Barclays CSV export
Online banking in the UK sucks and it's particularly dreadful with Barclays secure online banking.
Why? Because they only allow you to export approximately the last 60 transactions or the last 6 weeks.
I'm sorry, that's insane. Imagine you could only see your last 60 emails. Could you honestly run a business like that?
I've complained to Barclays and they said I should log in and Export data more often. Wtf?
My business relationship manager in the Woking branch said no one has ever complained about this before and cut me off as I was desperately trying to explain the problem in layman's terms! Brilliant. :/
Next Barclays (telephone banking) offered to send me the paper hard copies of archived transactions. Er, do I really want to kill trees and spend my Sunday typing up transactions? Indeed this is what happened today. :(
On another occasion a telephone customer service agent informed me that Barclays are rolling out a new E-statement service and unfortunately, it's delayed. And from what I've learned, it only allows the export of data to Adobe PDF. Bonkers. PDF is absolutely useless for my needs, it's just as useless as paper. I imagine next time I'll end up typing PDFs into my editor. sigh :(
Yes, this is 2010 and yes, UK's service industry is hopelessly uncompetitive for Web services. I'll move my account if there is a better alternative.
So what does the exported information CSV look like?
Number,Date,Account,Amount,Subcategory,Memo ,10/03/2010,20-97-58 9047XXXX,-6.77,OTH,DREAMHOST.COM UNITED STATES ,08/03/2010,20-97-58 9047XXXX,-38.31,OTH,WWW.HETZNER.DE GERMANY
Notice the number field is missing. So there is no way to conveniently identify each transaction. :/
I obfuscated the Account number. Tbh, I find this field useless since the awful form interface for exporting allows you only to export one account at one time. So you would never get a different account number for this field, unless you merged CSVs from different accounts or something just as uncommon.
The amount, is thankfully useful, though it would be nice to see a running total like the paper Business Current Account Statement shows.
The sub-category OTH means something, like overseas transaction I guess. I do not know because there is no key and no documentation. Another common subcategory is DIRECTDEP, which is more obvious Direct Debit. And annoyingly the paper statement has more useful information which is not included in the export. For example on the paper statement I can see the exchange rate and the commission charge.
Things must improve with online banking. I pay 16.50GBP a month for this brain dead service from Barclays. Tbh I am not quite sure how the other UK online banking services do, because there is no way to demo them, without opening an account. I heard the Co-Op bank is rolling out this new Finacle software. Again there is no way to demo the site and know if anything is better and talking to customer services doesn't help as no one seems to know. Since the software seems developed in India and in Java, I don't have high hopes with regards to its quality and performance.
My prediction is that some heavyweight like Google will enter the banking market and it will be like shooting fish in a barrel. The incumbent online banking industry needs to seriously wake up. Their conservative attitude has created a really crap online banking platform.
Let me leave you with the bizaare Barclays Export Data FAQ:
Export Data How do I export my data? Choose 'Export data' from your At a Glance screen and follow the step by step process. If you need some help when you're exporting data, select the brown 'help' buttons. What happens during data download? When you've confirmed your instructions the Data Download will begin. Upon completion you will be returned to the confirmation screen. The export facility will require decisions on whether you want to save the data into a file or load it directly into the financial software package. You may wish to logout of Internet Banking prior to manipulating your data within your financial software package. NOTE: The data download may take a long time, if you select the option for All accounts. Files will be saved in a format specific to each package: - Microsoft Money®, Clearlybookkeeping and QuickBooks 2005 software packages require 'ofx' extension at the end of each file. - Microsoft Excel® requires 'csv' extension at the end of each file. What happens to account data that I have input into my software package that matches the data downloaded? That depends on the software package that you are using - please use the Help provided for each software package for details. How often can I download data? As often as you like. If I make a transfer or payment using Online Banking, when will it appear on my exported data? All transfers or payments that you make through Online Banking will become available for download at the start of the next working day. Can I amend downloaded information? Yes. If I export my data do I still receive a bank statement? Yes. Does it cost anything to export my data? No. But you will have to pay for the cost of the call when you're downloading your data from Online Banking.
Am I at risk of downloading viruses when I export my data? No, rigorous security checks are in place to make sure that you don't have any problems like that. When you have confirmed your instructions the Data Download will begin. Upon completion you will be returned to the confirmation screen. The export facility will require decisions on whether you want to save the data into a file or load it directly into the financial software package. You may wish to logout of Online Banking prior to manipulating your data within your financial software package. Any other questions? Please call us on 0845 600 23 23 (outside the UK dial +44 2476 842063). To maintain a quality service, we may monitor or record phone calls. Read call charges info. Lines are open 7am-11pm every day. When you've finished reading, close this window
How's this for transaction API documentation? :)