With summer now almost behind us, I want to give an update on two major topics: 1) Direct Access and 2) support for Apple’s forthcoming iOS 15 and macOS Monterey.

Direct Access Update

Direct Access is our technology that allows you to connect your accounts to your banks and automatically download transactions. Up until we released Banktivity 8, Direct Access was an add-on subscription service that users could optionally buy. With the release of Banktivity 8 and our switch to subscription in October 2020, we bundled Direct Access in with all subscriptions levels.

We released a beta version of Direct Access 2, our next-generation connectivity service, in May of 2021. In addition to improved reliability, better security, and user experience, DA 2 also supports connecting to banks in the UK and EU. In July we officially took DA 2 out of beta and made it the default for all new connections setup within Banktivity. Moving DA 2 out of beta marked a significant milestone in our roadmap as we can now begin the process of phasing out our legacy Direct Access system.

For new customers, or really, any customer setting up an account for the first time, Banktivity will now establish a connection to your bank using Direct Access 2. For those customers that have existing DA 1 connections, we will be releasing a built-in assistant that walks you through converting your connections to DA 2.

Phasing Out Legacy Direct Access

The future of Direct Access is Direct Access 2. Our legacy Direct Access infrastructure has served us well and has been going strong for about 10 years. However, during that time technology and security have marched forward. We built Direct Access 2 to continue moving us forward using best practices for security, user experience, and importantly, to work with the latest technologies from our backend providers.

The first phase of discontinuing legacy Direct Access will be to stop selling subscriptions to it in our older versions of Banktivity (versions 5, 6, and 7). Our plan is stop selling subscriptions to DA 1 sometime between now and the end of the year. After we do that, we will keep the legacy service running long enough to let customers finish out their subscriptions.

If you are currently using Direct Access with Banktivity 5, 6, or 7 I strongly encourage you to upgrade to Banktivity 8. Please note that when you upgrade to Banktivity 8 you can prorate your remaining legacy DA time to the new v8 subscription service (which includes Direct Access 2). In addition to converting over your time, you also get all of the great new features and functionality in Banktivity 8 like goals, new iOS apps, and more. If you have additional questions about upgrading, please take a look at this page we put together.

New in Banktivity

We are quickly approaching the month(s) when we expect Apple to release iOS 15 and macOS Monterey. We’ve been testing Banktivity 8 on these new operating systems and we plan to fully support them on the first day they are out. Of course, given we don’t know exactly when these will drop, consider this a goal and not a promise. Regardless, as I hope you’ve learned by now, we are committed to supporting the latest operating systems from Apple as quickly as possible.

Please don’t think all of our resources have just been put into supporting the new operating systems. Our engineering team has also been working on some deep foundational changes to allow us to adopt new Apple technologies and new features. For example, Banktivity 8.5 will support Hand-off, Quick Note, and improved multi-tasking features on iPadOS. While I know these features don’t have to do with managing your finances per se, they do help us eliminate some technological debt. When we have less technological debt we are better positioned to develop new features and remain nimble in the event that we need to fulfill some unforeseen requirement.

Screenshot of Quick Note on iPadOS 15.

Quick Note on iPadOS 15 with a link to a specific account.

Screenshot of multi-tasking on iPadOS 15.

New multi-tasking support in iPadOS lets you see two different views from the same (or different) document side-by-side.

We plan on shipping Banktivity 8.5 in early fall.

Conclusions

We launched the new Banktivity less than 12 months ago and we’ve already done four major updates and brought you great new features like Direct Access 2 with support for UK/EU banks, improved budgeting, new account types, tags to scheduled transactions and more. We’ve also fixed a ton of bugs to make the app more stable and predictable.

I know that there is still more work to do and that it’s quite possible that your favorite request hasn’t been implemented (e.g. reports on iOS, archiving data files, New Zealand stock quotes, and so on). However, I hope you can see that with the switch to subscription we are continually working on making the app better. We love making the best suite of personal finance apps and we truly appreciate your support.

Ian Gillespie
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71 comments on “Direct Access and Fall Update

  • Looking forward to multi-window support on iPad… and eventually reports on iPad (two of my biggest wishes)! The iPad version needs to look & feel more like the macOS version, instead feeling like an enlarged iPhone experience with extra empty space..

