Alternatives to EWC?

I've used Direct Connect for years, decades in some cases, to download transactions, pay bills and transfer funds through Quicken, for all of my (many) financial institutions. It generally works well, and allows me to interface directly with the institution; early on DC was typically fee for service, which I was happy to pay.

Some major financial institutions are now attempting to force customers into EWC+, which has less functionality than Direct Connect (no bill pay or intra-bank transfers) and inserts Intuit as a "middle man" in transactions, allowing Intuit to scrape data (and use or lose it). It's just madness from a security perspective; I've spend decades trying to keep my personal info away from Intuit and everyone else (and off of the "cloud" as well).

I am at the point of cancelling accounts at institutions that won't support Direct Connect. Is there some alternative to EWC that keeps Intuit out of my finances? Maybe it is time to walk away from Quicken?

Comments

  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    Note you are posting in a Quicken Mac category, and seem to be a Quicken Mac user. As such the "terms" are a bit different.  In Quicken Windows the connect methods are called:
    1. Web Connect (download a QFX file and import it).
    2. Express Web Connect (this is where Quicken servers and Intuit servers are in between), but the connection between Intuit and the financial institution aren't using a standardized protocol.
    3. Express Web Connect + is the same as Express Web Connect, but using the FDX standardize (and more secure) protocol for the connection between the Intuit servers and the financial institution.
    4. Direct Connect.
    For Quicken Mac #1 and #4 are called the same, but instead of #2 and #3 it has "Quicken Connect", which from what I understand is very close to what Express Web Connect/Express Web Connect + are if not identical.  I'm not sure if there is any different "indication" on Quicken Mac if Quicken Connect is using the FDX protocol or not.  Hopefully a Quicken Mac expert will clarify that.

    Note the #2/#3 have this flow of data:
    Quicken (the program) -> sync to the Quicken Cloud dataset (on the Quicken server) -> Intuit server -> financial institution's website

    Direct Connect is the Quicken program talking directly to the financial institutions "OFX server" and getting transactions that way, and this also provides tying into their bill pay system, and allowing for transfers, if the financial institution supports it.  In other words Direct Connect can be two way, but Express Web Connect/Express Web Connect +/Quicken Connect is one way, it can only get the transactions.

    And Web Connect would be one way too.  You can only download the transactions in form of a QFX file.
    Note that what is in the QFX file is actually just what would be returned in response to a Direct Connect request for transactions.

    So, given all of that the only way to prevent your transactions from not going through Quicken/Intuit servers is to either have a financial institution that still supports Direct Connect or Web Connect.

    And of course Web Connect will not support any transfers/bill pay.
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  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    I am at the point of cancelling accounts at institutions that won't support Direct Connect. Is there some alternative to EWC that keeps Intuit out of my finances? Maybe it is time to walk away from Quicken?
    It seems clear that Direct Connect is going to fade away. It's expensive for financial institutions, and in certain ways less secure (having a third-party application like Quicken store and transmit login credentials, rather than the changeable/revokable tokens used in EWC+).

    The future seems to clearly belong to the data aggregators (Intuit, Envestnet/Yodlee, Plaid, etc.) and the FDX standard.

    The only way to keep your data "out of the cloud" will be if your financial institutions allow you to download QFX files which you can then import into Quicken. And I have to wonder whether banks will continue to provide the tweaked QFX version of OFX files in the long run. With all the personal finance applications there are, will they continue to build an export version just for Quicken users?

    So while you might decide to walk away from Quicken, I wonder if you will find alternatives that achieve your goal of direct communication between your desktop software and the bank's server.  
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • EWC+ is what Quicken is calling the connection protocol to which they want to "upgrade" me. Quicken may not know that I am a Mac user (and of course it's not an upgrade at all).

    But that is the question - is there a way to continue to use the software that doesn't require me to "share" data with Quicken/Intuit? One of the steps involved in setting up the new protocol is explicitly granting Quicken/Intuit access to your data. Crazy.

    In the near term I can close accounts at institutions that drop Direct Connect, but eventually there may be no one left.

    One of my friends was a very senior manager in computing at one of our classified laboratories. I once asked him if this stuff was safe. He just laughed, and said "hell no, but it's too damn convenient not to use."
  • Jon
    Jon SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    edited September 15
    But that is the question - is there a way to continue to use the software that doesn't require me to "share" data with Quicken/Intuit?
    You have two choices: either move to a different bank that still supports Direct Connect, or switch to Web Connect if your current bank supports that.

    After a bank has moved from Direct Connect to EWC+, there is no way to continue using DC with that bank - the connection will have been severed on the bank's side & there will be nothing for Quicken to make a direct connection to.
    Quicken Mac subscription. Quicken user since 1990.
  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    That is interesting about the terms.  Personally have always felt it was a big mistake use different terms on Quicken Windows and Quicken Mac for basically the same thing.  I wonder if they are now going to finally fix that.

    @jacobs @Jon do either of you know if it is now EWC+ in Quicken Mac itself?
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  • Jon
    Jon SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    edited September 15
    On my Chase credit card it's still called Direct Quicken Connect in account settings even though I'm definitely going through the new EWC+ authorization process to set it up. 
    Quicken Mac subscription. Quicken user since 1990.
  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    Thanks @Jon.
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