Review of: Quicken for Windows
Reviewed by: Larry Ludwig
Last modified: November 16, 2017
Quicken for Windows is the gold standard in personal finance software and budgeting. It remains the app to beat with the most comprehensive features. However, customers have long complained about customer service issues, bank synchronization problems, and a poorly implemented mobile app.
Quicken is the granddaddy of personal finance software, and it’s the software users love to hate. I’ve been a Quicken user since 1992 — now over 24 years. I used to track every one of my 60-plus accounts with Quicken. We had every bank account, credit card, asset, retirement, investment and liability linked within the software. So to say I’m a power-user of their product would be an understatement.
For this review Quicken supplied a copy of Quicken Home, Business & Rental Property 2018 for Windows, and converted from my previous test installation of Quicken 2017.
Testing Quicken 2018
To be fully transparent to our readers, I no longer use Quicken on a daily basis and switched to using Personal Capital instead. So with Quicken 2018 I imported what I could from the previous version but also set up new accounts missing from the previous testing. I specifically tested all accounts that had online synchronization, since that appears to be a common problem with Quicken users.
If you are unaware, Quicken is no longer owned by Inuit, as they have sold Quicken to a private equity firm. Long term, I’m not sure what to make of this news or what it means for the future of Quicken though in the past two years they have made a number of improvements to Quicken.
At one time Quicken was the only game in town. Today that is no longer the case, and you have many alternatives to Quicken to choose from.
However, these financial aggregation services tend to be read-only and are more for alerts or reporting your finances. Reconciliation and online bill pay aren’t available with these types of services. To be fair, most banks offer online bill pay via their website or mobile app, so the need for online bill pay with your personal finance software has waned.
But none of the mentioned applications come close to Quicken in market share or the comprehensive personal finance features that make Quicken for Windows still the leader in the industry.
Quicken for Windows Features
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|Access||Windows, iOS App, Android App|
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Quicken 2018 vs. Quicken 2017
So what has changed from last year’s version? Quicken 2018 added these new features:
- Online Bills — Access to 11,000+ online billers, with Adobe Acrobat PDF downloads.
- Custom Reporting — Custom report layout options and direct Excel export.
- Free Upgrades — Get the latest features for the term of your software license (up to 27 months with special promotions).
- Free Online Backups — 5GB of secure online backup of Quicke with Dropbox.
- Archive Investments — Move and archive investments transaction for Quicken Deluxe and higher.
- Investment Performance Analysis — Better analysis with buy and hold comparison for Premier and above.
- Free Quicken Bill Pay — Use bill pay 15 months for free with Premier and higher. (A $149.25 value)
- Invoice Customization — Custom logo, color, and payment links with Home, Business & Rental Property.
- E-mail Reminders — For Home, Business & Rental Property notify tenants of due rent and payment receipts.
Features Introduced in Quicken 2017
- Improved Mobile App — A more powerful mobile app, now with investment tracking (excludes Starter Edition), offline use and enhanced search.
- Redesigned User Interface — Easier to use interface with a new look and feel.
- Automatic Home Value Assessment — By using Zillow, Quicken will automatically determine the value of your house.
Features Introduced in Quicken 2016
- 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 Pacific Time, 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.
Features Introduced 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.
Features Introduced 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.
Features Introduced in 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.
Which Quicken Edition?
Not including their Macintosh version, Quicken currently has four versions of their product. Yes, it can be confusing which product to purchase. We created a quick summary of each edition and what functionality is available in each.
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Confused on which one to pick? I recommend Quicken Premier 2018 for its investment features.
|Starter||Deluxe||Premier||Home, Business & Rental Property|
|More Info||More Info||More Info||More Info|
Quicken’s requirements have always been the middle to low 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 2012–2017. I would recommend a slightly more powerful machine than listed. Note that Quicken 2018 does not support Windows XP or Vista.
- CPU — 1 GHz (I recommend a more powerful CPU)
- Operating System — 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 (I recommend at least 10GB for data storage)
- Display — 1024×768 or higher resolution, 1280×1024 for large fonts
- Internet — 56 Kbps (broadband recommended for online services)
- Sound — Sound card and speakers recommended
- Printer — Any printer supported by Windows 7/8/8.1/10
- Additional Software (included in Quicken installer) — Microsoft .NET 4.6 or later
- Mobile Requirements — iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad: Requires iOS 8 or higher. Android mobile and tablet: Requires 4.0 or higher. Windows Phone and Blackberry: Not compatible at this time.
Quicken for Windows Alternatives
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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 2018 for Mac, it doesn’t have every feature the Windows version has or function exactly the same way.
For some, there’s still the need to use Quicken 2018 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.
Pros and Cons
- Most Comprehensive — The most complete personal finance software app. Can help plan your future, for individuals just starting out 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.
- Improved Mobile App — 2017 introduces an improved mobile app.
- Unknown Future — Intuit has sold 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. Hopefully, the new owners have made improvements with this edition.
- Required to Use Desktop Software — Millennials who use their smartphone as their only device will not be able to use Quicken's mobile app since it requires purchasing and syncing with their desktop software.
Quicken is now published by an independent company. The new features are minor at best. The mobile app improvements are good, but nowhere near the same functionality as Personal Capital’s mobile app.
As stated previously I personally no longer use Quicken and been using Personal Capital for the past few years.
If you are one of the Millennials whose smartphone is their only and primary device, using Quicken will be a non-starter for you. Quicken requires you to purchase the desktop application, which then sends your information to their free mobile app. So the mobile app does not stand on its own.
New users who like the idea of keeping their personal finance information on their desktop 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 the best bet.
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, Quicken did not introduce new bugs in the process. Typically with Quicken, it takes a few upgrades to fix any of the bugs missed during testing.
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 YNAB for budgeting.