    I do understand this is the situation due to how the iPad evolved from the iPhone, but it’s clear that Apple sees the iPad as something in between the Mac & iPhone.

    Keep up the great work.

    • I’m hopeful the multi-window support will allow things like:
      – drag & drop between windows (accounts)
      – multiple documents open simultaneously
      – session/view restoration when reloading the app

      Really looking forward to the update.

      The main reason I want reports & charts to make an appearance on the iPad is that this is the most useful part of the app for me. I use it for monthly & quarterly tax reporting and the only ‘version’ of Banktivity I can use for this is the Mac version.

      I’d also like to see an option where we can view an account with a chart & summary at the top and transactions below, all in the one window (rather than having to view the different tabs). A picture is worth a thousand words, but I need the ledger to actually manipulate the data – having it all in one ‘view’ would be perfect.

  • Doesn’t seem like the best way.

    We pay monthly subscription on the promise of new features more often.

    That’s not what we’re seeing in this version.

    It seems that only iPad users are paying subscriptions, no new feature for Mac users.

    Terrible post this post and you should be more concerned about the needs of users, soon they are becoming an Intuit 2.0

  • Salt edge is available for many countries. Why only alow UK and EU costumers to use it?
    Please make salt edge available for Brazil!!

  • Very pleased where Banktivity sits at the moment, since V8 launched it seems incredible that most of my MacOS wish list items have rolled out improving usability immensely. I would love to see Apple Notes integrate with MacOS Banktivity; i am constantly creating notes about certain transactions and any finance thing that cannot be represented in the register.

    Only sore point for me is the daily ASX download being a day late , I am doing manual updates at ASX close and would love a facility to feed a CSV to update prices (or go back to Yahoo 🙂 )

    • What is ASX or did you mean IEX?

      Ever since Banktivity moved from Yahoo to IEX for security quotes, that feature is generally broken. Though the support article says it supports Bombay, I have never got it to work and repeated requests to Banktivity support has drawn a blank as well.

      S0, my vote for a more robust and reliable security quote provider.

      • Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) ; yes I agree that Yahoo was the best provider (at least for Australia) and by 16:30 all my stocks were updated to close of day. With IEX i get the price update sometime overnight and by the time I want to use Banktivity the data is obsolete as the next day market is open.

        I think we are stuck with IEX for the medium term at least so a CSV input would be better than next day (at least for Australia being 12-14 hours in front)

  • Migrated over my Banktivity 7 DA subscription to v8.

    Turns out that migration was only a trial so now the “subscription” has expired I am locked out of interacting with my file.

    Have to say I am so annoyed that I have started unpicking the whole thing from the SQLite DB to migrate to something (at this point anything) else

    • Hi, sorry for the frustration. When you migrate over your original v7 document is left intact. You can just go back to using v7 if you don’t like v8. Also, once you start the free trial (yes, you’ll have to enter a credit card) you be able to use all features of the app during the trial. Just cancel before 30 days if you don’t want to get billed.

  • Hello Ian and team, thanks for the update.

    Re: Direct Access 2, overall this seems to have been a productive pursuit, but I’m concerned because a valuable feature is OFX functionality (i.e., paying bills directly in the software with a bank, including First Republic Bank and U.S. Bank). Will Direct Access 2 soon support bill pay in Banktivity (if not already in general, at least for these two large North American banks).

    Side note: if you ever release a bill pay add-on like that offered from Quicken, this could be a reasonable workaround. But a lot of users would need one or the other.

    Re: Other update items
    2) Any plans to make bill pay functionality via iOS as well? It’s a really common use case: see credit card balance and make quick payment via Banktivity mobile app.

    3) Lastly, the Investments/Portfolio functionality are still calculating IRR incorrectly. I suspect the issue is simple: I believe it might be annualizing returns <365 days, which is not a correct methodology used in finance (bank deposit accounts, yes, investment returns, never is this calculated in this way). Hopefully this can be fixed relatively soon as well? Arithmetically it's rather simple: period 360/365 days, it is the annualized equivalent of the cumulative return, which I believe may already be formulaically correct in the software.

    Thanks!

