Table of Contents
The automatic bank feed feature allows you to integrate your Clear Books account with your bank to quickly and easily import your bank transactions. The bank feed integration is a service provided through a third party called Plaid.
2. Bank feed set up
This section describes how to set up the integration, how to add a bank feed and finally, how to link the feed to a Clear Books bank account.
If you have already set up bank feeds and would just like to add an additional bank feed, you can skip to '1.3 Add feed' after navigating to the bank feed menu.
2.1 Navigate to Bank Feed menu
To set up your first bank feed, navigate to the Money > Bank accounts menu and once there click on the 'Manage bank feeds' button
2.2 Clear Books Consent
Read the initial introduction on how the bank feeds work, and then read and accept the Consent.
2.3 Add feed
Now you can begin setting up your first bank feed; click on the 'Add feed' button.
2.4 Third party consent
A pop up will appear explaining that you are giving consent to Plaid, our third party provider, to access your bank data and share it with Clear Books. Click 'Continue'.
Your consent will last for 90 days, and Clear Books will prompt you when you need to provide consent again.
2.5 Select your bank
Select your bank. Select your bank’s logo if you have a business account with that bank. Specific instructions for that bank will be displayed - verify that the correct account type is shown, and if you have a different account type than is shown, you may need to search for it.
If your bank’s logo is not shown, search for it by name.
2.6 Allow access to your account(s)
At this stage you will need to tell your bank that you would like to allow Plaid access to your appropriate accounts.
There are 2 authentication options, the QR code option will require that you have your bank's mobile app on your smart phone and the desktop option which will require you to allow access via a bank portal (within a pop up which will be shown).
2.6.1 QR Code authentication
Scan the QR code with your phone's camera and a notification will be displayed. Click on this notification and it will then trigger your bank's mobile app to be opened. You will then need to log in to the bank's app and you will be greeted with a menu asking you to confirm the accounts that you would like to allow Plaid to access.
Once this is done return to Clear Books.
2.6.2 Desktop authentication
By default the QR code authentication option will be shown. Click on the 'continue on desktop' option.
You will see instructions from your bank. Each bank’s instructions will be a bit different; this will usually open in a new browser tab or window, or may require you to also use your bank’s mobile banking app.
Follow the instructions provided by your bank to complete their authentication process.
Depending on your bank, they may require you to complete additional steps, such as selecting the accounts you'd like to share access for, enter an SMS they send you, enter your card PIN, or to use your card reader device. Some banks even let you add a short description for your own reference.
Once this is done return to Clear Books.
2.7 Confirm your accounts
Your accounts will be displayed, similar to the image below, but in a colour similar to that of your bank’s brand. Confirm the accounts you would like to set up the feed for. Click 'Continue' to complete.
2.8 Link the feed to your Clear Books bank accounts
You will then be sent back to a linking page to link your feed to a Clear Books bank account.
Select your 'bank account' and a 'start date for transactions' for all feeds and then click 'Link'. If you don't have a Clear Books bank account set up to link to the feed, select the 'Add new account' option in the Bank account drop down field.
If you know you have a Clear Books account already set up but don't see it in the list to link, it may be linked to another feed. Please contact support if you need help.
You will be returned to the 'Manage bank feeds' page and your feeds are displayed. Once established the feed will automatically update four times a day.
When the feed has been successfully added, a statement will be imported into Clear Books and appear on the Money > Bank accounts menu. Click on the statement to begin explaining the transactions.
To learn more about explaining transactions, see the guides in the folder below:
3. Reauthenticate your bank feed
Under Open Banking regulations, for security reasons, the banking login authentication for bank feeds is only valid for 90 days. This means that before the 90 day period ends, the bank account holder will need to reauthenticate to continue using the bank feed without interruption.
A 'Feed access expiring' message will be displayed two weeks in advance to alert you of the upcoming authentication expiry, and if it expires your feed will stop and a 'Feed disconnected” message will be displayed. The steps to reauthenticate are the same whether it is about to expire, or has already expired.
Navigate to Money > Bank accounts, and click on either the 'Feed Access Expiring/disconnected' link, or the 'Manage Bank Feeds' button.
Choose the bank feed you wish to reauthenticate, and click on 'Reauthenticate' to renew your consent with our third party provider, Plaid.
4. Bank feed FAQs
4.1 Why can’t I find my bank?
Our partner through which we bring you these bank feeds is working hard to support more financial institutions every day. If there are any specific ones you are looking for that aren’t supported, please let our support team know.
4.2 Why do I keep getting an error with credentials even though I know I have entered them correctly?
This could be that the type of feed you are trying to add is incorrect (such as a personal feed with business credentials). If you have tried the correct feed and still cannot add your feed contact support.
There may be a problem with your credentials. Try logging into your online banking portal to confirm they are correct. If you cannot login to your portal, contact your bank to discuss further.
If you can successfully login to your portal. Please try to create the feed in incognito/privacy mode on your browser. If this fails, contact support.
4.3 Why is there an error when I connect my NatWest/ RBS Bankline account?
Error: No valid bank accounts.
NatWest/ RBS Bankline users must assign Third Party Provider privileges to a new role by following Section 3. For Bankline administrators – setting up users for Open Banking TPP Services of their documentation.
4.4 Can I import my historic transactions?
Yes. Historic transactions will be imported for transactions with a date on or after the start date you chose for the feed when linking the feed to your Clear Books bank account.
4.5 How do I refresh my feed?
Your feed refreshes automatically and does not require any manual intervention.
Our bank feed provider check the bank's API 4 times per day for any changes. This may be new pending transactions, or pending transactions changing to posted, or both. The time at which these checks happen depend on the bank, the banks will decide their own limits on the amount data being processed to prevent overload.
Any change detected in one of these 4 checks will alert us, at which point we fetch the new or changed data from our bank feed provider. We will only import transactions that have been marked as posted by the bank.
4.6 What is the difference between a pending and posted transaction?
When transactions are imported into Clear Books via bank feeds, the transaction dates shown on the imported statement are the posted dates.
There are two states for transactions: pending and posted.
Pending transactions are when an authorisation is taken for a sum of money. The date this occurs is also referred to as the ‘transaction date’. The ‘transaction date’ could represent the date a card was used to make a purchase at a shop. The transaction may show in your mobile/online banking statement as a pending transaction or within a separate part of your online banking portal titled pending transactions or similar.
Posted transactions are when the money has been collected for a pending transaction. The transaction will change from a pending to a posted state. The date on which this happens is also referred to as the ‘bank date’. It is described as ‘the money leaving the account’ which means the transaction is only posted once the money is sent to the acquirer.
Some banks may add the ‘transaction date’ in the text description for each transaction. The date of the transaction will always be the posted date.
Some banks will only move a transaction from a pending to posted state at the start of the next business day, which may fall after a weekend or other extended break. Our bank feed provider will not receive this information until the transactions are posted and so some transactions may appear later than expected.
4.7 When will the feed start importing posted transactions?
Immediately, if you’ve linked the feed to a Clear Books bank account.