South African startup and personal financial management tool 22seven plans to end its free beta in the next 3 weeks, after which the service will cost R70 per month to use, the company recently revealed.
New users will get a month’s free access to the service and existing users will be presented with a 30-day countdown once the beta is over.
22seven announced its public beta at a launch event in Johannesburg on 26 January 2012 causing quite a stir among South Africa’s banks.
The service requires that you enter your full Internet banking credentials: account number, PIN, and password.
This is stored at well-known third-party financial data aggregator, Yodlee, and allows 22seven to automatically pull transactions from various banks and other financial service providers into your dashboard.
Each of South Africa’s banks issued stern warnings about the service, saying that they wouldn’t be responsible for any losses if users gave their credentials to third parties.
Absa went so far as to block Yodlee’s access to its customers’ Internet banking accounts. This appears to have been resolved, however, as 22seven users have reported that their Absa account data is updating again.
Yodlee’s access was restored after negotiations between the aggregator and Absa.
Standard Bank customers also started complaining that 22seven wasn’t able to connect to their accounts during the beta. It wasn’t confirmed whether the bank cut off Yodlee, but access was restored some weeks after the first complaints surfaced.
Since the initial warnings from the banks, First National Bank gave 22seven its official approval as long as customers use a “read only” online banking profile to link to the service.
Last week (18 April 2012) 22seven also added support for Virgin Money credit cards to its stable, bringing the total number of supported accounts to 11.
Update: A previous version of this article stated that “Yodlee’s access was restored after negotiations between the aggregator and Absa.” Absa said that this isn’t accurate and the article was updated for the sake of accuracy.