Quicken for iPhone: Good, as Far as It Goes

By  |  Friday, May 1, 2009 at 12:26 pm

Quicken LogoIntuit, the company whose Quicken has been synonymous with personal-finance management for years, has brought the app to the iPhone. It’s not the first version of Quicken for handheld devices–I used an earlier one on my PalmPilot years ago–but it’s the first modern one. And as its name, Quicken Online Mobile, suggests, it connects directly to the Net to grab your financial details rather than making you sync with the desktop app.

Actually, it doesn’t work with the traditional application version of Quicken at all–it’s a companion to Quicken Online, the Web-based version which relaunched in a free version last fall. If you’re like me, you tend to associate use of Quicken with personal-finance nerds who have their acts together, track everything carefully, and are on the road to a happy and prosperous retirement. Quicken Online isn’t aimed at those people: It’s got relatively few features, is heavy on automation (like Mint, it downloads transactions from your banks and credit-card companies automatically), and most of what it does is focused on making sure that you’ve got enough money to get to your next paycheck. Quicken Online Mobile brings that approach to the iPhone and iPod Touch, and does a nice job at it. You can see what you’ve spent and what you’ve made, and the home screen tallies everything up and tells you whether you’re in any risk of running out of dough.

Quicken’s most obvious competitor online and on the iPhone is the excellent, ambitious, and innovative Mint. The two iPhone apps are quite similar in many ways. Overall, though, I like Quicken Online Mobile better: It lets you add expenses on the go manually (useful for when you pay for something with cash when you’re out and about), allows you to change the categories that it automatically assigns to expenses from the phone (which is important, since it sometimes miscategorizes them), and has a handy ATM finder. It also lets you choose to log in each time you launch the app (which seems like a sensible security precaution even though it’s impossible to get into accounts from the app) or stay logged in; Mint’s iPhone app keeps you logged in unless you specifically sign out.

Will Quicken Online and Quicken Online Mobile get fancier? I hope so–I’m in the fortunate situation of being more worried about having money a few decades from now than a few days from now, and I need more help getting there. I also suspect a lot of users of Intuit’s desktop software would like to get access to their financial life on their phones. Intuit says that it’ll add more features to Quicken Online and the iPhone app–and that it’s considering bringing the mobile version to other phone platforms–but that it plans to err on the side of keeping things simple and approachable. It’s a good start as is.

Here are a few screen shots–I love you, but I’m not willing to share my finances with you, so these are images provided by Intuit:

Quicken Online Mobile

Quicken Online Mobile

quicken4

quicken3

 
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14 Comments For This Post

  1. DaveZatz Says:

    Where are the Bella Vista Apartments? Looks like a great deal.

  2. jltnol Says:

    pointless.

    I used to adore quicken… but that was before my bank made doing the most of the things Quicken can do so easy.

    And I’m no big fan of paying them to “host” my financial information…. sorry.. no more money from me Intuit. And don’t even get me started about Quickbooks Pro for the Mac.

  3. Jack Says:

    To bad it is not available outside the US. It seems outside the US the iPhone is less usefull.

  4. RicePD Says:

    Jltnol – what cost are you talking about? The iPhone app and the online service are both free. Works great for me.

  5. AndyS Says:

    This is too bad. I used Quicken mobile for Palm for about 8 years on my palm pilot & then on my Treos. I used to it to keep track of what I was doing in my Quicken desktop registers without ever having to upload files to a remote online server, it would synch back and forth, whatever I noted in my palm would go into my desktop and vice versa. Everything synched at the same time thru missing synch with contacts, notes, ID’s, docs, etc. Guess I’ll have to keep lugging my Treo around to use as a makeshift palm pilot or keep my laptop handy to work in.

  6. Dave English Says:

    For anyone who used the Palm/Treo Quicken app the iPhone has NOTHING LIKE IT. Very sad. I love my iphone, but still really miss the quicken app that sync’d to my quicken program and let me entry stuff on the road. The quicken online thing is nothing to do with your quicken program and its accounts or categories.

  7. Dave Frisby Says:

    Mmmm I also have about 15 years of data in my Quicken Desktop and also wanted a companion app for the iPhone!!!… so I am writing one… It's not perfect yet, but so far…

    …you periodically download ALL your data from Quicken Desktop into a QIF file (accounts, transactions, securities) and then the app loads/processes that file and shows your balances/current securities holdings/transactions in each account… I have even got it to update stock quotes to get your true up-to-the-minute net worth… I have pretty complex accounts – about 150 current and historic ones, so use some flags in the account descriptions to indicate (CLOSED) accounts and (CURRENCY) for the many foreign holdings I have…

    Now, that's step one – view ALL your data.. NEXT is going to be some way to enter new transactions on the road – probably just simple cash spending stuff to start with.. and get them BACK INTO quicken…. since recent versions of Quicken don't allow QIF import I might have to make an OFX exporter???? Not even looked into that bit yet!!

    Do you guys think there is any market for such an app (pretty small interested user base I guess) – I wrote it for my own benefit and fun learning XCode – not commercial reasons… but if there is a few bucks to be made – why not??? Any comments?

  8. Cassandra Says:

    Um, can I buy a copy of your program? lol

    I'm in the same boat. Used Quicken for over 15 years and used to have Pocket Quicken on my Sony Clie. Pocket Quicken was an awesome app. I miss it.

  9. Yvette Bell Says:

    I would buy this app!! I see this was posted quite a while ago … did you ever get to offer it as a downloadable app through iTunes? I know they have a pretty rigorous procedure when it comes to accepting or rejecting apps, but I'm burnt out looking for a finance app that will work for me–WITHOUT having to switch from Quicken to some other software.

  10. Vince Says:

    Let me know when it's available. Would be a godsend for me.

  11. Dave Says:

    I think the potential market for this would be big enough to get it finished and working. I'm an accountant and have been looking for something like this. Don't want my stuff on the net either.

  12. Sandy Says:

    I am VERY interested, especially if it links with my desktop Quicken. I still carry a Palm Centro with Pocket Quicken and Quicken 2010 so I can add in my purchases when I am out and about. PLEASE, please, please get this going. I keep checking the internet and there are many comments and queries of people looking for this kind of answer all over the internet. Also, people looking at android systems are asking for the same application. Email me especially if you are looking for someone to test it out.

  13. Ginger Says:

    I would love to be able to pay bills online through the Quicken Register with my iPhone or iPad 2.
    Wouldn't have to carry my computer when traveling.
    I would guess that there would be a real market for the Quicken App.

  14. Jerry Costley Says:

    Yes, I would buy it. Let us know if it ever goes to market. Kind of ironic, Iphone touts 500,000 aps, yet there are some very old aps I had with my old Windows phone that they don't have that I really miss, Pocket Quicken being one of them.