    • Hi William, thanks for the comments. My replies are below:

      – Our app still uses OFX for bill pay (for banks that support it). This hasn’t changed with Direct Access 2. Good to know you find this feature valuable!
      – We aren’t currently working on bringing bill pay to iOS, but it is something we will certainly consider. Many people these days have a lot of their payments set up to happen automatically with their bank.
      – I’ll have to discuss with an engineer the details of our IRR calculation.

      • Hey Ian, thanks for the reply.

        1) Re: OFX and Direct Access 2, I can confirm this functionality is most definitely mutually exclusive, at least with all the big banks (i.e., Banktivity, when connected via DA2, does not support OFX functionality like Bill Pay) Based on your IEX Cloud implementation in the UI, it behaves differently to reflect this, too. If I use DA1, I am presented with an extra page explaining what functionality is available with the specific bank; if I use DA2 for the same bank, I will not see anything showing OFX support (including Bill Pay), and instead see a “Yodlee Connect” display, identifying Envestnet Yodlee is the data source. Is there some way to override and prevent it from using Yodlee Connect to accomplish a proper OFX connection via DA2? I don’t see how to do so today.

        2) Re: iOS bill pay via OFX, to be clear, I invite automatic bill payment in my day-to-day use, but the OFX bill pay functionality makes it possible to do things like pay off credit card bills and occasional checks without unnecessary input duplication (bank + Banktivity), so it has tremendous value in our modern, 2021 fintech world still 😉 (e.g., paying off my credit card balances takes mere seconds each, vs. many multiples of that if done via bank websites and manually entering in Banktivity).

        3) The IRR being extrapolated from a non-bank investment security for a period of less than a full year is definitely a mathematical mistake (not a debated topic in finance), but if you or your developer have any questions about this, feel free to reach out directly so I can help you get it fixed.

  • I would like to see the ability when reporting to always compare the current YTD period to the identical year ago YTD period. This is a most commonly used report in all business and nonprofit financial reporting.

  • I’m still on Banktivity 7 (and I’m a long-time Banktivity/iBank user).

    Does Banktivity 8 store the main file/database “in the cloud” or is it stored on the user’s machine in any directory the user chooses?

  • I’ll continue to use Banktivity 7 but upgrade shall be a no-go until and unless a one-time-payment option is initiated. Under no circumstances do or will I ever “rent” software. I’m already investigating one-time payment alternatives to Banktivity for when the day comes. I’d be willing to pay a one-time upgrade fee of up to $64 or so as in the past for an upgrade but until or unless one is offered, you’ll be losing this long-term Banktivity customer.

    • You can subscribe to v8 once, then disable the auto-renewal after you paid once. You won’t be charged anymore and you can continue to use the app “indefinitely” (but the connected features won’t work anymore). You’ll still be able to track everything manually 👍

      • I didn’t know you could do that. A excellent idea.

        Don’t misunderstand, I have loved Banktivity for many years (I used it before it was Banktivity). But I hate “renting” software. I don’t need any more drains on my income these day. I’m old now and on a low fixed income budget.

    • I feel the same way as the OP. The subscription model for a home banking app is a TERRIBLE way to go. I’d happily pay a reasonable amount for an upgrade…but being bled for a monthly fee for an app? That’s a non-starter, sorry. Like the OP, I’m also a long-time customer who’s actively looking for something to replace Banktivity.

    • I agree!!! TOO many subscriptions are draining people dry. Death by a thousand little cuts. I want to pay one time for each full version of a software, which wold included minor updates within that version. I too will avoid “renting” software. A ridiculous idea for the end user. It only really benefits greedy developers.

    • In reading all these comments about subscriptions and not wanting to pay form them takes me back to when Quicken did the same thing. I went in search of free or one-time fee options and found there are not many out there, so I looked into creating my own, being a developer, and researched how to connect to banks to automatically download information.

      What I found is that banks don’t provide direct access to individuals except through their website. So I looked into data aggregators like Plaid, Yodlee, MX Technologies, etc. and found that you have to pay a subscription price to them to connect and transfer information from institutions and it wasn’t cheap.

      I am sharing this because it explains why applications like Banktivity are charging a subscription, they either have to pay a data aggregator, or they have to pay their own developers to continuously update connections to meet new security implementations done by each individual institute.

