Quicken Bill Manager - vs any Bank Bill Payment Services

dan5
dan5 Member ✭✭✭
edited March 16 in Investing (Windows)
Does anyone have an opinion on if Quick Bill Manager is becoming useful with software updates. I tried really hard to make it work when they kicked me out of the old system which worked great. It was a disaster and I had to quit and tried to quit using Quicken, but I couldn't find other software that works, so I am sticking with it. A year later I tried to use it again, it was a bit more stable, but would not work with any of my bills. I am now paying extra $3 or $6 every month for quicken check pay which I get complaints from all my bills that they show up late, and then because its a paper check and no one really does that anymore, it take more weeks to clear which makes reconciling more painful.
My subscription for Quicken is set to renew in a month, and I swore if it didn't work by now I would drop it. Not sure if I will be able to. Before I go through all the frustration of trying QBM again, is there anyone who it has gotten better for and they can pay any of their bills consistently and successfully?
My free local credit union bill pay is seamless, but I hate the double entry so much I use Quicken check pay which is ok, but has the issues above including the user interface is much more awkward that the old system. Thanks for any opinions.
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Answers

  • Jim_Harman
    Jim_Harman SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    Another alternative is to use a bank that offers bill pay via Direct Connect. Quicken calls this Bank bill pay.

    Bank of America is very reliable in this regard, but may charge a monthly fee depending on what type of account you have and what the balance is. 
    QWin Premier subscription
  • dan5
    dan5 Member ✭✭✭
    Thanks for responding Jim, I tried super hard to do that about 18 months ago, I loved Direct Connect payments with BofA and Wells Fargo back in the day. I even opened new accounts at a different local credit union, I opened one at BofA, and I tried calling Wells Fargo 20 times to get them to sell me an account with Direct Connect. BofA and WF said they would not support it for new accounts, so I closed the BofA account. The credit union said they did, and direct connect download worked but neither them or quicken support could get it to work so I gave up after months of trying and close that account. I even tried to make it a business account instead of a consumer account where they said they had lots of customers using quick books. I went back to only using my original credit union who while doesn't support direct connect is otherwise very good for many reasons.
  • Jim_Harman
    Jim_Harman SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    I see you are right about BoA and Direct Connect, per their FAQ page
    https://www.bankofamerica.com/online-banking/online-financial-management-faqs/

    That's too bad, it works flawlessly.
    QWin Premier subscription
  • mshiggins
    mshiggins SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    I've heard good reports on Chase having bill pay enabled Direct Connect and don't recall any limits mentioned regarding new accounts. 
    Quicken user since Q1999. Currently using QW2017.
    Questions? Check out the  Quicken Windows FAQ list
  • dan5
    dan5 Member ✭✭✭
    Thanks for the recommendation of Chase, lots of hte places I tried and talk to support it for download, but not bill pay direct from Quicken. Do you know if they support Bill Pay for Direct Connect?
  • mshiggins
    mshiggins SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    dan5 said:
    Thanks for the recommendation of Chase, lots of hte places I tried and talk to support it for download, but not bill pay direct from Quicken. Do you know if they support Bill Pay for Direct Connect?
    I don't recall who, but at least one of the super users here has mentioned using Chase with online bill pay via Quicken. Let me see if I can find out who that was. 
    Quicken user since Q1999. Currently using QW2017.
    Questions? Check out the  Quicken Windows FAQ list
  • Ps56k2
    Ps56k2 SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    dan5 said:
    Thanks for the recommendation of Chase, lots of hte places I tried and talk to support it for download, but not bill pay direct from Quicken. Do you know if they support Bill Pay for Direct Connect?
    I have been using Chase for a couple of years - ever since I discovered (on this forum) that Quicken could "send" transactions directly to Chase, that basically just drop into the Chase Payment Service - you can see them if you log into the Chase website.


