Some feedback for Quicken developers

jberning Member
Reposting from a personal semi-private blog. I'm readacting some specific language terms, but leaving the redacted terms in because the escalating language tells you about the escalating frustration with the product.

I decided to give Quicken another try on Friday. I have a new Windows based desktop machine (Intel NUC) that's going to replace the Mac desktop machine from 2014 that only has 8GB and can't be upgraded. So far, in all honesty, the Windows 10 experience isn't bad. The Quicken experience, on the other hand, has been an utter disaster.

I started out with syncing just my basic bank accounts from my bank. That seemed to go well - checking, savings, loans, credit cards, all came through. Having the mortgage marked as "Line of Credit" was a little strange (this will become significant later), but it showed a negative balance reducing my net worth, so I shrugged and moved on. Next up was the credit card accounts - they all came through okay, all current, so far so good. Then came the investment accounts. This is where things started getting turbulent.

My main investment house came through, but there placeholder transactions for the majority of my balance. Okay, so Quicken can't get the full history - annoying, but it is what it is, and I can understand the limitation. But why is my balance on this particular account double what it should be? Somehow Quicken was double-counting because of the "incompleteness" of the placeholder transaction? That's annoying. Well, whatever, remove the placeholder, fill in the average cost basis, and now my net worth is back where it should be. The next two investment accounts, Quicken can't find. The financial organization is listed, has the correct name and web site, but it absolutely will not pull my accounts. Since these are active accounts (targets of payroll deductions), I kinda need those accounts. Fine, I'll do it manually. Create the account, enter the information, realize I'll be manually updating all of this every two weeks (which is a major part of why I wanted to use Quicken - to avoid the regular manual update crap!).

Next, let's start putting in assets. Ok, so it won't connect to the bank that has the car loan. At all. This is starting to get really frustrating. Enter the loan manually - and lo and behold, Quicken calculated a payment that isn't what my actual payment is. I change the payment to be accurate, and Quicken changes my balance! No, that's not right either! Whatever, I can live with a couple hundred on the balance inaccurate more easily than with an inaccurate payment that I have to fix every month, but [removed- profanity], I bought Quicken to be more accurate than I'm able to be with removed - no soliciting]!

Now let's enter the house asset. Wait, what do you mean there's no mortgage account for it, I see the [removed] mortgage in Quicken right now! Wait, that's a "Line of Credit" - okay, let's delete that account and re-sync it as a loan account instead of as a bank account.

No, my loan balance subtracts from my net worth, it doesn't add to it! Show it as a negative balance the way you just did! Sure, it'll associate with the house asset now, but no the loan is not paid off, it has a balance! Go back and re-sync as a bank account, the balance is negative as it should be, but I can't associate it with the asset! fine! I'll make it an offline loan account! Go back to doing it manually...

Well, let's try to put in some recurring bills. Internet service - can't get next balance due. But you authenticated to my account. Current balance is zero 'cause I paid my bill, but you want the next payment... and you're gonna throw this ugly error on the screen if you don't get it. Yeah, not worth it, let's delete that bill.

Try again with the county water bill - oh, another error. Even though it's not an error, my balance is supposed to be zero with no bill due. Great. So I really don't have any additional functionality yet, just a lot of wasted effort.

Fine, let's enter my paycheck information. You don't seem to have any sort of automatic import functionality, so yeah, I'll have to modify the paycheck actuals every two weeks because my company changes it by a penny or two seemingly every week. [removed - profanity/solicitation] Whatever. The changes aren't really Quicken's fault, but why can't you import from a payroll provider the way you can from banks and credit card companies? They too have an API. I'm beyond annoyed at this point, but I've started down this path, I might as well try to make it to the end for at least this month.

Fine. Let's go look at my bills. Wait, why are the internet and utility accounts still showing up? What? I deleted those! And why [removed - profanity] are they showing up in the "Income & Transfers" tab?!? Click back to the "Bills" tab, and I see what I should see. Click on the "Linode" bill to confirm the details... WHAT? No, I didn't ask for the internet service bill! And even if I did, SHOW ME THE DETAILS! And there's the utility bill again! When I click on erroneous future mortgage bill that showed up because of the previous month's transaction! And we're still in the Income tab!

So, let's see... no additional functionality for the basic accounts, incorrect recording of mortgages, no additional account syncs available, and a poor UI to boot. Plus, you're miscategorizing near every other transaction, which means I can't use your budget feature since it uses past transaction categories for a starting point (ever heard of GIGO?). Okay, I'll admit the miscategorization is a hard problem to solve, but come on, you should be better than that!

[removed - rant]

Edit - [removed - More vulgar language/rant sentences]


  • Jim_Harman
    Jim_Harman SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    Here are a few comments that you may find useful.

    -- Missing investment accounts: Are these 401(k)s? Some FIs work well for regular brokerage accounts but do not support downloading of 401(k)s, or perhaps that is an option your employer did not sign up for. 

    -- On the Bills and Income tab, I suggest you click on the gear at the top right and check the Combine Bills, Income, and Transfers option. This shows bill and income all in the same place, with your choice of display format. Try the formats using the dropdown at the top left; I prefer the Stack view.
    -- I have also had trouble with Quicken's online bill presentment. I use Manual Reminders, with the Due date set a few days before the bill or income is actually due and the Remind me date set about 15 days before that. This corresponds to the date I normally receive the paper bill or email from the biller. Reminders are very flexible but the terminology can be confusing at first and you may have to try the options to find the combinations you like best.

    -- re: Categorizing, Quicken does its best to pick one of its standard Categories for downloaded credit card transactions. If you don't like the categories it chooses, you can disable the auto categorization and use a combination of Renaming Rules and Memorized Transactions to map payees to your preferred categories. Again this is very flexible and may take some adjusting to get it the way you like.

    If you don't like the built-in categories, I suggest you rename them rather than creating your own new ones. Creating your own categories prevents Quicken from assigning them automatically. 

    -- re: Budgets, you don't have to let Quicken set it up automatically, you can create the budget manually if you want. The automatic budget setup works best if you have at least a year's worth of transactions that are categorized consistently.

    -- I have never used the other software you mention, but I have to guess that you spent more than one weekend getting all of its options set the way you like.

    QWin Premier subscription
  • mshiggins
    mshiggins SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    I recall in the recent past, Quicken was offering free set up sessions for new users. Perhaps that would have helped. 

    Quicken user since Q1999. Currently using QW2017.
    Questions? Check out the  Quicken Windows FAQ list
  • jberning
    jberning Member
    edited August 2021
    [removed - no soliciting]
  • sgtempe
    sgtempe Member
    edited August 2021
    I'm amazed (but not really after a 40 year career in S/W development). I used Quicken briefly in the 90's before switching to QuickBooks for my business. Now I'm returning to Quicken (cheaper, more forgiving, and I don't need all the accounting features of QB). What happened? [removed - rant/off-topic/disruptive]
  • mshiggins
    mshiggins SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    Hello moderators,

    My hope is that you passed along the unredacted OP to upper level management as it described in detail a new user's unsatisfactory experience with setting up Quicken. If new users have trouble setting up, they will likely stop using Quicken before they even really got started. 
    Quicken user since Q1999. Currently using QW2017.
    Questions? Check out the  Quicken Windows FAQ list