We are changing things up a bit here. Instead of hearing from Ian for this blog post, it’s me James, CTO at IGG Software.

I want to give you an update on some things we discussed in this blog post, Services Roadmap.  To quote from that post, “Once our move to subscription is done we are taking on a major project to build out our next generation Direct Access service.”  

Well, we launched Banktivity version 8 in late October.  This was our most complex launch ever and as expected it had some issues and requests from customers.  The month of November was very much all-hands-on-deck to get updates out for our services, and macOS, iOS and iPadOS apps.  In December we released Banktivity 8.1 that brought among many other things, tag support for transaction templates and scheduled transactions. This had been one of our most requested features. At this point some of you might be thinking “wait, are you about to tell me that you just started on the next generation Direct Access service?”.  The answer to that is, “no”.

We did a lot of the groundwork for Direct Access 2 (DA2) before we launched Banktivity 8.  This included the high-level design, forming the business relationship, and plans with our partners to execute once Banktivity 8 was out.  In December we started building out the server “connective tissue” for DA2.  In early January I started work on the apps and the DA2 server was stood up for internal testing.  It is now mid-February and I just committed the internal changes needed for DA2 into our main source branch.  Does this mean it is done?  Sorry, the answer to that also is “no”.  Soon, we will release Banktivity 8.2 and when we do, if I did my job right, you will not see any difference from the code I added.  

So why am I writing this blog post?  Well, this was the last step to complete before we can start our internal testing against real banking data.  This is a huge milestone for Banktivity!  The other reason I wanted to update you is that in our Services Roadmap post we said the first step to adding support for UK and European Union banks is to build our v2 Direct Access service, and that, “Once that is in place we will be working on integrating this provider for our UK and European Union customers.”  I have an update, because things are going so well we have moved support for Open Banking up and are currently working on the server pieces.  This means that the first lines of code for supporting UK and European Union banks have been written, which is also a huge milestone for us!  This does not mean that Open Banking support will ship at the same time as DA2 but it does mean that we are not waiting for DA2 to finish before starting on Open Banking.

I am sure some of you want to know when we will ship this. The answer is “as soon as it is ready” I don’t know exactly when that will be as things can come up and unforeseen problems can happen.  But I can give an estimate.  It took us 8 weeks to go from where we are now on the server for Open Banking to this point.  That puts us in mid-April for internal testing to begin on Open Banking.  There is some catalog work and UI integration which is another 4 weeks-ish so that is the middle of May,  Finally, we have our quality and UI testing to do, so I would say we will be ready for some private beta testing in June.  There are two of us working full time on making this happen and we are very excited to get it out.

One final thing to note we will not be migrating everyone to DA2 at launch.  It will be an opt-in migration, so if DA is working for you, you can keep using it while we work out the kinks in the new system.  I do expect that everyone will eventually want to move to DA2 since it should be a better experience when pulling transactions from the banks, and over time some banks will start to require features that are only available in DA2.  That is something we can’t control.

Hopefully, you don’t want to hear from me soon because I want to keep my nose to the grindstone and keep writing and testing lots of complex code.

– James

James Gillespie
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18 comments on “Direct Access 2 and Open Banking Support in the UK and EU

  • Thanks for the heads up on this.

    What I get from this post is that, as an EU customer, I shouldn’t expect something before Summer (at best) and most reasonably Fall 21. To put it otherwise, that will be 1 year after the launch of v8 and the launch of your subscription model.
    Therefore I’ll keep asking what I was asking 6 months ago when you presented the “Services Roadmap”: why don’t you offer a lower tier subscription for your UK/EU customers, with just the sync service? Why should we pay the full price of the Bronze-tier when we simply CANNOT use DirectAccess?

    In the meantime, I will stay on v7, and keep an eye out on the competition.
    I’d be happy to pay for the v8… but at a reasonable price considering the (limited) services I can benefit from.

    • That’s a totally reasonable question, and I’d also like to see a reply.
      Why should EU / UK customers pay for features they simply can’t use (yet)?

      • Thanks for the comments. If you don’t feel the value is there without UK/EU bank support then I’d encourage you to wait. If we take time to rework our tier/plan structure it will slow down development in other areas which I don’t want to. I also want to point out we are partnering with SaltEdge for the UK/EU bank support, so there is a chance that your favorite bank may not be supported and that is out of our control.

        • Thanks for letting us know which provider you’re partnering with.
          This way I found out that they support 3 of the 4 banks I use, and I’ll be contacting them about the other one.

        • Thanks for your reply. I appreciate the transparency, even though I’m not really happy with what you explain.
          If I summarize I’m thus left with:
          1/ pay a subscription for services I cannot use (yes, I find 5€/month to be way too much for “just” a sync service, as in terms of functionalities there’s not much changes from v7 with only the Bronze-tier, and what’s new in Silver is rather US-oriented ).
          or 2/ wait for DA2 to arrive in a few months, hoping it will bring support for my EU bank.

          Is there a list somewhere we could check of banks that will be supported with SaltEdge? Because if mine isn’t, there’s no point in waiting any longer then… 🙁

  • I tend to agree with the observation on the subscription price but I am enormously pleased to see that support for Open Banking is progressing and I look forward to being able to help test it if I can!

  • Is DA2 the latest available aggregation technology ? I am hoping this is a quantum leap to future proof this component (as much as possible). Luckily current DA does the job for me but I am hoping this leap is more robust behind the scenes.

  • I hope this will reenable my bank (USAA) I feel like I am in the dark ages manually downloading transactions from each account and then importing them separately into BankActivity. Fingers Crossed.

  • Thanks for the update guys, much appreciated. Kinda agree on the subs point, but if it means we get the OB support quicker…. Understand this is challenging – look forward to your continued prioritisation of this function. Let us know how to be testers, keen to help this along!

  • Will you also continue to support existing Yodlee enabled Direct Access connections? UK and EU investment accounts don’t use PSD2 Open Banking, so do actually work with Direct Access at the moment. I would hate to find that when PSD2 banks are enabled, all my Investment accounts stop working…

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