For those who don’t know what Yodlee is, it’s sort of a feeder that aggregates all your bank transactions, providing you with the facility to generate concise reports on your performance, spending, net worth etc. on demand
Yodlee by itself is reputable, they have been around for 15 years with 45 million users and 150 financial institutions counting on their technology.
Their technology has been tested against time for security and data privacy and also be aware that they know everything about you, I say they can guess with at-most accuracy -where you would be on a particular day. This service is entirely free, they generate revenue from advertisement, offerings and other services to banks.
When I started looking for personal finance software, my requirement was to find a program that does the job with minimum time from me. I had been using Microsoft money by then, this is a free tool available from Microsoft, this was a paid tool in earlier days, but it has been discontinued as a product and is made available free (which is nice I think).
I was painstakingly updating my transactions every fortnight, it was good but it was a totally manual process, the only automation that you find is importing of transactions from your bank, but after that, you need to associate category for each transaction.
This tool is limited in its functionality compared to Yodlee or Mint, we can’t set automatic rules, for instance in Yodlee I could say all payments paid to a particular retailer can be categorized as dining out, and this is something that has to be done manually in Microsoft money for each transaction.
Moreover, if you are living in Australia there is not much of choice left, you have to go with either Yodlee or GetPocketBook an Australian version of mint (I like to say aspires to be mint).
I went through GetPocketBook privacy and security policy, but I was not convinced my bank details will be that secure with them as compared to Yodlee.
Yodlee, on the other hand, invites multiple third-party agencies to perform an audit on their systems for security and standards, if you are facing the dilemma between Yodlee vs GetPocketBook I would suggest going with Yodlee, but there is a drawback here though- Yodlee doesn’t have iPhone or Android app for Australia, so you are relying on web-based application only.
After going through all the options or lack of no other options I narrowed it down to Yodlee. I was keen to know my net worth at that time, got this up and running to know my financial health.
From my previous post you know that I bank a lot with ING, the story begins with them, last week I got a call from ING. They have found that my account has been logged into by others as well (it was none other than Yodlee service).
At first, I was kind of surprised and worried how well the lady on phone knew what I was doing, as she asked me
“Did I share my login details to any automated service?”
I said “Yes, I have entered them in Yodlee, it’s an online finance software”
Then she went ahead to read terms and conditions, the fine print (which I rarely read).
Online security guarantee
Our online security guarantee is your assurance of our online banking safety.
Be confident that ING DIRECT Online Banking is safe and secure.
In the unlikely event that an unauthorised transaction takes place on your account, you will not be liable for the unauthorised transaction, provided you have complied with the terms and conditions of the account.
The gist was if I share my credentials online I will lose the above guarantee. It looks like if I share my login credentials with anyone (including my wife), the bank holds no responsibility for any transactions that take place on my account, i.e. if I lose money, I am responsible for it and the bank will not reimburse it.
If you are thinking your bank might not know to share of your credentials, think again, every bank access is logged with IP address, location and time, if no one has called you yet it could be either your bank didn’t build an alert system on these logs or no one has not yet looked into these logs.
I work in IT, there’s is no doubt that data security is getting better every day – so does the ability to hack systems. Almost every other day we hear about companies getting hacked for personal data. When we hear news about companies getting hacked, people losing personal data, we alienate that news, we live in a world of ‘will not happen to me’ attitude- until it happens.
Mint claims they perform read-only actions on our account, I agree and moreover Yodlee stores our details encrypted in its database, it’s not just hacking of their servers that compromises our account or it could happen while your details are on their way to the bank.
The problem here is not how your bank account is compromised, but the aftermath. Will you be able to claim any guarantee your bank offers you, or make them accountable for any financial loss?
There are some questions that we need to ask ourselves
What will you do if your bank account is wiped off?
Is this software worth my life long savings? ….. I don’t think so
I am writing here not to scare you off from using Yodlee, if my bank gives an exclusive condition that I can share my credentials with Yodlee, I will re-join back with excitement. The ability to categorize, budget and track your finances is absolutely fantastic, but I won’t be letting go of security for this.
Where do I go from here then?
I Googled around to see if there were any alternative solutions to this problem, like a nicer version of Microsoft money software that I can install in my laptop without connecting to banks, but I think for now this is it.
I have decided to go back to my old Money software, it’s cumbersome and not as fancy and sleek as Yodlee but at-least I won’t be losing sleep in a worst-case scenario.
Readers, let’s be knowledgeable at what we are losing by sharing your credentials with others.