The Data Connections Beta is Go!

We're delighted to announce that we've reached the next stage of PocketSmith Data Connections. Users who are keen to get started early with the new system can dive right in. Read on for more information!

Note: Data Connections is now live and all new feeds are automatically added via the Data Connections platform — you do not need to get in touch for testing. For information on open banking in Australia, please check out our Basiq blog post.

More than 130 users tried out Data Connections during the public alpha period and thanks to their feedback, over the past few weeks we’ve been able to open up Data Connections to a limited beta group. Over 280 people jumped feet-first into the limited beta, connecting to nearly 400 different banks and financial institutions, and importing 200,000 transactions so far.

Based on the experiences of this group, we’re now opening the doors up wider so that all beta users can opt-in to start using Data Connections today. Find out below how to become a beta user!

A quick refresher

Data Connections is the new way to connect PocketSmith to your bank. The new system uses Yodlee and Salt Edge to connect, and it’s built to allow us to easily integrate with other aggregation providers and connect directly to select banks and institutions. We’re now poised to utilize regulated open banking feeds as they become available directly to us, or via our data partners.

Data Connections now has access to newer, more reliable APIs at Yodlee. In time, you should experience fewer feed errors and will be able to connect to more banks that were not previously available in PocketSmith. We’ve also built the whole system from scratch, ensuring a quirk-free experience.

How to get access

Keen to jump in right away? Firstly, opt-in to see beta features from the User Preferences area of the web application.

Once you’re a beta user, a banner will appear at the top of the Account Summary. Clicking the button in this banner will show a confirmation popup. Please carefully read the notes about the beta and then decide whether you’d like to opt-in. Once you’re in, there is no turning back!

What happens during the migration

You can migrate both Yodlee and Salt Edge bank feeds. Yodlee feeds will need to be set up after migration and reconnected to your accounts. Follow the steps on-page after you start the migration — the prompts at the bottom of the page will guide you through reconnecting to your bank and linking your accounts again.

Conversely, Salt Edge feeds have a completely hands-off migration process. After you start the migration, PocketSmith will move your connections over and your accounts will be automatically reconnected. A silver lining for all our users who were negatively affected by PSD2 regulations and Brexit in the past couple of years!

An extra bonus too: if you’re a Sharesight user, you’ll be able to connect to them directly and bring your portfolio value right into PocketSmith.

How you can help in the beta stage

The new bank feeds interface is solid and as bug-free as beta software is. The flow of managing feeds and syncing them is well tested and functions very well, a clear improvement over the old user interface.

We’ve been able to test the user interface and flow thoroughly. Now, we’re ready to let all our beta users in, to help us really put things through their paces. Although nearly 400 different providers have been connected to so far, the beta will put things to the test as we connect to more providers around the world.

Data Connections also brings support for some highly requested banks, such as Ally Bank and Wells Fargo in the US.

From here, we need to make sure that all bank connections are working as expected. If they’re not, we’ll work with our data partners to get them operational. With your help, we’ll be able to iron out any kinks that exist within Data Connections.

Note about Yodlee’s transaction descriptions

The transaction descriptions that Yodlee sends in Data Connections are now slightly different. While some extra transaction description enhancements may be available to us in the future, we’ve focussed on maintaining overall compatibility for now.

One unavoidable change is that longer numbers in transaction descriptions now appear obfuscated. This is to avoid private account numbers from appearing within transactions, and we’re seeing numbers getting replaced with an X in many cases.

To combat this, we’ve changed how filters and category rules match transaction descriptions. Now, a number in a filter or category rule will now match against either the specified number, or “X”. So if a rule or filter looks for “DEPOSIT 123456” to match a transaction, now it’ll also match “DEPOSIT XXX456” or “DEPOSIT 12XXXX” or “DEPOSIT 123X56” or anything in between.

This way, your filters and category rules should continue to work as they had previously, without needing any intervention from you. Please let us know of any quirks that you notice!

Onward from here

Updates to the PocketSmith mobile apps are incoming. For the moment, when you migrate to Data Connections, the bank feeds widget on the mobile dashboard will state that you have no bank feeds. Stay tuned for further updates here!

Once we’re satisfied with how the beta is progressing, we’ll be moving into a “sunrise” period, where everyone will have access to move to Data Connections. The timing of this phase depends on how the beta goes — so please get involved and let us know how connecting to your banks goes!

James Wigglesworth profile image

James is the CTO and co-founder at PocketSmith. He loves tech from software to hardware to music, and is passionate about technology being a net-positive in people’s lives. He lives off-grid with two humans, two axolotls, two rabbits, one dog, and too many possums.

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