If you’ve simply had it with the Mac version of Quicken, we’ve taken a closer look at the best Quicken alternatives for Mac of 2018. The good news is that nowadays there’s plenty of personal finance software for Mac users such as the excellent free Personal Capital so you can say goodbye to Quicken for good. Most of them have native Mac desktop apps and all work on the latest versions of macOS including El Capitan, Sierra and High Sierra. Here then is our list of the top 10 alternatives to Quicken for Mac in order of ranking.
Personal Capital is a superb financial management platform with around 1.5 million customers managing over $300 billion in assets. The difference between Personal Capital and other rivals to Quicken is that it not only offers budgeting tools, but also wealth optimizations tools. The other major difference is that Personal Capital is free to use – you only get charged a commission of your investment portfolio if you choose to use one of its Personal Financial Advisors (which you’re not obliged to do unless you want help with your investments). If you’re a DIY investor, you can simply take the results and recommendations that Personal Capital gives you and manage your investments yourself. It poses some serious competition to Quicken for Mac thanks to its ease of use, slick user interface but most importantly of all, ability to optimize your investments as well as improve your money management.
Although there’s no Mac client, there’s nothing to install as the web version works really well on Mac and the interface feels like something designed for macOS.
If you’ve ever used Mint.com, then you’ll already have some idea of how Personal Capital approaches budgeting compared to Quicken although it’s considerably more refined with powerful investment optimization compared to Mint. Personal Capital also differs from both Mint and Quicken for Mac in that if you want to, you can arrange a personal consultation with one of its financial advisors to help maximize your investment portfolio based on analysis made by the software.
Even better you can use Personal Capital for free by simply signing-up for an account. You only pay for Personal Capital if you choose to use its investment features or contract a Personal Capital Financial Advisor. Fees for this service start at %0.49 of your overall portfolio profits. This is very competitive considering that most brokers usually charge anything upwards of 1% for managing your investments. However, note that you need at least $25,000 of assets to invest before you can contract a Financial Advisor. If you’re investments are less than this, you can still use the software itself for free.
Personal Capital is built around three main pillars:
- Knowing Your Net Worth
- Analyzing & Optimizing Investments
- Planning For The Future
We’ll now look at these components in more detail.
Knowing Your Net Worth
Everything in Personal Capital starts with the Dashboard which does a very good job of displaying your net worth. You can access the Personal Capital dashboard for free by signing-up for a Personal Capital account. You can then import all of your personal accounts automatically including everything from IRA accounts to mortgages and loans by connecting with your investment institution or bank. This is something that Personal Capital does particularly smoothly with far fewer connection problems than with Quicken for Mac (although Quicken for Mac 2017 has improved this significantly).
Note that for security reasons, your financial credentials are never stored with Personal Capital, they are stored with Yodlee which is an encrypted platform used by other financial applications to store and deliver customer financial data. This adds an extra level of protection to your data as opposed to the Quicken way of doing things which stores credentials on it’s own servers.
In full, the Personal Capital dashboard shows you:
- Net Worth
- Cash Flow
- Portfolio Balances
- Portfolio Allocations
- Key Holdings
- Top Gainers and Losers
- Account Balances and Transactions
- Spending by Account, Category
- Income Reports
- Spending Reports and Upcoming Bills
- Investment Returns
- Projected Investment Fees
Although Quicken also presents most of this data, Personal Capital feels somehow less cluttered and simplified in how it presents data. It can also help you make some surprising discoveries about how much your investment portfolio is worth as a whole and where your liabilities i.e. debts are.
Analyzing & Optimizing Investments
Probably the biggest advantage that Personal Capital has over Quicken for Mac is its investment analysis and optimization features. Personal Capital does this via a general investment health checkup and by analyzing fees and charges on your investments. The Investment Anaylzer is one of the key features behind the success of Personal Capital as it’s a very quick, effective and powerful way to maximize your investments. If at the end of the analyses you want help re-arranging your finances, you can even speak to a Personal Advisor at Personal Capital who will manage your investment for you like a broker. Note that this consultation costs extra as they take a percentage of your overall portfolio and we can’t vouch for it’s effectiveness but its something that can enhance the discoveries made by the software itself.
The two main tools to achieve this are the Fee Analyzer and Investment Checkup tool which we’ll look at more closely.
