


#21

Exactly. The basic problem is that for certain types of transactions the feed from NatWest presents the same transaction with a different description text at different times - I’m not a NatWest customer myself but I used to see a similar thing with Yorkshire Bank where debit card payments would show up as “CARD AUTH” as soon as the authorisation was taken, then change to “CARD PAYMENT TO {name of supplier}” a day or two later when the actual charge was collected. In order to avoid duplicating transactions QuickFile waits a few days until all transactions have definitely settled down to their final description before importing them.

This does seem like a rather brute force approach, which is why I suggested that if there’s some way to distinguish between transactions where the description might still change and ones where it definitely won’t then maybe they could import the stable ones immediately and only delay the unstable ones, instead of always delaying everything.

Other banks don’t show the pending authorisations as if they were actual transactions, in which case there’s no need for any kind of delay to the feed.


#22

I don’t think what you describe is causing my issue. My transaction are simple Natwest account transfers


#23

Yes - QuickFile yodlee feeds for NatWest currently don’t import any transactions less than a few days old.


#24

One finally came in 5 days after the transaction, useless !


#25

Hello @John_Charnock1

The delay was added to the feed as a result of user feedback due to the way NatWest handle transactions. As @ian_roberts rightfully points out the description of the transactions can change, which fortunately isn’t that common, but is something that NatWest does.

This leaves us with two options:

  1. We import all transactions, resulting in potentially 2-3 copies of the same transactions, resulting in a manual clean up process, or

  2. We delay the feed by a few days and pick up the transactions after a few days one everything has settled down.

At present, we use the second option which was, as mentioned above, added as a result of user feedback.

I agree that this isn’t perfect, and we would follow Ian’s suggestion of just filtering out potentially changing transactions if it was straight forward - unfortunately NatWest don’t make this clear or give us any indication that this is the case. Our only option in this case would be to delay all transactions to be safe.

I would certainly encourage you to raise this with your bank if it’s causing issues. However, it’s also work noting that Open Banking is on the horizon which should improve this.


#26

I am not sure what I should be asking Nat West, what is the issues exactly ?


#27

I would imagine the changing transactions are also applied to their exports (like .csv files), so I would perhaps check these and then you could certainly query if there’s a way of omitting these from the export.

However, I would guess that NatWest are likely to advise you to wait for Open Banking where this process should be more reliable. It’s definitely a work in progress.

The list from Open Banking doesn’t list NatWest as being one of the supported ones directly, but it’s likely they are included as part of the RBS Group:
https://openbanking.atlassian.net/wiki/spaces/DZ/pages/23461910/Which+ASPSPs+support+the+UK+Open+Banking+standards

Once everything has been finalised on our end, we will be supporting this (more info here).


#28

I still don’t understand the issue, I download csv. files daily and they import into QF without issue. What is the difference between the data I download in .csv format and what the app downloads?


#29

I don’t have access to a Natwest account in order to say for certain, but the issue is, let’s say yesterday I logged into my account, the following transaction would appear:

Date Description Money Out Money In
23/04/2018 Authorisation for ABC Ltd. 100.00 -

This is all OK - it shows that you’ve made an authorisation for a payment for £100.00 to “ABC Ltd”. However, when I log in this morning, this has now changed to:

Date Description Money Out Money In
23/04/2018 Debit card purchase with ABC Ltd. 100.00 -

Because the descriptions have changed, we don’t know that this is the same transaction. The date and the amount may match, but the description doesn’t. This may not seem like a problem in this instance, but imagine even 5 of those transactions, same date, same amount - that’s 10 entries on your bank account just for 5 real purchases. That means that you have to go back and delete those entries.

While we could restrict the search to just the date and the amount, this could filter out genuine transactions as a result.

When we launched the feed with Yodlee back last year, the feedback given to us by users was a delay on the feed would be better to ensure we pick up the same transaction just once rather than multiple times.

In a nutshell, the issue is - banks like Natwest (there are others that do this too) provides us with the same transaction multiple times without telling us it’s a duplicate, and therefore just creates a mess and more manual work as a result.

