Discover has changed your Account ID

This week, the cause of the errors when using Pocketsense to download Discover transactions is that, without telling anybody, Discover has changed your Account ID needed to access their OFX server, and the only method* of revealing what your ID has been changed to, is by downloading and reviewing a statement from the discover.com website.

Instructions to determine your new Account ID

  • Log into your Discover account on the web
  • Download your most recent statement in Quicken format
  • Find the downloaded QFX file (probably in your Downloads folder)
  • Pull up in a text editor and find your new Account ID (for the OFX server)

Once you have your new coded Account ID, although the OFX server information in your Pocketsense sites.dat remains the same…


     SiteName : DISCOVER CARD
     AcctType : CCSTMT    #credit card
     fiorg : Discover Financial Services
     fid  : 7101
     url  : https://ofx.discovercard.com 
     bankid : 
     brokerid :
     appid : 
     appver : 
     mininterval : 

you’ll need to run the Setup script to:

  • Delete your login credentials by deleting your Discover account
  • Create a new Discover account with your new coded Account ID
  • Select Test, and send the statement to Money
  • Re-matching this new import to the Discover account in Money

 


The 3 items needed to download from the OFX server

1. account ID (was simply your account #)
2. username (same as your web access username)
3. password

Unlike the previous round of unexplained changes by Discover’s IT department that required Robert to rewrite a good portion of code, the latest change (changing your Account ID needed to access their OFX server) seems explainable in the name of improved security. Perhaps they are trying to prevent hackers that know 2 of the 3 logon criteria (i.e. your account # and your username) from guessing at the 3rd item (your password) until a successful logon has been achieved.

I thought I would document this change, as the possibility exists that other financial institutions may have been advised to take this action in the name of improved security as well, so that we’ll know what to try should we suddenly be unable to access our data.


*[UPDATE 5/15/2018]  Whereas before you had to log into your web account and inspect the downloaded ofx file to determine your coded account number, the new Setup routine added today in Pocketsense will find your coded account numbers for you when adding the account, and if not redacted, will even enter it for you.


 

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Eliminating the “online updating”delays and errors when opening Money

It seems that even though Microsoft tweaked the Sunset edition of Money to no longer phone home for online updates and activation purposes, remnants of the online handshaking with MSN Money remain in the program and I suspect that, because the address of the MSN Money servers has changed over the years, some serious delays are occurring in the program, as evidenced by the spinning icon near the upper right corner soon after the program is opened to “retrieve quotes, news and exchange rates” according to the Update Results.  This 1 to 2 minute delay can get very annoying, as nothing can be done until the program finally gives up with the handshake and can even cause errors when OFX scripts are waiting to be processed.

By running netstat /b  as an administrator while firing up Money, I got a list of servers that Money is attempting to access:

 

  • TCP    168.0.44:64477     131.253.40.59:http     ESTABLISHED  [msmoney.exe]
  • TCP    168.0.44:64478     137.117.100.176:http   ESTABLISHED  [msmoney.exe]
  • TCP    168.0.44:64479     a-0003:http            ESTABLISHED  [msmoney.exe]
  • TCP    168.0.44:64480     104.25.195.13:http     ESTABLISHED  [msmoney.exe]
  • TCP    168.0.44:64481     104.25.194.13:http     ESTABLISHED  [msmoney.exe]
  • TCP    168.0.44:64482     hans-moleman:http      ESTABLISHED  [msmoney.exe]
  • TCP    168.0.44:64495     hans-moleman:http      ESTABLISHED  [msmoney.exe]

 

The first entry is believed to be the MSNbot which used to be within www.msn.com/money but the address of that page is now www.msn.com/en-us/money and that may be the first clue as to what is stalling the Money program.  Hans_MolemanI liked Ron’s statement in the Microsoft Money forum regarding the last 2 entries – “I have no idea why my MSMONEY is trying to connect to a Simpson’s character.  Hmmm.  My first guess is that it is a programmer’s joke…”

Fortunately, there is a resolution to this issue and since Money is offline now, we’ll help it by using Windows Firewall to cut it off from the internet so that it doesn’t work so hard trying to resolve finding the MSN Money pages for a useless handshake.   Note that doing this will make any links to web pages like banks and MSN Money inoperable from with the Money browser.  Pocketsense scripts, MoneyQuotes, OFX / QIF file imports and file backups to Dropbox will continue to function though.  Money will simply act like your PC isn’t hooked up to the internet.  It has been reported that Money will also shut down quicker when exiting the program by doing this.

Simply run “Windows Firewall with Advanced Security” which you will find in Windows Administrative Tools, Click on “Outbound Rules”, select “New Rule” > select “Program” > select “This Program” and enter or browse for the path (which should be
%ProgramFiles%\Microsoft Money Plus\MNYCoreFiles\msmoney.exe
– you can try just pasting this in) > select “Block this connection” > leave the defaults > and then name your new rule something like “Microsoft Money block”.  Once the rule is created, it can be disabled and enabled very easily within the Firewall program if you wish to experiment its effect.

