How does mint.com connect to online banks in order to get or download banking transaction data?
Do banks have a standard mechanism for mint.com to connect, or is mint.com simulating a real person logging in and using the online banking site?
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Mint uses Yodlee as its backend: http://www.yodlee.com/solutions_dv_aasdk.shtml
From that site:
The Yodlee Data Network
Yodlee's patented data, payments and risk management utility supports more than 11,000 account sources (banking, bills, investments, etc.) and over 100,000 different account types - creating the world's broadest and most diverse database of consumer financial and related information.
The data is gathered through a mixture of direct feeds and aggregation directly from web sites.
So it appears that in some cases they have direct connections to the banks, and in other cases they have to log in and access the website in the same way a person would.
There is a Standard to communicate with Banks. It is called HBCI.