I’m a long-time user of Intuit’s Quicken since 1992 — now over 23 years. I’ve tracked every one of my 60+ accounts within Quicken. So to say I’m a power-user of their product would be an understatement. We have every bank account, credit card, asset, retirement, investment, and liability linked within the software. For this review of Quicken Premier 2016 for Windows, I bought a copy from Amazon and converted from my previous version of Quicken 2015.
For whatever reason, Quicken was released late this year. Normally Quicken comes out in September or October, but for its final send-off by Intuit it came out in November. Hopefully, Intuit used this time to more fully test their product and fix any bugs.
If you are unaware, this will be the last update by Intuit, as they have put Quicken up for sale. I’m not sure what to make of this news or what it means for the future of Quicken. I hope the new owner makes Quicken a better product and more in tune with the needs of today’s users. Read on, though, as I have my doubts.
Intuit never makes radical changes with their annual software updates, as they incrementally add features to Quicken, and the enhancements tend to be evolutionary rather than revolutionary. This year, the biggest new feature was to automatically track bill payments. That’s it!
Today it’s possible to completely store your financial information online using services like Intuit’s own Mint.com service, or what we recommend as the best personal finance service, Personal Capital.
However, these financial aggregation services tend to be read-only and are more for alerting or reporting your finances. Reconciliation and online bill pay aren’t available with these types of services.
For individuals who prefer to stay with a locally installed program, there is YNAB (You Need A Budget) and Moneydance, or if you are looking for a native Macintosh software application there is iBank as well.
But none of the mentioned applications come close to Quicken in market share or the comprehensive personal finance features that make Quicken for Windows the leader in the industry.
Quicken 2016 vs. Quicken 2015
Quicken 2016 for Windows is a very minor update. The major new features are:
- See, Track, and Pay Your Bills All in One Place — Link your bills, and Quicken will automatically track the due date and amount due.
- Free Phone Support — Phone support is available Monday to Friday, 5 AM to 5 PM PST, and you can use their online chat support 24/7.
- Easier Upgrades — Moving from Windows to Mac is easier for older versions of Quicken (2010 and greater).
- Better Reliability of Bank Downloads — Ability to eliminate duplicate transactions.
I’m not sure what to make of Intuit’s website listing technical support as a “feature.” Granted, I hope they have improved customer service, because judging by customer comments on Investor Junkie, support was horrible. I fortunately have never had to use customer service and did not test them for this review. In updating this review for Quicken 2016, I noticed Intuit has raised the price on most editions by $5.00. Which I assume is to cover the “free” phone support. In previous years, customers were charged for phone support after 60 days of use.
Quicken Bill Center
With I’m sure some help from Intuit’s Mint Bills service, Quicken has improved its bill paying feature. Bill Center allows you to see, track and pay your bills all in one place. So instead of manually entering your mortgage, cable bill, and auto loan, Quicken can do this automatically for you. This is especially helpful if you link bills that vary month to month (e.g., your electric bill). So there’s no need to change your automatic payment to a new amount each month. This new feature also helps with actual spending when watching your budget. A welcome and neat improvement. Unlike Quicken Bill Pay, there is no additional fee for this service.
Features Added in Previous Versions of Quicken
Thinking about upgrading from an existing version of Quicken but not sure what’s changed since you bought your version? Here’s a summary of what features were added in previous versions.
New Features in Quicken 2015
- Portfolio X-Ray — Available with Premier and higher, you can get insights from Morningstar about your investment portfolio.
- Free Credit Score — This is something Intuit also added to their Mint.com service.
- Mobile Improvements — You can create spending graphs, and syncing occurs faster.
- Improved Options Trades — Ability to better handle options trades.
New Features in Quicken 2014
- Store and Save Receipts — You can take pictures of your receipts and store them within Quicken for later retrieval.
- Memorized Transactions Show Up in Register — This is perhaps the new feature I like best. Previously you had to enter memorized transactions, but this feature will display future events within the register before entering the transaction.
- Overall Speed Improvements — While I did not conduct exact performance tests, it seems Quicken 2014 was much more responsive.
- Mobile Synchronization Improvements — Many users complained how Quicken’s mobile synchronization was broken in 2013. Intuit claims this feature has been improved, and my testing thus far confirms it.
- Budget Improvements — Users also complained about the budget changes in 2013’s edition. Quicken added two options that should satisfy users who want their budget displayed while including and excluding specific transactions.
- More Connectivity Resolutions — Quicken 2014 makes it even easier to fix connectivity issues with your financial institution.
New Features Quicken 2013
- Quicken Mobile — First version of Quicken Mobile app for Apple and Android devices.