One other adjustment that I advise:
Customize your Money’s Home Page such that the only two modules are Reminders and Favorite Accounts.  Other modules like Bills & Deposits can consume some time and prevent you from working with your file right away.

Now you’ll experience minimal delays, if any, when using your Money program, as it no longer will struggle to get hold of non-existent servers and process upcoming bills.

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Windows 10 free upgrade / my experience

I finally took the plunge and upgraded my Windows 7 PC (that was since upgraded to Windows 8.1) to Windows 10 and was very pleased with the outcome.  Not only did Microsoft Money function perfectly, but I was surprised to see my entire desktop appear exactly the same as it was prior to the upgrade.  I should mention that I don’t really like the live tiles Start Menu that Microsoft pushes and therefore use a program called Classic Shell to give me my Windows 7 desktop experience and that too carried over through the upgrade.

The Windows 10 upgrade is free until July 29th, but I just leaned today that for those wishing to postpone the free upgrade past that date, they can do so by “claiming” your entitlement under the free upgrade offer and then rolling back to your prior operating system. With that entitlement in place, you can schedule the final upgrade for when you’re ready, even if that’s after July 29th.   A step-by-step guide is presented at   http://www.zdnet.com/article/how-to-lock-in-your-free-windows-10-upgrade-and-keep-using-your-old-windows-version/

Microsoft no longer seems to be using an Internet Explorer version longer than 15 characters, so at least for now, there is no need to alter the registry in order to get Money to function with Windows 10.   I’m leaving all that advice in the blog though, just in case…

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Resolving errors for those having multiple accounts at Chase and other OFX 103 banks

[UPDATE: It is no longer necessary to use this logic, as Pocketsense has since been updated to accommodate ofxver 103]

A commenter on the Pocketsense blog named John has come up with a solution for those that are getting errors while trying to download OFX data for multiple accounts from a particular financial institution.  I encouraged Kevin N. to try this out and he has verified that these instructions function as written.  It is very possible that Robert will incorporate these suggestions into Pocketsense in the future, or a similar strategy, but I’m writing this up to help others having difficulties with Chase and some other banks needing a solution.

Background:

This situation only arises if that bank or brokerage house has chosen to upgrade to their server to OFX version 1.03, which adds an additional requirement of a 128- bit universally unique identifier (UUID) number being part of the OFX request, as another layer of security.  Pocketsense currently allows for this requirement by generating a value and appending it to your sites.dat file as the variable ClientUID (if it doesn’t already exist in that file).  Should you have multiple accounts at that institution though, you are going to run into problems trying to use that same ClientUID for the subsequent data requests.  Some users that have 2 accounts at one bank (Chase as an example) – one for them and another for their spouse, get around this by running two separate instances of Pocketsense to get around this annoyance.  But say you had some IRA accounts there as well, a Roth and a traditional and the same in your spouse’s name and a joint checking account, etc.  Well this is where John’s solution saves the day.

Script modification:

John has a nice color coded presentation for his modification at  http://pastebin.com/9UJ333RZ , (you just delete the text that is brown and add the text that is green to your ofx.py and site_cfg.py scripts), so I am not going to try and duplicate that effort.  Essentially what he has done is come up with yet another variable for each sites.dat entry for those multiple accounts at the financial institution causing you headaches, called siteClientUID which you manually enter and is used instead of  ClientUID.  An easy method for coming up with a version 4 UUID value to assign to these siteClientUID entries is by simply going to https://www.uuidgenerator.net/ .

SiteName : CHASE
AcctType : BASTMT
fiorg : B1
url : https://ofx.chase.com
fid : 10898
bankid : (use appropriate routing #)
brokerid :
appid : QWIN
appver : 2400
mininterval :
ofxver : 103
siteClientUID  :

Read the rest of this entry »

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Intuit puts venerable Quicken up on the block – How will this impact our Money data downloads?

I’ve just learned of an announcement from Intuit that could spell the end of our scripted access to OFX/QFX downloads within 2 or 3 years. The reason financial institutions keep the portal servers going for access to our financial data is because of agreements with Intuit for updating account data for their Quicken program. The announcement is actually a couple of months old (August 20th) where they state that because about 2/3rds of Intuit’s business now comes from online and mobile activity, they intend to sell its Quicken unit, the group that creates the personal finance software that made the company famous.  Here’s more from an Read the rest of this entry »

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Keeping track of your FICO scores

I’ve been tracking my free FICO scores for some time now and thought I would share how and why I do this in Money in case you might want to add this function yourselves.  Discover provides a monthly update to your TransUnion FICO score on their credit card statement and Citi does the same with your Equifax FICO score.  As to why –  why not?  We track everything else that involves our finances, and Money makes it easy to view in our Portfolio review screens.  From the Portfolio screens, it is also easy to right-click and select  “See Price History” allowing you to view a graph of your FICO score history.

