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Automatically sync your bank's data with ledger

Project description

ledger-autosync is a program to pull down transactions from your bank and create ledger transactions for them. It is designed to only create transactions that are not already present in your ledger files (that is, deduplicate transactions). This should make it comparable to some of the automated synchronization features available in products like GnuCash, Mint, etc. In fact, ledger-autosync performs OFX import and synchronization better than all the alternatives I have seen.


  • supports ledger 3 and hledger
  • like ledger, ledger-autosync will never modify your files directly
  • interactive banking setup via ofxclient
  • multiple banks and accounts
  • support for non-US currencies
  • support for 401k and investment accounts
    • tracks investments by share, not dollar value
    • support for complex transaction types, including transfers, buys, sells, etc.
  • import of downloaded OFX files, for banks not supporting automatic download
  • import of downloaded CSV files from Paypal, Amazon and Mint


ledger-autosync is developed on Linux with ledger 3; it has been tested on Windows (although it will run slower) and should run on OS X. It requires ledger 3 or hledger, but it should run faster with ledger, because it will not need to start a command to check every transaction.



If you are on Debian or Ubuntu, an (older) version of ledger-autosync should be available for installation. Try:

$ sudo apt-get install ledger-autosync

If you use pip, you can install the latest released version:

$ pip install ledger-autosync

You can also install from source, if you have downloaded the source:

$ python install

You may need to install the following libraries (on debian/ubuntu):

$ sudo apt-get install libffi-dev libpython-dev libssl-dev libxml2-dev python-pip libxslt-dev


Once you have ledger-autosync installed, you can download an OFX file from your bank and run ledger-autosync against it:

$ ledger-autosync download.ofx

This should print a number of transactions to stdout. If you add these transactions to your default ledger file (whatever is read when you run ledger without arguments), you should find that if you run ledger-autosync again, it should print no transactions. This is because of the deduplicating feature: only new transactions should be printed for insertion into your ledger files.

Using the ofx protocol for automatic download

ledger-autosync also supports using the OFX protocol to automatically connect to banks and download data. You can use the ofxclient program (which should have been installed with ledger-autosync) to set up banking:

$ ofxclient

When you have added your institution, quit ofxclient.

(At least one user has reported being signed up for a pay service by setting up OFX direct connect. Although this seems unusual, please be aware of this.)

Edit the generated ~/ofxclient.ini file. Change the description field of your accounts to the name used in ledger. Optionally, move the ~/ofxclient.ini file to your ~/.config directory.



This will download a maximum of 90 days previous activity from your accounts. The output will be in ledger format and printed to stdout. Add this output to your ledger file. When that is done, you can call:


again, and it should print nothing to stdout, because you already have those transactions in your ledger.

Syncing a file

Some banks allow users to download OFX files, but do not support fetching via the OFX protocol. If you have an OFX file, you can convert to ledger:

ledger-autosync /path/to/file.ofx

This will print unknown transactions in the file to stdout in the same way as ordinary sync. If the transaction is already in your ledger, it will be ignored.

How it works

ledger-autosync stores a unique identifier, (for OFX files, this is a unique ID provided by your institution for each transaction), as metadata in each transaction. When syncing with your bank, it will check if the transaction exists by running the ledger or hledger command. If the transaction exists, it does nothing. If it does not exist, the transaction is printed to stdout.

Syncing a CSV file

If you have a CSV file, you may also be able to import it using a recent (installed via source) version of ledger-autosync. ledger-autosync can currently process CSV files as provided by Paypal, Amazon, or Mint. You can process the CSV file as follows:

ledger-autosync /path/to/file.csv -a Assets:Paypal

With Amazon and Paypal CSV files, each row includes a unique identifier, so ledger-autosync will be able to deduplicate against any previously imported entries in your ledger files.

With Mint, a unique identifier based on the data in the row is generated and stored. If future downloads contain identical rows, they will be deduplicated. This method is probably not as robust as a method based on unique ids, but Mint does not provide a unique id, and it should be better than nothing. It is likely to generate false negatives: transactions that seem new, but are in fact old. It will not generate false negatives: transactions that are not generated because they seem old.

If you are a developer, you should fine it easy enough to add a new CSV format to ledger-autosync. See, for example, the MintConverter class in the ledgerautosync/ file in this repository.


If you supply the --assertions flag, ledger-autosync will also print out valid ledger assertions based on your bank balances at the time of the sync. These otherwise empty transactions tell ledger that your balance should be something at a given time, and if not, ledger will fail with an error.

401k and investment accounts

If you have a 401k account, ledger-autosync can help you to track the state of it. You will need OFX files (or an OFX protocol connection as set up by ofxclient) provided by your 401k.

In general, your 401k account will consist of buy transactions, transfers and reinvestments. The type will be printed in the payee line after a colon (:)

The buy transactions are your contributions to the 401k. These will be printed as follows:

2016/01/29 401k: buymf
  ; ofxid: 1234
  Assets:Retirement:401k                                 1.12345 FOOBAR @ $123.123456
  Income:Salary                                            -$138.32

This means that you bought (contributed) $138.32 worth of FOOBAR (your investment fund) at the price of $123.123456. The money to buy the investment came from your income. In ledger-autosync, the Assets:Retirement:401k account is the one specified using the --account command line, or configured in your ofxclient.ini. The Income:Salary is specified by the --unknown-account option.

If the transaction is a “transfer” transaction, this usually means either a fee or a change in your investment option:

2014/06/30 401k: transfer: out
  ; ofxid: 1234
  Assets:Retirement:401k                                -1.61374 FOOBAR @ $123.123456
  Transfer                                                  $198.69

You will need to examine your statements to determine if this was a fee or a real transfer back into your 401k.

Another type of transaction is a “reinvest” transaction:

2014/06/30 401k: reinvest
  ; ofxid: 1234
  Assets:Retirement:401k                                0.060702 FOOBAR @ $123.123456
  Income:Interest                                            -$7.47

This probably indicates a reinvestment of dividends. ledger-autosync will print Income:Interest as the other account.


By default, ledger-autosync will process transactions backwards, and stop when it sees a transaction that is already in ledger. To force it to process all transactions up to the --max days back in time (default: 90), use the --resync option. This can be useful when increasing the --max option. For instance, if you previously synchronized 90 days and now want to get 180 days of transactions, ledger-autosync would stop before going back to 180 days without the --resync option.


ledger-autosync uses nose for tests. To test, run nosetests in the project directory. This will test the ledger, hledger and ledger-python interfaces. To test a single interface, use nosetests -a hledger. To test the generic code, use nosetests -a generic. To test both, use nosetests -a generic -a hledger. For some reason nosetests -a ‘!hledger’ will not work.

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