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Introducing Xero Personal…

The anticipation is over – Xero Personal is now available! It’s such an exciting day for us, launching this new personal finance management product.

For the first release we’ve really focused on features to help you find out where your money is going and to identify areas where you can save money. There are tools to allow you to see your full financial position, then set up goals and track your progress towards them.

We’re passionate about where we might take Xero Personal and plan to release updates regularly, based as much as possible on what you tell us you want.

While available to Xero business customers globally from today, we will be staggering the release of the Xero Personal activation emails for New Zealand customers who sign up through the BNZ, where they also get automated personal bank feeds. This is so we can backload your BNZ account data and monitor the load so the user experience is optimal from the start. So if you are a BNZ customer and want to try Xero Personal we suggest you pre-register through BNZ Internet Banking as soon as possible. It may take up to two weeks before you’ll be completely up and running. But bear with us, it will be worth it!

Take a look at this short overview. Perhaps this will be the start of a change in the way you use your money…

A big thank you to the team at the BNZ who we’ve worked with for the last many months on this project. We appreciate your support.

While the big news is certainly Xero Personal, check out the release notes for details on other updates.

 

Read more about Company News

 

87 comments

James
29 March 2010 #

I think there is a bug on the marketing website. When I try to change the Country location at https://www.xero.com/personal/ it redirects me to the Xero business signup page?

Ben Lilley
29 March 2010 #

Congratulations on launching this guys, it looks awesome! I’ll be signing up as soon as Kiwibank feeds are supported!

Ben
29 March 2010 #

Any ETA on getting this with other banks? I’m with ASB and I’d like to give it a go.

Blair
29 March 2010 #

I’m in :D

Gareth
29 March 2010 #

Do you guys have any idea of time frame for automatic importing of accounts for other banks? Looking pretty sweet, though!

Earl Rudolfo
29 March 2010 #

Way to go, Xero team! Can’t wait to get my hands on the global version of Xero personal.

Colin Campbell
29 March 2010 #

Hi, I noticed only BNZ has automatic feeds. When will the rest, like ASB, be available?

Blair
29 March 2010 #

Looks like BNZ is taking a hammering – online banking home page just took 3 minutes to load, and trying to load any other pages like account statements etc is just timing out.

Xero personal is loading fine though, just stretching my brain remembering what all these transactions from last month were for..

stuart
29 March 2010 #

Only 8 custom categories? What’s the reason for this? We have our own way of categorising our finances which we’ve been managing in a spreadsheet for the last couple of years. If we have to start recategorising everything then it’s going to be a huge barrier to overcome. I’ve only got through two weeks of transactions and have already come up against this limit.

Sara Goepel
29 March 2010 #

@James: Thank you, we will look into that.

@ Ben/Gareth/Colin: At this stage we don’t have any active projects to provide bank feeds with other NZ banks. We are in discussions with banks in other regions, particularly Australia and the UK about direct feeds for Xero Personal. We will certainly look to provide updates as soon as we have any news on feeds from other banks.

@Earl: You can add a global version now in My Xero.

@Blair: Just to let you know BNZ are investigating.

@Stuart:  Thank you for the feedback. We limited the self-defined categories to get the most of out the Guessed by Xero feature. The more self defined categories that are used the harder it will be guess the category of any new transactions that are imported. That said, we’re interested in feedback and understanding what categories you think are missing. 

Jackson
29 March 2010 #

ZOMG! This is awesome! Xero is better than sez

Blair
29 March 2010 #

@Stuart: Definitely agree with you. I coded a week’s worth and ran out. I guess I’m used to the business Xero where you can basically make as many as you like, so the limit suprised me.

One major thing I would love Xero to look at is the ability to split transactions in to one or more code – eg if I buy $20 worth of petrol and get out $100 cash, I don’t want to code the entire $120 to petrol.

ATM withdrawls are another example – what would I code that to?

James
29 March 2010 #

I’m in a bit of a pickle. I added a Xero personal account and got some errors. Now whenever I try to log in to Xero I get redirected to a page asking for my BNZ Netguard ID and can’t get access to my business accounts, or access support (hence my blog support entry)
I should never have had a play 2 days before the end of financial year! – I was just procrastinating so I didn’t have to do the accounts…

James
29 March 2010 #

ps. Problem might be related to the fact that I’m a dork and also registered for BNZ MoneyMap last night. I’m guessing you can’t have both on the same email address.

