Which of my data is stored on Quicken servers?

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brec
brec Member ✭✭
edited May 2023 in Before you Buy
Assuming that I have Preferences::Sync turned OFF, which of my data is stored on Quicken servers? I know it would include authentication info sufficient to access and download from my financial institutions, but does it include downloaded or manually entered data such as accounts, transactions, balances, categories, portfolios, and the like?

Full disclosure: I have subscribed, but I'm still within the 30-day refund period so in my mind I haven't yet bought.

EDIT: I'll be using only OFX or Plaid, no Express Web Connect / Quicken Connect (+), no bill pay -- just downloading transactions from banks and investment brokerages.

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  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
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    With the exception of Direct Connect, you can figure that pretty much any of the online services are going to store some information on the server. What exactly is store is never stated by Quicken Inc. For sure "some transactions" are stored on both the Quicken Inc servers and the Intuit servers for Express Web Connect and Express Web Connect + connect types. And of course there are things like Online Bills, Quicken Bill Manager, credit score, …

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  • brec
    brec Member ✭✭
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    Thanks, Chris. With that context, I should add to my question that I'll be using only OFX or Plaid, no Express Web Connect / Quicken Connect (+), no bill pay -- just downloading transactions from banks and investment brokerages. In fact, I will edit my question accordingly.
  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
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    Quicken doesn't use Plaid, so any use of it is outside of Quicken.

    Quicken can import transactions using these "connection methods/formats":

    1. Web Connect, download a Web Connect/QFX file from financial institution that supports the format. QFX is a slightly modified version of the OFX standard.
    2. Direct Connect, this is Quicken's implemenation of the OFX standard. Note that a financial institution has to be on their "participating partner's" list to do the downloading of transactions.
    3. Express Web Connect. Basically using Sync to Quicken Cloud Data set (Quicken server) to Intuit server (Quicken Inc pays Intuit to be their aggregator) and Intuit connects to the fiancial institution based on an "aggreement".
    4. Express Web Connect + the same as Express Web Connect except between Intuit and the financial institution the protocol is standardized on the new FDX standard.
    5. QIF file importing with quite a few restrictions:

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  • brec
    brec Member ✭✭
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    OK, nevermind Plaid :smile:. If an institution doesn't support OFX (e.g., Bank of America), it seems from your list that Quicken would have to use 3. or 4. I *think* either one stores my financial data on a server, but I'm not sure.
  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
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    The financial institutions are starting to go to FDX (which means Express Web Connect + in Quicken) and Bank of America is one of the ones that have already changed over, from Direct Connect/QFX/QFX. Chase is another one that just did it. Capitol One did it first and log ago, Charles Schwab was the first investment financial institution to do it. Note I think Chase is the only one that did it so far for both banking and investment accounts.

    And yes both #3 and #4 will have "some amount of transactions" stored on both the Quicken and the Intuit servers. Neither party tells the customers how long they will be kept there. I believe Intuit is more or less about a month and from what I can tell there isn't any reason to believe that Quicken's servers ever purge what they have downloaded. At least not without the user deleting their cloud data set.

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  • brec
    brec Member ✭✭
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    I am concluding that for institutions not supporting OFX, "some amount of transactions" are stored.
  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
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    Yes, that is true. Note that you can look for DIRECT in this list for financial institutions that support Direct Connect/QFX.

    https://ofx-prod-filist.intuit.com/qw2800/data/fidir.txt

    This is file that Quicken downloads to get this same information (a copy is saved on the machine, but not directly used after they "process it").

    Note of course importing a QFX file (which is just the "response part" of the OFX protocol when asking for transactions) or import a QIF file would of course not put any transactions on any server as long as you have Sync to Mobile/Web off.

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  • brec
    brec Member ✭✭
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    I hate having my data stored by a 3rd party, but I haven't found an acceptable alternative to Quicken (Mac). Since my OP above, I decided to reject the alternative that I was considering. Whenever I have a choice I will select OFX/Direct Connect/QFX.

    I "manually" download only for institutions from which I can't get the new transactions directly, because I'm lazy.
  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
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    Note that Quicken Mac calls the connection type Quicken Connect and doesn't have a separate desination when using the new standard on the Intuit to financial institution side. Also Quicken Mac doesn't import QIF files.

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  • brec
    brec Member ✭✭
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    Right -- for institutions that support both, Quicken offers the choice of Quicken Connect, which it describes as using a Quicken account aggregation service, or Direct Connect. In that case I will always choose the latter.
  • Rocket J Squirrel
    Rocket J Squirrel SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
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    Quicken stores a lot of our personal information. Read about it here for the US version:

    Or here for the Canadian version:

    Quicken user since version 2 for DOS, now using QWin Biz & Personal Subscription (US) on Win10 Pro.