- Fee Analyzer
One thing that Personal Capital can help you identify right away is where fund brokers are charging hidden management fees. If you’ve got several funds, these fees can add up surprisingly quickly and are often hard to identify as they use names such as custodial fees, inactivity fees or 12b-1 fees. These can actually run into thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars for very large investments. Personal Capital uses a nifty Fee Analyzer to identify these fees and graphically display how much you’re losing in mutual funds, investment accounts, 401k retirement funds etc.
This is particularly useful when analyzing pensions as it also projects what impact it will have on your final retirement fund depending when you plan to retire.
What we like is that Personal Capital will even suggest how you can reduce such fees and make recommendations as to how to change your portfolio (here shown on the Personal Capital iPad app).
- Investment Checkup
This is one of the quickest and easiest ways to identify where your investments are losing money but you can also perform a more general analysis of how your investments are performing. The Investment Checkup tool analyzes your current holdings and suggest where you can make improvements. One of the smartest components if this feature is the Risk Analysis tool which where possible, identifies investments where you can lower the risk but still get the same level of return.
We also like the Allocation Comparison tab which helps to identify areas where you should re-balance your assets to capture the greatest possible returns. This provides a Current and Target Allocation which Personal Capital recommends you aim for. Quite often, this will recommend significantly reducing your cash holdings and putting them into stocks.
You can even see how your investments would have fared if you’d invested in the Target Allocation that Personal Capital suggests:
Overall, the Investment Analyzer is one of the best features of Personal Capital and genuinely helps you maximize your investments.
Planning For The Future
The planning tools in Personal Capital are naturally based around retirement plans. The Retirement Planner shows you exactly how much you can expect to get in your pension based on your retirement age. You can adjust the tool to select your desired income on retirement and the retirement planning tool will suggest what you need to do to your pension portfolio or 401k in order to reach that point.
However, we like the fact that the tool is dynamic so you can add events to it such as planning for college or getting married or other assets such as rental income, inheritances and other windfalls to see how they will directly affect your retirement income.
Overall, we’ve found Personal Capital to be a far better alternative to Quicken for Mac, especially when it comes to investments. Considering that the budgeting features are free, it’s easily one of the best equivalents to Quicken on Mac, even if you can’t perform quite the same amount of micro analysis on spending like you can on Quicken. There’s no denying that in general, it’s aimed more at those with significant investment holdings than Quicken although the budgeting tools are more than enough for those that just want to manage money better on their Mac.
Particularly for those with large investment holdings, the fact that you can talk direct with a Personal Capital Financial Advisor is a nice touch. Although the software can do some of the hard work for you, a financial advisor will be able to optimize your investments more especially when it comes to tax optimization and providing a custom investment plan based on your specific circumstances. Personal Capital makes it’s money from wealth management based on a percentage of the assets managed. It claims that this is far more effective than using an investment broker as brokers are more likely to recommend funds and investments that they earn a commission on plus they add operational and management fees on top.
Be aware though that there is a certain amount of sales promotion that comes with Personal Capital. You may be subject to sales emails or calls encouraging you to upgrade or contract a personal finance advisor especially if you have large investments although you are under no obligation to use these and you can continue using Personal Capital for free once you’ve signed-up if you’re not interested.
For those that have given up on Quicken for Mac or that want something that not only helps you budget but also genuinely improve investment profitability, Personal Capital is a really attractive alternative.
You can start using Personal Capital for free to judge for yourself.
Pricing: Free/Commission Based
Moneyspire (formerly known as Fortora Fresh Finance) is a popular budgeting software for both Mac and Windows which doesn’t store your accounts in the Cloud and doesn’t require you to upgrade regularly or subscribe like Quicken. It still supports online bill payments though via both Direct Connect and it’s own Moneyspire Connect service (although the the latter costs extra). Moneyspire Connect supports over 9000 financial institutions so it’s safe to say, your bank is probably supported if Direct Connect doesn’t work for any reason.
Moneyspire is a very complete alternative to Quicken on Mac which tracks bank accounts, credit cards, loans, investments and more. You can set bill reminders, budgets and generate detailed reports and charts to monitor your outgoings and if you run a small business, you can also create professional invoices and track payments. It can even print checks which most finance apps no longer support anymore on Mac.One of the things we like most about Moneyspire is that it doesn’t over complicate things. It gives a very clear overview of everything from accounts and details of spending to bill reminders and budgets. Moneyspire provides a clear and uncluttered overview of your accounts:
The Bill & Deposit Reminder provides a very clear overview of upcoming payments:
You can generate detailed reports and charts to see exactly where your money is going to make tax reporting less stressful and much easier.
Other useful features in Moneyspire include Balance Forecast, Reconcile Statements, Online Banking, Import & Export of Data, a Mobile App and Cloud syncing.
