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Microsoft Money Will Be Discontinued

This article was written by in Software. 56 comments.


Microsoft is ending its support of Microsoft Money, the desktop financial management software that feebly competed with Intuit Quicken. This comes as no surprise to me. Microsoft appeared to have given up on the Money product several years ago. Personally, I switched from Microsoft Money to Quicken in 2004. Although I was happy with Microsoft Money 2004 in the autumn of 2003, after trying the equivalent version of Quicken for several months I decided to permanently switch.

Quicken has not been perfect, but some of the interface drawbacks were outweighed by the superior reporting functionality and tracking of investments. I revisited Microsoft Money occasionally in the last few years but never saw a compelling reason to switch back. With Microsoft’s announcement, I am pleased with my decision.

After June 30, 2009, Microsoft Money Plus — the newer name for the desktop software — will no longer be available for retail purchase. The feature that allows bank activity to be downloaded and reconciled with the transactions entered in the software will cease to function after January 31, 2011. For those looking for a seamless switch, Microsoft is working on a file converter that will allow users to directly upgrade from Money to Quicken 2010.

While Intuit claims they are committed to to customers like myself who prefer the robust desktop application over the free and lightweight Quicken Online, I expect the company’s focus to continue shifting toward the more mainstream online product.

Announcement from Microsoft, June 10, 2009
Microsoft to discontinue MS Money, Ina Fried, CNet News, June 10, 2009

Published or updated June 10, 2009. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes, also known as Flexo, is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about him and follow Luke Landes on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar John

Yeah I used to use Money 2004. Never tried Quicken. Now I use Yodlee Moneycenter for everything from tracking spending to budgeting.

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avatar Tom

This does not really surprise me either. I used to use MS Money around year 2000, after some oddities when trying to import statements from bank accounts I decided to try Quicken. Since then I haven’t gone back. Maybe it has just been my specific accounts, but the integration has always seemed to work better with Quicken. And I do like the reporting better.

Both products started concerning me when they started to put advertising everywhere. It is one thing if they provide the product for free and there are some advertisements, but for a product you buy to have so many it was concerning. More so with Quicken because it is more expensive.

I don’t really use the Tax tools in Quicken much — I have tried them and I find them to be buggy. Overall it is probably easier for them to produce and maintain the online version than the desktop version. I have not tried the on-line version yet, though I am considering it.

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avatar Kolby Kallweit

Mint.com and other internet services are the future of money managment.

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,435 (Platinum)

Perhaps — I’m still waiting for the online services to offer the same features included in desktop Quicken. Right now, the web products are aimed at a different audience than the audience targeted by both the former Microsoft Money and Intuit Quicken.

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avatar savvy

I’ve been using Money since the late 90s and have always been pleased. I suspect I will wait until the program is no longer supported (2011) before making a move but I don’t like the idea of switching to an online program such as mint.com. I’m much more comfortable having my data confined to my desktop hard drive vs on the ‘net.

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avatar Mike

Is there a good software (desktop) that will be useful for tracking household expenses. I have only salary and a small interest as income. Will prefer if it is a free software. I use Excel currently, and it is getting to very difficult to manage now with multiple accounts, cards etc.

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,435 (Platinum)

GnuCash is worth a look. It’s free but not as full-featured.

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avatar Bryan

I too have been a Money user since 1998. I’ve always been pleased with the product, but hey, things change, and so can I. I’ve used Turbo Tax for many years so hopefully the switch to Quicken won’t be too bad. Where should one look for updates regarding the file converter to upgrade from Money to Quicken 2010? Microsoft Website, Intuit Website, or both?

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,435 (Platinum)

Microsoft and Intuit are working together to create the conversion tool, most likely to coincide with the release of Quicken 2010. Quicken will be eager to make the announcement once the tool is ready, and I’ll be sure to pass along the information on Consumerism Commentary once I receive it. So keep reading here.

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avatar Marge Geneverra

Quicken:

Switching to Quicken isn’t easy. I’ve got 10 years of data in Money. The quicken conversion does not convert completely or correctly, even for small amounts of data, if one uses.more than basic bank account transactions. Mortgages, budgets, investments, etc. do not convert.

Mint:

You’d have to be crazy to put all of your financial data, personal data, bank & broker passwords, etc.in one place on some web site!! One hacker break-in and you’re toast.

GnuCash:

A joke, unless you’re an accountant & a Linux geek. Compared to Money & Quicken, it’s a stone axe. Try it & you’ll see.

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avatar Bryan

I researched it and Intuit claims the current version of Quicken “imports’ MS Money files. I assume this is what you are referring to. Would it be safe to assume, however, if Microsoft and Intuit are working jointly on a new converter, it would be more robust and able to import the more advanced features of an MS Money file?

