Quicken is one of the oldest and most recognized personal finance programs available, with more than three decades of history behind it. But for many users, it just doesn’t cut it.
The first edition of Quicken was released back in 1983 — long before the World Wide Web went live. Developed by former owner Intuit, Quicken was a sturdy workhorse software solution for personal finance management.
But then everything changed when practically every aspect of our lives went online.
How Mint.com Edged Out Quicken
The downfall of Quicken can be traced back to September 2009, when Intuit, then-owner of Quicken, QuickBooks, and TurboTax, purchased Mint.com and added the site to its product portfolio. In the following years, Intuit operated an online version of Quicken, called Quicken Online, in parallel with Mint, which offered a nearly identical feature set. In late 2009, Intuit announced that Quicken Online would be merged into Mint. This was the first big sign that Quicken was on the way out of favor at Intuit. And existing Quicken Online users were left in a precarious situation with no ability to migrate their historic data.
Quicken Desktop users fared better, as the program was updated each year and was even sold to a private equity firm. But that doesn’t mean it’s perfect.
Why It May Be Time to Ditch Quicken
There are many downsides to Quicken’s desktop program that make the service unappealing to Millennials and other tech-savvy personal finance enthusiasts. Here are some of the downsides of Quicken compared to better Quicken alternatives:
- No automatic background updates.
- Clumsy process to manage bank account connections.
- Data saved on your computer is susceptible to loss from a computer crash.
- Multiple editions with higher pricing for more features.
- Some features not available on both Windows or Mac versions.
- Desktop version required to view the phone app.
- Quicken doesn’t support some banks and finance companies that other programs support.
- Quicken can be expensive, while most Quicken alternatives are free to use.
The one place Quicken stands out as a stronger product is in tracking investments over time. However, the most important features to track cost basis and potential taxes are built into most brokerage websites when you log into your account.
Alternatives to Quicken 2018
While there are some good alternatives, the list of desktop-based personal finance apps is quite short. In fact, Quicken doesn’t have much competition. And not all of these services will cater to your personal finance needs. So it’s important to read our detailed reviews and determine the best one for your situation.
The most exciting services today are web based, including several options below. However, if you’re looking to transition to online personal finance management instead of desktop software, you might find some interesting choices in our Mint.com alternatives article.
Personal Capital is an excellent personal finance app that syncs your spending, saving and investing accounts. It's easy to use, plus it's free! Personal Capital has a powerful feature that completes a thorough checkup of your investment portfolio. However, its Wealth Management service, is more expensive than other robo advisors.
- Complete View of Your Finances
- Powerful Investment Checkup
- Support via Many Apps
- The You Index
- Easy to Use
- Custom Allocation of Unknown Assets
- Great Reporting
- All-Inclusive Wealth Management Fee
- Asset Allocation Is Not Customizable
- Budgeting Tool Needs Improvement
- Cannot Reconcile
- Expensive Wealth Management Service
- High Minimum for Wealth Management
- No Import Option From Quicken
If you are looking for a web-based finance app that focuses on investing, we recommend Personal Capital. In fact, we have it on our list of the best investment apps. Unlike Mint, which focuses a lot on budgeting (and where your money has gone), Personal Capital emphasizes investing and saving for retirement. You can track expenses with this app, but you can also create an investing plan — and even have the app analyze your investing fees and help you avoid them. Larry Ludwig, our editor-in-chief, has replaced Quicken with Personal Capital and lists the reasons why here.
This free app summarizes all of your accounts in one dashboard with an emphasis on investments. While it is light on budgeting tools, it is great for helping you save on investment fees and manage your portfolio for long-term growth.
You Need A Budget (YNAB) is one of the more popular budgeting apps on the market, and for good reason. It costs very little and has great synchronization features. Although YNAB doesn't track your investments, it excels at creating and managing your budget.
- YNAB Is All About Budgeting
- Goes Beyond the Mechanics of Budgeting
- Low Cost
- YNAB Continues to Evolve
- No Phone or Email Contact
- Not a One-Stop Shop for All Things Financial
- Lacks Two-Factor Authentication
YNAB focuses on four basic principles: Stop living paycheck to paycheck, give every dollar a job, save for a rainy day, and roll with the punches. It’s less about tracking where your money went and more about telling it where to go. This is a great software option for those especially interested in zero-based budgeting.
This app has a cult-like following with fans who love its strategy of giving every dollar a job. YNAB is budget-first and is designed to make you think about how you and your family spend, save or invest every single dollar you earn.
Looking for an alternative to Quicken for Mac? Moneydance could be a great alternative for you. You can use it to manage as many as 100 transactions for free or buy it outright for $49.99. The app can help you manage your investments, remember to pay bills on time and create budgets.
