Why is the Consortium updating the OFX spec after 10 years of inactivity?

This update was created with the mission to continually improve the security and reliability of financial data connectivity across the industry. Reactivating the OFX Consortium helps to ensure that the OFX specification and OFX solutions meet institutional and consumer needs in today’s technology landscape.

What are the primary enhancements in OFX 2.2?

OFX 2.2 includes a new OAuth token-based authentication model and expanded data access. OAuth offers increased security, and the new data elements significantly enhance data transfer in OFX solutions.

Open Financial Exchange was also developed with input from financial institutions and financial services companies.

What does OFX stand for?

Open Financial Exchange. With more 7,000 banks and brokerages as well as major payroll processing companies using OFX, the specification is the most widely adopted open standard for the exchange of financial information between consumers and financial services providers.

How did OFX start?

On January 16, 1997 Microsoft, Intuit, and Checkfree announced a technical specification, called Open Financial Exchange, that would enable financial institutions to exchange financial data over the Internet with Web users and users of popular software such as Quicken and Microsoft Money. The objective was to eliminate confusion and uncertainty with a single, unified, open specification.

The initial specification was released on February 14, 1997. It merged elements of Intuit's OpenExchange, Microsoft's Open Financial Connectivity, and Checkfree's electronic banking and payment protocols.

Who contributes to the standard?

Originally created in concert with and in response to the needs of the financial services industry, the Open Financial Exchange specification continues to reflect the involvement of leading financial institutions and technology companies. Innovators in the creation and delivery of online financial services include U.S. banks, credit unions and brokerage houses, as well as fintech companies. Technology solution providers assist these financial institutions to develop tailored solutions.

Why was it developed as an open specification?

Open specifications are more compelling than closed proprietary solutions for financial institutions because they can easily use open standards to create custom implementations for their unique needs. OFX combines industry-standard authoring, networking, and security into a highly effective and durable standard. Open Financial Exchange has helped accelerate the adoption of online financial services by financial institutions and their customers.

How does OFX help reduce implementation costs?

Open Financial Exchange is platform-independent, so it frees financial services companies to choose the platforms, processors and systems they use.

What is the latest version of OFX?

As of February 2016, the latest version of OFX is 2.2.

What is the OFX version history?

OFX has evolved through the years from OFX 1.0, which used an SGML syntax, to the current OFX 2.2, which uses XML. The biggest reason for the SGML-to-XML transition was retaining interoperability and backward compatibility, while maintaining a modern syntax within the open specification. Significant changes came when the financial industry introduced Multi-Factor Authentication in 2006. The OFX consortium branched off of the OFX 1.0 and OFX 2.0 versions that were most heavily used at the time, and created XML-format spec versions. This change resulted in OFX 1.0.3, 2.0.3, and 2.1.1. The only functionality change for these numbered versions was the addition of MFA.

OFX 2.2 is the current version, with all of the features of previous versions, including backward compatibility and MFA. It expands the specification with data tags and modern security features through OAuth.

What versions of OFX are production clients and servers using?

Many servers and clients currently in production were initially developed using OFX 1.0.2 using an SGML-based OFX syntax. Many have transitioned over to XML (introduced with the OFX 2.0 specification). However, for backwards compatibility purposes, both SGML (OFX 1.x) and XML (OFX 2.x) are supported in the current marketplace by most processors.

How many banks use OFX?

More than 7,000 banks and brokerages use OFX, as well as major payroll processing companies. The specification is the most widely adopted open standard for the exchange of financial information between consumers and financial services providers.

Is OFX only implemented in the United States?

The consortium does not track specific implementations of OFX such as names of financial institutions, what versions or parts of the specification they support, etc. However, the specification is open, and is not geographically restricted. Some companies in Europe, South America and Australia appear to have implemented OFX.

Since OFX is “open” can my product connect to any financial institution that supports OFX?

Most financial institutions use a hosting provider for their OFX servers. Because those arrangements involve contractual details that may limit access, you should contact the financial institution

Is there a public list of financial institution OFX server URLs?

There is no public list of financial institution OFX server URLs. While the OFX specification is "open" for development, OFX request/response connectivity details are normally proprietary.

Why should a financial institution or financial application developer consider implementing OFX?

The OFX standard is a mature, proven financial data API that is broadly implemented across top financial institutions and financial applications.


Contact:

Joseph Herrera, Intuit Ph: 214.387.2632
Corina Standiford, Xero Ph: 925.788.9787
Jaimie Anzelone, Enterprise Engineering Ph: 646.421.2171
Richard Kuhn, Finicity Ph: 801.984.4225
Carrie Merritt, Silicon Valley Bank Ph: 503.574.3705