By the way, I totally agree with you on your Mint comment. No way I’m putting my checking, savings, credit account numbers in one placed online!!! I get nervous enough conducting online banking at my individual institutions’ websites. I sincerely hope this isn’t the only future of personal finance management.

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,435 (Platinum)

Mint and the other online personal finance management software do not store your personal information. We’ve had representatives from both Mint and Quicken Online on the podcast and interviewed them about their security and how they have the ability to connect you to your accounts without storing your information. You should hear what they have to say about it. It’s true that if someone steals your password, they can see your balances and your banks, but they can’t transfer any money or impersonate you.

I just want to make sure there aren’t any misconceptions spread.

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avatar Marge Geneverra

I just discovered MoneyDance (www.moneydance.com)

Testing with their trial version perfectly loaded some very large credit card and investment accounts that I exported from Money. Quicken failed terribly in doing this.

It runs on multiple platforms, including Windows and Linux. It’s at least as user-friendly as Money.

I may give it a try in parallel to Money for a bit & see.

- Marge

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avatar John Bowler

Thanks for the link. The idea of swapping to an Intuit product scares me – I gave up on TurboTax (swapping to TaxCut) last year after it started, yet again, to do terminal things to my tax return. I’d been using that since 1994 (though that was the Mac version and it wasn’t compatible with the Win version.) I only stuck with it because importing last years data is so important.

I’ve used Money for all my financial transactions since November 1996 – so I have over 12 years of data (my .mny file is 48MByte). Money has major speed problems – startup is dog slow and integration of online downloads takes minutes, not fractions of a second as it should. Still it does actually work if I wait.

Since the file contains fairly complex stock split transactions it’s important to me that all the data is retained and imported correctly. Quite frankly I don’t expect it to work, but if MS is working on it there is a possibility that they might be able to provide a Quicken converter, though I doubt it (because of Intuit, not MS.)

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avatar John Bowler

Hum. Ok, I tried to import my Money file. It doesn’t. Worse, it doesn’t even output an error message!

Eh, this software is very very broken. I give it what is, so far as it is concerned, a pile of garbage (it apparently doesn’t support Money file import), my garbage has the correct extension (.mny) and it silently ignores it. No way is this acceptable behaviour in financial software, unless you are a really big bank.

avatar John Bowler

Well… having been forced to convert, unwillingly, the result is fairly bad. Quicken simply doesn’t have the customer consideration that MSMoney had. It’s a lousy product – the interface is baroque, non-intuitive in the extreme. Basic things that I could do in Money and that were obvious in Money, such as rematching a mis-matched downloaded transaction, are apparently impossible in Quicken. Quicken has very slightly better stock split handling that Money (see previous post) and is faster (it doesn’t hang for minutes like Money) but it’s a dog.

Some competition would be useful.

avatar Kolby Kallweit

I feel that using Mint and services like it puts you at the same risk of any form of online banking or shopping. If you are not willing to shop online or do any form of banking online than Mint might not be the answer for you, however, I don’t see that the risk of online banking is any greater than any form of online transactions.

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avatar Marge Geneverra

The difference is that it’s not 1 web transaction & 1 credit card account – it’s ALL of your credit cards, ALL of your brokerage accounts, ALL of your bank accounts, a lot of your personal information…. in one place. Yeah, I know – they say “trust us, we’re secure”. It’s not just web hackers – sites like Mint have employees, and a fair amount of fraud is done by employees. Not for me. I keep my financial info on a dedicated PC that is turned off most of the time, well secured, behind a firewall, and well backed up.

As for the other note about Mint not storing your account information – for automatic downloads to work, and account & password is needed. Either the site stores that, or else you have to enter it every time for every account. There ain’t no way around that. Neither of those options appeals to me.

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,435 (Platinum)

As for the other note about Mint not storing your account information – for automatic downloads to work, and account & password is needed. Either the site stores that, or else you have to enter it every time for every account. There ain’t no way around that. Neither of those options appeals to me.

Actually, that is incorrect. Once you authorize Mint to connect to your bank account, it creates a secure key with the bank. No passwords are stored on their system. The bank recognizes Mint as an authorized connection for the bank account. There is no way for employees of the service to gain access to do anything within your bank accounts. Aaron Patzer, the CEO of Mint, explains this pretty clearly on the podcast, so unless he’s lying (he is not), it really shouldn’t be a concern. It’s the same with Quicken Online, as you can hear the Quicken Online product manager explaining here.

I would say there’s more of a chance of your house being robbed and someone walking away with your computer than there is of someone gaining access to your bank accounts via Mint or other major web service.

