Automatic future register entry for "repeating online payment" when EWC+ is active

Bank of America (and other banks, like Chase) have recently forced Quicken online bill payments to change from the old FABULOUS Direct Connect method to the new AWFUL EWC+ method. This forces me to now initiate one-off and repeating bill payments using my account on the BofA site, instead of initiating the bills from Quicken.

It's not that I can't pay one-off and repeating bills using BofA's Online Bill Payment Center method. It's that the only time a downloaded transaction for these payments gets sent to Quicken is on the day that the one-off/recurring payment is actually made. So for all the time in advance of the payment date there is nothing automatically present in my register that I can look at prospectively (say for the next month), in order to plan my need to ensure that adequate funds are present in the account advance of the payment in order to avoid overdraft.

Sure, I can manually pre-enter these future transactions for the next month or two or three in Quicken to correspond to what I know are the one-off/recurring payments I've set up for BofA to pay. But I don't want to do any of this manually, if possible.

In other words I want to do pretty much exactly as little manually as I used to do when Direct Connect was the method used by Quicken to talk to BofA, when we used to be able to just "pay bills by initiating them through Quicken" and all corresponding post-dated register entries were created AUTOMATICALLY, pre-entered automatically for both one-off as well as repeating payments with the future dates. All we had to do was either initiate a one-off payment (using Online Center), or create a "repeating online payment" and have it work automatically and forever with zero additional effort on my part. And for repeating payments, every time this month's payment transaction was downloaded, next month's payment was pre-entered into the register so I could see I needed money to cover it for the entire upcoming month.

Everything worked "perfectly" (for decades) when Direct Connect was active. Unfortunately, it no longer is active, and EWC+ is a pretty poor replacement that now requires a great deal of new manual effort on my part to make my upcoming register still look as it used to when Direct Connect was functional, and provide me with the same prospective information for financial planning on the account.

So, what is the solution? Well as I see it there are two possible "fixes" that could improve things when EWC+ is in effect:

(1) BofA could greatly improve their own Online Bill Payment mechanism by simply sending down a "future dated UNCLEARED transaction" on the night that I create a new one-off bill payment using the BofA site. This would have exactly the same result as if this future-dated one-off payment had been initiated from Quicken when Direct Connect was operative. The future-dated register entry will be "matched" in the future, when the actual second "cleared payment" transaction is then download for the cleared payment on the night that it actually gets paid. This is EXACTLY how things worked with Direct Connect.

Similarly with repeating payments initiated from the BofA site. Again, all BofA needs to do is send down a "future-dated UNCLEARED transaction" repeatedly for placement in my register, each month, whenever the current month's scheduled payment gets paid and cleared and I also get the downloaded transaction for this cleared payment. So every time a repeating payment is paid, that night I would get one transaction for the cleared payment, and a second UNCLEARED transaction with next month's date. Again, EXACTLY how things worked with Direct Connect.

So the only difference for me and my register with respect to online bill payment is that I now have to initiate the one-off/recurring payments from the BofA side, rather than through Quicken. But otherwise, the Quicken Register would work and look the same to me with EWC+ as it used to with Direct Connect.

This would be 100% acceptable to me, as I would no longer have do to this newly required extra manual entry into my register of what I know to be future-dated one-off/recurring payments, for payments produced by BofA.

But this is NOT how BofA currently does things. I've suggested this to them as a necessary enhancement to EWC+ processing, and they agree it would be a very nice improvement for Quicken Users who have grown accustomed to how easy things used to be with Direct Connect. But it's not likely to appear, I'm afraid.

(2) Instead of BofA handling this need, why not just have Quicken do it instead, at least for known "repeating online payments" which managed automatically creating future-dated register entries for the next scheduled payment each month when the current payment cleared (i.e. downloaded cleared transaction for this month's payment was received from BofA).

In other words, just as I used to set up a "repeating online payment" through Quicken and everything thereafter occurred automatically, instead I now set up that repeating online payment using the BofA site. But I would be willing to ALSO take one more step and create a new "repeating online payment REGISTER ENTRY" in Quicken (accomplishing what used to be done automatically when Direct Connect was used).