    QWin Deluxe Subscription - Win10
  • Rocket J Squirrel
    Rocket J Squirrel SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    @Ps56k2 , does Chase charge a fee for DC and/or BP?
    Quicken user since version 2 for DOS, now using QWin Premier Subscription on Win10 Pro.
  • Ps56k2
    Ps56k2 SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    @Ps56k2 , does Chase charge a fee for DC and/or BP?
    not that I am seeing or aware of

    QWin Deluxe Subscription - Win10
  • Ps56k2
    Ps56k2 SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 29
    BTW - here is a link to another discussion and a list of banks that support PAYMENT directly from Quicken -
    its from 2 years ago - 2020 - by ... @Sherlock


    QWin Deluxe Subscription - Win10
  • Rocket J Squirrel
    Rocket J Squirrel SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    Ps56k2 said:
    @Ps56k2 , does Chase charge a fee for DC and/or BP?
    not that I am seeing or aware of

    I found the answer on the Chase site (duh). It seems to depend on what level of account you have.
    • Directly connect your Chase accounts using your Personal Financial Management (PFM) software, like Quicken® or QuickBooks®.
    • With Direct Connect PFM there is a monthly service fee of $9.95. There is no monthly fee for Premier Platinum Checking, Chase Private Client and Private Banking customers.

    Quicken user since version 2 for DOS, now using QWin Premier Subscription on Win10 Pro.
  • Ps56k2
    Ps56k2 SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 29
    Rocket J Squirrel said: I found the answer on the Chase site (duh).
    It seems to depend on what level of account you have.
    • Directly connect your Chase accounts using your Personal Financial Management (PFM) software, like Quicken® or QuickBooks®.
    • With Direct Connect PFM there is a monthly service fee of $9.95. There is no monthly fee for Premier Platinum Checking, Chase Private Client and Private Banking customers.
    yeah... here's a snip of the Premier account info

    Account details include:

    • $25 monthly service fee OR $0 with one of the following each monthly statement period:
      • An average beginning day balance of $15,000 or more in any combination of this account and linked qualifying deposits/investments
      • OR have a linked qualifying Chase first mortgage enrolled in automatic payments from your Chase account
    QWin Deluxe Subscription - Win10
  • Boatnmaniac
    Boatnmaniac SuperUser ✭✭✭✭
    I have a Virtual Wallet checking account at PNC Bank.  PNC does not charge any fee for DC with Bank Bill Pay.  I've only been with PNC since early Oct but it works well with Bill Pay and Transfers between PNC accounts.  The only complaint I have is that the Bill Pays and Transfers set up from within Quicken do not show up in the PNC online account until after they have cleared.  They do show up in Quicken registers correctly at the time they are scheduled and PNC does download the check number at that time...some banks will not do that until after the payment has been made and cleared.
    (QW Premier Subscription: R39.23 on Windows 10)
  • Rocket J Squirrel
    Rocket J Squirrel SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    According to Quicken's financial institution directory file fidir.txt, hundreds of banks support Direct Connect with Bill Pay. The trick is finding the ones that allow new customers this privilege without charging too much for it and have local branches if that's important to you. Today's starting list is in this PDF, but some human web/phone work will be needed to find the right bank for you.
    Quicken user since version 2 for DOS, now using QWin Premier Subscription on Win10 Pro.
  • dan5
    dan5 Member ✭✭✭
    last time I tried a bunch on that list and the 4 or 5 I tried did not really support it. I will check into Chase thanks
  • dan5
    dan5 Member ✭✭✭
    Is there anyone here who Quicken Bill Manager works well some bills are xfinity, citi credit cards, xcel, Western Disposal, City of Lafayette Water, Universal Lending I could not get any of these to work reliably.
  • Jim_Harman
    Jim_Harman SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    Please note that there is a difference between Online Bills, where Quicken is supposed to get the amount due automatically from the biller, and Bill Manager, which handles the payment itself. I believe you can use Bill Manager without using Online bills.

    I gave up on Online Bills some time ago because it did not work reliably; maybe it is better now.
    QWin Premier subscription
  • mshiggins
    mshiggins SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    Please note that there is a difference between Online Bills, where Quicken is supposed to get the amount due automatically from the biller, and Bill Manager, which handles the payment itself. I believe you can use Bill Manager without using Online bills.