Until Open Banking is in full motion, it’s unlikely the bank will tell us it’s the same transaction, so we’re left guessing. While I can’t confirm what data you see in the CSV export, I would expect to see the same issue there too as it’s all from the same source. You may not experience this personally, but other users of the same bank do.

I hope that helps.


#30

I would have to disagree, whatever I see today on my online banking is exactly the same a few days later.


#31

That may very well be the case for your account, but unfortunately that’s not the same for all NatWest users. We’re not able to vary the delay from one user to the next. We wish we didn’t have to delay it at all, but as it stands, there isn’t a reliable, accessible way to pull data from banks until Open Banking is in full swing.

But I can promise you that this is in the works, it just takes a bit of time due to the regulatory processes surrounding it. We obviously want the feed to be as reliable as possible, but at present, we need to workaround the limitations.


#32

How do you know if Nat West have not made any changes already that remediate the problem you have experienced in the past, have you tested it recently ? Also, I think my online business account is much the same as everyone else. Could it be the difference between BankLine and Online Banking, they are two different Nat West platforms?


#33

Do you see debit card transactions appear immediately or do they only pop up a couple of days later fully formed?


#34

2407

They look the same, I have copied a recent Debit Card transaction and a historic one.


#35

Those say ATM, the ones that are likely to change over a few days are payments you make by card to suppliers rather than cash withdrawals.


#36

I look into that. However, the delayed feed doesn’t seem to be working. The last transaction showing on my account is 19 April, so it is now five working days out of sync. A five /six day delay is unacceptable.


#37

0010

Two recent DC payments to teh same supplier, on two differnet dates. Both identical.


#38

Hello @John_Charnock1

Thank you for your screenshot - I can see that these transactions are the same in your situation. However, as I mentioned above, this isn’t the case for all NatWest users. We can’t just remove the delay and bloat accounts of NatWest feed users with duplicate transactions - it will get messy very quickly where accounts have a high volume of transactions. We can certainly review it if other users report the same, but we would need to see more reports before we can remove it.

Again, I would like to say that we don’t apply this delay out of choice - it’s because of the way NatWest process their transactions. Before the delay was in place users were reporting the same transaction appearing 2 or 3 times. I appreciate this isn’t the case for you, but this delay was added as a result of user feedback (and was agreed with those users at that time). The last thing we want to do is purposely impose an unneeded delay.

Regarding the update on your one account - I’ve located your account and done a manual Refresh and it has returned as no transactions found. But as you have mentioned you are expecting transactions here, I have asked our team to investigate this morning, and if needed reach out to Yodlee to see what’s going on. We will of course keep you updated.

[Edit]
Apologies - I missed your query about BankLine. To confirm, this is treated as a different bank within Yodlee. When you connect the bank, BankLine appears as a separate option to NatWest.

[Edit 2]
@John_Charnock1 - just to let you know, we’ve successfully pulled in 2 missing transactions for you.


#39

I think you should do some tests and not make assumptions that the problems you encountered over a year ago are still present. If we all use the same Nat West platform than I don’t think the “different user” claim is relevant, it is how the platform interacts with the requesting software which is the same for all users.

I would like to see some evidence that the problem you encountered in the past are still present as you are claiming.

J


#40

Firstly we’re not the only accounting software system that does this.

One possible solution is to allow a given user to remove the delay, if they are happy to accept the risk of duplicates.

We invest significant time and resources working around all the different quirks for each of the major UK banks. All these problems stem from the lack of a proper API interface and even being dependent on an aggregation partner like Yodlee does not solve these types of problems, the data we receive still needs to be sanitised.

Right now we are pushing forward with FCA Registration and Open Banking, this model of screen scraping is on the way out and investing significant amounts of developer time on this problem is not going to be productive. Especially when the banks can simply change things on a whim and undo all of our previous work, which has happened numerous times in the past.

Also one thing to note from the above conversation. With Natwest their CSV output does not always match the web output. I know Yodlee parse data from the web page not the CSV file, our Chrome extension on the other hand uses the CSV output.