The payment is still initiated from the BofA site, and there will still be a downloaded CLEARED transaction on the night that the payment is actually made. And I would manually accept it into my register, which Quicken had properly "matched" up with the pre-entered future-dated register entry created last month. But in addition, Quicken would then create a new future-dated register entry for NEXT MONTH'S scheduled recurring payment... with the result just as things used to look when Direct Connect was operative.

In other words I'm only asking for an enhancement in Quicken when EWC+ is operative, to simulate how Direct Connect used to work and how the register was maintained, for repeating online payments.

Sure, these repeating payments are no longer actually created through Quicken, but I can live with having to use the BofA site to initiate these recurring payments. What I can't live with is the extra manual effort now required to manually "double enter" each and every month the future-dated upcoming future register entries showing me those upcoming repeating payments I know will get paid in the future, all through the future upcoming month... just as used to be the case with Direct Connect.

I don't want a "reminder", which still needs me to manually create a register entry myself. I want Quicken to create the register entry for me, for repeating online payments that I know I've set up using the BofA site and for which I will only be getting downloaded transactions from BofA on the night those monthly payments get paid. I want the future-dated uncleared prospective transaction in my register IN ADVANCE of their pay-date, just as used to be the case with Direct Connect.

And Quicken should do that for me, knowing how deficient the EWC+ technology is in this regard.
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  • Jim_Harman
    Jim_Harman SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    I was also concerned at first about the loss of the convenience and reliability of Direct Connect for bill paying with BoA.

    But for me, the regular monthly transactions from large companies like utilities and credit cards are much more common than one-offs.

    For these, there is no need to interact with the BoA bill pay system other than a one-time setup at either the biller's website or at BoA. In Quicken, I use Reminders to track all of these bills. Instead of being set up as an online payment, when I know what the amount will be I just go to the Bills and Income tab, set the amount for the Reminder, and accept it. The Reminders create the register transactions and feed directly into Quicken's Projected Balances and where appropriate into the Tax Planner. If the amount is the same each month, I can set the Reminder to Auto Accept and there is no need to interact on the Quicken end either.

    One advantage of this setup is that these bills get paid on time even if I am travelling or Quicken crashes.

    For one- off bills like doctor's offices small regular bi
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  • DSperber
    DSperber Member ✭✭
    Well, turns out what you're suggesting is something I've seen others also mention previously. And I had been unsuccessful in being able to find anything in the GUI that matched up with what you all were referring to.

    For example, "..I just go to the Bills & Income tab..." sounds perfect. Except that I DIDN'T HAVE ANY SUCH TAB. In fact I had NO TABS AT ALL!!! Pretty hard to get started.

    Furthermore, trying to figure this out using Help also turned out to be unproductive, as all of the Help documentation assumed that you already had all of these tabs showing. But they were not, for me.

    So I finally phoned Quicken Support this morning, to have them get me straightened out and help me out of my perplexing confusion. Turns out what nobody and no documentation mentions is that there is a VERY IMPORTANT FUNDAMENTAL configuration option you have to enable first: STANDARD MENUS, rather than the CLASSIC MENUS that my decades-old Quicken GUI was configured for. I'd never changed this, although I now have and of course now I actually DO have tabs. In particular I finally now DO have the 'Bills & Income" tab.

    And now that I actually had a "Bills & Income" tab I could now delete the old residual "repeating online" payments left over from the old Direct Connect days. And now I could create new "bills" (call them "reminders" or whatever you want", I don't care) to replace them for the new EWC+ world.

