Intuit, the parent company of Quicken recently purchased Mint.com, which is now the free online money management tool. It’s a great piece of software and I highly recommend it!
Intuit announced last week that Quicken Online is now free (it previously cost $2.99 per month). Quicken Online now joins a host of other free online money applications, including Mint.com, Wesabe, Geezeo, Yodlee, and a few others. These other applications are all fairly similar in scope. One difference of note is that these other applications are ad driven, and make money by recommending financial products to users. Quicken does not do that at this time.
Quicken Online is different from the desktop version of Quicken. The desktop version is designed to be a comprehensive tool, while Quicken Online is designed to help people manage their bills and recurring payments. Quicken Online gives users a snapshot of savings, checking, credit cards, and other loans. Quicken Online functions well as a money management and budgeting tool as opposed to a tool for tracking investments and other financial accounts.
Why should you use Quicken Online?
Track all your accounts in one place. With Quicken Online, you input your account information into the system and it automatically scrapes your data from your other online accounts. This allows you to track all your accounts in one place – credit cards, checking and savings, even PayPal.
Quick sign up if you already have a TurboTax, Quicken, or QuickBooks account. Intuit owns all of these applications which makes it easy to sign up for them under one account. (The fewer passwords and logons to remember, the better!)
Track almost every account and transaction. Quicken Online is compatible with over 5000 financial institutions. And just like the desktop version of Quicken, transactions are automatically put into a category (or you can create custom categories). My experience showed that the auto categorization can be less than accurate at times. The good news is that Quicken Online “learns” from your corrections and those made by the community of online users, so eventually most transactions will be correct.
Bill reminders and alerts. One of the nice benefits of using Quicken Online is the ability to receive reminders and alerts via text message and e-mail. If you use this feature correctly, you never have an excuse to miss a payment again!
Security. Quicken Online is very secure and uses the same 128-bit encryption technology as most major financial institutions in the world.
iPhone and PDA compatibility. Quicken Online features Quicken Beam, which allows users to view data on their iPhone or other PDA. This makes it easy to get updates on the go.
Areas for improvement for Quicken Online
Quicken Online primarily gives users a financial snapshot and will not completely replace the desktop version of Quicken in terms of functionality. Quicken Online only tracks bank accounts, credit cards, and loans and gives the user an overall view of money in vs. money out. There is limited investment tracking, but mostly just for balances, and not much else. The desktop version Quicken is designed to track all transactions including investments, which is something Quicken Online doesn’t do yet.
The main goal of Quicken Online is to get people thinking about how they spend and manage their money, and I think it does a great job in that respect. And the price is free, which is just about right.
Looking for another online money management tool? Check out these FREE online money management tools for a variety of options.