You can import QIF files from any other financial application including Quicken and likewise, export your accounts to QIF if you move to another budgeting application. If you’ve got a lot of accounts saved in Microsoft Money on Windows, Moneyspire can also import MS Money files. There’s also a Moneyspire app for iPad and iPhone which allows you to check your account balance, see upcoming bills and see how your budget is doing.
Moneyspire has simplified its pricing policy and there’s now just one version of Moneyspire for $59.99 which includes Direct Connect access. Moneyspire Connect isn’t included however and costs an extra $49.99 per year. You can also download a 30 day free trial of Moneyspire. If you do decide to purchase it, you have a 60 day money back guarantee if you’re not happy with it. Unlike with Quicken, updates to Moneyspire are free but major updates usually require an upgrade fee but the good thing is you’re not locked into a monthly subscription like with Quicken.
Pricing: $59.99 – Free Trial
Banktivity is a financial accounting app designed specifically for Mac and one of the most popular replacements for Quicken for Mac. Banktivity has been around for over a decade now but was more commonly known as iBank until the developer IGG Software decided to rename it in January 2016 to Banktivity for various commercial reasons. Banktivity has been a popular choice for those that have ditched Quicken for Mac because it offers many things that it lacked for years such as online banking integration, full investment support, envelope and full year budgeting, loan amortization and multi-currency support.
Some of these things such as online bill payments and banking integration via Quicken Bill Pay, 12 month budgeting and enhanced investment features have been introduced in the latest versions of Quicken but Banktivity has a long head start on it. In particular, support for loan amortization, multi currency support, more extensive investment features and the fact that it’s always been designed by a Mac user for Mac users still give it the advantage. Because it’s designed exclusively for Mac too, Banktivity also looks and works great on macOS whereas Quicken was originally designed for PCs and later developed for Mac with many essential Windows features left-out.
The first thing you’re likely to want to do when you start Banktivity is import your accounts either from Quicken or any other financial software you’ve been using. Banktivity has been designed with switching from Quicken or other accounting software and includes a Quicken transfer setup assistant which imports all of your Quicken data. There are extensive video tutorials for Banktivity which make it easy to get started and understand how it works quickly.
You can export your Quicken accounts (or any software that supports QIF exports) to QIF or QMTF format to import into Banktivity (or if you’re a TurboTax user, TXF format). Banktivity supports both importing and exporting any in OFX, QFX, QMTF, QIF or CSV format. Note that Banktivity doesn’t support importing “Classes” from Quicken 2007 and although importing Quicken data is generally smooth, you will have to make some minor manual corrections afterwards.
The equivalent of the Quicken “Home” page is the Summary section in Banktivity. This gives you a very clear overview of your current financial position including Net Worth, Upcoming Transactions and a useful Income/Spending Summary.
The lack of online bill payment and banking integration were one of the major reasons that users first started switching to Banktivity although Quicken 2017 for Mac onwards now supports a fully functional Quicken Bill Pay just like the Windows version. Banktivty supports three different ways to connect to your bank account – Direct Connect/Direct Download (OFX), Banktivity’s own enhanced Direct Access service (which supports 10,000 banks and is more efficient and reliable although it does cost an extra $44.99 a year) and Web Download (which basically involves manually downloading a file from your bank and then uploading it into the app). Of the three methods, Banktivity’s Direct Access is the most reliable but incurs the extra $44.99 a year. However, you can choose to try it for 30 days for $5.99 or get 90 days access for $13.99 to see whether it works well with your bank or financial institution.
When it works well, Banktivity’s Direct Access service is great, Just click to update your financial status and in a few seconds, Banktivity updates all of your data showing you your most recent transactions and Budget status.However, as with Quicken Bill Pay and Direct Connect, Banktivity’s Direct Access doesn’t always work well with technical glitches and download errors. As with any third party online banking integration service, it’s hard to tell whether the problem is at the bank’s end or with the software. Rather than paying $44.99 for an annual Direct Access subscription, we recommend trying it for 30 days for $5.99 (which you can purchase in-app) to see whether it works well with your bank before relying on it. Apart from automatic syncing with your bank account, you can even use Banktivity’s own secure web browser which allows you to securely access and download bank transactions from your bank website.
