Using Yodlee to Circumvent Account Login Problems

Well, I’ve found yet another reason to be annoyed with TIAA-CREF… Ever since I opened an account with them to hold my 457(b) contributions, I’ve been unable to login to their site from home. I can navigate the site just fine, but it hangs and times out whenever I go to the login screen and submit my username and password. Oddly, this is only a problem at home (connecting over DSL). It works fine from work using the same computer (I have a laptop), and I’ve never had this sort of problem from home with any other site.

To be fair, this is almost certainly not TIAA-CREF’s fault. Rather, it’s likely some sort of odd connection glitch between my ISP and TIAA-CREF’s secure server(s). Anyway, after beating my head against the wall, I came up with an extremely simple solution…

I created a Yodlee account and added my TIAA-CREF account to it. If you’re not familiar with Yodlee, they offer a free online financial “dashboard” called Yodlee Money Center that can be used to aggregate your financial information and display it all in one place.

Guess what? Yodlee can connect to TIAA-CREF just fine, which means that I can now access my transaction data indirectly via Yodlee. Yes, I still need to sort this out with my ISP, but at least I’ve solved the problem in the near-term. So… If you ever have trouble connecting to your financial institution, try accessing your data through Yodlee.

As an amusing aside, Yodlee automatically categorizes transactions when it downloads them. While they correctly guessed that the TIAA-CREF International Equity Index Fund is a “Security, ” they listed the CREF Equity Index as “Unknown, ” and they categorized the CREF Bond Index as “Groceries.” 🙂

5 Responses to “Using Yodlee to Circumvent Account Login Problems”

  1. Anonymous

    The inability to login from your home DSL is a weird problem, but I’m glad we’ve helped you solve your immediate needs with MoneyCenter.

    The Yodlee categorization engine is a learning engine. Once you correct the categorization of an item, it should pick up correctly for you in the future. It will also apply those learnings to other people, so future CREF Bond Index transactions for other people should show up as securities instead of groceries.

    ..Jordan, Yodlee, Inc.

  2. Anonymous

    I also use Yodlee for accounts that are a pain in the butt to login to – like the ones that have the picture of the keyboard they make you enter your “password” into. I know this is a security feature, but come on guys!

    I have decided Yodlee is the god of all gods in financial information management. Not necessarily for historical info (for that I use Quicken), but up to date balances, billpay, points, it can’t be beat!

  3. Nickel

    Thanks for the suggestion, Bill. I’ve actually rebooted it a couple of times (for other reasons) since I started having the problem, and it hasn’t helped. I also upgraded our wireless router (again, for other reasons) and that didn’t help, either.

  4. Anonymous

    Try rebooting your DSL modem. We have had similar problems at work and for some reason the DSL modem was the problem. I wasn’t able to log into my Yahoo email account, but I was able to log into my wife’s Yahoo email account. Finally after a couple of days I reset the DSL modem and then was able to log in. We’ve had the same problem on other websites too. Since we got a new modem about a year ago, I don’t think we’ve had this problem.
    Good Luck,

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