Moneydance as a Quicken Replacement?

Moneydance as a Quicken Replacement?

On Monday I talked about my experiences moving from Quicken to iBank. In short, iBank is a solid option, but it’s not right for me. I’m a bit of a power user when it comes to tracking investments, and the reporting features (and lack of a true portfolio view) were deal killers for me.

So… I next turned my attention to Moneydance from The Infinite Kind and crossed my fingers that I wouldn’t need to go further down my list of Quicken alternatives. Unlike iBank, which has a 30 day free trial, Moneydance has a free trial that is limited to 100 manually-entered transactions.

Given that Moneydance costs $50 (though you can easily get a $10 discount; more below) I wasn’t too crazy about this highly restrictive trial. A limit of 100 transactions really isn’t enough to thoroughly test out the software, and I thought twice about even giving it a shot. However, I had read enough reviews that I was convinced that Moneydance was the next best option on my list. Thus, I took the plunge…

Getting your data out of Quicken

The process here is identical to what I went through for iBank. In fact, I used the exact same QIF export file for Moneydance that I used for iBank. If you need details on exporting to QIF, check out my previous post.

Getting your data into Moneydance

The next step is to install and launch Moneydance. When it comes up, choose “Import File.” Next, be sure that the “From Another Program” button is selected – if you don’t, your categories will get screwed up.

From there, the official guidance from the Moneydance creators is to check the “Import Account Info Only” box and run the import to create the account so you can verify that they’re right. Once you’ve verified the accounts, uncheck that box and repeat the process to import your data.

The trouble with this approach is that it didn’t work very well for me. The accounts got set up properly, but when I imported my transaction data, it was a mess. I ended up with bizarre (and hugely negative) balance in our bank accounts, etc.

I thus decided to start from scratch, but skip the “Import Account Info Only” step. Ahhhh… Much better. Some of the balances were off by a bit, but it was close enough that I figured I could sort it out.

Double-checking the import

The most obvious problem was that certain types of split deposits got screwed up. I’m talking here mainly of payroll deposits that included numerous deductions as well as a transfer out to a retirement account. This latter bit – the transfer out – got included in the split deposit, but then got duplicated on its own.

Once I figured this out, however, it was an easy thing to cruise through out accounts and delete the duplicates. This not only fixed underages in our bank accounts, it also fixed the overages in our investment accounts. All in all, it was pretty straightforward. Yes, it took a couple of hours before I was completely up and running, but I was dealing with 14+ years of data.

The only other glitches were that I wound up with an extra bank account called “Unknown: PAYEE” (I ended up deleting this with no problems) and one of our investment accounts, somehow got split into two identically named accounts. Fortunately, it was easy to re-assign the errant transactions from one account to the other such that I could ultimately delete the duplicate.

Strengths and weaknesses

Right off the bat, I noticed that Moneydance isn’t nearly as pretty as iBank. The interface is rather utilitarian, and the graphs are line and pie graphs similar to what you might cook up in Excel if you didn’t have a lot of time to pretty things up. But aside from this minor (very minor) complaint, Moneydance is a very impressive piece of software.

In short, it shares none of the operational weaknesses that I identified in iBank:

  • It allows you to customize your investment types (beyond a default list of options) for tracking purposes
  • It has an excellent portfolio view
  • It allows you to enter exact transaction amounts to avoid rounding errors (and the need to compensate with $0.01 commissions) in investment accounts
  • It supports specific ID of shares for tracking tax lots
  • Investment returns are rounded to the nearest hundredth of a percent (as opposed to whole percents)
  • It also supports online billpay, though I haven’t messed with this as I use our bank’s billpay interface

In terms of user support, there aren’t any built-in help files, but there is a very detailed pdf manual. Like iBank, Moneydance also has online support forums where you can mingle with other users as well as support staff – or just search for people who have asked similar questions in the past.

Another very nice aspect of Moneydance is that it has a public API, which means that users can right custom extensions to add desired features and customizations. I’m not a programmer, so I won’t be doing any of this myself, but it’s nice to know that it’s a possibility, and that some other users have already written some handy extensions.

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention… Moneydance is available for Mac, Windows, or Linux so you won’t be tied down to a single platform if you decide to use it for the long term.

Getting a 20% discount

If you’re interested in buying Moneydance, be sure to swing by their Facebook page first. In the left sidebar, you’ll see a link for a “Discount Code.” Go ahead and click it – no code… But if you “Like” their page, a 20% discount code will appear, bringing the total price down to $40. And yes, you can “unlike” the page later if you don’t want it cluttering up your account.

The final analysis

In the final analysis, Moneydance looks like a winner. No, it’s not as pretty or polished as iBank, but the interface is definitely serviceable and it has a very robust feature set. If you have a lot of data, the post-import cleanup might be a bit tedious, but it shouldn’t take too long to straighten things out.

So far, after a couple of days of use, I haven’t run into any show stoppers. I’m sure a few annoyances will crop up here or there, but I’m confident that I’ll be able to adjust and work around them – just like I did when I was first getting used to Quicken.