Sara Goepel
29 March 2010 #

@Blair: Right now you can categorise your ATM withdrawals to “cash withdrawals”.

@James: We are looking into this for you. Can you please send an email to support @ xero.com with all the details and we will get back to you.

Campbell Yule
29 March 2010 #

Stoked to see you have launched this.
Very disappointed with the interface it still looks like Xero but looks very clunky – I know it is Xero Personal but doesn’t mean it should look less professional!

Peter Venero
29 March 2010 #

I’m disheartened about the idea of signing up for yet another personal accounting application. What’s very important to me is the ability to add expenses on the go, so that my receipts don’t pile up. With the lack of this feature in Xero Business – I’m a little reluctant to sign up for the personal. I wish the mobile version of Xero did this. Hopefully with the release of the new API – someone can develop a slick iPhone or web app to do this.

stuart
29 March 2010 #

@sarah – I can give you some quick examples of how I ran out of categories so quickly:
– personal spending: my wife and I need separate categories so we can keep track of what we’re spending individually.
– insurance: we have life insurance, medical insurance, home and contents insurance, car insurance, etc and we like to track these separately
– Bills & Utilities: we have always tracked our utilities separately – e.g. gas, electricity, telephone, pay tv, internet, etc.
We also have separate categories for creche, clothes, luxuries, taxi fares, parking, bus tickets, car maintenance, etc, etc…

All these categories allow us to look back and see where our money is going – isn’t that the whole point of Xero Personal? If there’s not a technical limitation to the number of categories Xero Personal can handle, I suggest you change that quickly to enable as many categories as needed.

Ben Lilley
29 March 2010 #

@Sara Goepel — So are you saying that Xero currently have no plans to support other New Zealand Banks in the near future? If so that’s hugely disappointing, especially for people like me that use Xero Business but now can’t get feeds for Xero Personal.

I understand Xero having a launch partner for the service, but giving the middle finger to everyone else is a bit rough.

Andy
29 March 2010 #

Is there a cost/monthly fee for Xero personal?

Doesjka
29 March 2010 #

@Sarah Goepel – I agree with Ben Lilley in that it is very disappointing Xero are not planning to support NZ bank feeds, other than BNZ. Can you offer any explanation as to why?

Andrew Haynes
29 March 2010 #

Awesome. Can’t wait to have a bank feed from Commonwealth Bank. How far away would you estimate this is Sara?

Dylan
29 March 2010 #

Possibly the “other banks” don’t want to support Xero Personal by providing auto-feeds because it competes with their own products (e.g. ASB’s track my spending?).

Or perhaps the “other banks” don’t want to support a product that makes switching banks too easy? Isn’t this what Mint.com does?

Or maybe Xero is charging the banks to take part?

Who can provide some answers? Anyway, congrats on the launch guys and girls…keep having fun :)

Andrew
29 March 2010 #

Congratulations on the launch! It is very slick. I really want to replace my existing solution (Quicken) with it, but I’ll have to wait patiently for some of the version 1 limitations to be addressed.

For me the show-stoppers are -
1) Can’t split transactions and I can’t think of a good workaround. For example, sometimes I have been paid salary and expenses in a single payment. Tracking salary is important, but this limitation prevents me doing it accurately.
2) The category limit prevents me being able to report to the level of granuality I require. For example, how can I identify if I’m spending too much on a particular area of insurance when all insurance is bundled into one total? One possible solution would be adding the option of an additional subcategory level.
3) I can’t build custom reports.

The biggest win would be the ability to direct my expenses straight into Xero Business.

It is also disappointing that I can’t automatically import my transactions, but I’m sure you’re sick of hearing that!

Good luck with the product. I will be watching its evolution closely.

Craig
29 March 2010 #

I’ve signed up via BNZ Internet Banking, I can’t wait! I have 10 years worth of data in MS Money 2003 (UK Edition). Is there anyway to import this history?

Chris
29 March 2010 #

@Sara Goepel: “At this stage we don’t have any active projects to provide bank feeds with other NZ banks. We are in discussions with banks in other regions, particularly Australia and the UK about direct feeds for Xero Personal.”

Wow that’s hugely disappointing – you will be supporting overseas bank feeds but not locals? So basically you’re turning your back on New Zealand users in favor of your offshore clients?

Brad
29 March 2010 #

Wow am I disappointed guys.

