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Natwest ofx data files suddenly can't be opened by MS Money99 RRS feed

  • Question

  • Money 99 does all I need (even running under windows 10).

    I regularly download both my current account and credit card account details from Natwest Bank and import them in to MS Money.

    The last successful download and import was on 18 May 2018. I tried again on 29 May and MS Money has a problem with "the data" in the ofx file, which has never happened before. 

    I have tried the files on or before 18 May and they are still recognised and imported, so it's clearly a problem with Natwest, but they of course - being a bank - are not responding. 

    Anyone else experiencing anything like this, or have any ideas?

    Many thanks, jpk. 

    Friday, June 1, 2018 4:29 PM

All replies

  • One possibility is NatWest has switched from OFX version 1.x to 2.x.

    Expect version 1.02, for example, to start with

    OFXHEADER:100
    DATA:OFXSGML
    VERSION:102

    Expect an OFX 2 file to start with

    <?xml version=  etc.

    Friday, June 1, 2018 10:33 PM
    Moderator
  • Well it's not madly helpful but I downloaded my NatWest accounts this morning and they imported fine.

    Dr AS

    Monday, June 4, 2018 8:20 AM
  • Thanks Cal, I'll call them and ask them to check. 

    I did also check again today following the post for AS below, but my downloads still give me "There is a problem with the data received from this online provider...". 

    I'll chase the bank and post any useful reply I get. 

    Monday, June 4, 2018 10:08 AM
  • I checked the download options on NatWest Online and I *think* that options have been added to the download page e.g. Sage Accounts that weren't there before. There are still just 3 file formats - *.csv and *.ofx as well as a special one for Money 97 (ofc). It seems that Cal may be right. If they have done an upgrade they aren't likely to undo it. I am using the final UK version of MSMoney (2005), available free in the top messages in the group. You may have to migrate to that version, which could be a bit tedious. Good luck and let us know!

    Dr AS

    Monday, June 4, 2018 10:20 AM
  • Thanks Cal, I'll call them and ask them to check. 

    Suppose the file is called xyz.ofx

    I think you can type in a command window to see the first part of the file:

     more xyz.ofx

    Then Cntl+C to end that command, or space bar to see the next section.

    The file would have to be in the current directory (folder) unless you add the path to the command.

    Alternatively, you can open an OFX file with Notepad and see the header stuff.



    Monday, June 4, 2018 11:52 AM
    Moderator
  • I have had exactly the same issue as only1jpk with some Natwest accounts and Money 99 today.

    I can confirm the OFX files are (now/still?) version 1.02. The file header begins:-

    OFXHEADER:100
    DATA:OFXSGML
    VERSION:102
    etc...

    I don't have any old downloads available to check if the version has changed.

    I tried the same OFX file in Money 2005 UK too as AS suggested and it imports with no problem, so that's an option. However, at first glance, 2005 seems to have issues compared to 99. For example, transfers between accounts seem to duplicate rather than being 'one' transaction with a linked entry in the two relevant accounts.

    Wednesday, June 6, 2018 3:42 PM
  • Hi folks

    JPK original poster here: I've also checked the OFX files, and yes, they are still 1.02 as others confirm. 

    I also installed MS Money 99 on my laptop - which is also running Windows 10, and it opened the program fine, but gave me the same error message when I tried to import a recent OFX file from Nat West. 

    I'm wondering is it a Windows 10 update issue? I've tried rolling back on Restore but can no longer find a restore point before 6 June 2018... 

    I have a disk image restore file saved, from a couple of years back, but really don't want to roll back to that in order to keep using Money 99, wedded to it as I am...

    All further ideas gratefully received. 

    Many thanks, jpk. 

    Monday, June 11, 2018 11:15 AM
  • Check to see if you have any ampersand ('&') characters in the file. However since you have a problem with two accounts, that is less likely the case. Would you patronize the "Silk & Grain" restaurant, and write both a cheque/check and use a credit card with them? An ampersand in the OFX file should be represented by these 5 characters: &amp;

     You could check to see if the hypothetical xyz.ofx file contains an ampersand with this command in a command window looking at the appropropriate directory (folder):

    find "&" xyz.ofx

    There is an OFXAnalyzer.exe utility. Available via http://moneymvps.org/faq/article/366.aspx

    Its use is not usually very intuitive.

    If that identifies a problem, it identifies it with a line number. However if there are no newline characters later in your OFX file, almost everything is on one line. So if you can replace all '<' characters with a linefeed followed by '<' (using an editor etc), then the file will be more human readable, plus it will have lines that the OFXAnalyzer.exe utility can count. Some OFX files have multiple lines, and some run everything together.