All you need to do is add the scores into your Watch account by creating a dummy transaction with zero shares of each FICO score you’re able to get …

moneyfico

and then select “Update prices > Manually” every time you receive a score update.

-ameridan

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Windows 10 Compatibility with Microsoft Money

Well tomorrow Microsoft is supposed to start installing Windows 10 as an “upgrade” to PCs running Windows 7 and Windows 8.x and it appears that some early testers have observed hiccups without official acknowledgement of fixes being offered.  I for one plan on not accepting the Windows 10 upgrade for a while (assuming of course that I will be offered the option and it won’t just install on its own). We have until July 2016 to get the free upgrade to Windows 10, so there is no need to rush it!

Of course, patching the dll as previously discussed in the Windows 8 Compatibility discussion will be necessary if you are installing Money on a clean install of Windows 10 or upgrading from Windows XP or Windows 7, but if the PC is simply being “upgraded” from Windows 8 to Windows 10, I’m thinking that you should have already patched the dll in order to get Money working.

[added 10/30/2015] Microsoft did NOT patch the launch version (1507) of Windows 10 contrary to what some people have stated in the Microsoft Forum.  They did happen to release a version of Internet Explorer recently with a version number less than 16 characters long, but they could again update IE and use a version number with too many characters.

Additionally please note that the “bugs” in Money’s “MNYOB99.DLL” file have been there for years according to Raymond Chen and by his description of those bugs, it is surprising that Money has worked consistently with the older OS’s all these years.  Windows 8 was hit and miss regarding the dll patch, but the patch is definitely recommended for Windows 10 PCs.  Go here for the instructions.

 

I happened to note that Robin Wheeler has observed that Microsoft Money is expecting that the version number for Internet Explorer should be defined with no more than 15 characters.   The current version number in the registry for Internet Explorer 11 is 9.11.10240.16384 and she has found that the value needs to be truncated by removing the 16th character (4) in order for Money to run.  Great observation Robin!  This could be a pain if Microsoft is going to update Internet Explorer (or Edge which is the name of IE’s replacement) using version numbers greater than 15 characters long.

So, to clarify, in order to resolve the error: [updated 8/2/2015 to include 32-bit variance]*

  1. Open Registry Editor (RegEdit).  (Search for it using Windows 10 search box, and then right-click and choose “run as administrator”)
  2. Navigate to the following registry key for 64-bit Windows:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Internet Explorer
    or for 32-bit Windows:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer
  3. In the right pane, look for Version registry value.
  4. Modify the value data to 9.11.10240.1638 so that it contains no more than 15 characters.

She questioned why Money looks at the IE version #.   Unlike a program that generically invokes a browser by simply looking up the registry to identify the default browser, Microsoft Money is designed to use Internet Explorer exclusively as the entire user interface and consequently it looks up the registry to find the installed version.  If no entry is found, it will default to prompting you to install Internet Explorer 6 – which of course will never install with Windows 8 or 10.

I’m going to inject my theory here at the risk of being proven wrong (I don’t have Windows 10 yet), but based on past experience, I don’t think it matters if Windows default browser is set to Edge or Firefox or Chrome – Money is always going to use Internet Explorer, or at least what the registry leads Money to think is Internet Explorer. Based on all of the changes reported to work for “Version”, it seems that it can be almost anything, as long as it isn’t longer than 15 characters AND as long as a version of Internet Explorer can be found, that is what is invoked to open up Money.

What isn’t clear yet is whether a clean install of Windows 10 (vs. an upgrade) and/or future iterations of Windows 10 will always install a version of IE, whether Edge will always act like a future version of IE, and whether Microsoft will continue to use the registry as a means to fooling legacy programs like Money into thinking that the current browser will behave properly with Money as IE has up through Version 11.

I’ll do my best to keep track of any issues and solutions that keep me from using Microsoft Money as I really have no intentions of not using this fantastic program.

[UPDATE 9/10/2015]

I’ve just read that upgrading to Windows 10 sometimes messes up the read/write permissions of your Documents folder and since I recall that some readers have reported that they had trouble saving their Money files, i thought I would add instructions for this issue in this blog. I automatically assumed that readers reporting this issue had their Money data file in the wrong location since Windows 7 & 8 never messed up the file permissions.

“I can’t use my files after updating. How do I get rid of the read-only attribute in my Documents and Download folders?”

Removing read-only attributes is usually a snap, and should take only a minute or two. Here’s how:

  • In an admin-level account, right-click the read-only files or folders and select Properties.
  • Under the General tab, untick the box for Read-only and then click OK.
  • After a few seconds (depending on number of affected files and folders) all the selected files/folders should no longer be read-only.

NOTE: I recommend that you check your browser setting in Money since the internal browser reports to site servers that you are using outdated IE9:

Under settings you can change Browser Settings from Browse Internet from within Money
to
Always use default browser to browse Internet


*     Versions of Windows 10 subsequent to 1507 no longer require the Internet Explorer registry patch.

-ameridan

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