      Personally, I’m now on a fixed income and would differently like to not have to pay a subscription to use software, but in the long run it does save me time in having to go to each of my financial institutions, log-in, and review or manually download all the latest transactions.

      I am still searching for something less costly like all of you. My target is to find something that is $20 or less per year.

  • I am still waiting for a functional version of Direct Access. When I make a debit card transaction on a weekend, Banktivity 8 downloads two or three copies of the transaction, which throws off my accounting. If I delete the duplicate version of the transaction, it just returns after my next DA download. Yes, I have unchecked “Include pending transactions on import.” I have been attempting to work on this with Banktivity Support for more than one month, without any noticeable progress toward a fix. Prospective buyers of Banktivity should understand the level of support they will receive.

    • I believe this is specific to how Yodlee is (incorrectly) scraping your bank. I do this type of transaction all the time with a debit card linked to my credit union checking account and I don’t get duplicates. I’m sorry for the frustration, tracking down these types of issues can be hard.

  • I’m loving all of the work that you’re doing on the product suite Ian. To be honest, the subscription rate worked out to be almost the same price for me as buying the annual upgrade + direct access subscription under the legacy versions – so I feel as though I’m getting more for the same price.
    Really looking forward to the future prospect of reports on iPadOS (I’m glad you acknowledged them) – it will be amazing when I can do a cash flow forecast on that platform.
    Keep up the good work.

  • How about producing a stripped-down version with checking, savings, credit cards & other assets without features like stock tracking. I have 3 managed IRA & Roth accounts, so I don’t trade & track the markets. A simpler Bkty would be my preference at a lower subscription fee.

    • I agree with Michael Blake manually entering fund prices is a lot of work. I only do it weekly but have to enter a price on Thursday and Friday so there is a comparison to the day before otherwise there is no way to track increases or decreases in a funds value. It’s a lot of extra work.

  • How about improvements to reporting on assets, notably a home. I can get an estimate of my equity position by grouping the asset and associated loan/mortgage in a single folder. For taxes, though, I need to recover my cost basis, which is now obscured by all the market value adjustments. I’ve worked around this by creating a category for all the market adjustments and manually subtracting it from the market price, but I think you could automate this easily and more reliably.

    • Great feedback. Please note that you can drop a loan right on to a real estate account to create a “special” account grouping. I recommend this for anyone tracking a mortgage and the corresponding home.

      • Along the lines of “drop a loan right onto a real-estate account” — in Banktivity 7, the only type of accounts you can do that with are real estate assets and mortgages. In 8, does that extend to other sorts of loans and assets, for example a car loan and the car asset? That would be quite handy.

  • Banktivity is terrific. I use it everyday and could not imagine budgeting without it. One improvement I’d love to see is in the Statement section. When adding in a transaction, such as a dividend payment, the Tab key will not move the curser between data areas. One needs to manually place the curser in the amount section to complete the transaction. This would be helpful for those of us who enter their data manually instead of downloading it from their brokerage firm. Thank you.

  • A small nit: Would like to be able to schedule transactions based on a particular day of the week, such as “the second Wednesday of each month”, which I would use for Social Security deposits. Thanks.

  • The program works will, but it desperately needs an archive feature. I have waited a long time for this and finally decided that 10 years of data, some imported from Quicken, which has an archive feature, was too much. The manual process was tedious. I also had to keep going back to the previous file to be sure I had what I wanted. Decisions about what to save intact, and what I could discard were also a challenge. I have asked before, and I will continue to ask until you have this feature.

    • I heartily concur with Lee’s suggestion for an “archive” feature. Even though I regularly backup key data files to a local hard drive and to a cloud storage service, I’d feel much more comfortable if there was an archive feature native to Banktivity which appropriately selected and managed the various data elements. Although Ian has said that the storage capabilities of Banktivity are massive, I worry about key historical personal financial data being corrupted or inadvertently deleted. So +1 vote for an archive feature 🙂

  • Is Yodlee your new new Direct Access? If so, it works pretty well, but is a bit slow. what will happen to the accounts that were set up with the previous Direct Access?

  • I”m glad to hear about the new, improved version of Direct Access. However, my first attempt to re-connect one of my bank accounts using the new DA did not work. I am talking now with one of your tech support people. In the meantime, I’m going to wait awhile before attempting to reset my other bank accounts.