Just be aware that the trial is (as I noted above) somewhat crippled, in that it can only handle 100 manually-entered transactions. You can, however, import an unlimited number of transactions, so you should be able to at least test out the import and mess around a little before making a final decision.

80 Responses to “Moneydance as a Quicken Replacement?”

  1. Anonymous

    I believe that MD remembers passwords ONLY if you use the encrypted data file option. I don’t use that option and have to provide a password every time I access an account.

  2. Anonymous

    Posted above: MD requires you to remember each password every time.

    This is not true. I’ve used Moneydance for several years, and this has never been the case.

    It remembers all account passwords and downloads all accounts with one keystroke.

    Also… someone asked “why use this instead of Mint-like programs?” Well… because Mint doesn’t save all your data permanently. And because it doesn’t give you capital gain reports. And because it only tracks what you currently have, not what you HAVE had. For instance. Open a brokerage in May and decide you don’t like the company… so you close your account. MD remembers the account (although you can hide it) and all its transactions forever.

  3. Anonymous

    After reading this article I bought Moneydance using the Facebook discount and migrated from Quicken. Had all the issues listed in article and started clean with December 2013 rather than importing a mess of Q files (15 years). It’s working great. I was concerned that the comments and articles about Moneydance were dated – not much said in 2013. Reponse from MD has been fast when I had questions. Program is working fine.

    Thank you for the article and comments.

  4. Anonymous

    How has MoneyDance stood up over time as a Quicken-slayer (for PC, not Mac) ?? Everyone pines for an as-good-or-better replacement, though the actual parts they want replaced can vary. . .the latest disgruntlement seems to be Quicken 2014’s stillborn mobile feature.

    For my part, I use Quicken 99.9% to download, maintain and report my investment account transactions so I’m interested in knowing if MoneyDance is worth consideration for that role without screwing up 10 years of past data — plus whatever future I might have left. (Investment related downloads, data and reporting aside, other than downloading the transactions from my bank account I don’t use the personal accounting or income tax parts of Quicken.)

    For that matter, even Quicken is a clumsy tool for investing. Is there a program out there specifically for the small-ish investor, even if it costs $$$ more than Quicken or MoneyDance (as long as I don’t have to rebuy it for no reason every 3 years) ??

  5. Anonymous

    Yes. In order to import all my old quicken data, I would have had to purchase Quicken 2005 or 2006 in addition to 2007. The occasional ones that showed up on ebay went for close $200 and my bids were too low.

  6. Anonymous

    In response to Deb about Quicken 2007: I was able to import all my Quicken data from 1992 forward into the new Quicken. It has been awhile since I did it, but I do believe I had to convert data files created from earlier versions to the Quicken version just previous to Quicken 2007. Fortunately, I had an older computer with an older operating system to do this.

  7. Anonymous

    After reading all the positive comments about MD, I bought it and was immediately unimpressed. First off, when entering transactions, it doesn’t offer a new blank line as Quicken did. You have to use command N. Secondly, investments show a cash balance rather than total number of shares. That’s useless, since the value changes all the time. Number of shares is essential. I don’t have to know how much money I have while out walking the dog. I can wait until evening to check my financial situation on my desktop iMac. But I do need pertinent information and I need to be able to enter data without extra steps. Right there, MD failed. There are other things that I didn’t like about MD, but they’re irrelevant, if I can’t track investments.

    I wound up buying the Lion compatible Quicken for Mac 2007. Unfortunately, it would not import from Quicken 2004. So I decided to start anew with Dec 2012 and move on from there. I have hard copies of my investment information from the past, and will print out reports of certain types of expenses over the past years. When I upgrade to Lion, I will just have to let go of the ability to search back transactions to 1995. I rarely do so anyway.

    It’s worth it for me to have simple, logical and complete information about my money than to have access from a variety of devices.

  8. Anonymous

    You can definitely see your expertise within the article you write.
    The sector hopes for even more passionate writers like you who are not afraid to say how they believe.
    At all times go after your heart.

  9. Anonymous

    This design is incredible! You certainly know how to keep a reader
    amused. Between your wit and your videos, I
    was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost..
    .HaHa!) Fantastic job. I really enjoyed what you had to say, and more than that, how
    you presented it. Too cool!

  10. Anonymous

    I have been with MD for over a year now. Like others, I did a parallel with iBank. See my review in Dec. 2011. I have been generally pleased. It’s not as good as the original Quicken before Intuit ruined it but it works ok. There are some changes I would like to see to make it function more smoothly. Many have been suggested but very few have been implemented. That is real failing of this vendor.

    I have been trying to get budgeting going for the last couple of months. Frankly, MD fails at this pretty badly. What is there within MD or with extensions is buggy and very poorly designed. Two months and I still don’t have anything that is usable.

  11. Anonymous

    I finally came back to PC version of Quicken. So a Mac for whatever else, and an old PC for Quicken Deluxe. Upgrade payments is outweighted by getting the job done quick (budget, etc).