    If you can find that the problem is a defective OFX file, you could fix it manually. If it is persistant, it is possible to make a utility to modify an OFX file to fix that same error for future use.

    One more idea... can you specify a date range when you ask for the OFX file? Maybe make a request for a narrow range to see if you can get a resulting OFX file to be accepted.







    Monday, June 11, 2018 1:08 PM
    Moderator
  • Hi, and thanks for the previous post: I must admit that most of the procedures outlined above to edit the OFX file to read it are, whilst not entirely beyond me, probably not realistic to use on a regular basis. 

    I did yesterday install new versions of Money (the Sunset version) and got the same result. Now uninstalled that. 

    I also tried downloading a CSV file for just 1 account for a short period - just 54 transactions - but Money couldn't open that either. But money can still open files downloaded before the 3rd week of May... 

    I also spent a futile 35 minutes in an online "chat" with some poor sod in a call centre on the other side of the world who - after I had explained the issue to him a number of times- assured me that 

    "We are aware of the issue, where due to some technical fault many of our customer's facing issues while converting the statement in different format .

    There was a reported intermittent issue with some of the access. And our technical team is working on this as we speak with utmost importance.

    I personally assure you that our technical team is working on it rigorously and they will surely get it sorted as soon as possible .

    I am sorry as currently the website is under process, so you may try after sometime you will be able to download the statement in ofx files".

    Sadly I am not reassured by this... Any feedback gratefully received. 

    JPK. 

    Tuesday, June 12, 2018 7:18 AM
  • From the NatWest Site:

    Why is my OFX file corrupted?

    This happens when transaction narratives are more than 32 characters long.

    A permanent resolution is being investigated. In the meantime, please follow the below steps to access your files

        Open the OFX file in Notepad
        Search for all occurrences of "NAME"
        Any entries with more than 32 characters will need to be edited to included less than 32 characters. Make sure not to delete '<NAME/>' at the end of each entry
        Once all the entries have been amended, save the file, you can then open the edited file in Microsoft Money as normal
        Credit transactions may still incorrectly appear as debits
        To correct these entries, right click on the transaction in Microsoft Money and then select 'change transaction type to credit'

    Once the above has been completed, the transactions should reconcile correctly

    This worked for me in Money 2000.  Just needs a clear brain when counting rows and characters!

    Wednesday, June 20, 2018 6:52 PM
  • From the NatWest Site:

    Why is my OFX file corrupted?

    This happens when transaction narratives are more than 32 characters long.

    A permanent resolution is being investigated. In the meantime, please follow the below steps to access your files

        Open the OFX file in Notepad
        Search for all occurrences of "NAME"
        Any entries with more than 32 characters will need to be edited to included less than 32 characters. Make sure not to delete '<NAME/>' at the end of each entry
        Once all the entries have been amended, save the file, you can then open the edited file in Microsoft Money as normal
        Credit transactions may still incorrectly appear as debits
        To correct these entries, right click on the transaction in Microsoft Money and then select 'change transaction type to credit'

    Once the above has been completed, the transactions should reconcile correctly

    This worked for me in Money 2000.  Just needs a clear brain when counting rows and characters!

    Cool. The NAME field is defined in the OFX specification as an alphanumeric up to 32 characters ("A-32"). Because of this, I would be hopeful that they would actually make the fix. It is impressive that they found the problem and let you know.

    However if this were to continue for an extended time, I could write a little Python 2.7 program to truncate the OFX file Name fields to no more than 32 characters.

    Wednesday, June 20, 2018 7:18 PM
    Moderator
  • I should have added that some (possibly all, I forgot to check it out) Credits DO actually appear as Debits, so worth checking if your accounts don't balance.

    As a follow up, if the OFX Specification defines <NAME> as 32 characters, why do so many trader account names exceed this, and how do they get away with it?

    And why has this problem only recently arisen?

    Wednesday, June 20, 2018 8:29 PM
  • I should have added that some (possibly all, I forgot to check it out) Credits DO actually appear as Debits, so worth checking if your accounts don't balance.

    As a follow up, if the OFX Specification defines <NAME> as 32 characters, why do so many trader account names exceed this, and how do they get away with it?

    And why has this problem only recently arisen?

    I tried an experimental test OFX file where I made NAME fields that were longer. I imported that into a test file in Money Plus. The input came in without complaint, but only the first 32 characters were looked at by Money. So at some point, it would appear that Money was made to be more tolerant of that.

    I suspect that change was made by the time of Money 2005, and was maybe made before. Since most NatWest users would probably be using Money 2005, they would not get the symptom.


    Wednesday, June 20, 2018 8:50 PM
    Moderator