The Wesabe Firefox Uploader

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We’ve just launched a great new feature to make uploading your data to Wesabe a ton easier — but not just that. Along the way we’ve improved just about every aspect of getting your accounts into Wesabe.

This marks the first release of the Wesabe Firefox Uploader. The Firefox Uploader is an extension for Firefox 2.0 or later, which makes it trivially easy to automate downloads from your bank or credit card, whether or not your bank makes that easy for you to do. If your bank doesn’t already provide automated downloads, you can record a download session once, and the Firefox Uploader will then play your recording back automatically for you from then on. And, you still get all of the benefits of the original desktop Uploader — you don’t have to give Wesabe your bank passwords or account numbers, which remain safe on your own computer.

Why do we think the Firefox Uploader is better? The list of reasons is pretty long…

  • Almost any account, anywhere around the world, can be automated. Up until now, about 80% of the United States bank and credit card accounts on Wesabe have had automated upload — where the desktop Uploader would update your new transactions every day without you having to do anything. For people in other countries, and for people in the U.S. with smaller banks or credit unions, the experience was much more manual — you had to log in to your bank site and download a data file every time you wanted to update your Wesabe accounts. Now, in just a few minutes, you can automate any bank that supports one of our import formats (OFX, QFX, QIF, OFC, Quicken, or Microsoft Money), without having to wait for us to automate it for you. Since Wesabe supports thousands of banks in over 30 countries, this makes automation available to many more people. (Note, accounts that require a different login each time you visit, such as one-time-password systems, won’t work with the current extension, but we’re working on that, too.)
  • Supports Windows, Mac, and Linux. Since the Firefox Uploader runs on any platform Firefox supports, this means that Linux users can have automated uploads just as easily as Windows and Mac users.
  • New versions update automatically. Firefox extensions have a built-in way to check for new versions and install them when you start Firefox. You no longer have to check to see when a new Uploader release is out — you’ll always get the latest versions with the newest features and fixes.
  • Upload fixes are fast and easy. In the past, if we had set up automation for you and something went wrong (due to a bank change or an error on our side), you’d have to report it to us, and wait for us to fix it and release it. Now, if something goes wrong, you can easily update the automated script yourself in just a few minutes. (If we fix it before you notice, you’ll get our fix, too, of course, but now you’re not stuck waiting on us to get your latest updates into the system.)
  • Older formats can be automated, too. If your bank or credit union provides QIF or OFC downloads only, your account has not been automated, and you’ve had to enter your bank balance every time you upload. Now, you can set it up once and have it be automatic, just as easily as other members.
  • It’s open source. If you want to see whether the Firefox Uploader does what we claim it does, you can, since all of the source code is available.

We think this is a huge improvement in the experience of Wesabe, and we encourage everyone to give the new Firefox Uploader a try. Of course, we know that not everyone uses Firefox (we recommend it, as many other companies do, particularly for its security and privacy protections), and we’re working on similar solutions for people who use other browsers. But if you’ve been thinking about trying Firefox, this might be a great incentive to download it and give it a go. If you’re already using Firefox, dive right in — you’ll be thrilled with the results.

To help you get started, we’ve set up some documentation pages on how to use the new Firefox Uploader, and also a screencast showing how to get it installed and working. Let us know how it works for you, and how we can make it better.

25 Responses to “The Wesabe Firefox Uploader”

  1. Peter Jaros Says:

    You’re kidding me. I just spent half my day yesterday wrestling with iMacros to do the same thing. Mind you, I never got it working right, so thanks! Can’t wait to try it.

  2. Sean McMains Says:

    Nice work on this, folks. It reminds me a good deal of Selenium, but is much more user-friendly and task-focused. Glad to finally have automatic support for E*Trade.

    Thanks for continuing to make Wesabe better and better.

  3. Ken Walker Says:

    Guys, this is just brilliant. My humble credit union hasn’t sold it’s soul to Quicken or Microsoft for fancy-pants (and proprietary) APIs. You totally just automated a monthly task that — while straightforward — was that much more friction between me and my information. Thanks for your excellent work.

    One small bug (?) I noticed was this: when I log out of my CU account page, I’m given a Javascript prompt whether I’m sure (Yes/No). The macro doesn’t seem to have caught this, so I’m curious to see if I’ll get randomly prompted for confirmations to quit.

    Again, thanks and nice work.

  4. Arlen Says:

    This is fantastic! I was just talking to a friend last night saying that what we needed was a browser extension that would record customers walking through the login and statement download path, then repeat that for them on a schedule. Great execution 🙂 I’m already using it.

  5. Arlen Says:

    Quick question though … where can we access the source? And what is the license?

  6. Rob Wilkerson Says:

    Genius solution. A little creative thinking knocks out about 4 of my nagging pet peeves. I can’t wait to give it a go. Absolutely spectacular.

