If I step away from Quicken for more than a few months, seems like everything breaks.

altoflyer
altoflyer Member ✭✭
Connections no longer connect and it takes hours and hours (3+ hours so far today) to get it working again.

I'm a very technical person. I've been working in technology for decades now. I just think this type of constant trouble-shooting is unacceptable. It brings the usability of the product down to about zero.

Anyone else have these issues?

Comments

  • Ps56k2
    Ps56k2 SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited June 2022
    altoflyer said: Connections no longer connect and it takes hours and hours (3+ hours so far today) to get it working again.
    [Removed - Unhelpful/Sarcasm]


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  • Jim_Harman
    Jim_Harman SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    It sounds like you were able to resolve the problem(s) on your own, but out of curiosity and to help others in the same situation, what did you have to do to get things working again?

    Did all of your online connections not work, or just some of them?

    If you are still having problems, please post the details and we may be able to help.
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  • altoflyer
    altoflyer Member ✭✭
    Hi Jim, no the problem is not resolved yet. I spent more than four hours with support and am left asking myself why I have to do this level of support for it? No one is paying me for it.
  • altoflyer
    altoflyer Member ✭✭
    edited June 2022
    [Removed - Off Topic]
  • Jim_Harman
    Jim_Harman SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    @altoflyer, we Superusers don't get paid either, but we (usually) try to be helpful. 

    If you want to post the details of your issue(s) we will see what we can do. 
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  • altoflyer
    altoflyer Member ✭✭
    Hi Jim, I appreciate your offer of help. I've looked into this a bit more and have learned some interesting things. First of all, someone else posted just yesterday with the exact same problem with the same credit card. I suspect that Barclays has implemented yet another attempt to block browser scraping, which I understand is the method behind Quicken Connect (I'm on a Mac).

    I understand there are two other methods of connecting to an FI. One is to download the transactions manually, which is a gigantic pain. The other sounded like a connection that was supported on the other end by the bank. The bank usually charges a fee for this, which seems fair. I'm happy to pay that fee but apparently Barclays doesn't support this.

    Today, the same thing is now happening with my bank that has my checking and savings accounts.

    I can shop around for another credit card that supports automatic interoperability with Quicken but changing my checking and savings accounts is another matter.

    Have you seen this 2019 article from the EFF: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2019/12/mint-late-stage-adversarial-interoperability-demonstrates-what-we-had-and-what-we It's a very interesting read.

    If the conflict between the banks and apps like Quicken and Mint is as characterized, I'd like to urge Quicken to reach out to the banks to work on an API-based interoperability standard. The banks would benefit by being able to charge fees, thereby generating a new revenue stream. Quicken would benefit by reducing the costs of technical support required when the scraper connections stop working as well as revenue retention via customer retention.

    Would love to hear your thoughts Jim.
  • altoflyer
    altoflyer Member ✭✭
    Still would like to know about using standard APIs for agreed-upon data exchange between FI's and apps like Quicken. I think it would create a lot of stability in the use of the app that's currently not there.
  • Jim_Harman
    Jim_Harman SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    I sounds like you are interested in using Direct Connect, which is definitely more stable than Quicken Connect. Not all banks support this, and as you note some charge a fee.

    See this Help article for more info.
    https://www.quicken.com/support/mac/how-quicken-connects-your-bank
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  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    I don't think you understand the magnitude of the problem or how Quicken Inc fits into this picture.

    Some history might help.

    Direct Connect/OFX/QFX is just such an API between personal finance software and the financial institutions.

    It was created and pushed by the leaders in the industry at the time, Intuit, Microsoft, CheckFree, and "the financial institutions".

    At its height about 4,500 financial institutions supported it.  Minor problem, there are more than 35,000 financial institutions in the US alone.  Without the government forcing the financial institutions to adopt such an API (like they did in the EU), there isn't any chance that it will be available at all the financial institutions.

    The number of financial institutions supporting it is now about 2,000 and going down.

    That is where the idea "aggregators" comes in.  If the financial institutions won't adopt a standard, maybe by using different connection/scanning methods maybe an aggregator could get the data from the financial institution's website.  This is what Express Web Connect, and other services like it come from.

    One thing that is very misleading about the description of this is that people believe that these are "web page screen scrapers".  When in fact, that is only used as the very last resort.  Mostly Intuit (or another aggregator) will work with the financial institution to work out an agreement of how to log in and get the data.  And not at no time does Intuit fetch data from a financial institution without some kind of agreement, even if that agreement is to "screen scrape".  And note a large number of financial institutions pay a third party to handle such connections (and probably their whole website), so Intuit is really working lots of times with these third-party services instead of the actual financial institution.

