I’ve been a longtime user of Intuit’s Quicken, as I’ve mentioned in my Quicken reviews over the years. In fact, I’ve been using Quicken since it was a Microsoft MS-DOS product (over 20 years). But due to the lack of new features, functionality, the software’s quirkiness, constant upgrades and bugs, it’s unfortunately time for me to say good-bye to Quicken. Here’s what I’m using instead.
In my testing, I’ve always enjoyed using Personal Capital as it allows me to see my entire financial picture and investment portfolio at a glance.
So much so that I even recommend it as one of the best investment apps available today.
I still hold on to Quicken, because I have a long history with the product and I liked the idea of keeping my financial data locally on my desktop computer. The mobile access within Quicken is a neat feature but never worked exactly to my liking, so primarily I used the desktop version.
However, in the past few years my needs have changed, and I now want the ability to access my personal finances on the go.
Quicken Usage Is Declining
Investor Junkie’s visitor traffic is somewhat of a Zeitgeist in the personal finance app space. I see the trends, read user comments and see which apps are gaining in popularity and which are losing market share. This year, I’ve noticed much less visitor traffic going to Intuit’s Quicken than in previous years. I’m sure a small part of this is related to some of the negative issues expressed about the product. More important, I believe, their user demographics and what people now expect when managing their personal finances is changing.
Like it or not, individuals and investors alike (especially Millennials) want convenience with up-to-the-minute access to their finances. We want to be able to access our finances, anywhere, anyplace and at any time. Quicken is a legacy application that has added some mobile functionality, but in reality it is still primarily a desktop application.
Unless Quicken is completely rewritten, it will never be like its sister service, Mint.com. Now that we know that Quicken has been sold, perhaps the new owner will improve Quicken.
Why Not Use Mint?
You may be questioning my decision to use Personal Capital instead of Intuit’s Mint service. Both are free services. As I mention in my review of Mint.com, it is great for budgeting but lacks the feature I deem most important: monitoring your investments. I don’t need the ability to budget and in fact don’t adhere to the traditional idea of budgeting. I need a program that caters to my need for an overarching financial picture and long-term investment plan.
Mint also uses the same synchronization service that Quicken uses, so logically I would expect similar problems when syncing up to the same financial intuitions. So, based upon those two issues alone, the only obvious choice was Personal Capital.
Even as a free service, Personal Capital just seems to get it right when it comes to online reporting and using Yodlee as their back-end synchronization.
To steal a quote from Steve Jobs, Personal Capital “just works.”
Even though I’m a ‘techie’ at heart, I despise dealing with technology problems. For me a technology solution decreases in its usefulness if the negatives outweigh the benefits. Lately, Quicken has become quite a nuisance.
One of the negatives with any of the online personal finance apps is that the transactions unfortunately are all read only. For example, I cannot upload my historical financial data, which also means I can’t reconcile my bank statements, nor can I use a Bill Pay feature through their service. However, these negatives are less of an issue today, since many of the big banks now have online bill pay.
In addition, most banks, brokerages, loans, utilities and credit cards allow you to pay directly by entering your bank account information. So Quicken’s Bill Pay feature isn’t as necessary as it was in the past. For these reasons, and for my needs, Quicken no longer fits the bill, and I’ve switched to using Personal Capital.
I believe desktop personal finance apps have long ago seen their peak and will continue to decline in usage. The writing is on the wall. Long-standing personal finance applications like Quicken will have to adapt or die. Otherwise, they will become more and more of a niche application.
What is your opinion of Quicken versus Personal Capital? Where do you see the service going in the next few years?