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Quicken online is gone. But there are plenty of great options. Here are the three best Quicken alternatives (and #1 is totally free).

quicken alternatives

Not all that long ago, Quicken was the leading giant in the personal financial planning market. It did everything you could want in a software. Then, Quicken one-upped itself by launching Quicken Online. Not all that long after, though, Quicken Online became obsolete. Here, we’ll talk about the history of Quicken Online, and talk about today’s best Quicken alternatives.

What Was Quicken Online?

Quicken software was created way back when people still used MS-DOS. (To the under-thirty crowd, you don’t even want to know!) It was built on a database structure. This make it a good option for managing complicated financial systems. But it also made cross-platform compatibility difficult. So Intuit, Quicken’s creating company, had to keep coming up with new models.

And, in fact, they still do. Quicken software is still a great option if you want a robust way to manage your personal or business finances. But it wasn’t doing what millennials wanted it to do.

This is why by back in 2007, Intuit launched Quicken Online. The tool was meant to help “young and responsible” individuals manage cash flow. At the time, the data seemed to say that the most pressing question for younger earners was whether or not they could actually pay the bills. So Quicken Online didn’t begin by tracking investments and other long-term goals. Instead, it focused on tracking checking, savings, and credit card transactions.

Intuit could have made a major misstep here by simply moving their old-school database-style software online. But that’s not what they did.

One of Quicken Online’s major differences was the fact that it did not track investments, which Quicken software users had come to expect. But it also made tracking everyday spending much easier.

At the time, financial software that actually synced with your bank accounts was a new concept. So Quicken Online jumped on that bandwagon early. You could connect your checking account directly to Quicken Online, and it would automatically import your transactions.

That’s not something unusual today, of course. But in 2007, it was still a pretty new concept.

What about the problem of uncashed checks? Today, that’s not as much of an issue. I, for one, use checks for only two or three monthly bills. But in 2007, I was still writing checks pretty often. So Quicken Online allowed users to manually enter written but unposted checks. Then, it calculated your actual account balance based on these numbers.

This was a great solution for those up-and-coming professionals struggling with day-to-day cash flow!

Quicken Online also helped people become more aware of their overall financial situation. For instance, new users would get a list of recurring bills suggested from their previous 90 days’ worth of transactions in each connected account. Then, users could set up bill reminders.

Quicken Online’s interface was sleek and user-friendly for the time, though today it would feel clunky and out of date. But it still gave users a quick way to get insight into their spending, saving, and other financial patterns.

Quicken Online screenshot

Quicken Online also acted in an app-like way for iPhone users, specifically. These users could log into their account to view their updated balances and five latest transactions in each account. With transactions downloaded nightly, the feature is a far cry from the to-the-minute financial insight today’s apps offer. But it was still pretty high-tech for a decade ago!

Finally, Quicken Online eventually rolled out an online bill paying option. This was meant to help users manage short-term cash flow and to make their online bill paying easier. And Intuit, of course, tied Quicken Online into its TurboTaxOnline products, as well.

So What Happened to Quicken Online?

In short, it seems that other platforms were quicker to innovate than Intuit. They offered consumers better options than Quicken Online, and for cheaper. So in 2009, Intuit announced its $170 million acquisition of the still-popular financial management platform Mint.com.

Quicken then moved its Quicken Online users over to Mint.com, which was already a well-functioning platform for the most part. It did not go well. Quicken customers weren’t happy to lose their data, and the change was a frustrating one.

With that said, Mint.com still consistently ranks in the top ten lists for personal financial management software options. It’s in my personal top three!

In more recent history, Intuit has been trying hard to preserve Quicken, which was overshadowed by its more popular products, QuickBooks and TurboTax. But many consumers still benefit from using Mint.com on a regular basis.

What Other Options Are There?

If you are looking for a review for Quicken Online, you may be a bit disappointed. It just doesn’t exist anymore. But don’t despair! There are many excellent money management tools online these days. Here are the top three to consider:

Personal Capital

Want a tool that accounts for everyday spending but has a heavier focus on long-term financial planning? Personal Capital may be exactly what you’re looking for. Like Mint, it features a user-friendly, image-driven interface. And like Mint, it syncs with your existing accounts to bring in data automatically.

Unlike Mint, though, Personal Capital has always had a heavy focus on investments. It helps you keep track of your net worth, and it also offers a variety of advising tools. For instance, you can use the investment checkup tool to find out your current asset allocation compared with Personal Capital’s suggested allocation. You can read our full review of this tool here.

