Is there an easy, automated way to receive PDF's of financial statements (bank statement, credit card bill, etc)?
May 6, 2010 1:47 PM   Subscribe

Is there an easy, automated way to receive PDF's of financial statements (bank statement, credit card bill, etc)?

I've finally switched most of my financial accounts (bank, credit card, utilities, etc) to paperless billing. This works great for me, as I always just look at the website to figure out how much I owe.

There is one thing that I miss about receiving paper bills in the mail, and that is the piece of mind that somewhere (likely in a shoebox or pile of mail) was every statement in case I ever needed it or had a dispute. Now that I'm paperless, I don't have that.

Most of my accounts will allow me to download a PDF of my current statement, as well as more recent archives, but some don't allow me to go back beyond a year, and regardless this is something I have to actively do.

I'm looking for a passive/automated/background solution, that will automatically get my monthly statements and either download them to my hard drive or email them to me as an attachment. That way I will have the piece of mind that I always have complete records. Does such a solution exist? Does anyone have any suggestions?

I would imagine the answers are fairly general, but in case someone is curious, I'm on a mac (but could also use a windows solution), and the main records I'm dealing with are Wells Fargo, American Express, Chase, TD Ameritrade, and a few misc others.
posted by stilly to Work & Money (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Not exactly sure, but I think some financial institutions have something set up to download them automatically to Quicken. Maybe that's a route you could take.
posted by Madamina at 1:53 PM on May 6, 2010

It looks like most of the ones I use won't push a statement (my crappy credit union being the exception). It seems like it's always download.
posted by fixedgear at 1:57 PM on May 6, 2010

Amex has a yearly report that lets you download the previous year's transactions as a .csv file. That would at least let you reduce the effort to once per January.
posted by reeddavid at 2:46 PM on May 6, 2010

Just a couple of weeks ago I went online at Wells Fargo using my Mac and downloaded my statements from 2005. Firefox had some trouble, thinking the files were called "session.cgi", so I did a control-click to save-as and changed the filename to "session.pdf" and it worked fine.
posted by neuron at 2:48 PM on May 6, 2010

I run entirely an entirely digital billing storage system for my home files. Something that has been a godsend for me was learning that Quicken allows you to attach PDFs or JPGs to actual line item transactions. So when I record the deduction for my mobile bill I can put on the TMobile PDF bill and it's there forever. Then I don't have to find a way to archive or sort them. I know this doesn't solve your passive need, but it reduces the work load of sorting, naming, etc files so much that it might make it more bearable to manually do it.
posted by msbutah at 3:21 PM on May 6, 2010

Automated, yes; easy, no.

I was annoyed when my employer (a federal agency) stopped sending pay stubs in the mail. One can download them, but that means I have to go and log in. I wrote a shell script (a short program) that logs into the website, finds all the pay stubs I haven't downloaded yet, and downloads them. It would be simple to have this program run periodically.

You're on Mac OS X, which is Unix based, so you've got all the tools to write something like this. All you need is a script interpreter (ksh, or bash, or zsh) and curl, a program that can download web pages and interact with web servers. You'll get your computer to download the PDFs for you. The output can be saved to disk, or emailed, or whatever you want.

Maybe a little easier is a way to find a way to script an ordinary browser, like Firefox.

Oh, but you wanted an easy way to do it. My method took a couple of hours to get working for just one pay stub provider. Naa, there's no easy way, sorry. Perhaps you could pay a geek to write this sort of thing for you.
posted by massysett at 4:13 PM on May 6, 2010

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