Does Quicken Web sync directly to banks?

I recently set up mobile & web. I included a credit card account I rarely use and, to save connection time, rarely update online.

When I updated mobile data from my desktop app today, it downloaded a new transaction into that inactive account. The bank had issued a paper check for a long-standing small credit they wanted off their books.

I haven't updated that account from the desktop in months. The downloaded transaction can only have come indirectly from the web.

That being the case, can I choose to not update any credit cards directly from my desktop app to the bank, but depend on those to download from the web app? If I'm using the web app I have to keep it current or it's useless. That connection isn't always fast. If I can eliminate connecting to the banks directly, it would save time.

Best Answer

  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    Answer ✓
    I would also point out that syncing your investment accounts to Mobile/Web only gets you the positions shares/prices and the cash basis, it doesn't get you any details.
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Answers

  • splasher
    splasher SuperUser ✭✭✭✭
    Yes, the Quicken Cloud Account (QCA) is the mechanism in the Quicken server background that holds the data that you originally synced from the desktop.  If those accounts were setup for One Step Update (OSU), the QCA would also do it and then Quicken would try to properly marry the data in the desktop with the QCA together, but it has shown to have problems.
    You can't stop the QCA from doing the updates, but I'm GUESSING that if you never did a OSU on the desktop for the synced accounts, you might not run into the issues that other users have reported of lost transactions or unintended changes, i.e. nightmares.
    You would want to make sure that you kept your QCA synced to your desktop because there is no way to backup what is in the QCA, only what is in your desktop data file.
    Personally, I don't use QMobile/Q-Web, so everything I've written is what I've learned from users writing in with their issues and what has and hasn't worked for them.
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  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    I’m reading the question a bit differently than @splasher.  I read it as you want to use the QCA connection to get transactions instead of having Quicken Desktop doing it.

    If that is the case I would say I think it is possible, but I certainly have never tried it.

    As @splasher explained the Quicken servers are updating the QCA from time to time (let’s say once a day) and in the case of Quicken Web I think it might do it when you log in, but for sure you can also force to do an update.

    So, with that part covered, what actually brings those transactions down to the the Quicken Desktop data file?
    It is is the Quicken Cloud sync.  Note you can run that separate from One Step Update or it can be one operations that is done during One Step Update.  Note that in One Step Update one operation is to download the transactions.  The flow on this varies depending on what the connection method is.

    With Express Web Connect it is:
    Quicken -> Quicken server/QCA -> Intuit -> Financial institution’s website.

    For Direct Connect it is:
    Quicken talking directly to the financial instructions OFX server.

    For Web Connect you get a QFX file and import it into Quicken.

    And the flow for the QCA is:
    Quicken server/QCA -> Intuit -> Financial institution’s website

    Note that both Quicken Web And Mobile can keep off the QCA flow or it can be kicked of on a “time basis”/once a night by the Quicken server itself.

    So, clearly for Express Web Connect, Web, Mobile all the data is being “cached” in the QCA and as such it probably doesn’t matter too much what made the request.  I said “probably” because I do know that in some cases Quicken Web/Mobile can’t be setup even with Quicken Desktop/Express Web Connect does work.  I believe this is usually because the downloading of the transactions for a given financial institution requires some kind of interaction with the user, and can’t be done “in the background”.  But that is just a guess.

    When the connection type is Direct Connect/Web Connect there has to be a merging of transactions from those sources and the QCA.  From what I can tell they handle this the same way they handle any request where they might get the same transaction downloaded more than once.  They rely on the Downloaded Id for each transaction, to only import that transaction one time.

    So, in summary I think what you are talking about is possible using just the button for “Cloud Sync”, but as @splasher pointed out you do want to do this sync periodically if for no other reason than to have a backup of your transactions, because the QCA hasn’t proved to be reliable over the long term, and has even been associated with damaging the Quicken data file.  And if things go south your only recourse is to throw away the data in the QCA and having the Quicken data file replace up to two years of it.
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  • SomebodyInGNV
    SomebodyInGNV Member ✭✭
    Having a better understanding of the network topology is helpful. This may work out well. Thanks.

    I've started using Q Web and Q Mobile because I'm really tired of double entry in YNAB and Quicken, but want some budget information on my phone to refer to when making purchase decisions. I much prefer YNAB's approach to budgeting but that doesn't outweigh the value of QWin's integration of banking, investments and tax forecasting, or the negative aspect of double entry. In light of that, QWin's budgeting is good enough.

