Overview of Quicken
Quicken has been around for a long time. There are Quicken versions for Windows and Mac. Updates to Quicken for Mac were sporadic at best until Intuit sold the software to H.I.G. Capital. But now that the Quicken product line is under new ownership, the Mac side hasn't been neglected as much. Still, there are differences between the two products.
Quicken used to be the only alternative to a spreadsheet. But today, there are many choices for personal finance software. Quicken is still a solid choice, though, especially now that it's possible to connect to your bank and automatically update your accounts.
Quicken Key Features
Both the Mac and Windows versions of Quicken support the following features:
- Budgeting: Create and manage personalized budgets.
- Manage your investments: See how your investments are performing. Track cost basis and see realized and unrealized gains. And the program calculates capital gains and losses.
- Customized reporting: View your income and spending with custom reports.
- Specialized Investment reports: You can dive deeper into your investment returns, seeing items like R.O.I. and IRR.
- Bill payment: You can make payments within the Quicken app.
- Ability to transfer money between bank accounts: If set up within Quicken, you can transfer money between accounts.
- Debt reduction planner: Figure out how to best pay down your debt and create an actionable plan.
- Free phone support: Phone support and chat support is available Monday to Friday, 5 A.M. to 5 P.M. Pacific Time.
Quicken for Windows Features
The Windows version of Quicken adds even more functionality. Some of the additional features you can get with Quicken for Windows include:
- Export to Excel: You can easily export your data to Excel. (With Quicken for Mac, you can download figures only in PDF format.)
- Balance sheet report: Generate a balance sheet or a profit-and-loss statement.
- Free credit report: Get a free credit report with your Quicken subscription.
- Access to the Morningstar® Portfolio Instant X-Ray tool: With this tool, you can evaluate the asset allocation of your portfolio, view the stocks behind your mutual funds, and stay on top of the latest news and developments that could impact your investments. Read more about Morningstar here.
- Business features: Quicken's business features are available for PC. only and include creating custom invoices, tracking business income and expenses, running Schedule C and E reports, and saving rental agreements directly in Quicken.
Quicken for Mac Vs Quicken for Windows Features Summary
|Quicken for Mac||Quicken for PC|
|Price||$34.99 - $74.99/ year||$34.99 - $99.99/ year|
|Debt Reduction Planner|
|Access to Morningstar® Portfolio X-ray® tool|
|Specialized Investment Reports|
|Multiple Currency Support|
|Free Phone Support|
|Move Money Between Bank Accounts|
|Free Credit Report|
Quicken offers tiered pricing options based on the features you use, as well as the product you choose. Quicken, like many other personal finance software applications, has shifted to a subscription model. You pay every year.
- Quicken for PC: Minimum = $34.99, Maximum = $99.99
- Quicken for Mac: Minimum = $34.99, Maximum = $74.99
You can see that, because the high-end P.C. version of Quicken has more features, it costs more than the Mac version.
As expected, Quicken uses high-level security and encryption to protect your accounts. Because Quicken can connect to your bank and other accounts, it's important to know that you're protected. Quicken uses SSL and 256-bit encryption. But your passwords are stored on firewall-protected servers, rather than being tokenized like how it's done with some other personal finance software applications.
You have to enter your password each time you connect to your financial institution, which can be a pain, but it does tend to add to the security. You can simplify matters by using the Password Vault feature or Mac's Keychain.
This is where Quicken tends to fall short. It's possible to get phone support Monday through Friday from 5 A.M. to 5 P.M. Pacific Time. Or you can use the online chat feature during those hours.
Quicken continues to have a poor track record with customer service, especially as its support hours are limited.
Quicken for PC
- CPU: 1 GHz (I recommend a more powerful CPU)
- Operating System: Windows 7, 8 or 10 (32- or 64-bit)
- Memory: 1 G.B. or more (I recommend at least 2 G.B., 4 G.B. 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: Broadband Internet connection recommended (Online access required for activation)
- Sound: Sound card and speakers recommended
- Printer: Any printer supported by Windows 7, 8 or 10
- Additional Software (included in Quicken installer): Microsoft .NET 4.6 or later
Quicken for Mac
- Operating System: Mac OS X 10.11 (El Capitan) or newer
- Memory: 256 MB or greater
- Hard Disk Space: At least 100 MB (you might need more for larger files)
- Display: 1280×800 or higher resolution, 1366×768 or higher for larger fonts
- Internet connection: Broadband (Access to the web-based platform for Quicken for Mac requires that you still download the software.)
- Mobile Requirements: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad: Requires iOS 8 or higher. Android mobile and tablet: Requires 4.0 or higher. Windows Phone and Blackberry are not supported at this time.
Quicken on a Mobile Device
- iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad: Requires iOS 9 or higher.
- Android mobile and tablet: Requires 4.1 or higher.
- Windows Phone and Blackberry are not supported at this time.
How to Sign Up to Quicken
It's fairly straightforward. You go to the Quicken website (or an online shop) and choose the version you want. Pay the fee and download the software to your desktop. Then get everything set up, create passwords, and sync with your accounts. Also, you may need to import files from other software or download information from your bank.
Back in the day, there weren't many alternatives to Quicken. But there are plenty of choices today. One of the best alternatives is Personal Capital, which will track your investment accounts, as well as bank and credit card accounts. You can get a number of reports with Personal Capital and see your whole financial picture.
And other personal finance applications — like Moneydance and Banktivity — provide you with budgeting help, investment monitoring, bill pay, and more. You can get comparable features, depending on what software you choose, at comparable prices.
But Personal Capital is a freemium product that offers a lot of what you might need. And its starting cost is zero. On top of that, Personal Capital has the option for you to connect with a financial advisor if you're willing to pay for help managing your assets.
Quicken Pros & Cons
Robust budgeting—It's easy to create budgets and manage your finances.
Bill payment and management—You can easily pay and manage your bills from one place.
Robust investment monitoring—Quicken gives you detailed information on your investments, and you can get even more perks to monitor your portfolios if you have the PC version.
Easy conversion—If converting to Quicken for Mac from Quicken the process is easy.
Limited applications—You have to use desktop software, even if you want to use web-based or mobile-based features.
Missing features in Quicken for Mac—You won’t get all of the same features in the Mac version as you do in the PC version, which is a downside for Apple fans.
Poor customer service—Hours are limited and there are many poor reviews of Quicken’s customer service.
Should You Use Quicken?
Quicken for Windows is one of the most robust personal finance software applications on the market. If you're looking for something that will do pretty much everything, Quicken can be a good choice. Quicken for Mac can also be a good choice, but you might pay a little more than you'd like for the value — especially since the Mac version is missing some features.
However, if you're looking for something more cloud-based or accessible on your mobile device, you may want to look elsewhere. Also, other services cost less but still do a lot of what most people need with their money — even if the apps aren't as robust.
Final Thoughts on Quicken
Quicken (at least for Windows) remains one of the best money management apps on the market today. While Quicken for Mac needs some improvement, recent changes make it a perfectly adequate choice. In the end, compare Quicken to other apps to decide whether it will best meet your needs or you can use something else.