To put it simply, Quicken stinks!
I’ve been a longtime user of the accounting program, as I’ve mentioned in my Quicken reviews.
In fact, I’ve been using Quicken since it was a Microsoft MS-DOS product (now over 25 years ago).
But due to the lack of new features, no customer service, getting tired of the constant updates, bugs and somewhat uncertain future — 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 we even recommend it as one of the best investment apps available today.
Previously, I held on to using Quicken because I have a long history with the product. I also 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 I primarily 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. That has made Personal Capital all the more appealing.
Quicken Usage Is Declining
Investor Junkie’s visitor traffic is a good indicator of the personal finance software space. I study the trends, read user comments and see which apps are gaining in popularity and which are losing market share. Year over year, I’ve noticed much less visitor traffic going to our Quicken reviews and an increase of visitors to our review of Personal Capital.
I’m sure that in some small part this is related to some of the negative issues expressed about the product. More importantly, I believe that user demographics and what people now expect when managing their personal finances are 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 it.
Quicken 2018 is now an Annual Subscription
Quicken recently released their Quicken 2018 version. That version has been pared down to four editions of the software: Starter, Deluxe, Premier, Home, Business and Rental Property, down from 5 versions last year.
More importantly, Quicken 2018 is now an annual subscription. With the older versions, you had a three-year sunset before you were forced to upgrade.
Now you must pay an annual fee or the online features of Quicken are no longer usable.
Personal Capital on the other hand is free.
Currently, there are no retail discounts for Quicken, which typically can be up to 55% off the retail price.
Quicken is no longer the bargain it once was. Existing Quicken users will have to pay an “annual toll” to keep using the product; otherwise, your data is read-only.
I can Sync with More Banks when using Personal Capital
From my testing of both products extensively (I have over 60 financial accounts), Personal Capital supported more of my accounts.
Many accounts with Quicken require a manual download and then importing these transactions into Quicken.
I was surprised by this result, being Quicken is the defacto standard in online downloads.
I know behind-the-scenes Personal Capital uses Yodlee. In some cases, Yodlee screenscrapes an account in order to download the transactions. Hence the wider support of accounts by Personal Capital.
Personal Capital also supported accounts in which I had two-factor authentication enabled. So that is a plus for the security conscious user.
So Why Not Use Mint Instead?
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 and comparison of the two products, it is great for budgeting but lacks the feature I deem most important: investment tracking.
I don’t need the ability to budget and in fact, don’t adhere to the traditional idea of budgeting. I need a program with an overall 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. 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 most online personal finance software the transactions, unfortunately, are 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 software has seen their peak and will continue to decline in usage. The writing is on the wall. Personal finance software like Quicken will have to adapt or die. Otherwise, they will become more and more of a niche application.
Quicken vs. Personal Capital
Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the two services.
Personal Finance Software
|Review||Quicken for Windows Review||Personal Capital Review|
Overall rating as by Investor Junkie.Rating
|Ease of Use|
|Tools & Resources|
|Promotions||27 Month Subscription from Amazon||Join for FREE|
|Price||$34.99 - $99.99/year||FREE|
|Refund Policy||30 days||-|
|Credit Score Monitoring||Yes||No|
|Import QFX, QIF Files||Yes||No|
How can you access the sevice? Website only? Via smartphone app?Access
|Windows, iOS App, Android App||Website, iOS App, Apple Watch, Android App|
More security to prevent unauthorized access to your account.Two-Factor Authentication
|Customer Service||Phone: 24/7; Email||Phone: 24/7; Email|
|Sign Up||Sign Up|