    But most importantly, they STILL were not appearing in my register as I expected. And that was because of the SECOND MAJOR GUI CUSTOMIZATION that is required: Using the "gear" icon on the upper-right of the register for my BofA checking account it is MANDATORY to enable "reminders to show in register"!
  • DSperber
    DSperber Member ✭✭
    Thought I could insert these images in-stream, but apparently not. They are at the end. Oh well.
  • DSperber
    DSperber Member ✭✭
    And once I did (a) go into "Standard menus (recommended)" mode, and (b) activate reminders showing in my register for the next 30 days, and (c) delete the "detritus" old repeating online payments and create new "bills" correctly, well sure enough now those pre-entered future dated transactions were automatically inserted into my register... without my having to manually enter them myself.

    Perfect! Yes, of course I will have to handle one-off online payments (done through BofA) if they occur by manually entering them in the register. But quite frankly as you point out it is the repeating regular payments which occur EVERY MONTH and therefore involve the bulk of any extra effort needed to add them to the register. And now that they will be automatically inserted into the register this really is exactly the functionality I had suggested in this thread, that I never really appreciated was already present in the product.

    And it all falls into place intuitively (and the Help now makes sense) if you're not in "Classic menus" but rather in "Standard menus".

    Case closed. Many thanks for the push.
  • Jim_Harman
    Jim_Harman SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    Welcome to Tabs and Reminders!

    With the Classic menus enabled, you can do View > Show Tabs to see the tabs With the standard menus, the Tabs are always displayed. Once the tabs are displayed, you can go to View > Tabs to show to control which tabs are displayed.

    Showing future Reminders that have not been accepted yet in your register is optional. I like to keep my registers "clean" so they only have transactions that have been reviewed and accepted, but that is up to you. The Projected Balances tab under Bills and Income will show projected balances based on future Reminders whether or not they have been accepted or are in your register.
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  • DSperber
    DSperber Member ✭✭
    Well, turns out there may be a bit more to this story that I wasn't prepared for.

    Yes, I did successfully create those "bills" (or are they "reminders"??) in Quicken, corresponding to my future ongoing repeating online payments (regularly paid monthly by BofA Bill Payment center for my account). And I did change the Quicken BofA account settings from "do not show reminders in register" to "show next 30 days in register". And this absolutely did produce my four future-dated register entries, showing a date that matched my "reminder".

    However, the first two of these (scheduled for Dec 5) just "paid/cleared" at BofA, so that night (or the next night?) I actually received the downloaded transactions for the "cleared" payments. Of course I fully expected that during the "accept" process for these two transactions Quicken would automatically and correctly "match" these payments to the previously created register entries (from the "reminders").

    Well, it didn't happen!!!! Imagine my surprise when both of these two downloaded "cleared/paid" transactions actually showed up as NEW!! As if Quicken had no idea that the previously created and future-dated register entries (which I created last week) actually MATCHED the newly downloaded transactions! So when I "accepted" the first of these two it ended up in the register AS A DUPLICATE! I now had two register entries for the one bill payment. I had to delete one of them (I chose to delete the newly downloaded one, since the previously created "reminder" already had the correct memo and category). Surprising.

    Then with the second transaction the same story, except that I WAS UNABLE TO MANUALLY DELETE OR "CLEAR" the previously created "reminder/bill" register entry. For some reason it even now showed up in BOLD FONT (for some reason) which seemed to block editing of any field, and so I could not click on any field (and therefore couldn't delete it or "clear" it or anything).

    Then when I "accepted" the newly downloaded [duplicate] transaction I was oddly prompted for "is this the Dec 5 payment?", to which I replied "yes". Then the previously BOLD register entry got un-bolded, and marked "cleared" (by Quicken, apparently, since I didn't do it myself). Now why this happened for this second payment transaction but not the same thing for the first payment transaction, I don't know.

    Perhaps this just a first-time "learning" activity, and next month's behavior will actually automatically "match", discovering that those payments next month truly correspond to the future-dated register entries which will have been there for a whole month by that time.

    ==> I'm not sure this is going quite as problem-free and fully automatic as I had anticipated. I will be very careful to look for more anomalies on Dec 23 when the next two monthly payments "clear" and their downloaded transactions appear that night, and once again SHOULD be automatically "matched" with the two corresponding future-dated register entries that will have been there for about 3 weeks by that time.

    We shall see.