Originally pitched as a free perk, Xero Personal should have been a great tool for both home users and perhaps the occasional freelance work. Unfortunately you selected to charge on par with with the competition and have purposely crippled features such as customisable spending categories. Split transactions is also a deal maker for me. I am really disheartened with the whole Xero brand, you aren’t providing the robustness required for a profession as complicated as finance!

stuart
29 March 2010 #

How long will BNZ’s exclusive bank-feed deal last for?

David
29 March 2010 #

Disappointed about BNZ only bank feeds. Having to manually load data is a drag. I don’t think I’ll even bother with the free demo now.

Jared Roussel
29 March 2010 #

Oh you guys are like Apple to me. I don’t care what features it lacks; I’m always on board. As a Web developer, I respect your design and development team’s hard work, especially with the business integration, so great job! This approach to business finance really is a first in its class. Can’t wait to use it and watch it get better.

Jared Roussel
29 March 2010 #

Haha… I love how the Xero videos are always an American voice yet it’s always “Cheque Account” and “Organisation” when I log in. I feel so international…

Francisco
29 March 2010 #

Hello! First at all, sorry my terrible english, and congratulations for the launching.

I need to add expenses and incomes manually, but at this moment I can´t.

Have you any idea when will be the possibility to add manually transactions?

And to add repeating monthly bills?

Thanks! We are a Large Plan Business user!

Jason Blumer, CPA
29 March 2010 #

I’m with @Jared, great American voice on the US launch! The product looks great thus far! I’ve already imported in my bank feeds from Wachovia Bank (quick as a snap!).

Looking forward to the upgrades and changes you’ll make in the future. I know your development team has worked hard toward this launch. Great pricing for the US product too!

Jackie
29 March 2010 #

I always though earning is harder compared to saving, with the evolution & demand of such system in the market it now seems savings is harder compared to earnings.

Tarch
29 March 2010 #

I utilize Xero Business for my small architectural firm in the US. Love what it offers. I want to jump on the Xero Personal bandwagon, but would be curious to see what it offers beyond Mint or Yodlee. Any thoughts?

Nigel Malone
29 March 2010 #

Hi xero – I’ve been using your business version for a year now and I love it – does zero personal integrate at all with zero for business – being a one-man-operation – it would make great sense if it did…?

Sara Goepel
29 March 2010 #

Hi everyone,
In response to the questions raised about automated feeds from other NZ banks. 

The BNZ is our launch partner because in addition to assisting in the product development, they have undertaken to provide the feed interfaces we require. Automated bank feeds and automated feed provisioning of these on the scale involved with a personal product require significant work to be performed on the bank side.

This hybrid model, integrating Xero more closely into the BNZ Internet Banking platform, is new.  Rather than try to do it with multiple banks it made sense to work with a banking partner first who would work with us to get the work required done.

We’re certainly not giving the middle finger to other NZ banks or turning our back on the NZ market. As you would expect there are some commercial terms around our launch partnership with BNZ and while we can’t disclose details on these terms, they have not prevented us from talking to other banks about the possibility of establishing automated feeds in the future. However, at this stage there aren’t any automated feeds from other NZ banks in the pipeline. We expect that some banks are waiting to see how the market responds to the Xero Personal product, while others are putting their efforts into offering alternative personal finance solutions to their customers. We think it’s very early days in this space.

As expected, our challenge to is prove that Xero Personal is the best product in the market and then use that to help progress discussions with other banks, both here in NZ and our key markets like Australia and the UK.  

We love getting your feedback. We have a lot more to do, and as you would expect from us, we’ll be quickly moving the product forward.

Sara Goepel
Xero Personal Product Manager

k
29 March 2010 #

Impressed! But missing key features for me: multi-currency support, cash accounts, manual adding transactions. Looking forward though — guess this will be added later on.

Rachel
29 March 2010 #

Congratulations on the launch, I like what I’m seeing so far.
There are the obvious issues – not being able to split transactions (cash out plus purchase is so common here), but I trust that, like Xero business, you’ll keep evolving and I’m sure that will be there soon.

Bank feeds will be good when they come:-)

Can you classify business expenses in Xero Business and send to personal, or just the other way around?

Scott T
29 March 2010 #

Xero why is there a limit to how many categories you can have? I want to be able to have way more categories then you currently allow… plans to change this? Or is it because I’m only on the trial version.

Cheers!