  12. Anonymous

    Thanks for the post. Having spent most of today reviewing MD, SEE Finance, iBank and iFinance I went looking for a discount code for MD and for your post.
    A) You confirmed everything I had thought
    B) Your discount coupon link to Facebook still worked

    So, I a found a new blogger to follow and saved $10 bucks.


  13. Anonymous

    Hi All,

    I was a quicken user for very long time. I got fed up with it and switched to MD. I spent lot of time setting MD up and getting it to work. I have lot of trouble matching the transaction. Everytime i use MD, i spend hours trying to figure out what to do and how. Help is not that great. It lacks many of the basic features like decent budget tool. I also hate default category option. I have used MD for about 6 months and I think I am ready to switch back to Quicken. MD is good for very basic stuff. If you want fancy stuff that Quicken offers, then stick with Quicken even though its a pain to use.

  14. Anonymous

    “Moneydance as a Quicken Replacement?” really makes myself contemplate a tiny bit further.
    I really cherished each and every individual piece of it.
    Thanks ,Octavia

  15. Anonymous

    Thinking of switching to a Mac and biggest hesitation is transition from Quicken. I haven’t seen any comments here on how well the Moneydance bill pay feature works. Anyone use the bill pay feature on Moneydance? How does it work compared to Quicken?

  16. Anonymous

    I’m upgrading from Quicken 2003 (Home and Office), which I loved but evil Intuit turned off the ability to download directly from my accounts. Am I likely to have trouble moving to Moneydance? It sounds like a good alternative for me.


  17. Anonymous

    Thanks for the review. Was trying iBank with the 30 day trial and it was a lot of work. I could not get my investments to have a value. Every existing entry asking did I want to edit – YES! So after reading review I am trying Moneydance for the trial 100 transaction – loving it. All my transactions of over 10 years worth of information came over with out a problem. My investments have a current value — easy to update current share price. Google support for help with a question and answer worked like a charm. I will miss Quicken but as a family of MAC had to move on since they didn’t take the road to Apple.

  18. Anonymous

    Great post! I also have moved to MoneyDance after a long search for alternatives, and I am very happy with it. It does have a few points for improvement (especially with foreign currency transactions), but overall is a great application.

  19. Anonymous

    It’s a bit clumsy but it’s workable. Open Income and Expenses, Detailed from the left sidebar. Then click on EDIT at the top of the report. Here you can select accounts, date range, and categories. The selection of categories is odd but with some patience you can figure out how. It then produces reasonably good reports. Quicken was more intuitive but for me that’s a dead horse.

  20. Anonymous

    How can you do detailed reports Moneydance like in Quicken? It’s useless to me if I can’t tally up what I’m spending, including reports for taxes.

  21. Anonymous

    I am thinking about switching to a MAC – loved MS Money and begrudgingly had to switch to Quicken 2010. I put up with it – many many errors in reports – more than is acceptable in my opinion and it is not as intuitive as mS Money was IMHO.

    The number 1 feature I want is bill Pay. Why enter info twice? Any idea why bill Pay is such a difficult thing? I am not crazy about mOneyDance’s interface and I do have investments, which it doesn’t capture…

  22. Anonymous

    I haven’t been able to figure out how to get Moneydance to make reports like Quicken does…Quicken makes reports that are lists that I can print and see all my expenditures and tax items.

    I sure Moneydance has to do that, but I can’t figure out how using my transferred files from Quicken?.

    Will Mondydance make a complete report of itemized income and expense figures?

  23. Anonymous

    Can anyone comment on auto-reconcile with MD? I went ahead and spent the $60 on iBank, and can’t auto-reconcile! Has me pulling my hair out, because after having twins a year ago, I have over a year of unreconciled accounts. :0 Entering paper statements seems BIZARRE to me! I can auto download pretty easily, but not auto reconcile. Any help, thoughts, suggestions would be appreciated. I’m type A and really prefer to reconcile!

  24. Anonymous

    Just got this from Quicken (I bought Quicken Essentials for Mac as I had bought a nice new Mac and was hoping it wouldn’t be so bad; went back to my PC 2011 version after trying a few alternatives including MD, as I had a decent but old XP machine lying around this works for me). This sounds like they simply made it compatible with Mac Lion but no new features; anyone going to try it? :

    Dear Quicken Mac Customer,

    I am pleased to announce a Mac OS X Lion compatible version of Quicken Mac 2007 is now available. This version has the same features as Quicken Mac 2007, but has been modified to run on Apple’s Lion operating system. To purchase this Mac OS X Lion compatible version for $14.99, click here.

    Quicken Mac 2005-2007 data files will automatically convert into the Lion compatible version. For customers who have moved from any of these products to Quicken Essentials for Mac, but would prefer to use Quicken 2007 instead, limited data migration is supported. For details on how to migrate your Quicken Essentials for Mac data, please visit our FAQ page. Data conversion from Quicken Mac 2004 and prior is not supported.

    We are excited to be able to make this solution available to you, and appreciate your continued support of Quicken.