  • I’m having buyer’s remorse about upgrading to Banktivity 8. Say what you want about the old Direct Access — at least it worked. I have NINE accounts (down from 13, I’ll give you that) that will not sync and download transactions via your Direct Access 2 “Yodlee” — how I have come to hate those six letters. Your email tech support people dutifully assign me “tickets” promising their team is on it, and I wait and I wait, I get auto-emails from IGG asking if I have anything to add after the last three days of waiting, and I never have anything to add but STILL DOESN’T WORK.

    I’ve relied on Banktivity, I’ve used it for years, I want to believe it will continue to do the job for me, but right now it’s not and your support people (except for Justin) treat me like collateral damage.

    • I’m sorry you are feeling this way Patrick 🙁

      Our old DA and DA2 both use Yodlee. DA2 just uses their newer system. I’ll check in with my support team. In the meantime, you could try connecting one of your accounts using the old DA just to see if that works.

      • I can try, although it’s ironic, since all your support “ticket” people have told me to do just the opposite, to reconfigure the 13 problem accounts for the *new* Direct Access instead.

          • Well, I don’t know how long the long run’s going to be, but with NINE accounts that DA2 can’t or won’t access, it’s right now not a better option for me. Meaning that I “upgraded” to your new subscription model and traded in a program that works for one that doesn’t.

            Its latest shenanigan is for two of the four accounts DA2 *was* successful with (or so I thought) to give me an error message saying I have entered/stored the wrong login credentials. The same credentials that work perfectly well when I go to the bank’s website and use them. On the third or sometimes the second try, DA2 will stop giving me the error and decide everything’s fine even though nothing’s changed. Maddening but your support team is even more so, so I’m not even going to take this to them.

  • Banktivity 8’s user interface is fantastic and direct access has worked consistently with few issues. It’s hands down the best financial tracking software on Mac and iOS today. I’d like to see more “what if” type scenarios specific to forecasting (e.g. selling stock, purchasing a second home, major renovations, income tax planning and retirement).

    Great software and looking forward to upcoming enhancements and improvements.

  • I know this is beyond your control, but I would really like for DA2 to work with the new Apple credit card. Hopefully this will be a feature available soon. Otherwise, I really enjoy using Banktivity and look forward to you moving the platform ahead. I don’t mind the subscription model, it’s really not that much more than paying for DA was.

  • I wish there is a way to define custom report formats. As of now, there are predefined report templates and report criteria can be customized but the output format is fixed and cannot be customized. That will be a very useful feature for a variety of scenarios. Thanks!

  • There is only one item I really don’t like in Banktivity, its the unreliable security Price update. My Swiss and German securities are updated incomplete, also after day prices.
    This goes on now for more than 1 year. So I do manual price updates in regular times.
    I don’t mind paying for a subscription, but the program should work properly.
    I will not prolong my subscription as long as this isn’t improved.

  • Been using DA2 with Banktivity 8.4.2 for several weeks and find it more robust in terms of properly retrieving data from our (US) financial institutions with a few notable exceptions that are take rather long to connect.
    Badly needed nevertheless is a way to handle two factor authentication (2FA). I literally most other apps, when a @FA code is required, it is received locally by text, and immediately presented IN THE APP via small blue pop up window where it needs to be entered and on click, done. In Banktivity 8.4.2 @FA requires exiting the app, going to text, copying the 2FA code, going back to he app, going to the window needed the code and pasting it into the window and entering. With IGG’s “apple smarts” it’s hard to believe this capability has been overlooked. If it were me, I’d make doing this correctly a high priority. 2FA is here to stay and financial apps need to make them as seamless as they are secure.

    • Thanks for the comments. Our iOS app will autofill a one-time passcode into the app. Unfortunately, Apple hasn’t built this functionality into WebKit on Mac. We will keep exploring though, because I agree, making 2FA more seamless would be great.

  • I am using Banktivity 7.4.2. I have a very simple list of Canadian accounts but have single US bank and Credit Card accounts associated with my Canadian bank. This works great on my system today. I would subscribe to 8 if the US accounts could be accomodated in the basic level. I don’t have a Mortgage or loan to deal with. I am already retired so not worried about a retirement plan. I don’t print checks. I just don’t see upgrading to the top tier annually just for my US Currency bank account and credit card. Regards.

