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Quicken 2018’s subscription isn’t really a subscription

When Mac Quicken 2018 was announced as subscription only, I vented on Twitter

“Quicken is now sold on a membership basis.”

Screw that—it’d cost me $50/year just for quote downloads, basically. #Quicken2007Forever

However, as part of my work on finding a replacement for Quicken 2007, I discovered that Quicken has done themselves something of a disservice with their marketing: Quicken 2018 is not a typical software subscription, it’s more of a traditional model.

Note: For those who aren’t aware, Quicken is no longer owned by Intuit; they were bought by an investment bank. That’s both good and bad. It’s good that they’re out from under Intuit’s lack of interest in the Mac app, but it’s possibly bad in that an investment group only buys a company for one reason: To later sell it at a big profit. However, to profit, you need to provide things people want, so New Quicken should be focused on providing excellent apps.

In a modern software subscription plan, as with Microsoft’s Office 365 or Adobe’s Creative Cloud, you only have rights to use the software while your subscription is active. Stop subscribing, and you can’t use the apps any more. (Though I believe Office will run in view-only mode.)

But that’s not how Quicken’s subscription works. Quicken’s subscription is backed by something they call the Data Access Guarantee, which insures you’ll always be able to access your financial data. From that page, with my emphasis added:

…whether you renew your subscription or not, you’ll always have full access to and ownership of your data. You can view, edit, export, and manually enter transactions and accounts, even after your subscription ends.

Access to online services, such as transaction download, quotes, and mobile sync, along with access to Quicken Support, will end if your subscription does.

Even if I stop subscribing, I’ll be able to continue using Quicken 2018 (or 2019 or whatever) much the same way I use Quicken 2007 today: As a standalone app without access to online services or Quicken’s support services. (Note that this doesn’t apply to the Starter edition, just Deluxe and Premier. But Starter is very limited; I imagine most users will have at least Deluxe.)

This policy allays my fears about the subscription: If I decide I don’t need the online services, I can stop subscribing and still use the app manually. If they had communicated this more clearly up front, I wouldn’t have had any qualms with supporting their new approach, nor would I have vented on Twitter.

The ability to continue using the app after my subscription ends allays my main fear with subscriptions: Once you start, you’re locked in because you lose the software if you ever stop paying. Thanks, Quicken, for taking this approach.

8 Comments

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  1. Taking into consideration Intuit’s reputation, your reaction would be normal.
    I don’t trust them and they can change their policy at any time.

    1. Whoops, thanks for reminding me of a bit I forgot to include: Intuit no longer owns Quicken. They sold it off two years ago; I’ve added a note and link to the post.

      -rob.

  2. Eager to read your research on a Quicken 2007 replacement. I’ve searched for years after a forced “upgrade” from Quicken 2005, which I stuck with for ten years. Converting my huge data file from ’05 to ’07 (which was required before going to ’11) resulted in massive corruption, with duplicate and dropped transactions. So many functions are missing or awkward in these later versions. I won’t consider a web app, don’t want mobile, and hate the idea of subscription. So far, as far as I know, imperfect Quicken is the only option. I hope you’ve discovered an alternative!

    1. After trying what I consider to be the “big three,” I felt Quicken offered the best feature set at the lowest cost – and possibly the most upside, with the company now being split from Intuit and wanting to “do right” by its customers. Here’s the writeup.

      -rob.

  3. I have Quicken 2017 and I like it. It’s a lot better than Quicken essentials. The reports could be a bit better, but it’s a worthwhile financial package. I doubt I will need to upgrade for a while though.

  4. I moved from Quicken 2007 to Quicken 2017 and was so disappointed, that after 18 months using it, I’m in the process of moving data back to quicken 2007. It had so many reports and other functions they simply did not bring to ’17 — I can’t pull simple information for my CPA based on category reports, that show a total spend by category. I was printing out the report and adding the numbers up with a calculator!!!! And then I find the numbers are not even correct — if an item was part of a VISA bill, it brought the entire VISA amount onto the report (not the categorized item). also gone — QuickReport. Clearly the folks who did it just scraped the surface and did a very light version. Also annyoying, they try to sell you something every time you open the file. With NO WAY to turn it off.

    1. Sherry:

      I never tried Quicken 2017, but it sounds nothing like Quicken 2018. I can create a Transaction Report hat summarizes by category, which you can then customize and save as a custom report (and customer reports appear directly in the Reports menu). It’s definitely not pulling entire credit cards into reports either—as we do most of our buying on credit cards, i’d notice that immediately.

      You should probably give the 2018 version a trial: I find it much better than the 2007 version, especially in terms of interface and usability. They have a full money back guarantee, so there’s not much to lose. Import your data file, spend a few minutes with it, and see if it’s solved the issues you saw with 2017.

      Also: It has never tried to sell me anything at all on launch (or at any other time).

      -rob.

  5. The only drawback I can see with the subscription ending is that I will no longer be able to download my entries from my financial institution. I use this feature twice a week. I am currently using Quicken Deluxe 2017 and I will probably put off as long as possible buying a “subscription” Quicken. And yes, I do have an advertisement that shows up every time I open Quicken even though I have checked/unchecked the Remind Me Later box.

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