    If I understand correctly, Direct Connect is between my desktop app and the bank. If that's the case, QWeb is dependent on QWin to get that information. So, I still have to include DC banks in my OSUs, but excluding Express Web Connect accounts from OSUs may mitigate the risk of data conflict by allowing all of those transactions to originate in QCA/Web. I'll edit them after download and that revised information will be uploaded again, but it will retain unique transaction identifiers and won't have to merge with anything.

    What I plan to do is to include only my DC banks (Fidelity, Merrill and Chase) in OSU and let QCA deal with the rest. That will make my OSUs faster since I'll get them with the Mobile/Web update, anyway. It also mitigates the risk of data conflicts since the same transactions won't be downloaded by 2 different methods and potentially result in duplication.

    I have to include Fidelity and Merrill in OSUs because I'm not syncing them outside of QWin. I'm only interested in doing that with spending accounts.

    In summary, Direct Connect account information will flow from QWin to QWeb and Express Web connect accounts will flow from QWeb to QWin. Express Web transactions edited in QWin will update QWeb but will already have a unique ID so QWeb knows which transaction to update.

    If my interpretation of this process is incorrect, please correct me.
  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    I'm not 100% positive of this (I haven't tested it), but I believe that QCA/Quicken servers can use Direct Connect too.

    So, for accounts that are setup for Direct Connect this is yet another flow.

    Quicken server/QCA -> Financial institution's OFX server (using Direct Connect protocol).

    In other words, I believe no matter if the account is setup as Direct Connect or Express Web Connect, the QCA can be updated without the Quicken Desktop.  Even though it is discouraged to go long periods of time without syncing to the Quicken Desktop data file, people certainly have used it for weeks and such and kept all the accounts up to date.
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  • SomebodyInGNV
    SomebodyInGNV Member ✭✭
    I can't dispute the point but it seems inconsistent with the idea that passwords for DC accounts are stored only in Quicken. If DC accounts can update automatically via the QCA, I can live with that, and I just won't sync any bank accounts at all. I'll limit that to Fidelity and Merrill investment accounts, plus syncing to the web. That will be faster.
  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    No one said that Direct Connect account usernames and passwords were only stored in the Quicken's password vault if you are syncing those accounts to the QCA.

    In fact, it wasn't until very recently that the Express Web Connect usernames and passwords were removed from the Quicken Password Vault.  They never really needed to be in there.  The aggregator Intuit always had them.  That is how it from day one logged in as the user daily to get the transactions.

    If you don't use sync to Mobile/Web than yes, they are only in the Quicken Password Vault, but the moment you decide to sync to Mobile/Web you give permission for them to store them outside of the Quicken Password Vault.

    But the Direct Connect usernames/passwords can't be removed from the Quicken Password Vault, because Quicken uses them to make the connection when it is downloading the transactions.
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  • SomebodyInGNV
    SomebodyInGNV Member ✭✭
    So, if I'm not using Q web or mobile, the passwords aren't stored elsewhere? That's where I got that idea. I did not understand that syncing those banks with the web will store their passwords on the web, but it makes sense.

    The only one I have misgivings about is Fidelity. I don't sync investment accounts but do sync my CMA, which is my primary checking. But the same password provides access to all of it.

    I have a second identity in Fidelity as a result of previously managing a parent's accounts. I may move my CMA to that identity to isolate it from the other investments, then sync only that alternate identity to Q web. I'll have to think about that.
  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited February 27
    EDITED for typos.

    Yes, that is the tradeoff.

    Web Connect, usernames passwords not stored anywhere (you log in with your web browser and get the QFX file).

    Direct Connect and no sync to Mobile/Web, they can be stored in the Password Vault or not, if not you will be prompted for them at every One Step Update.

    Direct Connect with sync to Mobile/Web, same plus on Quicken server.

    Express Web Connect whether you use sync to Mobile/Web or not they will be on the Intuit server.

    Express Web Connect +, passwords aren't used except to set it up.  From then on it uses a rotating token.  This system is between the Intuit server and the financial institution.  Currently only Capital One and Schwab use this system.
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  • SomebodyInGNV
    SomebodyInGNV Member ✭✭
    Thinking about this a bit, I don't have to synchronize Fidelity at all to the web at all. My main checking account won't be available to me on my phone or on the web (I probably won't use the web much) but there's little activity in that account, anyway. Almost everything runs through our credit cards.