Richard Clark
29 March 2010 #

Really enjoying it so far. Works well. I understand the complaints by people talking about too few categories, but to be honest I’m not looking for the kind of accuracy I get out of Xero Business – I’m just after general trends and goal setting, getting it right to the dollar doesn’t matter to be at all. For this need, Personal is *perfect*.

Looking forward to an API so I can have a goals widget on my mac :D

Neil Benson
29 March 2010 #

While I’ve been waiting for Xero Personal, I’ve had the opportunity to try out Yodlee.com (unfortunately mint.com is US-only and now owned by Intuit). I love how Yodlee integrates with my UK current, savings and investment accounts and considering how Xero announced a deal with Yodlee to use Yodlee’s platform to provide automated banking feeds to Xero, I can’t understand why Xero Personal doesn’t offer any account integration beyond BNZ.

Yodlee also offers all the features that other Xero Personal trial customers have asked for here: split transactions, unlimited custom categories. Yodlee is ugly, but featureful.

So good job with Xero Personal guys, but is this a service I would pay for in 14 days time. No. Maybe in a year. Right now it feels like a beta release.

Martin Ryan
29 March 2010 #

The bar was set high with Xero Business but I think this a long way below it. Without bank feeds, flexibility on categories, tracking investments as investments (an expense?! why?!), reconciliation rules and split transactions I think it’s a fairly trivial addition to personal finance.

Ramsay Bell
29 March 2010 #

Any date for when CSV importing will be available? Anyone know a way to convert CSV -> OFX in the mean time?

When will multiple currencies be added?

Tom Beckenham
29 March 2010 #

Like the concept and design. But when you launch a product it really has to work. When I categorise expenses, Xero sometimes just hangs after clicking OK. It lets you categorise more expenses but never saves the previous one. Also tried “deleting” a category (archiving), but it then just hung again.

I’m a big fan of Xero for business and will definitely stick it out with Xero personal, but please work on the stability. It seems unfinished.

Jon
29 March 2010 #

Am I write in thinking that this is entirely driven from imported bank statements and there is no way of manually entering transactions ?

Jon
29 March 2010 #

Duh – if only I could write the right way !

Michael
29 March 2010 #

Can we (business) get spending goals in Xero? For budget? Please?!

David
30 March 2010 #

Looks good but I am afraid the lack of categories,split transactions, manually entered and recurring transactions makes it unworkable for me at the moment.

Will these limitations be addressed in the near future as I really want to use Xero for both my business and personal finanaces?

Carlos
30 March 2010 #

Hi,
I use Xero Business and that is the best thing ever!
And Personal also looks good with some very nice and clever functionality.
But what made you to eliminate manual transactions is beyond me. When can we get that. If that is in place count me in.

Shane
30 March 2010 #

I can’t believe you can only create 8 custom categories. This has to be a product management decision as it canot be a technical limitation.

Dear Xero folks,

The product is great, but this makes it unusable. Please go have a chat with the guy who made this decision and tell him to try out a few competing products to get a feel for how people use Personal finanicial management applications.

Please please.

S

Shane
30 March 2010 #

Sara,

Your defaults don’t do the following

Distinguish between Fuel, Car Purchase and Repairs.

Have anyway of categorising Furniture, Home Repairs, and related.

Anyway of distinguishing between Childrens Clothes, entertainment, etc and those of adults.

Anyway to indicate taxes, and break downs between tax and social insurance.

And so many more.

Just boot up good old quicken and see how it is done. If you want to keep your guessing accurate, I suggest use the Quicken category and sub category idea. It should be easy to guess the category, and let the punter define sub categories.

Shane
30 March 2010 #

Ramsay Bell,

For a csv to qif converter try

http://xl2qif.chez-alice.fr/calc2qif_en.php

I have used it for years and it is great. One caveat though, the Microsoft Excel version seems a bit temperamental. Use the Open Office Version.

If that does not find it google calc2qif

Jared Roussel
30 March 2010 #

I created an “Alcohol” custom category and Xero Personal has brought a new level of self-disgust to my life. Maybe I should make matters worse and drill down to further “Grey Goose & Soda” and “Maker’s & Ginger”…

James
30 March 2010 #

Beautiful! I have had a play and the interface looks great. One thing I found confusing at first was the lack of currency unit. It would have been much easier to understand with a $ in front of my figures. When I went to set my goals I thought the first slider was for the physical number of goals I had to set because it only went up to 100. Maybe i’m just a little slow but a few $ signs would help.