Mint.com

It’s no surprise that Mint.com took over the Quicken Online space pretty quickly. And it’s evolved quite a lot since I started using it back in 2010. Back then, the syncing of transactions was sometimes sketchy, and users had now way to track financial goals or investments. These days, things are different.

Mint isn’t just for tracking your cash flow. You can also use it to set up financial goals for the near and long term. And you can automatically import your investment information to keep an eye on that piece of your finances. In short, it’s a comprehensive, visually-driven financial management tool that’s an excellent replacement for the older Quicken tool. Check out our full review here.

You Need a Budget (YNAB)

Of these three tools, YNAB is the weakest when it comes to the visual interface. With that said, it’s still very user-friendly. It is based on a different type of financial management. One that focuses on using last month’s cash for this month’s spending. This is an excellent way to build more financial stability into your life.

YNAB imports transactions when you tell it to, but it does so fairly cleanly. It lets you categorize transactions and set goals. One of its unique features is that it tells you how old your money is. The longer your money sits in your checking account, the older it is. And that’s a good thing!

Not sure which of these options will work best for you? Get our breakdown of the best budget tools here.

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With W-2s and other tax forms now appearing in our mailboxes (or inboxes) daily, chances are that taxes are on your mind. If you believe you’ll owe money to the government, it makes sense to put off filing as long as possible, up to this year’s filing deadline. If you expect to receive a refund, however, file your taxes early to receive your money faster.

tax

Previously, H&R Block offered a product that allowed customers to get their refund even faster than the few weeks the IRS takes to process. However, they no longer offer these (though, you can sign up here to be first in line when they begin offering the Emerald advance lines of credit again). While you can find anticipation loans through third-party companies, these are typically accompanied by high fees. So, as of now, the least expensive and quickest way to receive a refund is to allow the IRS to deposit your refund directly into your bank account.

Regardless of how you receive your refund, you can file online using H&R Block’s system if you’d prefer to not visit a local office in person (buying a software package is one more option you have, too!). Here is what you need to know about filing online.

Different editions available

H&R Block offers three tiers of their online filing system in 2017 (for filing your 2016 taxes).

[click to continue…]

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I have one free download code for Quicken 2015 for Mac to give away to a lucky reader. Instructions are at the bottom of this article.

It’s been nine years since Intuit released a version of Quicken that was both fully-featured and designed to run on Apple’s hardware and operating systems. The Quicken Essentials for Mac bridged a technology gap between Quicken Mac 2007 and the Windows versions of the software, but many important pieces were missing.

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Intuit has no announced their plans to release Quicken 2015 for Mac, and the software is available for pre-order beginning today. I had a chance to take a look at Quicken 2015 for Mac earlier this week. I am not a Mac user; I’ve been using Quicken Deluxe or Quicken Home & Business on Windows for years, and I’ve upgraded every year except this past year. But every time I’ve written a review of the latest Quicken product for Windows, I’ve heard from many readers who have been dreaming of a Quicken Mac version that contains all the features of the Windows version that can be run natively in OS X.

And that’s what Intuit is presenting today. It’s a complete re-write of the Quicken codebase (as it would need to be because of the requirements of OS X). And sometimes, from an application development perspective, when you’ve been modifying the same code for two decades, it’s good to start from the beginning with a fresh codebase.

Mac users will like the improvements. The interface borrows from what has worked well in Quicken’s mobile versions, and in fact, Intuit is also releasing an update mobile application for Quicken (the 2014/2015 mobile app).

The Quicken 2014/2015 mobile app.

Intuit promises the new mobile app will provide faster syncing between your desktop financial information and your mobile. A new feature allows you to easily take a snapshot of your receipts and enter the information for easier entry as a transaction, either on the spot or later. There are many mobile applications that allow you to organize your receipts, but if you’re a Quicken user, this built-in feature is essential.

Quicken 2015 for Mac desktop.

The sleek new interface is a welcome change. This overview screen shows how Quicken has improved its budget tracking features over the years, and most newer Quicken users are interested in tracking a budget. Quicken has really focused on household spending, and this has been seen more in the recent versions of the Quicken mobile app, and the same approach is now being featured in the desktop version of Quicken 2015 for Mac.

But the new version also finally gives Mac users powerful tools for tracking investments. It’s been almost ten years since a version of Quicken for Mac was able to do anything more than track investment balances. Like Windows users, Mac users can now track not only the balances in investment accounts, but the transactions as well. The investment features of the latest software are finally on par not just with the Windows version, but with users’ expectations for fully-featured personal financial management software.

Mac users can now track gains and losses, investment performance over time, and other important facets of all types of investment accounts, from stock trading portfolios to 401(k) retirement accounts.

Automatic upgrades for one year.