    Aaron Forth
    General Manager, Intuit Personal Finance Group

  25. Anonymous

    I am a long time quicken user and use the software mainly for the investment and portfolio management option. I have YEARS worth of investment data on quicken (think 1989) I had to import account by account. The basis info was all wrong (no big deal) it would just take a ton of time to fix. The biggest problem was once I got once investment account up and running MD kept quitting and wouldnt reopen!!!! GRRRR! guess im stuck with quicken for another eternity.

  26. Anonymous

    I am not much of a techie, so please excuse if this is a simple question. I have used Quicken for years and mostly for syncing with my financial institutions and keeping up with several checking and savings account. I would like to replace my laptop with an tablet, preferably an ipad. Is it possible to use moneydance with the ipad. If not ipad, maybe another tablet?

  27. Anonymous

    I will be checking out MD as soon as I can.. even if it is a bit clunky with investments, it has to be better than Quicken..
    Quicken has been calculation the Return of capital wrong..
    Instead of applying it on a per share basis, it splits it based of a ratio of original cost..

    most companies & brokers apply per share..
    with the new tax reporting requirements , you need to track your cost basis the same way your broker does..

    I contacted quicken about this and the response is, that is the way we do it. deal with it..

  28. Anonymous

    Very disappointed with MD. Tried MD and was only able to get one thing to work that was directly connecting with online services with regular login credentials – my Wells Fargo checking account. No Wells Fargo Advisors investment accounts worked – even with “web connect” where you download QFX files and then import into MD. No Merrill Lynch Wealth management accounts worked – checking, investment – via online services or downloads. It looked like a ML investment account worked once until I realized that it’s transaction data bled into my WF checking account and contaminated it, and WF tag data bled into the ML account.

  29. Anonymous

    Doug J., what sort of things does it not do well and what sort of quirks and oddities are there? I’m still planning the switch to MD soon and the more I know ahead of time, the better the process will go. Thanks.

  30. Anonymous

    since my first posting in December, I have switched over to Moneydance exclusively. It works. There are some quirks and oddities. there are some things that it doesn’t do very well. But on balance, I am satisfied. It does the job for me and it is not Quicken. I can never go back to Quicken. Not after the way Intuit has treated it’s users. I use MD to manage my checking and savings accounts and track my loans and investments. I going to start taking a more active role in suggesting improvements to MD. Hopefully some of my thoughts will result in changes.

  31. Anonymous

    Don’t make the same mistake I did. I ordered Moneydance without the free trial offer. In no way is it an acceptable alternative to Quicken. I will go back to using an old computer just for bill-paying with Quicken before I spend another minute with Moneydance. A huge disappointment!! Rather elementary and demanding.

  32. Anonymous

    ktbos — seem to recall Moneydance did poorly on the investment/asset side, the import (again, I had several years worth of data) would have required a LOT of manual edits so it just wasn’t worth it. I need something more than a simple way to keep my checking account up to date. I had thought of getting a separate piece of software for investing but of course would like to keep things together and I’m not a day trader. I’ve got 401K’s, Roth’s, IRA’s, CD’s, Stock options,etc. so perhaps a bit more than an average user but the ‘old’ 2011 Quicken for PC’s is able to handle all that — the only glitch is that my main bank has additional security questions that can’t seemed to be be saved in the Quicken password section so needs to be entered when downloading data but no big deal.

  33. Anonymous

    redLEAF, why did you give up on Moneydance? Lacking something? (And surely if there were double entries from Quicken import into something like Moneydance, you just bite the bullet and delete the dupes and know that it was a one time thing.)

  34. Anonymous

    Decided to leave another post update as a little over a month has gone by, gave up on Moneydance, SEE as well as Quicken Essentials was a bit of a joke; if it didn’t sync you don’t get to add manually; double entrees (due to importing Quicken files), etc.. So I basically put an old Win XP PC back in service (was a hardly used machine) with Quicken 2011 and will continue to use that until a more viable Quicken Mac arrives. I used Quicken for PC for about a year after many, many years on MS Money and it does what I want. Need more than a simple checkbook keeper as I like to see my investments (401K, Roth’s, etc.) and assets (like cars, house, etc.) as well as set reminders on upcoming bills, etc. so this should last me a few years until Quicken gets it’s at together for the Mac crowd. Love my Mac for many things but personal finance still has a ways to go. Will continue to subscribe to this thread to see if others have found anything worth trying — BTW, also have an online account with Mint; if that can figure out bonds let me know (it over inflates my bond ‘shares’ by a factor of 100 for a bond that has a value of $5,000 it shows $500,000) but only on the investor page not the main account page — again, these others still require some work!

