Payee/Payer not separated in OFX download

Hi there,

I am just wondering why Manager combines the “Name” field and the “Memo” field from the OFX file and concatenates them into one which shows as ‘Description’ in the resulting transaction.

Wouldn’t it be better to use the “Name” field as the Payee, Payer or Contact since it is available?

Thank you very much

Financial institutions have considerable flexibility following the OFX standard. So the program cannot depend on specific information being in a given field. In the OFX standard, the mandatory field, <NAME>, can be the “Name of payee or description of transaction.” An optional field, <EXTDNAME>, can be an “Extended name of payee or description of transaction.” There is no definition of what constitutes an extended name or description.

So sometimes you get a name only in one field, sometimes split across two, and sometimes mixed with transaction description information, even though there is an earlier mandatory field, <TRNTYPE>, that describes the transaction. To make things more complicated, those fields can be followed by another optional field, <MEMO>, containing “Extra information (not in <NAME>).” So it is possible for a bank to put the transaction description into <NAME> and the payee into <MEMO> and still be fully compliant. (And, of course, many institutions are not fully compliant to begin with.)

That’s a lot of detail to explain that different banks could put the seemingly simple information of a payee’s name and transaction description into several different places. And when you import a statement, the program has to pull things from whichever fields that particular bank uses to try to populate a database that has a different structure entirely.

In other words, while the information is “available,” it might not be as available as you would think. In some ways, it is a miracle imports work in most situations.

Thanks Tut,

That is a very good reply. I wondered if it was something like what you’ve described. The funny thing about it is that a standard is there so that everybody does the same thing in terms of populating the file but clearly they don’t !

I understand what you say when you say it’s a miracle that downloads work at all !

Again, many thanks

The lack of compliance is not so hard to understand when you consider the standard was written by a small handful of banks and software companies. It fits their needs, but they have no enforcement power, and there are not that many stakeholders with the power or incentive to tighten things up.