In Valid Logic

Endlessly expanding technology

Why don't banks use RSS?

This is something that occurred to me the other day...

RSS is becoming pretty big.  There is RSS capabilities built into Vista.  You can get RSS feeds for sports scores.  CNN has RSS on news feeds.  On Craigslist, you can do a search and get an RSS feed for the results.  There are even sites where you can subscribe to an RSS feed for UPS package tracking.

So why does my bank not have an RSS feed?

I use Microsoft Money to daily download new transactions from my bank.  It works great.  But it isn't supported everywhere.  Wells Fargo supports it, but not Washington Mutual.  Why?  Because of all the licensing bull.  The means by which they synchronize is totally proprietary.  Money has its way, Quicken has its own way.  Some banks support both, some support one and not the other, and others support them but not everywhere (like BofA, which supports Money everywhere but CA and two other states).

Why does it have to be so arcane?  RSS is free!  It is cropping up everywhere!  It would not take a rocket scientist to implement it!  Then everyone can enjoy it!  Would no longer need to charge users $6/month to cover the ridiculous licensing fees.  If you don't want the extra bloat/baggage of Money/Quicken, you could subscribe to it in your RSS reader and be able to easily check new transactions each day.  It would be wondrous.

Or take a service like Yodlee.  With Yodlee, you can create an account and set it up to link up with all your bank accounts to get a central list of new transactions.  It is used by a lot of companies.  When Microsoft Money can't connect directly to your bank, it often supports WebConnect through MSN Money, which uses Yodlee.  Why can't Yodlee support RSS?  If they had RSS support, you could monitor all your bank accounts, regardless of whether or not your individual banks supported it.  Wouldn't that be beautiful?

Will it ever happen?  Maybe I should bug Scott Hanselman about it.  And now that I check his site (after writing this), I see a post of his from Monday I hadn't read yet that looks surprising close to this.  He also hints on a CardSpace implementation I'd love to see... managed cards from VISA, MasterCard, or AMEX (actually using a mock-up of that idea in my CardSpace presentation).

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

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