Reporting is still lacking in Quicken for Mac compared to the Windows version and this is another area that Banktivity does very well. You can create quick reports on the fly in a few clicks.Investment tracking has been improved in Quicken 2018 for Mac but is still behind the Windows version. Banktivity’s investment tools allow you to track buys and sells, dividends, review security prices and automatically download quotes from Yahoo. You can also track stock options or short sales and analyze performance with various investor reports such as ROI, IRR and cost basis. Banktivity also provides mortgage and loan amortization analysis which has only been recently introduced into the latest versions of Quicken.
Budgeting was finally improved in Quicken 2017 for Mac onwards with 12 month budgets now finally possible although this has been a feature of Banktivity for some time now. Banktivity supports both annual budgeting and budgeting between specific dates. You can see in an instant if you’re on track to hit your budget with a statement of your budget target and your actual position.
There’s also a Banktivity iPad app ($19.99) and iPhone app ($9.99) for managing finances on the move although these cost extra. However, you should be aware that you can no longer sync Banktivity for Mac with the iOS app via WiFi or a webDAV server as you could with iBank. You now need to sync via Banktivity Cloud Sync which inevitably means that your financial data and accounts have to be uploaded to Banktivity’s Cloud Sync server. Banktivity Cloud Sync is free however and all you need is a free Banktivity ID to sync with iOS devices or other Macs – you don’t need to pay for Direct Access in order to use this service.Banktivity guarantees the security of Cloud syncing by encrypting data before it uploads it to the Cloud and since it’s encrypted, no third party – including anyone at Banktivity – can read your accounts. Although many users will miss WiFi syncing, some Banktivity users previously had to resort to using MINT just to sync their banking transactions across devices so Cloud Syncing now makes things a lot easier. Like the Quicken mobile app however, there are many limitations to the iOS app compared to Banktivity such as a lack of envelope budgeting and report generation but if you just want to monitor accounts, edit transactions, manage budgets and track investments, it’s useful.
For investment management, there’s also a separate free Banktivity Investor app (formerly iBank Investor) which syncs investment data specifically. So for example, you can see all of your holdings with the current gains or losses in real time with data pulled from Yahoo Finance although this has a tendency to break depending on changes to how Yahoo allows third party apps to access it.
Oh, and if you really need one, Banktivity is also the only budgeting software on Mac which has a Banktivity Apple Watch app.
When it comes to Customer support you can contact Banktivity Live Chat during working hours or email support out of office hours although there’s no phone support as introduced in Quicken 2017 for Mac.
Finally, Banktivity is a good choice for families or those planning to use the software with others as it allows you to not only create multiple profiles to keep accounts and investments separate, but also to password protect them individually to protect your privacy.
Banktivity 6 costs $64.99 from the Mac App Store and there is also a 30 day free trial. However, it’s better to buy direct from the developer IGG Software as it offers a 90-day money back guarantee (compared to Quicken’s 60 Day guarantee) which isn’t available with the Mac App Store version. Remember that Direct Connect integration is free but if you want to use Banktivity’s own Direct Access system, you’ll have to pay an extra $44.99 per year. One drawback since it changed from iBank is that major updates to Banktivity are no longer free but those that purchased the app direct from the developer get a 50% discount whereas the Mac App Store version offers no upgrade discount.
Recent versions of Quicken for Mac have definitely closed the gap on Banktivity with the introduction of Quicken Bill Pay and enhanced Budgeting, Reporting and Investment tracking. However, it’s still not as complete as Banktivity although if you need online banking integration, the choice may depend on whether Quicken Bill Pay or Banktivity’s Direct Access work better for you.
Pricing: $64.99 Mac App Store / Developer
Moneydance has many satisfied customers that previously used Quicken and is an excellent alternative to Quicken for Mac. Although Moneydance now works on both PC and Mac, it was originally designed just for Mac when it was released in 2005 and there are still older versions for Snow Leopard and PPC Macs available. Moneydance has all of the features of Quicken for Mac including online banking and bill payments, bill attachments and has much better investment tracking and budgeting tools than Quicken for Mac. Moneydance is particularly good at handling investments and transactions in multiple currencies so is an excellent choice for those that hold investments or make purchases in currencies other than US dollars.
Moneydance provides a very clear overview of your finances. It gives you all the essentials such as account balances, upcoming and overdue transactions and exchange rate information. The calendar overview is particularly useful for a quick oversight of upcoming credits and debits so you can manage your finances for that month more easily. To access more details for an account, simply click on it and you can enter transactions or reconcile it against a statement. Clicking on a transaction reminder will display a window where you can automatically record the transaction.