  35. Anonymous

    thanks for the review.

    i’ve been a heavy quicken user for years and over time have hated it more and more for a number of reasons – forced obsolesces – perfectly good software that ceases to function forcing the purchase of upgrades

    lack of a mobile platform – i used quicken mobile with my palm and loved that I could update receipts on the fly and then sync into my PC version for reporting. that beautiful system was killed and replaced with Mint (actually quicken bought out mint and never bothered to have the two programs “talk” to each to each other.) so choose between a mobile app that does little more than let you see what your spending with no customized reporting/categorizing or printing or do all accounting via PC.

    so I’ve moved on to Android as my mobile platform and in researching discovered Handyman that syncs with Moneydance which led to my discovering this blog. So Mondydance sounds like a winner. after waiting years to regain the functionality i lost when Quicken gave up on mobile finance, i may finally have found the solution – I think they will come to regret their lack of responsiveness (visit their support site where folk have begged for years for software to replace the Palm software or to get mint to sync with Quicken) as Android grows. Quicke did their best work when competing with MS Money. They need competition again – so I’m rooting for Moneydance

  36. Anonymous

    Can anyone comment on producing reports in either MD or iBank? I’ve used Quicken for about 10 years to manage accounts for home and a small business. I do not need colorful graphs or pie charts. I do need to produce simple Income & Expense reports with categories and their totals to give to the accountant; and some category detail reports. I really like how Quicken allowed me to Memorize a report as a template, then just change the dates to get current figures. Do these programs do that?

    Also I am still using Quicken 2005…somehow neither Intuit nor my bank required me to upgrade until now, when my bank says they do not support that version. Will there be any problem importing data from v2005 into either MD or iBank?

  37. Anonymous

    I have been suffering under Quicken Essentials for over a year now. It improved some aspects of Quicken 2007 and created a ton more problems for me. The biggest is that it doesn’t allow me to track my cash & check transactions WITHIN my investment account. I can’t even link a separate checking account to the investment account. Does anyone know if Moneydance will allow me to track cash & check transactions of my investment account?

  38. Anonymous

    I can’t stand the way Intuit decided without warning to cut off Quicken users saying that QIF interchange format would no longer be provided and that I could either upgrade or import manually. Boogerheads! Prior to that, I had been getting the software every 1-3 years though the new features were just underwhelming enough to skip. They had the gall to tell me that I would be required to buy a new package whether or not I felt it was warranted.

    As far as I was concerned, they stole functionality from me without my consent. I just don’t ever see myself going back.

    My Mai in concern now I is figuring out how I am going to verify the trustworthiness of the software I choose next. I won’t put my wife through GNUCash and I am now at a point where cross-platform isn’t optional any longer. I want to try MD but not till I am very comfortable with their privacy policies and protection methods.

  39. Anonymous

    Nickel: Do you know how MD handles real estate investments? My finances are not terribly complex: Me and the wife’s W2’s, home web development business, real estate income, 401K accounts, and some small savings account interest income. Looking for an app that can handle them all…and well. Also, I assume that MD has the ability to automatically import my bank and credit card statements and categorize transactions. Also, do you know if MD is secure…meaning that none of my personal data is stored in “the cloud”? Thanks is advance. (PS: nice blog. clicking on your sidebar now 🙂

  40. Anonymous

    Hi everyone,

    I’ve been reading everyone advice, being myself another Quicken refugee…

    One last question before I make the final go-ahead on MoneyDance: does it handle multiple files? I got finance in Canada, and US, and that does not mix up of course. Will I be able to handle to MD files, just like two libraries in iPhone for instance?

  41. Anonymous

    Hi Leslie,

    I just finished reconciling a bunch of accounts using MoneyDance and to me, it is just as good (if not better) than Quicken, which I used for 20 years.

    I am not sure if it was my error during the importing process, but my reconciled transactions did not carry over from Quicken to MoneyDance. This may or not be MD, but other’s can chime in to let us know.

    No worries though – At first I was bummed, but I quickly realized that I could clear multiple transactions using the very familiar “Click n Shift n Click” procedure. For instance, I knew I was already reconciled to November 2011, so I entered the ending balance amount. Then I clicked on the first transaction of Mar 2009, held down the shift key, and clicked the last transaction of my Nov 2011 statement. This highlighted and selected all transactions between those dates, then I simply pushed enter and it marked them clear. When I balanced to zero, simply press done and it reconciles.

    BTW – I love the search feature of MoneyDance way better than Quicken’s time consuming “Find or Find All” feature. Much like OS X Spotlight – type in your word and MoneyDance instantly returns everything – from all accounts – in a flash!

    Try MoneyDance – it’s free for 100 manually input transactions and that is enough to help you form a good opinion.

  42. Anonymous

    I just switched to a mac last year, but as many people here have done I keep my old PC to use Quicken. I have been researching making the switch to another financial software for the mac for months and cannot decide. Does Money Dance have the auto reconciling feature like Quicken? With several bank accounts and credit card accounts I find this feature invaluable and a huge time saver….

  43. Anonymous

    BL, as long as you have the appropriate categories set up, you can produce reports based upon them to your heart’s content. You can print reports, save them as pdfs to email or copy to clipboard to paste in an email message though the formatting is not so great with this method. You can also indicate a category as tax related and limit reports based upon this parameter.