Intuit is trying something new with Quicken 2015 for Mac. When you buy the software, you will receive free, automatic software upgrades for one year. This is somewhat similar to how the Windows version works. Every time you open the Quicken software, the software checks to see if any new updates are available. There’s an important difference, however. The Windows updates are only bug fixes. And as most Quicken for Windows users know, there are undoubtedly bugs that need to be fixed with every new version.

However, with Quicken 2015 for Mac, the updates throughout the year will also include new features. According to Intuit, they are closely listening to their community of Mac users to determine what features to include. Any new features for one year will be automatically rolled out to all Mac users.

What’s missing from Quicken 2015 for Mac.

Intuit prioritized the features to include in the software based on feedback from Mac users. But as this is a new piece of software, built from the ground-up, and because Intuit is keeping to a release schedule, there are many interesting features available in the Windows version of Quicken that have not yet found their way into this new release for Mac users.

For instance, there is no calendar view of upcoming bills. The Mac version doesn’t include a debt reduction planner, something that many Windows users have found useful or at least interesting. Quicken for Mac doesn’t support some types of investment transactions, particularly those dealing with employee stock purchasing plans (ESPP). That would have been a deal-breaker for me. The retirement planner and goals planner are among some of the Windows features that are still missing from the Mac.

You can, however, vote on the features you’d like to see added to Quicken for Mac 2015 throughout the year. Intuit plans to listen to its community of users as much as possible, and implement the features that are most desired.

Final words.

For a Mac user that is serious about his or her finances, Quicken 2015 for Mac is a must buy. There’s always the alternative of running Quicken for Windows on a Mac through emulation, but the new interface makes the native version more appealing, but only if you don’t need the features that are currently missing from the Mac version.

The new software is an amazing improvement over what has previously been available for Apple’s operating systems, and the integration with mobile is a advantage worth the upgrade for users still hanging onto Quicken Mac 2007. Furthermore, any version of Quicken is much more feature-rich than any other financial management software available.

Intuit’s own (through acquisition) Mint has captured the interest of a new generation of financially-minded individuals and households, but Quicken holds so much more power, and as someone moved beyond basic budgeting and spending tracking to grown-up financial needs like investing for retirement or being the head of a household, Quicken is an essential upgrade over Mint.

Not surprisingly, having the Intuit team take me through a demo of the software earlier this week has piqued my interest for the latest Windows upgrade. I skipped Quicken 2014 for Windows, and I’ve been reading that users are still having problems with this version. I’d like to see some of the interface improvements and underlying technology fixed with the next version for Windows. It would be great to see a ground-up rewrite of the code, just like the Mac version, but with a tight yearly upgrade cycle, I doubt that will be the case any time soon for Windows users.

How to buy Quicken 2015 for Mac.

Quicken 2015 for Mac is available today for immediate download from Intuit, the Mac App store, or Amazon.com. If you prefer receiving software in a box in CD-ROM or DVD-ROM format (does anyone?), the software will be available in October in retail locations.

The price today is $74.99.

I have one free download code for Quicken 2015 for Mac to give away to a lucky reader. Instructions are at the bottom of this article.

Quicken 2015 for Mac FAQs.

Here are some of the questions I’ve received so far.

Can you edit investment transactions?

Yes. Unlike Quicken Essential for Mac, the investment features are implemented the same way as all other accounts, so you can add, edit, and delete transactions. The software does more than just track your investment balances.

Can you import old data?

Yes. You can import data from any previous version of Quicken for Mac or Windows into Quicken 2015 for Mac.

Give us your feedback.

Once you’ve downloaded the software and have had a chance to import your data (or begin from scratch), let other potential users know about your experiences. I’ve had a chance to look at the software from afar, and I like what I see, but I don’t have a Mac to run the software for myself. Do you like the new features, and do they work as expected? Are you missing the few aspects of the program that are available on the Windows version but not yet on Mac?

Free download giveaway.

Update: The giveaway has ended, and the winner is @beskie.

Want to download Quicken 2015 for Mac for free? I have one download code to give away to a Consumerism Commentary reader. In order to qualify, follow these instructions:

  • For one point, post the following to Twitter: Read the @Quicken 2015 for Mac review by @luke_landes and win a copy! http://flexo.me/1pUASYZ #giveaway.
  • Get an extra point if you have over 1,000 followers, another extra point if you have over 5,000, another extra point if you have over 10,000, another extra point if you have over 50,000, etc.
  • Leave a comment below with your Twitter ID and write briefly about your experience with Quicken. If you leave a comment and don’t post to Twitter, you’ll still get one point.

