If you are planning to migrate from Banktivity or MoneyDance...

Both Banktivity and MoneyDance offer export of your data as a .QIF file. Quicken states that they support this type of file for import, but beware of some huge caveats.

I have 23 years worth of history in my Banktivity file, which I'm not willing to give up, so export/import is crucial to me. But I found problems with my routine deposits of paychecks and transactions like that, in which I made one split transaction and deposited part of the funds into one checking account and part into another checking account. Quicken duplicated the secondary account transaction (the "another checking account" I referred to), so that my balances in both accounts were thrown off by many thousands of dollars (and many lines of extraneous transaction details).

I spent hours trying to troubleshoot this myself, followed by hours on the phone on several different occasions and followup calls, all to no avail.

Quicken support gave me many different excuses.

"Perhaps you're not downloading ALL transactions." I was.

"Perhaps it doesn't work with really old transactions." ???

"We cannot edit the QIF file." I didn't expect them to.

"It's not our problem. Contact Banktivity for them to solve it." Banktivity said there's nothing wrong with the QIF file.

The two final things I tried still could not get Quicken support to look at their import code, or even to admit that they might be doing something wrong.

First, I tried a new, simplified Banktivity document with only two accounts and one paycheck deposit transaction in it. I examined the QIF myself, and it looked reasonable, based on my knowledge of the format. I gathered together that file and screenshots from both Banktivity and Quicken to submit to support. It didn't do any good. They still refused to accept responsibility, or even to look at their programming code.

The last thing I tried was to download a trial version of MoneyDance and do the same thing with a simplified set of accounts and transaction. The resulting QIF file looked very much like the one from Banktivity. In the part of the file dealing with the problematic transactions, the two files were identical.

When two different QIF files from two different vendors produce the same problem in Quicken, I have to conclude that the problem is with Quicken itself.


As for me, I got a refund from Quicken and moved on.


  • mshiggins
    mshiggins SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    Did any of the support folks mention using the QIF import setting for special handling of transfers? I believe its intent is to prevent the duplication of transactions in the accounts on both sides of the transfer. 

    Quicken user since Q1999. Currently using QW2017.
    Questions? Check out the Quicken Windows FAQ list

  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    Quicken's QIF import has always done a poor job with transfers.  In my experience doing QIF exports/imports even in Quicken to Quicken transfers by far cause the most problems.

    First off let me say that Quicken uses the syntax of [Other Account] as the category to signify a transfer.  If the exporting program doesn't use the same syntax none of this applies.  If these other programs use a different syntax for transfers, and example of what they do would be helpful to get at exactly the problem is.

    For an idea import you would expect the import Quicken find both sides of these transactions and treat them as one linked transfer.

    With Quicken 2017 (before Quicken Subscription in 2018) there were two ways that Quicken "handled" transfers, which were controlled by the "special handling of transfers" setting that @mshiggins pointed out.

    With it it selected Quicken would remove the "from side" of all these transfers.  The idea being that with only one side of the transfers in the QIF file when you import that one side Quicken will create the linked transfer to the other account.  They really should have removed the "to side".  If you think about it the "from side" can be a split transaction with one of more transfers in it (the to side can never be a split transaction).  As such by removing the "from side" and letting the "to account" transfer transaction to create the linked transfer to the "from side" means that the split transaction will be turned into a split transaction without that transfer(s) and then one or more transfers from the other accounts.  It "works", but is "messy".

    Deselecting the "use special handling" would leave in both sides of the transfer, but there is where you get a big problem with Quicken's transfer matching it wasn't very good and what's more it will prompt asking about every single transfer.  Which is of course a nightmare.

    Now move forward to "Quicken Subscription (any version past 2018) and even though that option is still there I have found that Quicken acts as if "use special handling" is always on. So really there isn't any option any more.

    So at a minimum all accounts have to be imported to even come close to having a chance at this working correctly.  And it is suggested that you turn off Quicken's "transfer detection" because no transfer should match any others (they have been removed) so any that it does would be "false positives".  Well forget that, I just tried it and Quicken is ignoring that option and doing transfer detection during the import!
    So any of those prompts (and there might be many) would be No (not a matched transfer).  Hold down the N key.

    So from above it would sound like you should get a good import (if a bit messy with the splits that have transfers in them).  NOPE!!

    Why, well it turns out that you can have transfers from investment accounts and this "special handling" doesn't remove them.  Example:

    Needless to say I don't have negative money in these accounts.  In fact these accounts were closed years ago, they zero balance.

    So there isn't anything Quicken does that will give a good result for transfers.

    My workaround for this is to change all the transfers to regular categories.
    If you go back to the original double book accounting system which would be on paper there would be anything like a "linked transfer". Instead you would have offsetting entries it the two accounts.  The accounting still works you just don't have the convivence of being able to quickly jump between the two sides of the transfer in the two different accounts.

    Here is the program from that:

    I think you will agree that this is a better result:

    This is my website: http://www.quicknperlwiz.com/
  • joel6653
    joel6653 Member ✭✭
    edited December 2020
    No, nor did I see any such setting during the process. [Removed - Speculation]

    > @mshiggins said:
    > Did any of the support folks mention using the QIF import setting for special handling of transfers? I believe its intent is to prevent the duplication of transactions in the accounts on both sides of the transfer. 
This discussion has been closed.