Importing Quicken data is simple enough. All you need to to do is export a QIF file from Quicken and then import it into Moneydance. It’s recommendable to import all of your Quicken accounts into one QIF file otherwise the import process can be a bit messy and complicated. This is particularly true if you want to avoid duplicate transactions which can be tedious to clean-up manually. This can also be a problem when importing QIF files from banking institutions – you may find that some transactions are duplicated and need to remove them manually.
Like Banktivity, one of the main reasons Mac users have switched to Moneydance is the online banking features. Moneydance will automatically download transactions and make bill payments to hundreds of financial institutions. It also intelligently learns how to automatically categorize and sort downloaded transactions so that they are easier to manage. This is particularly useful when it comes to recognizing ledger history and auto-suggesting similar payee entries. In general, Moneydance is very reliable when it comes to syncing and downloading online banking and investment house statements and in this respect, it’s more solid than Banktivity’s Direct Access feature. Note that it only downloads account data, it won’t download credit card transactions.
Investment tracking is also easier to navigate and more powerful than Quicken for Mac, with support for stocks, bonds, CDs and mutual funds among others. You can see the total value of your investments or the performance of individual stocks and mutual funds over time. Moneydance will also download stock prices automatically in real time.
Moneydance also has some powerful reporting tools that compare favorably with Quicken and it can generate reports for any of your accounts, savings or investments. You can save graphs and export them to PNG format for sharing.
Unlike Banktivity, the Moneydance iPad and iPhone apps are both free from the Mac App Store so you can manage your budgeting on the move. However, the Moneydance mobile app is more limited than the Banktivity iOS apps – it’s only really useful for manually inputting transactions on the move. You can’t search transactions, it can’t hold more than 12 months worth of data and there are no budgeting functions. Slightly concerning though is the fact that Moneydance only syncs the Mac and iOS app via Dropbox which doesn’t feel very secure compared to Banktivity’s encrypted Direct Access features.
One unique feature of Moneydance is the ability to extend its functionality with add-ons and extensions. These include such things as Balance Predictor based on previous transactions, Debt Insights and a Find and Replace extension which is useful for removing duplicate transactions from imported Quicken or banking files more easily.
Moneydance definitely feels a little friendlier than than both Quicken and Banktivity to use although at the same time, it also feels a bit lightweight. There’s no support for multiple accounts or profiles either so it’s not as suitable for families or organizations that want to create accounts for multiple users. In terms of support, Moneydance doesn’t have a Live Chat feature like Banktivity but it does have an extensive Knowledge Base. There’s also a Slack chat group for Moneydance which allows other users and the developer Infinite Kind to interact and reply to customer issues and queries.
Overall Moneydance is an extremely good alternative to Quicken on Mac with all the features you’ll find in Quicken and more courtesy of extensions. The online banking features are generally reliable and the overall way it manages your financial data is intuitive and intelligent.
Moneydance 2017 is $49.99 from the Mac App Store with a 90 day money back guarantee but there is also a free Moneydance demo for up to 100 transactions. There’s also an OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard version and PPC Mac version available.
Pricing: $49.99 Mac App Store
Like Banktivity and Moneydance, SEE Finance has been designed specifically for Mac and used to be the closest thing you get to Quicken for Mac before Intuit finally released Quicken on Mac. Nowadays, it looks and feels a bit dated but still remains very reliable, robust and feature packed when it comes to managing money. As a result, SEE Finance for Mac has won a lot of supporters over the years and remains an extremely popular and trusted personal budgeting app for Mac with a faithful following.
For those that need to import a lot of Quicken QIF data, it’s often commended as the most reliable and pain free finance app out there, especially when importing years of accounts. Unlike Banktivity and Moneydance, there’s less chance of duplicated transactions when importing large QIF files which can save hours of hassle combing through accounts and deleting duplicated entries. You can import files in QIF, QMTF, CSV, QFX and OFX format.
The investment tracking is also very well done in SEE Finance with a clear and varied overview of your investments with lots of different reports. Specifically, SEE Finance supports tracking of income, banking, investment, cash, asset, loan, credit card, and liability accounts. Like Moneydance, SEE Finance is also very good at handling multiple currencies with over 150 different ones supported which is something that Quicken for Mac still struggles with.
You can connect to banking institutions via Direct Connect which will automatically download transactions and import data from others. SEE Finance also has it’s own browser which allows you to browse your banking site securely and download transaction data and details although since the app is quite dated now, it may not work well with all all banking sites.
Budgeting is also considerably better than older versions of Quicken with custom budgets that monitor how you track money although recent versions of Quicken 2017 have caught-up a bit in that respect.
