OFX Transaction Downloading


OFX support is tentatively being deprecated. Please see Plaid for the tentative replacement.

biweeklybudget has the ability to download OFX transaction data from your financial institutions, either manually or automatically (via an external command scheduler such as cron).

There are two overall methods of downloading transaction data; for banks that support the OFX protocol, statement data can be downloaded using HTTP only, via the ofxclient project (note we vendor-in a fork with some bug fixes). For banks that do not support the OFX protocol and require you to use their website to download OFX format statements, biweeklybudget provides a base ScreenScraper class that can be used to develop a selenium-based tool to automate logging in to your bank’s site and downloading the OFX file.

In order to use either of these methods, you must have an instance of Hashicorp Vault running and have your login credentials stored in it.

Important Note on Transaction Downloading

biweeklybudget includes support for automatically downloading transaction data from your bank. Credentials are stored in an instance of Hashicorp Vault, as that is a project the author has familiarity with, and was chosen as the most secure way of storing and retrieving secrets non-interactively. Please keep in mind that it is your decision and your decision alone how secure your banking credentials are kept. What is considered acceptable to the author of this program may not be acceptably secure for others; it is your sole responsibility to understand the security and privacy implications of this program as well as Vault, and to understand the risks of storing your banking credentials in this way.

Also note that biweeklybudget includes a base class (ScreenScraper) intended to simplify developing selenium-based browser automation to log in to financial institution websites and download your transactions. Many banks and other financial institutions have terms of service that explicitly forbid automated or programmatic use of their websites. As such, it is up to you as the user of this software to determine your bank’s policy and abide by it. I provide a base class to help in writing automated download tooling if your institution allows it, but I cannot and will not distribute institution-specific download tooling.

ofxgetter entrypoint

This package provides an ofxgetter command line entrypoint that can be used to download OFX statements for one or all Accounts that are appropriately configured. The script used for this provides exit codes and logging suitable for use via cron ( it exits non-zero if any accounts failed, and unless options are provided to increase verbosity, only outputs the number of accounts successfully downloaded as well as any errors).

Vault Setup

Configuring and running Vault is outside the scope of this document. Once you have a Vault installation running and appropriately secured (you shouldn’t be using the dev server unless you want to lose all your data every time you reboot) and have given biweeklybudget access to a valid token stored in a file somewhere, you’ll need to ensure that your username and password data is stored in Vault in the proper format (username and password keys). If you happen to use LastPass to store your passwords, you may find my lastpass2vault.py helpful; run it as ./lastpass2vault.py -vv -f PATH_TO_VAULT_TOKEN LASTPASS_USERNAME and it will copy all of your credentials from LastPass to Vault, preserving the folder structure.

Configuring Accounts for Downloading with ofxclient

  1. Use the ofxclient CLI to configure and test your account, according to the upstream documentation.
  2. Store the username and password for your account in Vault, as username and password keys, respectively, of the same secret (path).
  3. Convert ~/ofxclient.ini to JSON (this will look something like the example below), removing the institution.username and institution.password keys (these will be read from Vault at runtime).
  4. If there is no sensitive information in the resulting JSON, store the JSON string in the ofxgetter_config_json attribute of the appropriate Account object. This can be done via the /accounts view in the Web UI. If there is sensitive information in the ofxclient configuration JSON, you can store the entire JSON configuration in an additional key on the Vault secret, and then set the ofxgetter_config_json attribute to {"key": "NameOfVaultKeyWithJSON"}.

A working configuration for a Bank account might look something like this:

    "routing_number": "012345678",
    "account_type": "CHECKING",
    "description": "Checking",
    "number": "111222333",
    "local_id": "f0a14074d33cdf83b4a099bc322dbe2fe19680ca1719425b33de5022",
    "institution": {
        "client_args": {
            "app_version": "2200",
            "app_id": "QWIN",
            "ofx_version": "103",
            "id": "f87217350cc341e2ba7407cf99dcdede"
        "description": "MyBank",
        "url": "https://ofx.MyBank.com",
        "local_id": "e51fb78f88580a1c2e3bb65bd59495384388abda8796c9bf06dcf",
        "broker_id": "",
        "org": "ORG",
        "id": "98765"

Configuring Accounts for Downloading with Selenium

In your customization package <_getting_started.customization>, subclass ScreenScraper. Override the constructor to take whatever keyword arguments are required, and add those to your account’s ofxgetter_config_json as shown below. OfxGetter will instantiate the class passing it the specified keyword arguments in addition to username, password and savedir keyword arguments. savedir is the directory under STATEMENTS_SAVE_PATH where the account’s OFX statements should be saved. After instantiating the class, ofxgetter will call the class’s run() method with no arguments, and expect to receive an OFX statement string back.

If you need to persist cookies across sessions, look into the ScreenScraper class’ load_cookies() and save_cookies() methods.

    "class_name": "MyScraper",
    "module_name": "budget_customization.myscraper",
    "institution": {},
    "kwargs": {
        "acct_num": "1234"

This JSON configuration will have the username and password from Vault interpolated as keyword arguments, similar to how they will be added to institution for ofxclient accounts. As described in ofxclient accounts #4, above, you can also store the entire JSON configuration in Vault if desired.

Here’s a simple, contrived example of such a class:

import logging
import time
import codecs
from datetime import datetime

from selenium.common.exceptions import NoSuchElementException

from biweeklybudget.screenscraper import ScreenScraper

logger = logging.getLogger(__name__)

# suppress selenium logging
selenium_log = logging.getLogger("selenium")
selenium_log.propagate = True

class MyScraper(ScreenScraper):

    def __init__(self, username, password, savedir='./',
                 acct_num=None, screenshot=False):
        :param username: username
        :type username: str
        :param password: password
        :type password: str
        :param savedir: directory to save OFX in
        :type savedir: str
        :param acct_num: last 4 of account number, as shown on homepage
        :type acct_num: str
        super(MyScraper, self).__init__(
            savedir=savedir, screenshot=screenshot
        self.browser = self.get_browser('chrome-headless')
        self.username = username
        self.password = password
        self.acct_num = acct_num

    def run(self):
        """ download the transactions, return file path on disk """
        logger.debug("running, username={u}".format(u=self.username))
        logger.info('Logging in...')
            self.do_login(self.username, self.password)
            logger.info('Logged in; sleeping 2s to stabilize')
            act = self.get_account_activity()
        except Exception:
        return act

    def do_login(self, username, password):
        raise NotImplementedError("login to your bank here")

    def select_account(self):
        logger.debug('Finding account link...')
        link = self.browser.find_element_by_xpath(
            '//a[contains(text(), "%s")]' % self.acct_num
        logger.debug('Clicking account link: %s', link)

    def get_account_activity(self):
        # some bank-specific stuff here, then we POST to get OFX
        post_list = self.xhr_post_urlencoded(
            post_url, post_data, headers=post_headers
        if not post_list.startswith('OFXHEADER'):
            with codecs.open('result', 'w', 'utf-8') as fh:
            raise SystemExit("Got non-OFX response")
        return post_list