Every point you receive gives you one entry in the giveaway. I’ll choose the winner randomly on September 1.

The images in this post were provided by Intuit.

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The giveaway has ended. Thank you for participating! I’ve contacted the winner by email. We may launch another giveaway in the coming months, so follow me on Twitter and follow Consumerism Commentary on Facebook to be the first to know when there is another opportunity to win a free copy of Quicken 2013.

Intuit is offering Consumerism Commentary readers the chance to win a copy of Quicken Home and Business 2013. This is the same software I have been using for many years to track my personal finances as well as my business finances. Read my review of Quicken 2013 here, published yesterday.

Compared with the Starter Edition, Deluxe, and Premier flavors of Quicken, the Home and Business edition of the software is most suitable for people who, like me, have or have had investments and side income to track accurately. Even when my business accounting became more important and I attempted to switch to QuickBooks for tracking my business’s financials, I continued using Quicken to maintain a complete picture of my life from the financial perspective.

Through Quicken, I was able to generate personal finance reports to publish on Consumerism Commentary on a monthly basis.

The Home and Business edition is best suited for anyone from bloggers earning a small bit of income from their websites to small business owners. Over the past several years as the owner of a blog-based business, I’ve used Quicken extensively for organizing more than just my personal finances.

  • I’ve made a heavy use of Quicken’s invoicing and payment tracking tools.
  • Quicken has helped me to chase down clients or advertisers who were late on their payments.
  • The software gave me an idea of my accounts receivable at any moment so I could make good decisions about potential business expenses.
  • The business expense tracking allowed me to easily prepare for increasingly difficult income tax returns for the business.
  • As a professional writer and business owner with income from various sources, Quicken helped me decide how to spend my time for the best increase of revenue.

Quicken 2013 giveaway

Thanks to Intuit, I have one copy of Quicken Home and Business 2013 to give away to a Consumerism Commentary reader. The winner will be chosen randomly from visitors who comment on this article. The comment should be substantive and answer these questions:

What is your motivation for improving your financial life? What are your life goals for which a strong financial situation is necessary?

At the same time, if you link to the Quicken 2013 review or this Quicken 2013 giveaway in any form of social media, be it Twitter or your own blog, for example, let me know in your comment below as well. Each social media share (and there are other options beyond Twitter and your own blog) listed in your comment and confirmed will earn an extra chance to win. Don’t forget your comment needs to include an answer to the question or questions above.

For example, if you answer the questions with substantive thoughts and point out that you’ve shared the review on your own site and on Google Plus, you have three total chances to win.

Scroll down or click here to leave your comment in answer to the above questions. The winner will be selected randomly. All comments must be received by Sunday night, October 7, 2012, at 11:59 pm Pacific Time in order to be considered valid for the giveaway.

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Quicken 2013 Review

by Luke Landes

The new Quicken 2013 adds an extensive mobile experience to the software. This is a must-have upgrade for long-time Quicken users. For the latest version, see this Quicken 2015 for Mac review. Starting today, the new version of Quicken is available for purchase. While Mint.com and other online services are now very popular for tracking […]

109 comments Read the full article →

TurboTax 2017: Is it the Best Option for You?

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TurboTax is one of the most well-known online tax filing softwares, and with good reason. It’s a full-featured option that takes you through your taxes step by step. Though it’s more expensive than other options on the market, it can be a good investment for those who have never DIY filed before, or those with […]

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Quicken 2012 Review With Video

by Luke Landes
Quicken 2012 Budget Planner

Quicken 2013 is now available. Read a full review of the latest version of the software be clicking here. What follows is a review of Quicken 2012, now outdated. For the last few days, I’ve been testing the new version of Quicken Home and Business. While most people who track their finances have moved to […]

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Quicken 2011 Review and Giveaway

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Are you looking for the latest version of Quicken? Here is my review of the newest version, Quicken 2013. Downloads of Quicken 2013 are available today. I’ve been using Quicken for six years, and I have eight years’ worth of financial data in my files. I had the opportunity to take the beta version of […]

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More Professional Collateral for Free

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Many of us who want to earn more money have side jobs, or a flourishing freelance business or two. We want our customers and clients to take us seriously, but first impressions are often ruined by amateur—or even bad—graphic design. Unless you hire a designer, you’ll never get the constructive criticism you need in order […]

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TurboTax Online Review, New Features

by Luke Landes

Last year was the first year I abandoned my own tax return preparation, deferring to a professional to do the dirty work. I’m glad I did; he suggested I restructure my business retroactively, resulting in a savings of about $15,000. I still haven’t seen most of this; the IRS is still processing my amended 2008 […]

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