There is no need to play into the media’s overblown incitement of fear over online transactions, as they are much more secure than offline transactions.

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avatar Marge Geneverra

Sounds like you work for Mint…

A secure key sounds a lot like just another type of password to me, or at least functions that same…

Bottom line is that you have a web site that has your data and can get to your accounts with a “secure key” without your action or authorization. Someone cracks the site, or an employee is dishonest, and the site, with it’s “secure key” has access to all of your financial accounts…..

(I have no affiliation with any software maker or seller)

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,435 (Platinum)

Marge: No, I do not work for Mint or any other software company, I just run this site and it’s my responsibility to respond to incorrect information. No, the secure key cannot be discovered or used by anyone and it is not the same thing as a password. Again, it’s not even stored on Mint. The bank remembers the connection from Mint as an authorized viewer of your account.

I’m sorry you feel this way but you should spend the time to learn about the technology before making judgments. No one can gain access to your financial accounts through any information you may provide when configuring your access to banks via Mint or any other major personal financial management software. I feel bad that you don’t believe it, but I won’t permit misinformation to be spread via Consumerism Commentary.

The worst thing that could happen, if someone steals your site password — again, passwords are not stored on Mint, so the only chance of someone stealing your password is if you make it easy to guess, if you tell it to someone, or if you store it on your *own* computer and someone gets access to your computer — they can see your banks and balances but still cannot do anything to or with your money. I will go so far as to say even seeing balances and banks is not something I want anyone but me to do, but that’s why I use tough passwords to guess.

avatar Anonymous

This is no surprise as Intuit’s Quickbooks is the Windows of small business book keeping software. Most every C.P.A. tells their clients to get set-up with Quickbooks. In fact, Intuit has certified Quickbooks Pro Advisor consultants. People are actually making a living telling others how to use Quickbooks.

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avatar Tom

Flexo,

I have not seen it clearly stated anywhere, that the actual credentials are only stored with the bank. I understand it could work this way, but I don’t believe it does for every bank. In fact, everything I have seen on mint.com indicates it is stored with their on-line service providers. That does not necessarily imply the bank.

From what I have read, their on-line service provider is Yodlee. Read this forum, for example: http://forums.mint.com/showthread.php?t=3375

“Does my data remain with Yodlee/Mint after I close it?”
Damon, from Mint.com answers: “From what it seems, the information is removed when you remove the account(s) in question. ” Implying that the information is, in fact, stored at Yodlee.

Later in the thread, Justin from Mint.com states that it is purged from Mint and Yodlee.

That is all fine, except it implies to me that the information IS stored on someone’s servers. And I believe this to be true, because I am very confident that all banking institutions do not support one way read only “secure tokens / ids” in place of credentials. Here is an example of why I believe that to be true.

The following is a message from ING to a Mint.com user who was concerned that their account information was not being aggregated into Mint (http://forums.mint.com/showthread.php?t=1646&page=12)

“I understand that you recently had an issue trying to connect to our website using Mint.com. This service is commonly referred to as an account aggregator. While this service may have worked in the past, most users are finding that their aggregator does not work with our New Sign In Process.

The security of your information is very important to us. Once your personal information leaves ING DIRECT, we have no control over your information or how it is used by third parties. Because we have no way of monitoring how account aggregators address security, privacy or the use of cookies we are unable to support the use of these services.

To best protect your personal information and your funds, we recommend that you do not share your personal information (including your Customer Number and PIN) with any third party.”

If ING supported such a one way synchronization ID or token, they certainly would not have responded with the message above.

Personally, I think there is validity in the concern about storage of credentials. Everyone needs to make their own decision with this. But I find it misleading that Mint.com does not divulge the relationship with Yodlee when discussing security.

Tom

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avatar scott

I am absolutely tied to MS Money’s planning features, in particular to its cash flow projections. Does anyone know if the Quicken product or any of the alternatives (moneydance, etc) can do this?

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avatar Marge Geneverra

I Agree on the value of cash forecast in MS Money. There is supposedly in one or two “extensions” to Moneydance that provide some forecasting. I’ve not tried them. (I’m still deciding on a move to Moneydance.)

See the Moneydance web site for discussions on cash forecasting.

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avatar Rob

Has anyone tried Common Cents? I am currently using the 60 free trial version. Is very simple with no ads. It is an envelope budgeting type software that can handle checking, savings, credit cards, etc. It seems to be fairly new.

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avatar Rob
avatar findingfrugal.com

I use http://www.ynab.com. It’s intuitive and helps you “plan” your money, instead of looking back at what you have already spent and where. Awesome product. My deposit accounts have gone up tremendously since using the system.

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