- BankLink’s 99.9999% accuracy claim “impossible”, says Yodlee
- Errors created by banks, say BankLink and Yodlee
- Screen scraping as accurate as direct feeds, says Yodlee
“I don’t believe it. How could they do that? Unless they’re going into every bank physically, hourly, saying, Is the system of record correct? Is the system of record correct?” said Joe Polverari, chief strategy and development officer at Yodlee, who spoke to Digital First in Sydney earlier this month.
BankLink claimed that, after validating transactions received from banks with its proprietary systems, it could achieve 99.9999 percent accuracy with less than 10 errors a month. Yodlee claimed it could achieve 99.8 percent accuracy for a similar service. Cloud accounting programs Xero, Saasu and Reckon One used bank feeds from Yodlee while BankLink was used by CCH iBizz, MYOB AccountRight Live and LiveAccounts.
MYOB bought the Australian and New Zealand divisions of BankLink last month.
Errors in bank feeds such as omitted or duplicated transactions have caused problems for accountants and bookkeepers using cloud accounting software.
“We are confident of our previous statements about the high accuracy and reliability of BankLink’s secure and direct bank feeds,” said Richard Reese, BankLink’s general manager of operations, when contacted for comment.
BankLink was reluctant to release details about its error detection processes to protect its claimed competitive advantage. The company pointed to public statements about its processes.
“BankLink applies a series of proprietary, data validation routines to all bank transactions that identify and correct any anomalies in the data. This sophisticated error detection system results in a significant increase in data accuracy. Furthermore, BankLink’s direct contractual relationship with the banks means that they have protocols in place to fix any errors promptly without any interruption to service,” BankLink said in a recent press release.
Yodlee and BankLink said errors were usually generated by the banks’ systems of record and later updated. Errors occurred in around 1 percent of bank accounts each month and had to be corrected, BankLink said.
“When an error is detected, we have protocols in place with the banks to correct the error,” BankLink CEO John Dunkerley told Digital First in an earlier interview.
“Firstly, our data processing systems detect those problems, then our data team engages directly with the bank to address the issue with the feed. Until the data is correct, we do not distribute it,” Dunkerley said.
Yodlee claimed it had never created errors in bank feeds.
“We haven’t had any material issue with folks saying the data is not reliable or that it’s inaccurate data because it’s really just a picture of what’s in there. The system of record for our purpose are not perfect,” Polverari said.
BankLink had contractual arrangements with more than 100 financial institutions in Australia and New Zealand to supply bank transactions directly. Yodlee, which has direct relationships with 80 percent of financial institutions in the US, relied primarily on a technology called screen scraping to compile bank feeds for Australian bank accounts.
Screen scraping copied transactions from a user’s online banking account and recreated the feed automatically. Bank feeds created through screen scraping were as reliable as direct feeds, Polverari said.
“We have to manage 13,500 data sources (banks) with multiple times more core systems to make sure that the data that’s in the account at the time it’s needed. And we are good with that to a 99.8 percent accuracy, whether it’s data feed or screen scraping. It makes no difference,” Polverari said.
“We have never had an instance in the history of the company where the data we have brought back is not the data that was in the system of record,” Polverari said.
“Our data is so fresh and reliable that there is a major bank in the US, a top 20 bank with millions of online users, we actually are their system of record,” Polverari said.
“MYOB chose to work with BankLink for its proven reliability, security and coverage of feeds from financial institutions across Australia. BankLink feeds are 99.9999 percent accurate and in some cases, more reliable than the bank’s own raw feeds,” said Ben Ross, MYOB’s general manager, user experience and design, in a recent press release.