    I gave up on Online Bills some time ago because it did not work reliably; maybe it is better now.
    Based on reading posts here in the forum, neither Online Bills nor Bill Manager are very reliable. 
    Quicken user since Q1999. Currently using QW2017.
    Questions? Check out the  Quicken Windows FAQ list
  • Boatnmaniac
    Boatnmaniac SuperUser ✭✭✭✭
    edited January 30
    Searching the bank websites is, IMO, critical in this effort.  The websites will often list any fees (or state "no fee") and will identify any unique set up and login requirements that are different from simply using your online account login.  Talking with the bank's Customer Service can be helpful but unfortunately many Customer Service personnel do not know anything about Quicken so it might take some time trying to find someone who can talk intelligently about Quicken.
    Also, note that when setting up a Financial Institution (FI) in Quicken for Direct Connect it is often a good idea to check for the "Advanced Options" link.  If that link is available, click on it and make sure "Direct Connect" is checked and not "Express Web Connect" or "Web Connect".  If Direct Connect is not listed as an option there then it is not available with that FI.
    One final comment: Within the last year or so, Wells Fargo made Direct Connect a free service for all consumer accounts (they used to charge a monthly fee for that).  I do not know if they charge a monthly fee for Bank Bill Pay via Quicken but in most cases if Direct Connect is offered for free there is also no fee for using that Bank Bill Pay service from within Quicken.  Just another option to consider.
    (QW Premier Subscription: R39.23 on Windows 10)
  • Boatnmaniac
    Boatnmaniac SuperUser ✭✭✭✭
    mshiggins said:
    Please note that there is a difference between Online Bills, where Quicken is supposed to get the amount due automatically from the biller, and Bill Manager, which handles the payment itself. I believe you can use Bill Manager without using Online bills.

    I gave up on Online Bills some time ago because it did not work reliably; maybe it is better now.
    Based on reading posts here in the forum, neither Online Bills nor Bill Manager are very reliable. 
    But Direct Connect Bank Bill Pay is, based upon my experience with several banks over the years, very reliable.
    (QW Premier Subscription: R39.23 on Windows 10)
  • mshiggins
    mshiggins SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    mshiggins said:
    Please note that there is a difference between Online Bills, where Quicken is supposed to get the amount due automatically from the biller, and Bill Manager, which handles the payment itself. I believe you can use Bill Manager without using Online bills.

    I gave up on Online Bills some time ago because it did not work reliably; maybe it is better now.
    Based on reading posts here in the forum, neither Online Bills nor Bill Manager are very reliable. 
    But Direct Connect Bank Bill Pay is, based upon my experience with several banks over the years, very reliable.
    Totally agree. Direct Connect Billpay through Quicken is orders of magnitude more reliable. 
    Quicken user since Q1999. Currently using QW2017.
    Questions? Check out the  Quicken Windows FAQ list
  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited January 30
    EDITED to fix some typos, and add a bit more information.

    If one understands how Bill Pay works through Direct Connect vs Quicken Bill Manager, it becomes obvious why Direct Connect is reliable to and Quicken Bill Manager isn't.

    I think the best way to think of Bill Pay through Direct Connect is that Quicken becomes a GUI interface for the bank's bill pay system.  So, if that bank's bill pay system is reliable, barring any GUI/command to the system mistakes, it will be reliable.  And note the "commands" are all set by the standard OFX protocol.  For instance, if I create a new payee at Chase and then update Quicken then that payee will show up in Quicken.



    Now here is how Quicken Bill Manager works.
    This one can be compared to Express Web Connect where there is an "aggregator" in between Quicken and the financial institution/biller.

    The biggest problems with both Express Web Connect and Quicken Bill Manager is that there isn't a set protocol for these "aggregators" to talk to the financial institution/biller, and they are using the login of the user instead of some kind of computer to computer system.

    In the case of Express Web Connect the job is logging in to the financial institution's website and getting the transactions using an "agreed method", which can range from some set API to them having to try to read the web pages.  Note that logging in with all the new MFA requirements and such are a large part of the possible problems.

    The same goes for the third party that is providing the Quicken Bill Manager service.
    Before Quicken Bill Manager there was "Online Bills".  The job there is to log in and get the details of the bill (date, amount).  The logging in again is a large part of making this unreliable.