Raoni
30 March 2010 #

Hi,
I have just entered all my personal account since jan/2010 in Xero Personal……..and I have to say I can’t think a reason WHY I can’t create more than 8 categories.
It’s IMPOSSIBLE to manage any personal finence with this limitation. I also looked every buttom in the system and I can’t believe I can’t create a transaction other then importing OFX/QIF files…….WHYYYYYYY????
I really love Xero Bussiness, and I was really exited about the launch of Personal, but it’s impossible to use this system with this very BASIC functions……..
Please, change this things………I know you guys can make it!!!!

Thanks very much……..

Raoni
Brazil

Jared Roussel
30 March 2010 #

Why no CSV? I’ve also had a big problem with my bank prefixing titles like “DEBIT PURCHASE” before the name of the merchant causing me to have to categorize each transaction manually. I know this is just another bank nightmare, but it’d be nice to have a solution for this since I think it’s a pretty common thing.

Jared Roussel
30 March 2010 #

I actually like Xero’s approach to make Xero Personal simpler, so the 8 custom categories and the different approach without reconciling transactions doesn’t really bother me. But yes, not being able to split transactions just makes things glaringly inaccurate. I’d also like to see how much I’m paying in ATM fees.

+1 to Split Transactions

Andrew Haynes
30 March 2010 #

Great product. Initially I had some trouble with transactions coming in without payee details… but when i changed from uploading a .OFX file to a .QIF file it worked perfectly.

Uploading from CBA Netbank.

Would appreciate the ability to split transactions and fully customise categories, but the simplicity of the product is very slick. It would just be nice to have the ability to take things to the next level.

Is it really neccessary to restrict categories to 8 and not allow changes to the default categories?

My suggestion: If you want to maintain the simplicity of the product for low-end users perhaps these advanced features could be enabled by a tickbox in the settings. That way they would not be availiable to confuse low-end users unless enabled.

Martin Ryan
30 March 2010 #

@Andrew Haynes – I completely agree, there’s a bit too much bending to the lowest common denominator here. I was expecting something with the power of the Business version but it has been bubble wrapped too much. Being able to turn on more powerful features would be a big improvement.

James R
30 March 2010 #

I imagine the restriction in the categories is so that the database has some value when aggregated amongst many users. It would be a wasted opportunity if we all categorised transactions to our own arbitrary labels. Xero only know what our transactions are actually for if we choose one of their pre-defined categories.
It will also be required for later releases when point of sale terminals are connected to the Xero network and send invoices and categories directly into my Xero. (but that’s probably a few months away…)

Smallfurrything
30 March 2010 #

Xero,

Firstly Xero Personal is a really good start. I know you have acknowledged the fact you still have work to do, so I won’t say any more about that.
I did however want to add my vote for the following ESSENTIAL features:

1. Higher category allowance and editable default category names.
I would choose this as preferable over Xero ‘guessing’ any day, although I understand why you made the choice.
You can always put in a similar rules system to the one in Xero business at a later date). I’d prefer taking a bit longer to categorise the transactions that be pinned into a reporting straight-jacket. For example. in the UK we don’t say we’re shopping for “Groceries” -that’s very American/Antipodean :-)

2. Ability to split transactions.
So when we nip down to Tesco we might buy food, hairgel and a DVD record recorder -not your usual impulse buy, but it’s feasable and supermarkets put them on the same transaction and I would want to track them separately. So unless I split my goods at the checkout I can’t seperate them in Xero Personal.

3. Accounting for cash.
Once cash is withdrawn, we want to know where it goes. I have the receipts, but nowhere to put them :-(
Quite happy for this to work via a “petty cash” account, although for non-business types not used to Xero that methodology might not be the most appropriate. Splitting transactions would solve this though.

4. Improve loans/investment functionality
I made loans to my business and someone else and Xero Personal ain’t geared up to deal with this. Admitedly it’s not something most people would use but there are a few calls for it and for it’s essential.
Also waiting for FAQ on dealing with repaying loans setup in Net Worth…

Overall, for £25 a year, I’m going to pay up and support it, as you guys have a good product and after reading the feedback from everyone and your good selves I’m confident you will sort out these short-falls.
Don’t get me wrong, they are essential to making this work in the market, but I’ve put our faith in you for the business edition and it’s paid dividends, so I’ll do it again here.

Keep it up and look forward to the next update.

