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Is there any software which facilitates downloading of utility bills and similar from online-only accounts?

Preferably open source, and customizable for different providers.


At least where I live, there is a tendency for all electricity, gas, water, telephone, Internet and television providers, banks and so on to provide online account management and statements instead of sending you anything by post. This prevents some issues if you change accounts, or are temporarily without Internet/computer access, or lock yourself out of your account or even possibly if you have a dispute with the provider.

It occurred to me that it would be simple to create a utility to script the downloading of regular statements (which tend to be available in PDF format anyway), and dump them either on your own computer, or on some personal document management system or online service (maybe Google Docs or Evernote?). The only hard part would be customizing a script to navigate each provider's website. I'll start something myself if I need to, but I don't want to reinvent the wheel. I've have looked around for this but either it doesn't exist.

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did you ever find software that does this? I would also love this functionality! –  joelsand Oct 13 '12 at 0:29
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closed as off topic by Mokubai, Dave M, Brad Patton, 8088, Tog Apr 17 '13 at 9:12

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2 Answers

There is no one method that works to download from all providers, so whoever makes the software will have to do something special for each provider they want to be able to fetch from. This is hard and tedious to do for any decently large selection of providers, so I am guessing you won't find anything open source to do this for you. You could try and fetch things yourself using custom curl scripts, but this would not be easy.

I know Quicken can do things like this. Also, I have heard good things about Mint.com which may allow some of this functionality (and has the advantage of being free, but I haven't used it so can't tell you for sure what it can and can't do).

There is a more complete list of financial software here some of which is open source and some of which may help you download your bills (though I'm not sure if any can do both).

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Unfortuantely neither Quicken nor Mint are available for me (I'm in the UK - quicken gave up on the UK market, and Mint can never come here under that name at least, because of mint.co.uk). If I can't find anything, I'll write my own, and maybe open source it - I can't be the only one who wants this. –  Colin Pickard Aug 24 '10 at 6:17
    
Any decent open source client would have to have to have good support for end users to customise - maybe include gui automation tool that works like Selenium or iMacros. Wesabe used to do this for banking before they went under. –  Colin Pickard Aug 24 '10 at 6:19
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You could always use a note-taking app like Evernote or OneNote and take a screenshot of your bill online, and store them together in a "Utility Bills" Notebook, or whatever...

Both programs are excellent, and support searching for text inside images/screenshots, so you could search for the text, say the utility bill for August 2009....I personally love OneNote, it has better organization structure and notebook management...

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