Many of you know we’ve been working with online banking solution provider Yodlee Inc to provide automated banks feeds from more banks for Xero Business customers in Australia and around the world.
The Yodlee integration project is making good progress, but it must be said it is certainly one of the more complex developments that we have undertaken to date! Essentially it has required the development of another secure bank feed system, quite distinct from what we have in place for our existing partner bank feeds. Also, while designing our Yodlee integration, it became clear that it was essential to add notifications (a message inbox within Xero) to streamline the user experience when setting up new bank feeds. So we’ve had to create a new notifications system from scratch. Initially this will be for Yodlee bank feed notifications only, but in time it will be used to keep you informed of other bank feed or billing plan notifications. Eventually you’ll be able to set up notifications of your own, such as when a bank account drops below a nominated balance.
The team are now starting end-to-end testing, so we’re getting close to the first phase of the Yodlee integration. This won’t make our next regular product release due later this month, so we’re going to have a special release for this on 18 October. We know a further delay to making Yodlee available in Australia is a blow for many of you and we’re really sorry, but it’s paramount we complete the level of testing that’s needed for a project of this size.
Here’s a quick look at how easy it will be to sign up for these new feeds in Xero.
As we’ve said before the Yodlee enabled feeds are being released in several phases. This first release in October will provide bank feeds for Xero Business customers from more Australian based banks where we don’t already have partner bank feeds. These will include Bank of Queensland, BankSA, Bankwest, Citibank, Macquarie Bank, St George Bank and Suncorp (for Suncorp customers do not use a security token).
Once this is running smoothly we will then release access to all other banks available through Yodlee worldwide that don’t require multi-factor authentication (an additional one time password or code) for their internet banking sites. We expect the second worldwide release phase to be sometime from November onwards, but we’ll give you updates nearer the time as we know how eager many of you are for these! Support for banks that need multi-factor authentication for access to internet banking will then be released in a third phase in early 2011. Australian banks that require this include Suncorp (optional) and Bendigo Bank.
We thought it’d be useful to clarify how the Yodlee enabled feeds work. They differ from the automated bank feeds which our customers already enjoy and which have been enabled by direct integration with specific partner banks. Where available, these partner bank feeds are activated by customers giving the bank the authority to send their statement data to Xero. This data is then transferred from the bank over a secure connection directly into Xero. With the new feeds the Yodlee data gathering service works by regularly and automatically accessing your online banking site, downloading any new statement data for your nominated accounts. This data is then transferred securely from Yodlee into Xero. To access your online banking site Yodlee needs to store a copy of your online banking login credentials (i.e. user name and password). These online banking credentials are provided by you when you activate a bank feed powered by Yodlee from within the Xero system. These credentials are stored securely by Yodlee and used only by an automated data gathering service to access just your statement data. They are not stored or used at any time in the Xero system. Where the customer’s online banking site requires multi-factor authentication then this will still need to be provided whenever the customer requests retrieval of new statement data for the related bank account from within Xero.
Partner bank feeds
Where we have existing direct feeds with banks in NZ, Australia and the UK, these existing partner banks will not be available under the Yodlee service. We’ll still look to work with major banks in our key geographic markets to establish direct partner feeds with these banks where appropriate. Nevertheless, the Yodlee data gathering service provides an excellent way to fast track automated bank feeds from several thousand additional banks for the benefit of many Xero customers around the world.