Web Connect

L. Linn Hower linn at glarb.org
Mon Dec 14 11:37:14 EST 2015


  Greetings.  I am a new Gnucash user and have been converting my
  bank/credit card access from Quicken (for Mac).  It has been a
  sometimes painful learning process, fighting through the marketing
  literature that passes for technical detail, and seeking out  what is
  really happening in and around Quicken downloads.  I still might have
  some of this wrong, but this is where I have landed:

Direct Connect:
Bank CSRs know this as QuickBooks access, but to Gnucash (AQBanking), it
is just another server the bank provides to directly exchanges OFX (or
QFX, it doesn't matter to Gnucash) encapsulated data back and forth
to/from your client (QuickBooks, Gnucash, etc.).  Some financial
institutions don't offer this service.  Many offer it for a fee. 
Potentially it does offer upload as well as download... so in effect
moving bill pay from off the bank's web application into our local
client application.  I just use the donwload to copy transactions to
Gnucash.  As I converted, and just using AQBanking's connection wizards,
I found my current web app credentials worked for a direct connect to
American Express, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America, from my list of
current Quicken connections.  Of these, WF sent me an email welcoming me
to QuickBooks and notified me that they would start taking a fee from my
checking account, and if that was not my intention, to contact them back
(I did).  So far BofA and AMx have not charged me or notified me about
their fees.  

Web Connect (your request):
Web Connect is just a fancy way of saying: log in to your back's web
app, find the download page, select OFX/QFX/Quicken/Other format, select
the date range, and download a file to you computer; then import that
file into Quicken.  Some of this may be automated in Quicken.  For my
Mac client, all I needed to do after the download, was to double click
the downloaded file.  For Gnucash, I just File->Import and select.  I
should note, that I only did Web Connect for one institution... my local
credit union.  it was not available for Express Web Connect, aka Quicken

Express Web Connect, called Quicken Connect in the Mac client:
This options, which was widely supported by Quicken for my set of
institutions, appears to be a service Quicken provides.  It appears
that, given your bank's web app credentials, it will Web Connect for
you, do all the  download details, format a proper QFX file, and server
that back to your Quicken client, just as if you were downloading via
Direct Connect.  Quicken handles all the various quirks of getting the
download from your bank's web app.  The only internet connection your
client makes is to a Quicken owned server.

That is my current understanding.  As I said, just 1 of my institutions
let me direct connect for free (so far).  For the rest, I Web Connect
download and import.  That in itself would not be to hard for me to
script locally.  Something similar, but with a general design, could be
built into Gnucash.  But it seems that Quicken must be doing a lot of
custom work when they Web Connect on our behalf.  From my set of about
10 institutions, I have to handle all sorts of irregularities.  For
example, date range: some don't allow me to select; they only work at
the statement level.  Some don't support OFX/QFX.  One supports a "CSV"
format, but when I download it, I find it is tab delimited.  Another
makes no distinction between credits and debits... I need to correct
those manually after import.  All in all, I would think building a
Quicken-like Express Web Connect into Gnucash would take a lot of
work... and lots of routine maintenance to keep it up to date.

  L. Linn Hower

On Sun, Dec 13, 2015, at 04:39 PM, John Ralls wrote:
> > On Dec 13, 2015, at 3:00 PM, David Carlson <david.carlson.417 at gmail.com> wrote:
> > 
> > On 12/12/2015 9:07 PM, Robert Merrin wrote:
> >> Have you considered supporting Web Connect which is used by Canadian Banks?
> >> I know that Quicken and Mint are the only programs that support Web Connect
> >> and that have been approved by the Canadian banks. I wont be shocked if you
> >> say that we do not see this being supported by GNUCash in the foreseeable
> >> future.
> >> _______________________________________________
> >> gnucash-user mailing list
> >> gnucash-user at gnucash.org
> >> https://lists.gnucash.org/mailman/listinfo/gnucash-user
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> >> Please remember to CC this list on all your replies.
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> >> 
> > 
> > I think Web Connect is owned by Intuit and is not available to others unless you pay for it.
> This came up on IRC the other day. There’s actually a spec for web
> connect at
> https://fi.intuit.com/ofximplementation/dl/Web_Connect_Specification.pdf
> and other useful information at
> https://fi.intuit.com/ofximplementation/wcsteps/index.cfm. The difference
> between web connect and direct connect is in authenticating the user and
> setting up the OFX-over-https connection: Direct connect has the client
> set up the OFX session and authenticates inside of it while web connect
> authenticates in a regular https session and then the bank’s server
> initiates the OFX session. GnuCash already has WebKit built in and AQB
> knows how to handle the OFX session once it’s set up, so there’s no real
> reason we couldn’t implement it. It just requires someone who has a good
> handle on https and C to figure it out and code it up. Any volunteers?
> Regards,
> John Ralls
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