No, not that one…

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There are few things in this world more soul-destroying for me than trying to analyse my spending habits.  Not because I’m insolvent or anything like that, but because I’m always conscious the whole time that in order to get the kind of data I really want, would require spending so much time and effort that I’d never do anything else.  I’d need to be much worse with money to make it worthwhile.

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The main problem is that actually getting account data from a bank in a meaningful form is an exercise in torture.  This is something that banks in the UK have actually, believe it or not, been getting worse at over the years, mainly in the name of security.  It seems to be in vogue now for banks to try to supply customers with management tools as part of their online banking offering instead, as if they have a clue what it is I’m trying to do, and as if they are the only financial services provider I have.

When they do offer data downloads, it’s a laborious task, typically in a non-standard format that has to be converted, then interpreted (because the entries are usually not very helpfully described, nor necessarily consistently described), an error-prone, yet more labourious process.

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I still get paper statements, not because I like collecting and organising them, but because without them, I am entirely dependent on the bank to ensure that my account history is correct, and it will be whatever the bank says it is.  That’s not a great position to be in.

Digitally-signed e-statements would do the job, but computer says no.

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Same for receipts.  Far too many little pieces of paper.  With NFC coming, now is a great opportunity for storing receipts on your phone.  This system would also help record & track cash purchases, which, for me at least, could do with a bit more tracking.

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This all needs standards, an API infrastructure (including Authentication and Authorisation) and a not insignificant portion of vision.

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