    I should note that Direct Connect doesn't use the financial institution's website log in, it logs into an OFX server using the standards it has for logging in, which was designed for computer to computer instead of user/web browser to computer.

    So, Online Bills was already known not to be 100% reliable in just getting the bill information, this was going on for years.  I had some online billers that were reliable, some that messed up from time to time, and some that never worked.

    When Quicken Bill Pay's third party decided to get out of the business, Quicken Inc went to the same provider of Online Bills and asked for their "bill pay service".

    It works in the same way as Online Bills, logging into the biller's site.  So, what does it do there?
    It does the same thing you would do there, it sets up a payment.  This is of course if the biller has an online payment system, along with any restrictions and cost it might have.

    So, imaging the not 100% reliable system now trying to do a more complex action of setting up a bill payment.  What could go wrong, right?

    Of course, there will be bills that can't be paid through a biller's bill pay system, and that is where Check Pay comes in.   The third party prints and sends out these checks.

    I will say that most of my bills are setup to pay using the biller's payment system, and I have found them to be very reliable, but that is after I have set them up on biller's website or in some cases with some form or such for utilities, and I always pay in full/automatic, no complicated "schedules".  And I as a human is much better at navigating the biller's website than a program is.

    BTW some actions of Quicken user's make this even more error prone since they will insist on sending "pay $123 on the 12th" as they see the bills, instead of an automatic pay off the bill each month.  So, you are comparing a onetime setup to a monthly sending of instructions to maybe multiple billers.

    Just to contrast I'm going to throw in how the old Quicken Bill Pay system worked.
    That third party didn't log into websites.  It was setup as a "financial institution", and as such could do ACH transfers.  So, what it was doing is scheduling an ACH transfer from your checking account to the biller.  So, it is a "push" system, whereas Quicken Bill Manager is a "pull" system where the biller pulls the payment.  And of course, for billers that couldn't accept ACH transfers it send checks.
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  • BOB139
    BOB139 Member ✭✭
    I wouldn't mind getting direct bill paying working.

    How fast is Quicken's bill pay service?

    What about PNC's?

    I remember when I had Chase checking when trying to use bill pay through Quicken it would only let you schedule a payment minimum 3-5 days in the future, while through their website you could set it up for 2 days in the future.

    I like my credit union's bill pay as it usually lets me setup a payment for tomorrow. I've tried Wells Fargo bill pay through their site and it has the same issue where it doesn't let you pay any sooner than 3 days forward.
  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    I wouldn't know about such details, I don't really use the bill pay system, I have all my bills paid through automatic deduction from the biller's site, and even if I used the system, I never wait till the last moment to pay a bill.  I did notice when I setup that test bill from Quicken it put 3 days, but when I did it from the Chase side it said 2 days.  Again, to my way of thinking seems like a minor detail.  If the bill can be paid electronically it will be dependent mostly on how fast the receiving side processes it.  If it is sent by check, that will happen at the speed of UPS.
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  • dan5
    dan5 Member ✭✭✭
    The reason I like using Quicken to enter the bills is I like to schedule it well in advance. I usually have bills scheduled ahead 2 or 3 weeks to pay a day or two before they are do so I know I wont run out of funds.
  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    BOB139 said:
    How fast is Quicken's bill pay service?

    The first question you should ask is does it work reliably, and the answer to that is no.
    As for speed, the system works by putting scheduling a bill to be paid on the biller's site, if available, or by sending a check.  This is a third-party service that logs into the biller's website to try to do this.

    Whereas I find using the biller's automatic payment system to be super reliable, I would never trust a program that is trying to log into all the different biller's websites and do it for me, especially if I was not using it to just pay the full bill automatically (one time setup) but asking it to do this monthly for all the different bills.
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  • Jim_Harman
    Jim_Harman SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    BOB139 said:
    I wouldn't mind getting direct bill paying working.

    How fast is Quicken's bill pay service?

    What about PNC's?

    I remember when I had Chase checking when trying to use bill pay through Quicken it would only let you schedule a payment minimum 3-5 days in the future, while through their website you could set it up for 2 days in the future.

