Review: MoneyDashboard

by @edent | # # # | 3 comments | Read ~148 times.

Quick review of https://www.moneydashboard.com/ - sorry for the lack of screenshots, but I don't need you seeing the state of my bank balance!

Open Banking is here! For the technical among you, it means I can use OAuth to give a read-only token to an authorised financial institution. Updates are streamed in real-time. They can then do "stuff" with my financial details.

For the non-technical, Open Banking lets me automatically send my bank statements to an aggregator. They then analyse them.

Money Dashboard lets you see all your financial details in one place. I created an account, then let it log in to my bank account, savings account, and credit card accounts.

It quickly ingested all of my transactions and automatically tagged them with pre-defined categories, so you can see how much you spend on bills, groceries, eating out, etc.

The site is free - they make money by analysing your statistics and, no doubt, selling them to advertisers.

Good

  • Quick to import transactions from cards and accounts.
  • Auto-tagging mostly worked. It thinks everything purchased at Boots is healthcare (Meal Deal FTW!).
  • Interface was quite intuitive - good overview of what I've spent this month.
  • Android App looks nice - mostly read-only, but you can tag stuff in there.
  • You can be as obsessive as you want with tags, and create your own.
  • Search transactions by date, merchant name, tag, is really useful for seeing how much I spend on lunch!

Bad

  • I was expecting an OAuth2 style login - being redirected to my bank's site. Instead I had to enter my login details on Money Dashboard's site. Feels a bit sketchy - but probably easier for most users.
  • Instructions for linking some accounts were unclear. Especially if you don't know whether the site wants your login name, account number, or email address.
  • Just didn't work with some providers. One login screen asked for my DOB three times, then failed to connect.
  • Doesn't support all the banks I use, so doesn't give a complete overview.
  • Joint dashboard accounts aren't possible yet. That means I have to share my login details with my partner.
  • No 2FA, which feels a bit insecure.

Finally, because it doesn't always use an API for connecting, you occasionally need to re-enter your details.

Overall

I wasn't expecting to like it - but I'm pleasantly surprised. I thought I'd want more control over what it did with the data, but it was all pretty good. Certainly a great way of visualising just how much I spend on eating out!

I've only got two months' of transactions in there due to moving my current account, but I can already see how it would be useful for tracking long term spending and saving. I'm a bit wary of trusting its prediction model - but it can't be much worse than the spreadsheet I use now.

Happy to recommend it to anyone who wants to play with Open Banking and get a good overview of their finances.

3 thoughts on “Review: MoneyDashboard

  1. Duggie says:

    I like this idea but "... I had to enter my login details on Money Dashboard's site. Feels a bit sketchy - but probably easier for most users."

    This is a deal-breaker for me. If my bank account is ever compromised, at any time in the future, my bank could claim that I didn't protect my credentials and pin all blame on me.

    They - The Banks - need to do it properly, with oAuth2 tokens giving read-only access to bank accounts. Unfortunately, most banks won't ever implement this and we're left with a fantastic idea for a service which can't ever happen. 🙁

  2. Marcus Downing says:

    I agree with Duggie. When dealing with banking details, security isn't optional.

    I used to use a very similar setup to this with Egg, once upon a time, until they got bought by Barclays and the service went away. And yes, that had me entering my online banking logins for each of the other banks it needed to talk to - I wasn't as well educated in security at the time. Bits of it would occasionally break, as the bank changed their website in way Egg didn't expect. The same will likely happen here. When scraping somebody else's web page for information, it doesn't take a lot to break it.

  3. Alex says:

    I use Emma and I think it's very similar although it uses OAuth so I feel happier from a security standpoint. The lack of universal coverage is irritating but hopefully will get there.

    One question, what is the joint functionality you'd like to see? With Emma my wife and I can both add our joint accounts to the app and see that in conjunction with our personal accounts and personal credit cards. Are you suggesting you'd like to share your personal/sole accounts with another person? I can sort of see the attraction but can also see how that could create privacy/consent issues that the banks and dashboard providers would be uncomfortable with.

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