- Synchronization Improvements — Gave a step-by-step process to help with bank synchronization problems.
- New Budgeting Functionality — But many users complained about this new functionality, and it was improved in 2014.
Quicken’s requirements have always been the middle to low lend-end of new computers. The specs listed below shouldn’t be an issue if your hardware is less than three years old. These are similar specs needed to run Quicken 2011–2015. I would recommend a slightly more powerful machine than listed. Note that Quicken 2016 does not support Windows XP, which has been EOLed.
- CPU: 1 GHz (I recommend a more powerful CPU)
- Operating System: Windows Vista SP1, Windows 7/8/8.1/10 (32- and 64-bit)
- Memory: 1 GB or more (I recommend at least 2 GB; 4 GB or more being ideal)
- Hard Disk Space: Up to 450 MB, up to 1.5 GB if .NET is not already installed
- Display: 1024×768 or higher resolution, 1280×1024 for large fonts
- CD/DVD Drive: Recommended
- Internet: 56 Kbps (broadband recommended for online services)
- Sound: Sound card and speakers recommended
- Printer: Any printer supported by Windows Vista/7/8/8.1/10
- Additional Software (included in Quicken installer): Microsoft .NET 4.0 or later
Using Quicken for Windows on a Macintosh
I’ve been using Quicken since my first MS-DOS computer in 1992. Now that I am a Macintosh user, the question becomes how do I run Quicken for Windows on my Macintosh?
Even with the release of Quicken 2016 for Mac, it doesn’t have every feature the Windows version has.
For some, there’s still the need to use Quicken 2016 Premier for Windows.
The added benefit of virtualizing Windows is an additional layer of security, since no other software is installed on that instance. You don’t have to worry about any rogue viruses or software compromising your finances. This technique is also possible when running a Windows-based machine.
- Most Comprehensive -- The most complete personal finance software app. Can help to plan your future, for individuals just starting to people with multi-million-dollar portfolios and near retirement.
- Strong Portfolio Management -- Allows the tracking of multiple financial portfolios with stock quote updates.
- Bill Pay -- For banks that support it, you can write checks directly within Quicken's Bill Pay service. Web-based aggregation sites do not offer this service.
- Robust Budgeting -- One of the more robust budgeting tools.
- Unknown Future -- Intuit is selling Quicken and the future of the product is unknown.
- Synchronization Issues for Some Users -- Some users have reported synchronization issues in previous editions, though it's mostly financial institution specific.
- Poor Customer Service -- Intuit has a long history of poor customer service for Quicken, though they claim to have made improvements with this edition.
Quicken Review and Summary
Quicken is at end of life, at least with Intuit. Intuit is trying to sell Quicken. Because of this, Quicken’s future is unknown. We therefore cannot put it on our recommend list of best investment tools. Once we know the new owner and the future plans of the product, we may change our viewpoint and place Quicken back on our recommend list. I no longer use Quicken myself, preferring Personal Capital for the reasons mentioned.
New users might want to seriously consider Quicken, as it still has the most features of any personal finance app. And for individuals who want their data stored offline, Quicken is still your best bet.
The new centralized Bill Center is nice, though not a big enough reason to upgrade, since most bills are the same amount and due on the same date, something previous editions can easily automate.
Existing users of earlier versions who still want to use Quicken should probably upgrade to this version, as it does improve some of the previous annoyances. Hopefully, Intuit did not introduce new bugs in the process. I did not notice any bugs during my limited testing. I will update this review if I discover any issues from my longer-term tests. Readers please comment below with any of your issues.
I suspect many Quicken users have felt alienated by previous versions, and the sale announcement further seals the deal.
As I’ve mentioned previously, we are no longer recommending Quicken as the best personal finance software tool. We are recommending Personal Capital for individuals who need tools to focus on investment tracking, and Intuit’s Mint for budgeting.
Save up to 34% Off Quicken From Amazon
Amazon’s pricing is almost always cheaper than paying retail from Intuit. Much cheaper. As of the publication date, here’s the sales price of each version of Quicken. Amazon frequently changes their prices, so please click on the link directly for the latest price.
Confused on which one to pick? I recommend Quicken Premier 2016 for its investment features.
|Version||Retail Price||Sale Price||Discount||Link|
|Quicken Starter for Windows||$39.99||$29.99||25%||Buy Now!|
|Quicken Deluxe for Windows||$74.99||$24.96||33%||Buy Now!|
|Quicken Premier for Windows||$104.99||$69.99||33%||Buy Now!|
|Quicken Home & Business for Windows||$114.99||$74.99||34%||Buy Now!|