Why does my account keep disconnecting from Plum?

Plum is a finance savvy chatbot that uses AI to help you manage your money and be better off. In ‘Making Plum’, you can see Plum evolve and how features are developed.


It’s now well past the go-live date of Open Banking (13th January) and we’re still waiting on most high street-banks to do what’s needed to comply with the regulation.

The most contentious issue around PSD2 is that it took so long (November ‘17) to finalise the regulatory technical standards, which indicate how banks should share account information as well as how third-party providers can initiate payments under PSD2. As a result, the banks have been rather hesitant to invest significant resource into the black hole of Open Banking, that they’re now late to deliver a big consumer promise and have pleaded extra time.

What does this mean for the likes of Plum?

While the banks overhaul archaic structures and implement much-needed reform to their code, there may be disruptions to the service that data aggregators can offer.

What is a data aggregator and what does this have to do with me?

When you link your account to Plum, we use a data aggregator to fetch your transactional data. This aggregator securely returns your data in a readable fashion to us. We then use this data to calculate the right amount to save for you (...this is where the magic happens 😉). Data aggregators currently work by getting a ‘screen grab’ of your transactional information; to do this they write specific code, unique to each bank and account type, which enables them to extract the right information (transactions, etc) from the right places.

Where is it going wrong?

Every time banks make changes to their site, the data aggregator needs to spot the change and then follow suit. Because of the rush to conform to Open Banking regulation, banks are changing their sites left, right and centre - it’s happening all the time, and as we speak. It’s a constant wild goose chase.

As Plum relies on data aggregators to fetch your data in a timely fashion, and, because these aggregators are continuously interrupted, there are times where Plum may lose the connection to your account, or be unable to save due to out-of-date data.

To fix these sorts of account errors, there’s not much you need to do; they’ll be fixed by the aggregator. There are other circumstances where you may be asked to reconnect your account, but that’s a whole other can of worms I’ll cover in another operational article 😀

Will Open Banking fix this?

New APIs will enable a much smoother and robust connection to banks, which will avoid connection conundrums like this in the future. It will also mean that aggregators won’t be chasing their tails anymore, and can receive up-to-date information directly from user accounts without initiating ‘screen grabs’. In turn, this will ensure all Plumsters get the best experience they can out of using our service 😊

It’s worth noting that site changes do not affect your ability to withdraw your savings, or prevent you from manually transferring funds to your ewallet.

As always, if you have any questions about Open Banking we’re happy to help. Feel free to chat to a member of the team on support or reach out to us via email at help@withplum.com.

We always want to be fully transparent with our users about any teething problems and hiccups along the journey of Open Banking reforms - rest assured that an all round better consumer experience of banking is on the horizon.

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