    • Hi Richard, thanks for writing. Implementing support for accounts in multiple currencies is one of the more complex parts of our app. This is why this feature is in the gold plan – it is essentially a “pro” feature. The far majority of our customers only need to track accounts in one currency. You can purchase the gold plan once, then downgrade later. This will allow you to keep tracking accounts across multiple currencies, but the downloading of the currency exchange rates would stop when you downgrade. I don’t know if this is a good option for your needs or not, but I wanted to let you know about it.

  • I am a long time customer. I am alos vision impaired. For years you have been claiming that Banktivity is a native Mac App. For just as many years I have been asking for you to add support for the basic “Command +” shortcut to enable the screen to be zoomed. I would truly like to see you enable many other “vision” features that have come with IOS for years. I did get one reply last year stating that it was on yoru roadmap. This is obviously vague and non-committal, so, when will this be addressed?

    • Hi Tommy, thank you for being a long time customer, I really do appreciate it. We have done some preliminary work on this feature and even have a “proof of concept” running in Banktivity 8. That said, it isn’t an easy feature to implement and has repercussions throughout the entire app so I still consider it very much a work in progress. Right now we tentatively think this feature will be ready for the public in 2022.

    • Hi Tommy, thank you for being a long time customer, I really do appreciate it. We have done some preliminary work on this feature and even have a “proof of concept” running in Banktivity 8. That said, it isn’t an easy feature to implement and has repercussions throughout the entire app so I still consider it very much a work in progress. Right now we tentatively think this feature will be ready for the public in 2022.

  • Direct Access 2 feels like a regression, at least for me on an iPad Pro with accounts that require 2FA. The new modal window blocks the display and can’t be dismissed without canceling the authentication process, whereas previously the dialog popped up only when input was required. I could at least look at and work with my accounts while waiting for 2FA. I hope this is not the final version of DA2. I’m not going to pay for a subscription next year where my choice is to disable online accounts or be locked out of the app for six minutes while I wait for 2FA prompts.

    • It turns out the modal dialog associated with 2FA can be dismissed after inputting authentication code by swiping down, so I don’t have to just stare at a dialog three times for two minutes each every time I update accounts. It would still be better if dialog boxes were on screen only when input was required.

  • A minor thing but hoping you put this on the to do list. Could we have a Configure option on the Calendar view to choose what day to start the week 🙂

  • I have been trying to switch over to DA2 using latest Banktivity 8 and it is really not good. Constant hanging and re-entering passwords. I am sticking with DA1 until y’all get this ready for prime time.

  • Hi Ian,

    As a Banktivity user, I am quite frustrated with the customer service provided. I have few issues which it still hasn’t been resolved. I thought with the yearly subscription surely you’re able to provide much better customer service to your users?

    Those are my issues and I still waiting for the solutions:-

    1. DA2 Features
    I am not sure the DA2 is working as it should be. It takes forever to download the transactions from the banks and often I have an “exclamation mark” next to all my accounts (Not able to sync or retrieve data). Since the DA2, I am not able to download the transactions from Stockspot(Aus) & Market Service Link (Aus) which I use those 2 accounts more of the time. Also, there is no DA2 for Maybank2u (Malaysia)

    2. Deleted or Missing Transactions
    A lot of my credit card transactions just disappeared without any reason and messed up my account. I have to go through all the transactions against my online banking (up to a few months) to reconcile my account – very frustrating.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Thank you.

    Jackson

    • Hi Jackson,

      Thanks for reaching out. I’m sorry if support has left you disappointed! As for the two specific issues you mention here, Direct Access 2 does work quite differently than DA1. With DA2, I recommend turning on automatic bank downloads, this will make transactions from banks that it can connect to readily appear more quickly. Then other accounts that require a one-time passcode with each update will get updated ONLY when you click the circular button in the toolbar. As for the missing transactions, this is really something that should be brought up with support as opposed to trying to troubleshoot via blog comments. This is NOT something that I’ve seen before, so I’m at a loss of what the underlying issue might be.

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