  44. Anonymous

    I’ve been using this last year being a refugee from IBank where I discovered that preparing for tax time, ie emailing or downloading the proper reports was impossible. Although I was told by Intuit that I could do that with Mint….well, dumb me…..
    I’ve now read all the raves about Moneydance, but , what about end of the year reports by category, preparing for accountant and easily downloading or emailing same to accountant (or putting on disc if necessary).
    My accounting is simple stuff – very small revenue from home biz, income from investments, retiree stuff. Nothing complicated, just need to be able to produce the reports that are NOT possible with either IBank or it seems, Mint. I would never go back to Quacken either.

  45. Anonymous

    I have been using Quicken for an eternity and have always detested its clumsiness, the waste of time using it, it’s 3 year policy of forcing updates, and the fact that user’s data is oft times kept by Intuit. During times like these when hacking of software is a fairly common event I do not like the idea of passwords and ids being possibly stored by Quicken. I will give MoneyDance a look. Thanks,

    /* Phil */

  46. Anonymous

    For those who like quick data entry using keyboard shortcuts – I’ve got the shortcuts and once you get your “rhythm” you’re good to go!!

    I am a creature of habit. I was a Quicken User for 20 years. When I switched from PC to MAC, I stuck with Quicken and kept my PC for years, then finally bought the software for MAC.

    I was quite content with Leopard for many years, as our family loved the syncing features of MobileMe. But MobileMe will be replaced by iCloud in June of 2012 and in order to have iCloud, I had to upgrade to Lion. Of course, then I found out my Quicken for MAC 2007 was no longer supported.

    It was just time for me to finally find a MAC alternative to Quicken.

    I don’t track investments on Quicken but I do track and reconcile bank accounts, credit cards, and utilize solid reports for myself and my tax gal. I’ve read that MoneyDance doesn’t track investments, but I can’t personally comment on this feature.

    I tested 4 alternatives and chose MoneyDance as the easiest program for me to transition to from Quicken for MAC.

    My biggest “must have” is the ability to do quick data entry and MoneyDance is the clear winner for me, as I do not like to stop and grab my mouse every time I want to open, close, or save transactions or splits. Although I like “colorful and stunning” in many software programs, I LOVE simple & clean for data entry applications.

    I tested:

    iBank (incorrect QIF importing, pretty interface, needed mouse for data entry)
    SeeFinance (perfect QIF import, simple, clean interface, needed mouse for data entry)
    CheckBook, CheckBook Pro (simply perfect – or so I thought, but it ended up being a little too simple for my personal needs, again needed mouse for data entry)

    I’ve gathered a list of Shortcut Commands that I have either figured out on my own or found after reading through many boards. Once I got my “rhythm” for the MoneyDance data entry (those who know, know), I pretty much had my mind all made up. The last thing I needed to do was check out reconciling capabilities. Super easy and efficient.

    Keyboard Shortcut Commands for Split Transactions in MoneyDance

    New Transaction: Command – N
    Open Split: Command-L
    New Split Line: Command – N (when split window is open)
    Delete Split Line: Command – D
    Close Split: Command – W
    Save Transaction: Command – S* (optional)
    Next (New Transaction) Command – N

    * After closing split (Cmd-W) and pressing Cmd-N for a new transaction, MoneyDance will automatically ask if you want to save before creating a new transaction, so either way works.

    After a little investigation, the “cross-reference account” shortcut for transfers is also there. It is called “Show Other Side” in MoneyDance and is Command – [.

    Finally, to Quit MoneyDance Application is Command – Q

    We all have our own preferences, but MoneyDance suits my needs and I hope these shortcuts will help anyone who likes quick data entry and is still trying to make a decision for an alternative to Quicken for MAC.

  47. Anonymous

    Nickel: How does MoneyDance deal with employee stock options in stock accounts. For example, I have a option grant for 100 shares that grants 25% in 1 year, and then equal amounts each month. Quicken handled this well, it would schedule new increases in my shares over the period of the grant. I haven’t seen any Mac native app. that does this well though. If MoneyDance does this, it may be a winner for me.

  48. Anonymous

    At first I was excited to see that Quicken 2007 will be updated to run under Lion, but I suspect that Intuit is simply going to embed the necessary bits of Rosetta to allow it to function rather than doing a re-write to make it an intel-native app. Had they elected to do the latter, they would have dubbed it Quicken Mac 2012 & rolled it out with great fanfare. If i am correct, then the ported Quicken Mac program will continue to be a dead end with no further development. The “fix” will likely be just a “patch”, and Intuit will continue to underperform in the Mac market. Sad.

  49. Anonymous

    too little too late. I have made the switch and I am not about to go through the hassle of switching back. Furthermore, I no longer trust Intuit. Ever since they purchased Quicken many years ago there has been a steady erosion of the product. Their technical support has become a laugh ever since they exported it to India.

    Nope, they blew it.