-Smallfurrything

Daxter22
31 March 2010 #

Without automated bank feeds I don’t see the point in this even though the interface looks great. I’m simply duplicating the effort each time to have to manually import statements. I devised an excel sheet which I have used religiously for years which I update each day and tells me pretty much all of the same information this does. Automated would be great, but right now I’ll save time (especially if you want to update every few days) with the old fashioned approach.

Jon Day
31 March 2010 #

I had high hopes simply because I think Xero Business is superb and market leading.

Personal is not yet a viable tool – it does not come close to matching the features of quicken, money etc.

The key shortcomings for me are:
- categories – way too few, needs to be flexible not locked, too US centric
- the Xero guessing didn’t find any for me in a year of transactions
- lack of printing reports,
- default to the uncategorised page which is empty seems pointless / unintuitive
- no currency options – blank is a quick fix if you had removed the default $ in net worth! but currency signs as per Business would be a lot better
- feeds to UK banks and a UK focus is the key differentiator from the mint, etc competitors which are almost exclusively US based
- crashes/hangs when selecting the OK on import – no corruption but regular hangs which I have never experienced in Business.

Sorry, but will I pay after the trial ? Definitely not, unless quite a few of the shortcomings are resolved very quickly.

Wish I could be more positive as I love Business, but this looks good but fails to deliver so far.

Jon

Nora
31 March 2010 #

I’m a newish Xero business user in the US and love it (in spite of my bank and Xero not playing well together), so I was really excited to see this product come out.
However, despite the ever-lovely UI and the ability to submit receipts to Xero Business, I feel pretty “meh” about it. I will definitely keep my eye on it, but in the meantime allow me to cosign the following requests:

*split transactions – fundamentally essential nowadays
*manual entries (preferably with uploadable-bank-statement reconciliation) – some of us still write checks now and then!
*being able to rename categories! And to have subcategories. (“Clothing and small purchases” makes *no* sense to me – “small purchases” is way too vague to be useful. Maybe you mean panties, and were trying to be discreet?)
*more kinds of account categories. Line of credit, for example?

Stuff I don’t particularly care about:
*automatic feed (would be nice, but not my highest priority)
*special cash handling (I’m happy to have a separate “cash” account, so long as I can transfer funds from one to the other in Xero)

I’ve been trying scads of personal finance products and NONE of them have all the features I want, so I know there’s no pleasing everybody. Any way to make dealing with multiple separate bank accounts easier (for me, it’s two business, two personal, two joint household, plus a few loans…) Looking forward to seeing the product develop.

Nora
31 March 2010 #

sorry – meant to say: Any way to make dealing with multiple separate bank accounts easier (for me, it’s two business, two personal, two joint household, plus a few loans…) is bound to be a big hit with the many small biz folks who — like me — are done with Intuit.

Jared Roussel
31 March 2010 #

In response to Jon:

I don’t get how the software is US centric. Are you even aware that Xero is a New Zealand based company? I feel the exact opposite every time I see “organisation” or weird things like “Holiday” as a category. Nobody uses that wording here, so it’s very awkward in a way I don’t think that other English speakers understand. Some titles and wording in Xero are like speaking another language entirely.

Yeah I don’t really see how hard it is for Xero to let people add as many categories as they want. It does seem like a pointless limitation, but I don’t really think it as a dealbreaker. The reason why Xero is doing this seems that they’re trying to discourage people from using Xero Personal as a rough business accounting tool in combination with other invoicing software like FreshBooks. I don’t know why they’re limiting Personal so much that they’re killing off functionality though.

I don’t think Xero Personal is ever going to really have multi-currency options in it, so I think they just did this to eliminate the need to select a certain country that your account is based in. Again, not a dealbreaker, but how much does it really simplify things for them? Yes, they should probably take off the $ in net worth if they’re going with this fix… lol.

Banks are too antiquated to all be on board with automatic bank feeds. Don’t hold your breath. I actually like the approach that they’ve teamed up with BNZ instead of having the pipe dream that somehow every bank is going to be on board. The biggest problem for me is that many banks (in the US at least) have QIF and OFX only available through download using Microsoft Money or Quicken and not as a separate file download. This is a total bummer, and Xero Personal needs CSV support urgently.

I haven’t gotten any of the hanging you described. Could it possibly be with the size of file you are uploading? I have noticed some hanging when manually categorizing transactions though.

Overall, give Xero Personal time to work itself out, but it’s clear that Xero needs to change its strategy a little bit because the current functionality is not pleasing the users.