On the downside, there is no iOS app for SEE Finance so those that like to manage their personal finance on the move will be disappointed. There’s no check printing like with Banktivity and Moneydance although for most people, this is not a big issue nowadays. There’s no support for multiple profiles either and there’s no Live Chat or phone support although there’s an extensive FAQ with email support and the developer is responsive and helpful.
SEE Finance may not be the slickest app but it still remains a fast, reliable and stable way to manage your finances on Mac. SEE Finance works on OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard or higher and is available from the Mac App Store for $39.99 or it’s $39.99 directly from the developer. There’s also an SEE Finance free trial.
Pricing: $39.99 – Free Trial
You Need a Budget (YNAB) can’t really be compared to Quicken for Mac but it’s definitely worth mentioning as it’s one of the most popular personal finance apps on Mac, mainly for its excellent budgeting features. Because of the way it approaches budgeting, YNAB has also proved very effective at helping users to save money and get their finances in order which is made it very popular with Mac and PC users alike. More recently, it’s added online banking support to conveniently keep all of your accounts and transactions in one place so you can keep tabs on your money better. If you don’t need the bells and whistles of Quicken such as Bill Pay but simply have trouble managing your finances, YNAB might be the perfect alternative to Quicken on Mac for you.
YNAB is an extremely easy to use personal finance app that’s geared towards helping you save money, not just oversee your finances and manage transactions. From constructive tips on budgeting to excellent customer support, free online tutorials and a thriving, helpful user community, YNAB gets almost everything right when it comes to budgeting. The developers of YNAB strive to help you manage your money more efficiently by encouraging you to use a Four Basic Rule method which can genuinely help you save money or get out of debt. The four golden rules are:
- Give Every Dollar A Job: Every cent is accounted for
- Embrace Your True Expenses: Break down large purchases into monthly payments
- Roll With The Punches: Create an overflow for the unexpected
- Age Your Money: Deal with bills as they happen
YNAB is structured around these four principles and helps you to structure your budget accordingly. YNAB does import bank files and transaction ledgers and although the developer originally stated that YNAB didn’t support online banking integration mainly because of security concerns, it does now allow you to connect and retrieve your balances from over 12,000 banks although there’s no support for Direct Connect or Bill Pay.YNAB also does not support multiple currencies or investment tracking so it’s not really suitable for those who have a big investment portfolio. It does however allow you to factor mortgages and simple investments into your overall budget and gives you a very clear overview of where your money is going.
YNAB is also one of the few personal finance apps that has an iWatch app but even more unusual, an Alexa app which can automatically check category balances or record new spending at your command. The Alexa app works for anyone with an Amazon Echo, Dot or Fire TC Stick with voice control. Although YNAB can sync across all devices, note that it uses Dropbox for syncing and doesn’t offer it’s own Cloud syncing service or syncing via iCloud.
YNAB works on OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard or higher but is no longer available in the Mac App Store or the Steam Store. In a similar move to Quicken 2018, it’s now only available on a subscription basis although those that have saved money using it, will say it’s definitely worth it. YNAB now costs $4.99 a month or $49.99 per year direct from the developer which has annoyed many exisiting users although it’s still a relatively small price to pay if YNAB helps you save money. YNAB claims that new users save on average $200 in their first month and more than $3000 by month nine although this of course won’t be true for everyone. However, if you’re a US college student, YNAB is absolutely free as long as you can prove your college registration. Whichever method you use to purchase it, you can try a 34 day free trial of YNAB before deciding whether its for you or not.
For those looking for a powerful, fully featured budgeting application for Mac which covers investing and tracking, YNAB probably isn’t for you. If you struggle making ends meet at the end of the month and you’re looking for a slick, easy to use app that helps you learn how to save money across multiple devices, YNAB is an excellent plain speaking cash management app for Mac users.
Pricing: $49.99/Year – Free Trial
MoneyWorks was one of the first ever finance software for Mac and made its debut on OS X way back in 1992 – before Windows 95 was even invented. During this time, the New Zealand based creators of MoneyWorks have continually updated and created a highly tailored Mac product for managing finances and even provides customized versions for US and international users. MoneyWorks has steadily increased in popularity with 40,000 users, some of which no doubt switched from Quicken. However, it’s important to be aware that MoneyWorks is designed more for small businesses, organizations and accountants that need to keep track of cashflow rather than investments. Although you can use it for budgeting, it’s made it’s name as one of the best accounting software for Mac. MoneyWorks can import data from QuickBooks, MYOB, Xero and Greentree although it doesn’t support importing Quicken data yet. MoneyWorks is also well integrated with other business software on Mac including Daylite, FileMaker, Numbers and Microsoft Office.