  • brec
    brec Member ✭✭
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    Rocky, yeah I had looked at that Privacy Statement. It wasn't clear to me whether in it "personal information" includes the financial data we download or enter into the application.
  • Rocket J Squirrel
    Rocket J Squirrel SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
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    At one point in the recent past, Quicken allowed downloading of what they had stored under each Quicken ID. It was a giant Zip file with entries for every data file I'd ever created (and I create a lot for testing) going back several years. I can no longer find how to get this data from quicken.com. I don't know whether they withdrew access. This is their privacy warning that came along with my data. Note CCPA is California-specific.

    Data Archive Index

    Sep 16, 2022

    Important

    Your Quicken CCPA data file contains financial transactions and other data of a
    highly sensitive nature which may include your Personally Identifiable Information (PII).

    In accordance with CCPA requirements, Quicken will take all reasonable and commercially viable efforts to
    exclude known financial account numbers and account passwords when delivering your data file. However, Quicken
    has no capability to analyze user-added content, for example: memos, tags, scanned documents, etc., so Quicken
    cannot guarantee that your file will be free of highly sensitive information.

    Your CCPA data file is always stored securely on our systems. Once you download a copy of the file, it is your
    sole responsibility to keep it secure. We recommend that you carefully follow all necessary precautions to
    protect your data.

    Quicken user since version 2 for DOS, now using QWin Biz & Personal Subscription (US) on Win10 Pro.

  • Tom Young
    Tom Young SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
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    @Chris_QPW

    "Note I think Chase is the only one that did it so far for both banking and investment accounts."

    Schwab has a bank and the changeover applied to both the bank and the brokerage.

  • brec
    brec Member ✭✭
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    I'm still unclear as to what is stored by Quicken and why. My specific concern is with my transactions and balances. Given, as I said above, that I have Sync OFF: Why would Quicken store any of my transactions or balances data obtained from banks and brokers for more than at most a few seconds in the process of transmitting it to me ASAP?
  • MontanaKarl
    MontanaKarl Member, Mac Beta Beta
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    Thanks for that, RJS. I downloaded my data file under the CCPA link today and was pretty shocked at some of the stuff included.

    The part I cannot understand is that from the cloud tab of preferences - Win or Mac product - we can delete cloud files that are no longer needed. Yet, they are not deleted! Dozens and dozens of cloud files from beta testing and other work are in the download, even though my Cloud tab only shows my active files. Quicken is retaining cloud data files that I assumed were deleted 6 years ago when I hit 'delete'. That just seems wrong.

    The privacy part that I'm not thrilled with, given that they say that they access/share our data, is that all account balances are included… as well as not just which securities we own, but how many shares of each security, giving Quicken Inc a view of a part of our net worth that I just didn't imagine that they retained. I cannot see a legitimate product functionality need for the cloud data to include the number of shares of each security.

    Also included is our subscription history, and a history of any notes submitted with the "Report and Issue" function.

    No transactions are included that I could find, only balances.

    Quicken user since 1990, MacBook Pro M2 Max on Ventura 13.6.7 • Windows 11

  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
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    I think the main reason given might fall under "efficience", but because Quicken and Intuit aren't transparent about such things and because of "history" I think there are various reasons.

    Let's start with the oldest history for Express Web Connect which to this day is still stated, but is clearly not true for some if not most financial institutions. If you look at this explantion from Quicken Inc on the connection types, under Express Web Connect it still says "Access and retrieval of data is automated through the use of nightly updates.":

    https://www.quicken.com/support/how-quicken-connects-your-bank

    As in, the original idea was that Intuit would log into the financial institution once a night, and retrieve the transactions, and store them on their server, and when you ran One Step Update on Quicken it would pick it up from there. There are still financial institutions that insist on this flow. And yes it is the financial institution that decides, the reasoning is that they don't want the Intuit/customers hitting up their servers all the time, especially during busy parts of the day. So, based on this Intuit did, and does keep a copy of your transactions (and the online balance) for some period of time. In the past it has been suggested that is about 30 days. Now this isn't true of most financial institution today and that can be proven by the fact that some of them are near realtime as far as posting the transactions for download, not to mention the use of multiple authentication. But I seriously doubt that Intuit makes any special changes to their "caching" system. And note that people have reported that the "nightly access" still goes on to this day (even if the financial institution is providing newer transactions in an One Step Update than would be possible with once a night).

    Next comes this statement:

    • Your financial data is stored on Quicken-hosted servers. This provides a more complete history of your financial transactions than is typical for data stored on bank's servers.

    About three years ago Quicken Inc changed the flow of Express Web Connect (and now Express Web Connect +) It used to be Quicken (the program) → Intuit server → Financial institution's webserver. But they wanted visibility into this flow (at least that is what Quicken Inc told us). And it is now: Quicken (the program) → Quicken Cloud data set (the same one as Sync to Mobile/Web) Intuit server → Financial institution's webserver.