Jared Roussel
31 March 2010 #

And it appears that there’s some aggregation company that allowed Mint to do the bank feeds. I’m hoping that Xero gets on board with whoever these people are because I want to see the fall of that horrible company Intuit.

Tristan Marris
31 March 2010 #

I and others were really looking forward to this product release and have talked about it for sometime. Having automated bank feeds was the killer app for all of us and the major differentiator between it and other online products. Without this feature, I won’t be using it. Absolutely love Xero business and understand the complexities involved but disappointed in Xero Personals lack of automated bank feeds on launch.

[...] been great to get so much feedback about Xero Personal. There’s definitely real passion out there for what we’re [...]

Catherine Walker
1 April 2010 #

Hi everyone – thanks so much for all the comments and questions you’ve put forward on Xero Personal, some of you have taken a lot of time to let us know how you need to use a product like this to manage your finances and we’re quite humbled by your interest. We’re taking all your feedback on board and as you know have already started making improvements by updating the number of categories you can create yourself – see the blog post Xero Personal Update.

Thanks again,
Catherine

John Birse
1 April 2010 #

In my days as a commerce teacher (back 30 years ago!!) we used to teach “Commercial Principles and Practice” which gave some foundation to basic financial literacy to an often bored and disinterested group of teenagers. Today the classroom is the internet and the small business owner the student needing the same foundation. Xero Personal could provide some foundation to basic financial literacy using the private rather than business finance as an initial learning environment. Maybe if we can start small and educate small business owners about the need to better manage their personal finances we can then transition them to better manage their business finances. I am encouraged by the “new breed” of web aware small business owners who get how great programming, the internet and being aware of your numbers improves their competitive ability.

Don Meares
14 April 2010 #

This could be a fun way to keep up with accounts. I’ve been wondering since I started using Yodlee to collect and consolidate bank data here in the states I’ve found that it collects well but I can’t use the information in any way close to what I want. Could there be an approach that would use a site like Yodlee to collect data and then feed it to Xero where I would code transactions, build reports, etc. Could this kind of thing remove some of the barriers (not all of course) to the limitations of creating an interface for each bank?

Hannah
25 June 2010 #

Dear Xero:

Congratulations on Xero Personal! Having just spent the last 2 hours researching personl accounting options within NZ (which isn’t much), I’m really interested in yours. Unfortunately, all the other New Zealand banks are in the dark ages so I won’t be signing up quite yet!

On that note, there’s been a lot of frustration vented in this thread around the lack of bank interest (outside of BNZ). Reading your responses, it seems it’s a fair assumption the banks are not interested / just not making the information available, nothing to do with you guys.

Is there any pressure we as consumers can put on them, any suggestions you’d make? In other words, can we help make this happen if we’re so very keen for it?

Just thought I’d ask if you had any great ideas. I really look forward to using your product once the other New Zealand banks see the light.

Rod Drury
26 June 2010 #

Hi Hannah, we wouldn’t say there is a lack of bank interest. We believe most banks are very interested to see how we go. It’s a big shift in bank thinking to partner like the BNZ has with Xero. We’re pretty confident that this hybrid approach which connects traditional integrated online banking with innovative new services from companies like ours will become the norm in a few years. (We call it Banking 2.0 where Banks start publishing webservices for others to integrate their offerings into broader workflow solutions.)

We’ve still got a lot to do this year to create a compelling set of features that keep consumers engaged with their personal finances. We’re really just getting started. We have a solid upgrade coming shortly that completes some missing features and the team is already working on the next version after that which starts to take things to the next level.

So we think this is an interesting space that will actively move forward over the next year or so. The best way you can help is to use the product, give us feedback and tell your bank.

Cheers

Rod

Nepa
8 August 2010 #

a good utility to convert CSV and / or QIF files to OFX is iCreateOFX Basic from:
http://icreateofx.co.uk/Convert-CSV-to-OFX

Dave Jones
28 December 2010 #

Hi Rod – Thanks for getting involved with the discussion.

I have been involved with a business account with Xero and have been very (very, extremely) impressed – not least with the bank feeds, which are a marvel of convenience. In light of this I started to investigate using Xero for personal banking and discovered that the feeds are strictly limited to BNZ.

