As credit card offer increasingly unfavorable terms and abandon rewards, and as fewer people qualify for credit cards, more are turning to spending using cold hard cash. Until now, Quicken Online has only tracked spending for accounts where transaction information can be directly downloaded from a bank, limited to credit cards, debit cards, and checks. Although users could enter future transactions for these accounts, spending analysis was never complete; even the most dedicated credit card users still use cash once in a while.
To fill in this hole, Quicken Online has added the facility for users to manually enter and categorize cash transactions. Unlike automatic downloads, this relies on the user’s honesty and accuracy. Here’s the cash entry form you will see as you enter a new transaction. Click on the thumbnail to see the full-size screen.
Remembering your cash transactions where you don’t take a receipt can be difficult, so that accuracy may be in question. Quicken Online offers a companion interface for mobile phones at http://m.quicken.com — and soon, a unique application for the iPhone — to allow you to record your transactions while away from your computer. This integration is key. While it may be somewhat inconvenient to stop whenever you use cash and access a mobile application, it will help improve accuracy of your reports.
You want your spending analysis to be as accurate as possible because this is where Quicken Online really shines. The software now forecasts your future spending and indicates your level of overdraft risk based on your recent transactions and account balances.
Another small but worthwhile improvement is the account bar. Quicken Online has improved the way it lists accounts to be grouped by type. For example, credit cards are grouped together, as are savings accounts and loans.
Updated July 16, 2009 and originally published February 18, 2009.