- Review: CountAbout
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Personal finance and budgeting software options have come a long way in the last decade. Security and technology advances make it safe and easy to link your financial accounts, so you can manage your personal finances from your desktop or on the go.
Quicken was once the king of personal finance, with a comprehensive and versatile desktop-bound program. After acquiring Quicken, Intuit added an online version. Still, the purpose of Quicken Online is not reconciliation or tracking your full financial situation while on the go.
CountAbout allows users to migrate from Quicken without losing any historical data. Then their money management software automatically syncs your old and new financial data from your desktop or any mobile device. Their program allows you to easily keep track of spending, categorize transactions and create or manage budgets. And it’s clean, intuitive and ad free.
|Cost||Basic $9.99/year; Premium $39.99/year|
|Mobile App||Yes — Apple iOS and Google Android|
|Promotions||15-Day Free Trial|
How does CountAbout Work?
Logging into CountAbout takes you to the site’s main Transactions tab. This is where you will set up your account. It’s also the spot where you’ll add and categorize transactions (or flag them to deal with later).
Elsewhere on the site, you can create and edit budgets, run reports — such as to compare your spending against your budget — and manage recurring transactions, such as mortgage or rent payments.
CountAbout’s account registers provide an up-to-date picture of your financial status. That’s because CountAbout reflects all transactions you’ve entered or downloaded — not just those that have cleared the bank.
Don’t like CountAbout’s default spending categories? Maybe you don’t have a pet, so you don’t need a “pet grooming” category. Or maybe you’re a horse rider, so you want an “equestrian” category. CountAbout makes it easy to add, delete, rename or merge categories.
CountAbout also offers information-rich graphics that provide a quick visual sense of whether your spending in specific categories is keeping pace with what you’ve budgeted.
CountAbout supports automatic downloading of transactions from more than 12,500 financial institutions (premium subscribers only). CountAbout also supports downloading of investment balances, such as 401(k) balances, but doesn’t support investment transaction imports.
There are a lot of other functions you can explore, from memorized transactions to tagging to tracking investment balances.
You can choose either Premium ($39.99/year), which provides full access to all CountAbout functions, including free, automatic downloading of all your financial transactions (banking, credit card, mortgage, etc.), or Basic ($9.99/year), which includes all of the above except automatic downloading from financial institutions.
When you join, you will automatically be signed up for a free 15-day trial of CountAbout Premium. After your free trial, you will be given the opportunity to choose to subscribe to either the Premium or Basic service.
CountAbout uses a respected third-party service, Yodlee, to connect subscribers to their financial institutions.
Similar to the other online aggregation services, CountAbout does not store usernames, passwords, account numbers, phone numbers or addresses. Your encrypted email address is the only thing CountAbout has that identifies you.
CountAbout supports a two-factor authentication login process, making it harder for hackers to access your information.
- Smartphone Access — Keep track of your finances, wherever you are. Manage your money from anywhere — at home, at work, or shuffling through airport security — with the iOS and Android apps.
- Import Quicken or Mint Transactions — CountAbout is the only online service that allows you to import data from Quicken or Mint. This makes it easier to transition to CountAbout.
- No Ads — Unlike Mint, where ads attempt to upsell you various product, CountAbout is ad-free.
- Reporting — Reporting is easy and comprehensive.
- No Bill Pay — You cannot pay bills or move money at your banks using CountAbout.
- Annual Fee — While the annual subscription cost is not exorbitant, there are free, ad-supported personal finance options available that offer some of the same features as CountAbout.
- No Financial Planning — Unlike Personal Capital, CountAbout is purely a budgeting app and does not offer any help with your investments.
There are a lot of other personal finance apps available to choose from. One huge advantage of CountAbout is you can import categories and transactions from your Quicken or Mint.com accounts — so you can pick up with CountAbout where you left off with these programs.
Another key distinction: CountAbout is a completely advertising-free experience. Of course, to make that possible, there is an annual subscription cost.
However, with any of these online services, nothing prevents you from using multiple services.
Finally, CountAbout places a high value on online security. The software does not track your usage so your data is completely private. Unlike Mint, they don’t collect — or sell — your personal information. The only data stored about you is your encrypted email address.
CountAbout’s mobile app syncs your data quickly and securely, so you can access your data on the go and easily categorize new transactions daily.