Reading yours and Sara Goepel’s responses, it looks very much like you’re trying to give the impression that is the banks that are causing the hold up on a technical/service side. This is despite the fact that the following is a list of feeds already supported on the business side for quite some time:
ANZ
ASB
BankDirect
BNZ
Kiwibank
National Bank
Sovereign
TSB Bank
Westpac

The trouble with trying to nip an issue in the bud by “talking around something” in a blog, is it just begs for more direct questions to be asked publicly. Answering it the way it’s been answered above have makes Xero seem like an organisation with something to hide. If Xero is going to be so obviously cagey about something so public and so obvious, how much trust can we have with other aspects of the business in its quest for market ubiquity?

Back to the main issue – before people start switching banks for the “carrot” of BNZ bank feeds -

1) Are you ever going to allow other banks to have feed access?
2) If so, what time-frame does BNZ have exclusivity for?
3) Does the deal with BNZ put a muzzle on Xero for points 1 & 2?

If the answer to point 3 is yes, I think it would be nice thing for Xero to just admit it and let people have all the facts before they make any decisions about changing banks.

Rod Drury
29 December 2010 #

Hi Dave,

1) yes
2) BNZ’s exclusivity on bank feeds finishes in Q2, 2011
3) none outside this initial exclusivity period within the NZ market

Xero Personal is a reasonable investment and the competitive landscape is such that there are bank led solutions (which generally lack innovation) and other solutions that aren’t integrated at all with banks. We picked the middle ground and a new hybrid approach where there is tight integration between the banking platform and our own application. That requires a lot of investment from the bank as well.

The Personal Financial Management (PFM) space is different to business as banks don’t offer accounting software. Having to go alone as a PFM without bank support to us felt like a tough commercial business to get to scale. Many PFM’s have failed. People don’t want to pay much, if anything, for them so you need many many thousands of customers.

In addition the hybrid model we chose for Xero Personal required significant additional development between the BNZ and us. The previously existing business bank account feeds from BNZ and other NZ banks do not allow for seamless electronic registration and provisioning, which is a pre-requisite for the very high volume low touch PFM space. We can’t afford to be manually filling in forms for tens of thousands of personal users, so the feeds for Xero Personal were jointly developed as a new integration.

The PFM market is still working itself out and so far we don’t have other banks pushing hard to send us feeds so at this time working closely with our good partner the BNZ is the most sustainable model for us in NZ.

We’ll seek other partners in other markets and are also considering enabling feeds through Yodlee to give us a broader offering sometime in 2011.

Hope that answers your questions,

Rod

Dave Jones
29 December 2010 #

OK – thanks, Rod.

And yes, it does answer my questions excellently. I appreciate your candour.

Dave

James
28 November 2011 #

I just want to add my voice to the requests for bank feeds to Xero Personal.

I have tried Personal and would use it, but not if I have to manually download the bank data.

James

Ryan
10 January 2012 #

ANZ Money Manager has had this functionality for a long time. When will Xero have it?

Bill
1 May 2012 #

Rod, you stated on 29 December 2010 that BNZ’s exclusivity on bank feeds would end Q2 2011. Nearly a year ago. What happened??

Rod Drury
1 May 2012 #

Yes, we can take feeds into personal from any bank. Talk to your bank! Which bank are you with and we’ll chase this end.

Bill
1 May 2012 #

Thanks for the prompt response Rod. Refer to the most recent Xero Personal blog post from Alastair Grigg at http://blog.xero.com/2012/04/update-on-bank-feeds-for-xero-personal/#more-25867. He promises that bank feeds will be available from Q3 2012. I’m with National Bank. Will be delighted if I can get feeds turned on now, but how?

Rod Drury
1 May 2012 #

Alastair is referring to the Yodlee feeds, which will provide access to thousands of banks. In our core markets of NZ,AU,UK & USA we are keen to build direct feeds but need you to make the demand known to your bank as it is a project for both them and us.

Shawn
2 July 2012 #

Is there a list somewhere of the currently supported banks for live feeds? For those banks not yet supported an ETA to a hyperlink to contact the bank might help people contact their respective banks earlier.
E.g.

BNZ Supported from Dec 2010
KiwiBank Not Supported – Estimated. Q3 2012 – Contact bankperson@bank.com to add your support
National Not Supported – Estimate unknown – Contact bankperson@anotherbank.com to add your support

Home Team Accounting
30 November 2012 #

We have heard that other firms are migrating their clients to Xero so we are also trying to lead the way to using the Xero Personal too. The design is phenomenal.

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