    I like my credit union's bill pay as it usually lets me setup a payment for tomorrow. I've tried Wells Fargo bill pay through their site and it has the same issue where it doesn't let you pay any sooner than 3 days forward.
    Like @Chris_QPW,  most of my bills are set so the biller takes the money directly from my bank account. I have Reminders set up in Quicken so the transaction gets entered in the register and is matched to the withdrawal when it clears.

    For bill pay, my experience is with Bank of America. I can schedule payments up to 30 days in advance. You set the payment date, which must be at least 2 working days from now or longer if it is a small payee and they are sending the payment by mail. I generally set the payment date to 5 days before the due date, so I can see that the payment has cleared before the due date.

    BoA takes the money out of your account on the scheduled payment date, even if it is a check and it is delayed or the recipient waits before cashing it. On the few occasions where the payment has been delayed, they have been very responsive.
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  • Boatnmaniac
    Boatnmaniac SuperUser ✭✭✭✭
    edited January 30
    @Dan5 - Regarding PNC:  I schedule bill payments in Quicken with PNC sometimes more than 1 month in advance....for the same reason as you...to make sure I have it accurately reflected in my account register(s) so I can better understand the future balances.  The downloaded check number confirms that the payment command has been accepted by PNC and is scheduled.
    With PNC I enter the date I want the biller to receive the payment.  PNC then backs up the processing date based upon criteria such as whether the payment will be made by ACH or if it will need to be mailed.  The bank determines that, there's nothing we need to do to calculate that.  PNC generally needs 3-7 days (depending on payment method) to complete the payments.
    I've been doing bank bill pay for over 20 years and I can think of only 1 time when a payment was not received on time...and that was because the good old USPS took an unusually long time to deliver the check.
    BTW, another bank that has free Bank Bill Pay is Midland States Bank.  They are a regional bank chain located in Illinois but if you do not need a brick and mortar building to work with they might be another viable option for you since setting up accounts and managing them nowadays can pretty much be done entirely via the Internet.
    One other comment:  There is another way to get visibility to future account balances without needing to actually schedule bill payments long in advance.  It's a really slick feature which allows for projecting account balances out as far as 12 months into the future.
    • Set up Bill Reminders for your bills. 
    • Then in the account register:  Upper right Gear icon > Register Columns > make sure the box for Status is checked > Done.
    • Then above the account register to the right (just left of the Gear icon) click on the Clock and select the number of days you want those Reminders to be shown in the register.  
    • Now all the Reminders for that account will show in the register for the number of days in the future that you selected and the future balances will take them into account.
    • The status column will show whether the bills are Due, Upcoming, Uncleared, Paid, Overdue, etc.
    The same can be done with Income and Transfer Reminders.  I find this feature to be an incredibly important planning tool.
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  • dan5
    dan5 Member ✭✭✭
    Thanks @Boatnmaniac I just spent some time on the PNC website and liked it, it was hard to determine if they have bill pay through direct connect, but this thread seems to confirm it. The personal checking accounts seemed very reasonable and useful and low risk of irritating fees, the savings accounts were not as great rates as my credit union, but nothing is really good right now. The HELOC account actually looked a bit better than my credit union which we use to manage cash flow. My wife is a realtor and has business checking savings and credit card. The PNC business checking seemed a bit weird. It has max limits on monthly deposits that would be difficult. One month she might deposit $60k and then $0 the next, very lumpy revenue. It looks like they tier it based on monthly deposits with a max until you get a fee with $5000 max deposits on the low cost account. I might be reading it wrong and will try to go into the local branch and see if they can explain it or get me into something that works. If I can bill pay with direct connect this looks like the best option if I can sort out the weird business accounts.

    I also poked around Chase website, but it felt a lot more like big bank that would irritate me with a bunch of fees, which is why I had shifted to a credit union.
  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited January 31
    Chase is certainly a big bank, one of the biggest.

    And in fact I have avoided local banks for the very you have stated.  Other than credit cards which I do like from them I haven't been banking with them until very recently.  My reasons for going with them are very specific to my current situation.  The first being they are literally across the street from me.  The second is that I'm consolidating most of my finances with them and as such all the fees drop away.  But most importantly when I've dealt with them they are very responsive and they have all the services that I need and I wanted to get away from having so many financial institutions doing different things for me.
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