  7. Michael Wales Says:

    Let a Firefox extension watch and record me logging in to my bank account (therefore, knowing my username and password). Where is this information stored, how is it encrypted, how can you assure me your extension won’t go passing out the username/password you just recorded to everyone?

    A creative solution to a difficult problem but these are some pretty big security holes you are opening up.

  8. Sam Quigley Says:

    Hey Michael,

    Great questions — thanks for asking. The Firefox extension stores everything in a encrypted file on the user’s disk. (Take a look in the “wesabe” directory of your Firefox profile directory.[1]) These files are encrypted with your Wesabe password using the AES-256 algorithm. (We decided not to use the Firefox password manager for this partly because — by default — the FF password manager doesn’t encrypt your passwords on disk.[2])

    Your bank passwords are emphatically *not* sent to Wesabe in any form, under any circumstances. The whole point of the extension is to make it easy to get data from banks automatically, while still keeping users in control of their credentials.

    That said, a healthy bit of skepticism is definitely warranted where bank info is concerned — that’s one of the reasons we made the Firefox extension open-source. Anyone and everyone can look at the code to double check how the extension works: just look in the “extensions/wesup@wesabe.com” directory inside your Firefox profile directory.

    If you have any other questions, I’d be happy to talk even more about security in the extension – just send a note to support@wesabe.com.

    -sq
    [1] The location of the profile directory varies by OS — see http://www.mozilla.org/support/firefox/profile
    [2] Technically, they’re obscured or “encoded” by default. See http://www.mozilla.org/projects/security/pki/psm/help_21/passwords_help.html

  9. Fraser Says:

    Great work! Solved a (minor) point of friction that caused (major) headaches when managing my finances through wesabe.

    Issue though: it created duplicate accounts. So now I have two identical visa accounts, savings accounts, etc.

  10. Fraser Says:

    Hrm… and since I downloaded from my banks “transactions since last download”… I now have an account with 2+ months of tagged and organized transactions and then…. a duplicate account with 2+ transactions that have not been tagged or organized.

  11. Marc Hedlund Says:

    Hi, Fraser,

    I sent you email — we can get this fixed quickly. Thanks for the report.

    -M

  12. Fraser Says:

    Bing bang boom. That’s the type of response that generates infected fans of a service 🙂

    I’ve created a key and summarized the issue in an email… good luck obi-wons.

  13. Michael Wales Says:

    @Sam

    Great to hear – I knew you had to take these issues into mind while developing the extension but it’s always good to hear a straight-forward explanation for those out there with these concerns.

  14. Kyle Welsh Says:

    Great job – very impressive! Question: What happens when my FI prompts me for additional credentials (2-factor authentication – eg a random question)?

  15. Lon Says:

    Hi there, I’ve got the duplicate account issue. I used wesabe seven months ago and left… but came back with the uploader… however, now i’ve got acounts from before and – since i last downloaded seperately… any way to merge these?

  16. Fraser Says:

    Thanks for fixing my issue re. double accounts. Turns out that it was partly my goof – I selected ‘different’ institutions when I set-up the u/l and then the firefox extension (i.e. “President’s Choice Financial” and “President’s Choice Financial (English)”… or whatever).

    Accounts have been merged and fixed now – thanks for the prompt response.

    One request now though: under the accounts in the firefox extension there are two options: upload now & remove from list… how about a third one: “rerecord download process”? That way we can be comfortable that the account is the same, but we can address recording issues.

    [I’m nervous to delete the one account to rerecord the process for fear of account duplication!]

  17. Lon Says:

    funny, my issue is with president’s choice financial as well… how’d you get them merged?

  18. Marc Hedlund Says:

    Hey, Lon,

    We can merge them for you — drop us a line at support@wesabe.com.

    Fraser — great idea — we’ll add that.

  19. Trebonius Says:

    One issue I’ve had is that a recorded session (Wells Fargo) doesn’t always wait for the file download. It submits the request for the Quicken file, but if the site is slow to respond, it sometimes moves on before the server manages to send the file.

    I recorded the session in such a way as to download both my savings and checking accounts during a single login. When I run it, sometimes both of them get uploaded, sometimes just one or the other, and sometimes it misses both of them.
    It also frequently seems to stall on the post-logout page, and I’ll have a full progress bar at the bottom of my screen until I restart Firefox. This may have something to do with keeping Firefox open for days on end.

  20. Trebonius Says:

    P.S. I’m using version 1.0.1

  21. Trebonius Says:

    P.P.S I see version 1.0.2 is available. I’ll try that.

  22. Tim Mason Says:

    Hey Trebonius,

    Hmm, so that should all work fine for you – especially since you’re logging off. Would you mind sending me the log file at support@wesabe.com? We can take it from there… thanks!

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