  50. Anonymous

    Interesting … decided to leave another comment as I loaded Moneydance and was actually sorely disappointed the way it reduced my networth by half — obviously several accounts and transactions didn’t load correctly (especially anything related to Vanguard). Nice GUI but this just won’t work; went back to take another look at SEE and now that’s looking better. SEE finance is pretty inexpensive so may just use it until Quicken fixes their last Mac version. At least I can decommission the old PC either way —

  51. Anonymous

    I’m reading with interest all of the reviews and comments related to viable alternatives to Quicken as I finally took the plunge from Windows to an amazing iMac Lion just yesterday (nice 27″ screen, etc.). This was after having used Windows for many years along with MS Money until of course Microsoft stopped support — moved to Quicken ’11 and it was good, not great but OK with my Money data import. It handled a few things that Money didn’t support (for example, non-stock market traded funds in a profit-sharing plan from Vanguard) but balked from time to time with financial data downloads — with my checking account it requires my ‘secret’ phrases to be entered each time, won’t save them; it also struggles with ING Direct accounts but it both cases I can manually download data. I’d like to keep my new Mac with just Mac-compatible software (I know I could boot camp or virtually add Win 7, etc.) to avoid all the necessary maintenance, etc. associated with MS. My question to those who posted; are there any financial institutions that won’t work well with Moneydance? If so, please post — I did a quick data conversion with SEE and like others had said, really basic but I’m unimpressed. MD looks like it could work well —

  52. Anonymous

    K: If you are a Mac user, Quicken is a dead end. The support and development since the day Intuit bought it has steadily deteriorated. Intuit’s decision to not support a full fledged version on the Mac was the final blow.

  53. Anonymous

    Not so well placed comment, but here goes… I have appreciated the feedback on Quicken alternatives, but I have to ask- has anyone upgraded to Quicken (Premier) 2012? Even though Quicken has had some controversies along the way- selfishly, I am hard pressed to stray as I am almost as vested in Quicken as I am Microsoft (It wasn’t until reading this string of comments and researching my longevity with Quicken that I realized just how many years I have been a Quicken user!) Tremendous amount of data to convert!!!

  54. Anonymous

    Thanks, Doug J! i’ve ben stalling doing the switchover. I’d been thinking of going with MD based on Nickel’ recommendation so it’s great to get another opinion – especially an opinion of somebody who has used them in parallel.

  55. Anonymous

    I am another refugee from Quicken. I won’t bother repeating all the negative publicity that Intuit has gotten for their dropping of Mac support. I’m over it.
    I have spent the last couple of months running iBank and Moneydance in parallel. Each has it’s pluses and minuses. Following are some of my observations.

    Transaction entry: MD is a little more straightforward. It uses the plus and minus signs to change date and check number. iBank uses right and left square bracket. Not very intuitive. iBank may be a little easier for entering splits and uses a couple less key strokes. iBank default check number uses the highest number used and there is no way to reset it. I think Moneydance uses the last check# entered incremented by one. A weird quark in iBank is when you what to type “check” into the TYPE field you have to enter “che” very fast or it defaults to “charge”.

    VOIDing transactions: both have to be done completely manually and you have to zero out the amount.

    Reconciliation: both seem equally easy but the approach is different. You just need to learn it.

    Importing transactions from financial institutions: MD requires that you enter each password every time. iBank remembers. Transaction matching is a little odd in iBank. MD also takes some getting used to. Neither is completely accurate in their matching algorithm. MD does not use check# as it’s primary match criteria. Both seem to record a cleared transaction using the register date not the bank’s date. This makes reconciliation harder but may be the correct way to do it.

    Mortgage payments: additional payment to principle not done well in either. With MD’s remembered transaction, you have to enter the payment amount. It correctly calculates the additional amount to be applied to principle and appears to record it correctly in the mortgage account. iBank doesn’t seem to apply the extra payment to principle correctly. I frankly can’t figure out just what it is doing. There may be a problem with the way I have the transaction setup but how to do it correctly is not at all clear.

    Loans I make to another person: Neither handles this situation well. I had to set the loan up as an asset. In MD, I had to calculate the principle amount and interest amount myself and enter them in the transaction. iBank’s scheduled transaction did not post to the loan/asset account even though I set it up to. Perhaps a bug or perhaps again, I did not set it up correctly. Both application should add this obvious capability.

    Investments: This may be the most problematic. iBank did not import investment cost basis correctly. MD did. They differ in the way they utilize cost per share. I think iBank has some bugs in this area or perhaps it’s their philosophy. Sometimes their calculation of a securities worth is zero because the share price is not current. MD seems to do these calculation the way I am used to. It is one place where MD is more similar to Quicken than iBank.

    Reporting: This is an area where I think iBank falls down badly. They have a limited number of stock reports that are very difficult to tailor. MD has many more stock reports and they are much easier to customize. Neither is as flexible as Quicken was.

    I have gotten to really like the MD Home Page. A nice consolidation of everything and easily tailored. They both have a similar sidebar but iBank does not have a good summary of your financial picture.

    There are things I don’t care about with each application. Most are quibbles. Some will take some getting used to. Neither is as mature as Quicken was. I have had how-to questions with both applications. Interestingly, I was able to figure out most of them myself with MD. With iBank I had to contact their support people. I therefore have more experience with iBank’s support and find them to be responsive. Both have forums for doing research in and that helps. However, there are times when I wish I could talk to a knowledgeable person. This is particularly true when the issues is complicated. I have this sense that there may be more bugs in iBank but I can’t be sure.