    Since Fidelity is Direct Connect and I'm updating those at the same time I sync with the QCA, my desktop database will have everything in it. There will be no access to any investment accounts online and my passwords won't be stored there. The fact I'm not syncing the checking account reduces the likelihood of transaction conflicts.

    If somebody does hack Quicken, the only information they'll have access to is my credit card accounts. Those provide far more protection against fraudulent accounts than having someone drain my retirement savings.
  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    Answer ✓
    I would also point out that syncing your investment accounts to Mobile/Web only gets you the positions shares/prices and the cash basis, it doesn't get you any details.
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  • SomebodyInGNV
    SomebodyInGNV Member ✭✭
    It also doesn't serve my purpose for Q mobile, which is to get budget information in my hand for spending decisions.

    Thanks for helping me work through this.
  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    Just so you know, I can now confirm 100% that QCA/Web/Mobile does sync with Direct Connect accounts.
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  • SomebodyInGNV
    SomebodyInGNV Member ✭✭
    If the accounts are not synced from the desktop app to web/mobile, are they still stored in QCA?
  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    If the accounts are not synced from the desktop app to web/mobile, are they still stored in QCA?
    Yes, that is exactly what I was saying above.  Of course, you have to first sync the accounts from the Desktop data file to even get them in the QCA, but after that the QCA will sync them.

    Note that Quicken Mobile/Web are nothing more than the "GUIs" for the QCA.  And of course, there is some kind of program on the Quicken server that does all the work of keeping the QCA up to date.  Whether that be to sync with the Quicken Desktop program/data file or the financial institutions.
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  • SomebodyInGNV
    SomebodyInGNV Member ✭✭
    OK. So, it all works as I'd like it to. I have no DC accounts sync'ed with QCA. Basically, those are limited to investment banks, Fidelity and Merrill. None of their information can be found online and their passwords are not online.

    All others sync with QCA and are express web connections. They'd be in QCA even if I weren't using the mobile app and those are the only ones I care about for mobile access, anyway.

    Thanks
  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited March 1
    Just to be clear you have to decide what you are defining with the term Quicken Cloud Account.
    As a programmer I usually define that as the "data".  And there is going to be some kind of program "Quicken server" that actually does the work of adding/deleting/changing that data.

    But you could think of QCA as being both of these.

    But when one talks about Quicken Web/Mobile these aren't the "QCA", they are separate programs that interacts with the program that actually deals with the QCA data.  In programming talk, the client and the server.  Or in the more vague new talk the "App" and the "Cloud".

    EDIT:  "Cloud" combines the server and its data into one term.
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  • SomebodyInGNV
    SomebodyInGNV Member ✭✭
    To simplify the language, I'm referring to the accounts I'm syncing by way of the Mobile/Web tab in Quicken Windows, wherever it goes and however it gets there. I exclude all direct-connect accounts and include all express web accounts.
  • SomebodyInGNV
    SomebodyInGNV Member ✭✭
    Oops - exception. I'm syncing Chase bank credit cards. They're direct connect.
  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    I'm not sure why you think that excluding Direct Connect buys you anything, unless they are taking a long time to sync in One Step Update (and my Chase accounts are Direct Connect and download very fast.  I have banking, credit cards, and investments with them).

    There is in fact, less chances of duplicates with Direct Connect than there is with Express Web Connect.
    The unique Ids for Direct Connect no matter what is connecting (Desktop/QCA/Quicken server) come from the financial institutions, which do a very good job of creating unique Ids.

    With Express Web Connect they sometimes come from the financial institutions and sometimes Intuit generates them.  Intuit's method of generating them has bugs in it.  For instance, if you Reset the connection it will start to generate new unique ids for the same transactions.

    And I should point out the fears about Sync to Mobile/Web have more to do with the fact that the sync has been known remove split details, change the cleared status, change memorized payees, change/delete budgets.  I suppose that it might also in certain circumstances duplicate transactions, but that hasn't been really one of the major complaints I have heard about it.

    Note that duplicate transaction complaints happen all the time, but they are mostly caused by the very bugs I was talking about with Intuit's generation of unique Ids that is used for some financial institution, but only for Express Web Connect.
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  • SomebodyInGNV
    SomebodyInGNV Member ✭✭
    It's more of a security concern. The fewer the places that have my login information, the lower the likelihood of it being compromised. I'm not a Luddite when it comes to syncing my banks through aggregator services but I do try to eliminate unnecessary connections where I can. That's not about Quicken, specifically, but Quicken is one of the systems that is a potential exposure.
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