    And so, transactions are clearly being stored in the Quicken Cloud dataset. For how long has never been stated, but my guess would be that they did the least amount of work to get this to work and it is basically Sync to Mobile/Web where they just tell the Quicken Cloud dataset not to allow access to the account using Mobile/Web GUIs. If you look at my link about QCS/Express Web Connect above it gives my reasoning of why I came to that conclusion. And the Sync to Mobile/Web policy on transactions can be stated as "sync two years, and from then on keep everything, unless Quicken Cloud dataset is deleted." At this point I have no reason to believe that the transactions downloaded by Express Web Connect/Express Web Connect + are treated any differently.

    Now I just notice this for Quicken Mac:

    • Quicken Connect in Quicken for Mac only: Quicken Connect is also a one-way connection between Quicken and the bank server, but does not use a scheduled aggregation system such as the Express Web Connect method. Also, login credentials are stored in the Mac Keychain, not in Quicken.

    So, by this statement I the "nightly" part doesn't apply, but that doesn't mean that your transactions aren't being stored on Quicken servers. I remember reading in the Quicken Mac threads when they first changed over to the system that they are now using. The details are lost to history/my memory, but basically the way they accomplished the change over was to actually push all of the user's transactions up to the server, and then move them to the new server, then go from there. I remember there were some complaints about this, but in time people forgot about it. Bottom line is I beleive that Quicken Mac transactions always go through/are cached on the Quicken servers for Quicken Connect.

    There is a "beta feature" that is on Quicken Mac that isn't on Quicken Windows. There is a bug that if the user buys Quicken and starts up by logging into the Quicken Web server, it will actually allow them to create accounts and such without first creating a Quicken Desktop data file and syncing. Several people have done this and then come to these forums asked how to connect that Quicken Cloud dataset to a Quicken Desktop data file. For Quicken Windows the answer is that it is impossible. What's more the moment they create a Quicken Desktop data file, they lose access to the Quicken Cloud dataset that they originally created.

    For Quicken Mac they actually have this "beta feature", that allows them to create a Quicken Desktop data file from that Quicken Cloud data set (once) if they do it as the first step when dealing with Quicken Desktop. If they go off and start creating a new Quicken Desktop data file they too lose access to the original Quicken Cloud dataset.

    But the real bottom line here is one can ignore all these technical details and just assume that yes your transactions will be cached on one or more servers and the only way to prevent that is not to use the service.

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  • Rocket J Squirrel
    Rocket J Squirrel SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
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    @MontanaKarl can you remind me where this is? "I downloaded my data file under the CCPA link today"

    And look at the online finance sites like Simplifi, Mint, Empower, etc. If you use one of those, they know everything about your finances down to the last share of stock and how much you spend at BevMo.

    Quicken user since version 2 for DOS, now using QWin Biz & Personal Subscription (US) on Win10 Pro.

  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
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    @MontanaKarl do you have the current URL for the CCPA link? I'm not sure where to find it.

    I will note something that has come up about the too many "Quicken Cloud dataset" errors that people have reported. It has been stated that Quicken Inc can't just delete unused datasets because of some kind of legal requirements. To do it they have to be explictly told to do it. That is why when someone gets this error they have to contact Quicken support and tell them to delete the older dataset(s) so that they can create a new one. Note that datasets are created at times that people might not expect like during a restore they create a new one. Most likely because they can't really sync old data to a newer dataset.

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  • jl747
    jl747 SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
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    @Chris_QPW

    I am not MontanaKarl here is the link.

    https://www.quicken.com/privacy/us/ccpa/ca

    Quicken Windows Business & Personal (Subscription) - Using the latest version -Windows 10 Pro

  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
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    Thanks @jl747.

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  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
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    Well, I got my data from my CCPA request and looked through it. Here is what Is see.

    Basically the Quicken Cloud datasets don't get completely deleted even if you "Delete your cloud dataset".

    I noticed that scheduled transactions, which I believe might be when the reminders are linked to an online bill, and other preferences remain, but the transactions do seem to have been removed for the "deleted cloud dataset".

    I have transactions in only two datasets one is my current data file where I am using Express Web Connect and Express Web Connect + (no Sync to Mobile/Web), and then a test data file I use for testing Sync to Mobile/Web.

    The interesting thing for me is the date on the oldest transaction in my main data file: 2023-03-21

    That at least tells me that they didn't sync two years worth of data like they would have for Sync to Mobile/Web. Well, sort of, because of testing I do and the problems I have had with downloading I know that I have deleted the Quicken cloud dataset for that file a few times, so that might be the date that I last did it. But at least I know that they aren't syncing two years of data if the Quicken Cloud dataset is "recreated" deleting it. Note that my data file is called "Current" and there are several "partial datasets with this name (no transactions)". So, I do believe they are purging transactions when you "delete the dataset" (and leaving preferences/shell of the dataset), and creating a new one on the next update.

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