    I initially went with iBank because I had a gut feeling that the programmers had a better feel for bookkeeping. A friend who was having to make the same choice went with MD. That pushed me to re-evaluate MD. After writing this evaluation, I’m glad I did because I am going to go with MD.

  56. Anonymous

    Thank you for your review. I’m moving from many years of Quicken on a PC to a native mac application. I’ve tried several over the last ten years and have hated them all. Based on your reviews, I tried iBank first. I really wanted to like it, but I found it maddening. Then I tried Moneydance and so far am quite pleased. I imported many years worth of financial data from Quicken and had absolutely no problems. I just exceeded the limit on new transactions and so took the plunge and bought it. Thanks for the tip on the discount for “liking” their facebook page.

  57. Anonymous


    Thanks for some great reviews and great info! My migration from Quicken 2005 is the one thing that has been holding be back from upgrading to OS Lion.

  58. Nickel

    K: Intuit has failed to update Quicken 2007 (or release a replacement) for so long that it’s not compatible with the latest release of Mac OS X. While I could just not update, I’m not interested in being beholden to a software company that has no interest in maintaining their software.

  59. Anonymous

    Thanks for this review. I’ve used Quicken for well over a decade (switching from MacMoney, if anyone remembers that) and then was a die hard QuickBooks user for our business — until Intuit crapped out on Mac support.

    Now we are back in the same boat (perhaps this answers K’s question) at Intuit not supporting new Mac operating systems. So, I’m finally looking for a replacement.

    My favorite feature in Quicken is direct connect. I’m thrilled that Moneydance supports it. I just bought my copy.

  60. Anonymous

    Yeah, like at, you can link bank accounts, brokerages, credit cards, etc. So every time you make a transaction, it automatically gets imported into the system. Little user input, but these can be edited to hoe you like (categories, splitting purchase amounts). They have very nice budget,trends, goals, graphs to help manage money.

  61. Anonymous

    Tage, you can import bank and credit card transactions into MoneyDance as well as enter transactions manually. Though I don’t do so, I presume you can also import investment transactions. Not sure what you mean by automatic account linking. If that means every time you make a change in an outside account, it makes a change in the corresponding account in MoneyDance I’m not sure the software does that. Someone else may know the answer to that one.

  62. Anonymous

    I currently use Quickbooks Pro 2009 for personal/small business. Has anyone switched from Quickbooks Pro to Moneydance, and if so, what type of experience did you have?

  63. Anonymous

    What are the advantages for using manual entry software versus automatic account linking software ( I love keeping track of my finances and am a fiance person by trade, but if I had to automatically enter every transaction…I wouldn’t.

    Or is this mostly for investment tracking purposes (I admit Mint’s sucks!)

  64. Anonymous

    I agree with Nickel about MoneyDance. The interface look could use an update, but the layout is good, intuitive, and easy to use. I had archived old Quicken transactions at the end of 2010, so the transactions I imported into MoneyDance were from December 2010 to the present. The import went very well. I used classes in Quicken and these imported correctly into the tag field in MoneyDance. It did present me with two empty accounts as Nickel noted. I deleted these with no ill effects. Not sure what these were about. I use the program for printing checks. When I went into check setup, I thought oh boy this is going to take awhile. I think it took me less than 15 minutes to modify the settings to fit my checks. Not hard at all. I have also set up my reminders. You can specify through a check box whether you want the transaction automatically entered into your account. That’s useful for things like your paycheck and bills that don’t vary and are automatically credited or debited to your bank account. The visual reminder calendar on the home page is nice. I’m with Nickel on this one. The more I use the program the better I like it. I’m already liking it better than Quicken, which I really liked. But then, as I said in an earlier post I had used Quicken for nearly 20 years, and it was the only money management program with which I had experience.

  65. Anonymous

    Thanks for the review. I was forced into Quicken when Money went away and I have never had such hatred for a software. I’ve been looking for a replacement for over a year and looked into Moneydance a few months ago but did not know much about it and was afraid to make the switch. I know what I’m trying this weekend.

  66. Nickel

    Update: After having used Moneydance a bit more (including reconciling some new transactions, etc.) I have to say that I really love this program. In fact, I think I already like it better than Quicken – which is saying a lot, because I really loved Quicken (warts and all).

  67. Nickel

    Damon: I tried SEE Finance over the weekend and the import was a disaster – so bad that I studied it for a little while and then just gave up. I’m not sure what went wrong, but it wasn’t worth dealing with so I moved on. I believe that SEE has the most permissive trial policy, though (just a nag screen – no time or transaction limit) so there’s little risk in you (or others) testing it out.

  68. Anonymous

    I left a comment after your iBank article, but wanted to re-state that I’d be very interested to see you try SEE Finance once you have finished playing with Moneydance. I am interested in these two programs as finalists in my search for a Quicken Mac 2007 replacement. SEE Finance seems to be getting the best user reviews, and I got a response from their e-mail support within a couple of hours to a question I submitted on July 4th (a holiday)! Think I could twist your arm to try SEE next?

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