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For a long time now, "my" bank (Nordea, in Sweden) has announced that it's removing what they used to call "simplified login". This "simplified login" actually meant "the ability to log in without being harassed with hardware dongles and crippled nonsense". While it existed, it allowed me to automate logging in to fetch the current balance as well as seeing if there are any new transactions for me to record into my own bookkeeping system.

I didn't want to believe that they would actually go through with it, and they kept postponing the time for when this was to go into action further and further away. But now they finally did it, in spite of my numerous requests for them to not do this, or at the very least provide some kind of API for me to use.

They completely ignored every single attempt by me to talk sense to them, just parroting the same standard replies over and over, since they had clearly made up their mind: they will not give even the most basic access to one's account without being forced to actively sit there and manually enter codes into a hardware device or to use an "app" on a surveillance unit ("smartphone"), which is completely useless to me or anyone with half a horse sense left in their mind.

The less I comment on their new, severely broken website, the better, but the point is that it makes automation 100% impossible, even for fetching your balance. I'm not talking about making actual money transactions automatically or anything like that.

Please note that their so-called "Open Bank API" service is fake. It isn't actually available to individuals like me -- only to major organizations/companies and "app makers" with special permission and a lot of red tape. (They don't make this clear at all for some reason.)

So, now I've just spend significant time and effort removing all my code related to Nordea and all the careful automation I've set up to keep track of my finances. It's all gone. They will very clearly never listen to me, their API is not actually available to use, and none of their alleged "methods of login" can be automated. I spent countless hours over a long time coding and thinking about that mechanism, and now it's useless.

To make matters even worse, they are actually still going to be charging the same hefty fee monthly from my account, even though I now don't even get to know how much money I have in my account... Switching banks isn't feasible, nor would it do any good as they are all the same.

I wonder if they treat people with a lot of money in their accounts the same way as they do me? Do they also have to manually log in with a dongle and codes every time they want to see their account balance or fetch data to update their local bookkeeping database table?

That Ethereum/Ether thing sounds promising when they explain it on their website, but I've never met a single person who knew what that even is. They barely have heard of Bitcoin, let alone know how to use it or own any.

What should we do now that the powerful, gigantic banks have decided that the slaves don't even deserve even the smallest amount of "power"?

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  • It seems to be a trend, and even app makers are having trouble. I use YNAB to track my finances, and in the last couple of months all of my automated connections I had set up with three different financial institutions have broken and still aren’t working. – Ben Miller - Remember Monica Oct 9 '20 at 10:27
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    While I'm sympathetic (as someone who likes to automate things myself), the rant-to-content ratio of this question is way too high. Please edit it to get to the point a bit quicker. – glibdud Oct 9 '20 at 11:38
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The Ethereum network does allow bankless banking, but do notice that the Ether functions more like fuel to do other things on the network, so you don't need much Ether, only refilling occasionally to continue using what you need.

A common way to do bankless banking is to use a form of digital assets that exist on the Ethereum network called "stablecoins". Of stablecoins, there are several flavors, but the largest and most used stablecoins are just mirrors of bank deposits in the physical world. Tether is the oldest and most used and most liquid stablecoin and a whole unit is intended to be worth $1, USDC is the same way and second most used and second most liquid while trying to be more transparent in their banking relationships than Tether. Then there is DAI which does not use bank deposits and is less reliant on the parallel physical world economy but instead uses a basket of other digital assets as collateral.

The Ethereum Network is completely permissionless when it comes to APIs, and "read" operations are free, whereas write operations use Ether.

You should also be able to acquire debit cards that allow you to use your digital assets as a balance, so you can spend in ways that are familiar to a lot of merchants.

Regarding the limitations of your bank, you mentioned that app makers have access, so why don't you contact some of them and see if they have their own APIs.

To make your life easier, you shouldn't mention Ethereum or crypto assets to financial institutions, licensed financial professionals, or on personal finance forums which will mirror the non-objective sentiment of financial professionals. Banks and governemnts don't actually care if you use crypto assets though, just don't make it hard for the bank's compliance officer. Either way there is a parallel permissionless global economy.

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