There are several versions of MoneyWorks depending on the size of your business and needs but all include
a Cashbook, General Ledger, On-Screen Enquiries to find balances and trends, Reports, Contacts Database, Item Pricing, Sales Tax Tracking, Sticky Notes, Budgeting Tools, Multiple Accounts Support, Import & Export and Unicode information recording. If you need something that can manage payroll, CRM and POS systems for Mac, then MoneyWorks is a particularly good choice. MoneyWorks is also generally very good at representing complex business data in graphs and produces custom reports via the MoneyWorks Gold report writer. It’s also suitable for those that need to share their accounts with Windows based accountants as it works on both Mac and PC.
MoneyWorks comes in 5 different versions aimed at differing sizes of business and all are available for standalone purchase or via subscription. MoneyWorks Cashbook used to be $99 but is now completely free to use and is ideal for small organizations such as clubs and churches that need a simple financial accounting software for Mac. However note that although you don’t need to provide credit card details, you do have to sign-up for a free subscription first and there’s no support included with the free version. MoneyWorks Express costs $249 or $18 per month and is designed for small business invoicing and MoneyWorks Gold ($499 or $28 per month) is for medium sized business with job costing and inventory management. The Gold version of MoneyWorks is also available online as MoneyWorks Now and allows you to access your accounts on both Mac and PC. Finally there’s MoneyWorks Datacentre ($2299 or $39 per month) for Enterprise needs. You can see a full comparison of MoneyWorks versions here.
If you’re looking for financial software with a focus on accounting and cashflow that genuinely cares about Mac users, you can’t go far wrong with MoneyWorks. Few other developers have been in the finance software game on Mac as long as MoneyWorks and the fact that the excellent MoneyWorks Cashbook is now free means you really have nothing to lose by giving it a go.
You can try MoneyWorks free for 45 days.
Pricing: Free/$18 per month+/$249+
Liquid Ledger is a slightly dated but still very robust and easy to use Quicken alternative designed specifically for macOS. If you need a personal finance software for Mac with particularly good support for multiple currencies, then Liquid Ledger might be for you. The first thing you’ll notice about Liquid Ledger is that the interface hasn’t been updated in a while although it works with OS X Lion and above. Among the many features of Liquid Ledger are Account Management, Income & Expense Tracking, Split Transactions, Account Reconciliation and more. Like Moneyspire, it’s also one of the few personal finance apps for Mac that still supports check printing.
Pricing: $49.99 – Free Trial
MoneyWell is a slick simple but effective alternative to Quicken for Mac designed specifically for Mac and iOS. MoneyWell is unique in that it uses an envelope budgeting system to help you manage your finances better. It also supports Direct Connect so that you can automatically pay bills from your bank account. MoneyWell is clearly well thought out with some really smart interactive reports. In fact the graphs and reports in MoneyWell are some of the best we’ve seen in any budgeting software at this price. Apart from the overall look and feel however, the best thing about MoneyWell is the envelope budgeting system. Rather than setting targets that you either hit or miss, envelope budgeting works on the basis that any money you save or overspend is constantly adjusted to show the affect on your incoming bills. There’s also MoneyWell Express which is the mobile version of MoneyWell and allows you to manage your accounts wherever you are. MoneyWell is very good value at just a one off payment of $72.60 but you can also try it for free.
Pricing: $72.60 – Free Trial
moneyGuru is a free open source Mac Quicken alternative although it’s focused more on accounting as it’s loosely based on the double-entry accounting system. moneyGuru is quite dated and the interface hasn’t been updated for quite some time now but if you’re prepared to invest some time into learning how it works, it’s quite a powerful money management software that costs nothing. moneyGuru doesn’t rely as much on reports as most similar software but rather on updating financial data in real time to highlight trends, issues or problems in your spending. Even though it’s free, moneyGuru is surprisingly powerful allowing you to import Quicken files including QIF, OFX, QFX and CSV files and it can export to QIF and CSV. However, the methodology that moneyGuru uses is different to most finance apps and is better suited to those that have some familiarity with accounting. It also feels like quite a “techy” although you can extend the functionality with plugins, you need some knowledge of Python 3 to add them. Added to the fact that the interface hasn’t been updated in a long time, moneyGuru is only really an option if you’re not prepared to pay a cent for your budgeting software.
