Accounting giant Xero announced in December 2013 that Singapore would have bank feeds via Yodlee by early 2014.
However, Singapore bank feeds have yet to go live. Neither Xero nor Yodlee appear to be at fault. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has yet to give the green light because they are being cautious about corporate bank feeds.
When I contacted Yodlee for an update on the status of bank feeds, the team said: “continued development of bank feeds in international markets like Singapore is important to us”.
Local banks that are working with Xero on getting bank feeds up and running include UOB, OCBC, DBS, HSBC, Citibank, and Standard Chartered.
Bank feeds in demand
A bank feed automatically syncs banking transactions with Xero’s accounts. Bank feeds can save enormous amounts of time and are enjoyed by many other jurisdictions such as Hong Kong and Australia.
Without bank feeds, users have to log in to internet banking, download a statement in csv, adjust the csv file and finally upload it to Xero accounts. Fingers crossed it works.
Yodlee is a third-party online banking solution provider. It connects to thousands of online banking websites and financial institutions worldwide to retrieve financial information, generate statements and make those statements available for its customers to download and use.
Yodlee accesses your online banking and stores your bank's log-on credentials. To be able to access your online banking site, Yodlee needs to store a copy of your online banking log-on credentials (i.e. your user name and password).
You'll provide these credentials when you're in Xero setting up a Yodlee feed. Yodlee then logs in to your banking website and retrieves your account statement data.
Although Yodlee claims to ‘store your online banking log-on and password information in a highly secure system and use it only to access your statement data’, some remain skeptical.
A banking ombudsman in South Africa was quoted as saying: ‘If one did voluntarily divulge one’s log-on information to a third party, and one’s bank account was breached then it raises questions of where the compromise occurred, whose system is culpable, and how to apportion liability’.
The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by Singapore Business Review. The author was not remunerated for this article.
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A Singapore-based writer, copywriter, and former journalist for both print and online, Dewi is the digital media storyteller of Futurebooks.