Whatis HBCI (was: Re: account matching)

Christian Stimming stimming@tuhh.de
Sat, 29 Jun 2002 16:33:23 +0200


On Samstag, 29. Juni 2002 15:36, Derek Atkins wrote:
> With both QIF and OFX, I can log into a bank via Netscape and pull
> down a QIF/OFX file, and then "import" that file into Gnucash.  When I
> do so, it will try to map the QIF/OFX accounts to Gnucash accounts
> (either by name, OFX AcctID, etc.) and if it can't auto-match, it will
> ask me to manually match accounts, and if that fails it will
> auto-create.
> Is HBCI a protocol where you can do this, or does HBCI necessarily
> require a specialized client application?  Perhaps this is my not
> understanding HBCI (being a Stupid American and all that ;)

HBCI is a protocol which gives you 
1. an encrypted transport layer, 
2. a means of verification of the RSA public keys between you and the bank 
(either by chipcard or by exchanging RSA fingerprint paper letters)
3. a specification of the information the bank will give to you 
4. a set of well-defined actions you can initiate on your account.

Compared to QIF/OFX, only bullet #3 exists in all of the three. When I talk 
about transaction import, the HBCI API/subsystem will already have performed 
steps 1 and 2. Thus the HBCI subsystem already knows *precisely* which bank 
it has been talking to. It also knows *precisely* which real-world accounts 
this bank will allow this user to access (once the 
authentification/verification between bank and local user has been 
performed). The user then can connect the bank's HBCI-enabled accounts to 
gnucash accounts. This could be done either once upon HBCI-Bank setup, or 
later when the user eventually decides to access more accounts than before 
through gnucash. 

The point for the transaction import discussion simply is that the HBCI 
subsystem knows the source account for all downloaded transactions. So this 
part of the transaction matching is not necessary for HBCI. "Only" the 
transaction destination and duplicate detection has to be done similar to 
QIF/OFX import.


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