    Where does Quicken Inc fit into this?
    They pay Intuit for these connection services.

    If Intuit and Microsoft couldn't force the financial institutions to use a reliable API what do you think the chances of Quicken Inc being able to make any headway in this?

    Move forward, and you do see some "progress" in this.  You have probably heard of Express Web Connect +.  So, what is the + part of this?

    It is the decision for the financial institution to use the FDX protocol between the aggregator and the financial institution.
    About-FDX - Our Mission (financialdataexchange.org)

    Sounds impressive an actual secure protocol!

    So, how is this playing out?
    Well start with Capitol One, add Charles Schwab, and the latest PayPal.

    Not exactly the whole financial industry yet.

    And how about how good is it?
    Surely the number of complains went down once it was put in place especially since two of these were going from Express Web Connect to Express Web Connect +.

    Let's just say some of the longest threads on this forum cover the pains of switching over.

    And in the case of Charles Scwhab which is for their investment accounts it went from a very stable Direct Connect to Express Web Connect + where not only are people going through the pains of switching over, but also in the "mapping of data".

    When you look at Express Web Connect you have:
    Quicken -> QCS (Quicken servers/Quicken Cloud dataset/syncing) -> Intuit servers -> Financial institution website.

    The Intuit to Financial institution website is the only part that is FDX, Quicken (the program) isn't talking to the financial institution directly.

    When you look at Direct Connect Quicken talks directly to the financial institution's OFX server.

    The OFX standard is something like 25 years old, and well known, and Quicken's "mapping" of the OFX to Quicken transaction security action types and such is very well known/haven't changed in many years.

    One might think that Intuit would do a translation from the FDX data format to OFX for Quicken (they don't tell us what they are doing) or maybe they did changes all through the system for it.  At any rate people that us Charles Schwab have had to put up with numerous problems as these details have been worked out.

    For some reason Quicken users believe that Quicken Inc or Intuit before them being big players in this area can dictate to the financial institutions.  But I believe that not only can't they do that, the financial institutions sometimes consider Quicken a rather noisy minority customer base that they would love to just ignore.  The fact is that at any given financial institution, Quicken users are a very small minority of their customers.
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  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    BTW if Charles Schwab had basically a trouble-free setup with Quicken using Direct Connect why did they push for FDX/Express Web Connect +?

    The reason is because Quicken/Intuit isn't the only game in town.  Other aggregators/users (like other financial institutions that want to allow integrating their customer data, or have advisors look at the data) wanted access to the data too, and weren't using the same system as Intuit.

    What's more if you look at normal Express Web Connect and other aggregators you see that the usernames and passwords are stored on the aggregator's website.  Something in these days of hacking should make people nervous.

    So, it wasn't as much as a push to get rid of Direct Connect as it was to get rid of multiple systems of accessing their customer's data, and to bring the system up to modern day security standards.  FDX uses OAuth2 security where it is a rotating token for authentication instead of usernames and passwords.
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  • Ps56k2
    Ps56k2 SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    Yup - not easy - having been around with the beginning MSO cellular interfaces, along with creating number portability "porting" and various other interfaces involving multiple players, systems, vendors, protocols, etc -
    BUT - everyone thinks its just like connecting to a website - even those "very smart and technical users" -
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  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    altoflyer said: I'd like to urge Quicken to reach out to the banks to work on an API-based interoperability standard.
    As the article you linked above explained, banks may not consider it an advantage to have their customers downloading data into a third-party program. But even if they did think it was a small revenue opportunity or good customer service, I think you significantly overestimate Quicken's size and clout. Quicken has fewer than 200 employees and annual revenue of about $20-$25 million (according to estimates across several websites); it does business only in the US and Canada. Compare their size to global financial institutions like Fidelity (65,000 employees, $24 billion annual revenue), AmEx (64,000 employees, $46 billion annual revenue) and Citibank (200,000 employees, $72 billion annual revenue).  Quicken doesn't even have the staff and resources to mount such an initiative with thousands of financial institutions; their small size is why they must contract with Intuit for their connectivity services to financial institutions. 

    To whatever degree there will ever be standards for financial data sharing, FDX is it. They have an API-based approach that you're seeking. Look at their membership and you'll find all the major banks, brokerages, and data aggregators (including Intuit and its competitors Yodlee and Plaid). How FDX will develop, and how Quicken and other small players among these giants will be able to fit in, we'll only see over time. 


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