Pricing: $72.60 – Free Trial
Quicken Alternatives For Mac: Feature Checklist
Over the past decade, Mac users have had a particularly rough ride with Quicken. Although Quicken 2017 introduced some long overdue features, it still wasn’t up to speed with the Windows version. The subsequent decision to make Quicken 2018 for Mac subscription only however was the final straw for many users.
Although there’s less personal finance software for Mac than on Windows, there are an increasing number of apps that have filled the void left by Quicken and in some cases are even better.
When choosing the best personal budget software on Mac for your specific needs however, there are certain things you should always look for. Many essential features that are standard on Windows software, such as online banking integration and mortgage amortization, aren’t always included in Mac versions of the software.
Here’s a checklist of features to bear in mind when deciding which one to use.
- Online Banking Integration: Essential for those that want their accounts to be regularly updated with real time bank transactions and to pay bills online. Direct Connect (known as QFX in Quicken products) is the standard method that most banks support although increasingly, users are finding it very unreliable. Often this is due to problems on the bank’s side and connections can often stop suddenly working when they upgrade their own software. Some banks such as Citibank have even dropped support for Direct Connect in favor of their own proprietary system instead. As a result, some applications such as Moneyspire, Banktivity (formerly iBank) and Moneydance have developed their own additional ways of connecting to your accounts although this service usually costs extra. Note that some banks may levy a small charge for connecting your account to a third party app so it’s always wise to check with your financial institution first.
- Encrypted Connections: When it comes to security, remember that any connection made between finance apps and your bank are only as safe as the application accessing it. Make sure that the application takes security seriously and uses encrypted connections to your bank to prevent unauthorized interceptions. A few apps such as Personal Capital add an extra layer of protection by not actually storing your financial credentials but managing access via specialized encrypted service Yodlee. This adds an extra layer of protection to your data.
- Investment Tracking: This is essential to track loans, assets, stocks, shares and bonds etc. One of the big gripes Mac users have with Quicken is that it doesn’t track basic things like car loans or home loan amortization (although fixed interest rate tracking was introduced in Quicken 2017. ) Alternatives such as Personal Capital, Banktivity and Moneydance all feature investment tracking as standard.
- Mobile Apps: If you like to manage your money or check accounts on the move, make sure the software you choose has a mobile app. Most apps that have a mobile app sync accounts with your iPhone or iPad although many are limited in functionality and don’t allow you to make many transactions. If you like to take photos of receipts and invoices to sync with your Mac later, make sure this feature is supported.
- Multiple Currencies: For those that travel a lot or that deal with foreign transactions regularly. Quicken for Mac is still lagging behind when it comes to multiple currency transaction support. Those that imported foreign currency accounts into Quicken 2018 for example found that they were suddenly converted to dollars. Make sure foreign currencies are supported if you do a lot of trade abroad to avoid some major headaches when importing data.
- User Profiles: If you share the software with a partner, other members of your family or colleagues, support for creating multiple profiles is very useful. It allows you to track spending and create budgets for each individual member whilst also preserving the privacy of each user.
We’ve ensured that all of the top money management software featured here support these features unless specifically stated otherwise. The exception to this is YNAB which is strictly focused on ease of use and budgeting.
There are many simpler money management apps on Mac but these are the closest thing you’ll find to a serious replacement for Quicken on macOS. If you’re looking to maximize your investments as well as budget, then Personal Capital is easily the best of the lot.
Banktivity probably edges it as the best all round native macOS alternative to Quicken on Mac however as it offers almost all of the features found in Quicken plus more ways of connecting to your accounts online (although the problems with the Direct Access syncing service let it down somewhat). Moneydance meanwhile is arguably the best looking finance program for Mac and is slightly easier to use than Banktivity.
If you’re planing on importing more than 10 years worth of Quicken data meanwhile, SEE Finance is probably the most robust and reliable but it is rather dated now. If you just want something to manage your cashflow rather than investments, MoneyWorks Cashbook is hard to beat especially since it’s now free to use. Finally, YNAB is probably the best for those that simply need to get their finances in shape due to the way it actively strives to help you save money and get results.
That said, there’s no doubt that since it was taken over by new owners, Quicken for Mac is now a lot closer to the Quicken Windows version as found when we looked at Quicken 2018 on Mac.
If you found this article helpful, you may also be interested in our look at tax software for Mac users. If you need something a bit more powerful for accounting too, check out our guide to the best accounting software for Mac too.
If you have any other questions or experiences regarding the programs and software featured here, let us know in the comments below.