- A Decent Alternative to Quicken for Mac
- Easy to Check Your Budget
- Bill Pay and Reminders
- Transferring Data From Quicken Can Be Difficult
Moneydance is a desktop app. It allows you to create a budget, gives you bill-pay reminders, generates helpful financial charts and graphs and offers investment support. You can link your accounts online for automatic updates or enter your information manually.
Mac, Windows and Linux users can all use this desktop-based app. This is one of the closest competitors of Quicken, and it stands out for its ledger-based account management and useful graphics and reports.
Moneyspire is a personal finance platform that aims to organize your money by keeping track of all of your transactions and helping you with your budget. However, with no Android support, a cumbersome signup process and limited functionality, there are better personal finance apps out there.
- One Screen View
- Good Customer Service
- Linux Support
- Cumbersome Setup
- No Android Support
- Possible Bank Fees
- Free App Is Limited
Moneyspire offers support for Windows, Mac, and Linux. You can create a budget and download transactions from your bank. Moneyspire is free to try and can be downloaded from the company’s website. The mobile version is available for iOS only, with no Android support.
Moneyspire is focused on making money management easy and does so with simple and easy-to-follow views. The majority of your time in the app takes place on one screen, so you don’t have to worry about jumping around between views.
Banktivity 6 is personal finance software that gets right what Quicken for Mac gets wrong, offering several features that only Quicken for Windows provides. However, you need to have the latest edition of iOS in order to use the software.
- Strong Macintosh Support
- Private Cloud Sync
- Report Exporting
- Requires Latest macOS
- Odd Portfolio Categorization
Banktivity is one of the few native applications for Apple’s MacOS operating system, along with Moneydance and Moneyspire. Of these three, Banktivity is the one with the most features. Also, like Quicken for Windows, Banktivity offers mobile synchronization with your iPad, iPhone, and even your Apple Watch.
Mac users rejoice; this Mac-first app looks and feels natural for Mac computers rather than just putting a Windows program in a Mac wrapper. Banktivity is easy to navigate, and you can quickly find what you need. Or you can set up workspaces (pages) to see exactly what you want when you want it.
Although it lacks the sophisticated planning tools that other apps provide, CountAbout can be a handy tool for budgeting and managing your current personal finances. A highlight: The app allows you to easily sync all of your personal finance accounts in one location.
- Smartphone Access
- Import Quicken or Mint Transactions
- No Ads
- Great Reporting
- No Bill Pay
- Annual Fee
- No Financial Planning
CountAbout is an online service that automatically downloads your transactions into one central place and allows you to create budgets with ease. Unique to CountAbout, you can import your existing transactions from Mint or Quicken. Sign up for the free 15-day trial.
It is rare to find a web-based personal finance app that can import from Quicken or Mint, but CountAbout has you covered. And you can access your data from your phone. While CountAbout is not free, it offers a clean, ad-free experience.
PocketSmith is easy-to-use, convenient personal finance software that lets you track all of your spending, credit and investing accounts, as well as projecting your future finances. Unfortunately, if you just want to use the free version, you'll find its functionality somewhat limited compared to other free personal finance apps.
- Track One-Time Events
- Create Your Own Categories
- Google-Like Calendar System
- Compatible With Mint.com
- Smooth Signup Process
- You Won't Master It in a Day
- Free Version Is Limited
Not only does web-based PocketSmith let you track your spending, but it generates projections of your future financial picture. You can also create monthly, weekly or even daily budgets that start on any day you choose (no waiting until the first of the month).
PocketSmith is easy to set up and use, and it’s flexible and convenient. Plus, its unique calendar feature is extremely handy and gives you a window on the future of your finances.
QuickBooks Online is the online service to beat. Their service is easy-to-use and is a good fit for most small businesses. The downside is customer support is poor.
- Easy to Use
- Online Banking
- Mobile Access
- Third-Party Apps
- Poor Customer Service
- Difficulty Importing Data
For individuals who need full accounting software, or who like to treat their personal finance as a business, QuickBooks Online is the answer. From a part-time side hustle to a full-time business, to managing real estate, QuickBooks can’t be beaten. It is our recommended accounting software. Plus, there’s a free 30-day trial.
While Tiller Money can be help you generate customized, up-to-date spreadsheets, it does cost a monthly fee, plus you must already have a Google account to use the app and some spreadsheet experience is helpful.
- Split Expenses Feature
- Comes With Templates
- Discount for College Students
- Automatic Updates
- Daily Summary
- Works Only for Google Sheets
- Not Always Intuitive
- No Investing Options