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Moneydance Review: Simple & Effective Desktop Budgeting
Overall Moneydance is an extremely easy to use desktop budgeting app for Mac and PC. It's an ideal desktop alternative to Quicken on Mac without the subscription or online storage of your financial data. The online banking sync features are generally reliable and the overall way it manages your financial data is intuitive and intelligent.
Pros:
  • Reliable online bank syncing
  • Simple and easy to use
  • Desktop based with no subscription
Cons:
  • No budget targets
  • No multiple profiles possible
  • No retirement planning
75%Overall Score

Moneydance is a personal finance app for Mac, Windows and Linux that’s proved a popular alternative to Quicken for both Mac and PC.

Moneydance has many satisfied customers that previously used Quicken for budgeting and managing their finances especially because it’s very reliable at connecting with bank accounts.

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.

Since it works on all platforms, this review will be of interest to both Mac and Windows users.

Here we take a closer look at what Moneydance can do and give our opinions on it.

Moneydance includes most of the major features of Quicken including online banking and bill payments, bill attachments and has excellent investment tracking and budgeting tools.

One of the big attractions of Moneydance compared to Quicken and other products is that it works offline on Mac desktops so your financial data isn’t hosted in the Cloud.

Another plus is that unlike Quicken, there is no subscription to use Moneydance and it’s a one-off payment of $49.99.

Moneydance Overview

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 integrated 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.

moneydance

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.

You can easily setup recurring payment reminders using the calendar too.

moneydance review reminders

Online Banking

One of the main reasons Mac users have switched to Moneydance is the reliable 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 useful when it comes to recognizing ledger history and auto-suggesting similar payee entries.

Note however that as with all personal finance apps, online banking doesn’t always work. This is often due to security changes on the bank’s side regarding how third party applications access them rather than Moneydance itself.

In general though, Moneydance is very reliable when it comes to syncing and downloading online banking and investment house statements.

moneydance online banking

Investment Features

Investment tracking in Moneydance is easier to navigate and more powerful than Quicken, 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 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 investments

Reporting

Moneydance has some powerful reporting tools that compare favorably with Quicken and it can generate reports for any of your accounts, savings or investments.

You generate reports for income and expenses, change the graph types and see detailed pop-up data when your cursor floats over them.

You can also save graphs and export them to PNG format for sharing.

moneydance reports

Accounts Register

Another popular feature in Moneydance is the accounts register. The accounts register allows you to simply enter, delete and edit transactions in an account.

The calculation of balances and sorting of transactions in automatic. There’s also a payee auto-complete feature that makes it easier to enter and categorize transactions.

moneydance accounts register

Importing Quicken Files Into Moneydance

Importing Quicken data is simple enough. All you need to do is export a QIF file from Quicken and then import it into Moneydance.import quicken moneydance

It’s recommended 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.

Note that unfortunately, Quicken 2019 has removed the option to export files in QIF format in the Mac version. It now only exports in QXF which is a proprietary Quicken format that can’t be imported into any program. However, the Windows version of Quicken still exports to QIF so Mac users must open their accounts on a PC and export them if they want to import them to another program.

Moneydance Mobile

Another nice thing is that the Moneydance iPad and iPhone apps are both free from the Mac App Store so you can manage your budgeting on the move. There’s also an Android app.

However, overall the Moneydance mobile app is quite limited and it’s only really useful for manually inputting transactions on the move.

For example, you can’t search transactions, it can’t hold more than 12 months worth of data and there are no budgeting functions.

Moneydance only syncs the Mac and iOS app via Dropbox too – there’s no iCloud or WiFi syncing available.

moneydance iphone app

Extensions & Add-Ons

Finally, a 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 extensions are made with the Python programming language so if you’ve got any knowledge of Python, you can make your own or customize them.

New In Moneydance 2019

Moneydance went through quite an upgrade in 2019 with plenty of new features and updates. The highlights of these include:

  • Dark Mode: Moneydance now integrates with the new dark mode introduced in macOS 10.14 Mojave.
  • Import Improvements: Moneydance now analyzes files automatically to work out the best way to import data from other personal finance apps like Quicken.
  • Speed Enhancements: Moneydance 2019 now automatically compresses and consolidates file sizes which means they launch and close quicker.
  • Multi-currency Improvements: Moneydance 2019 stores security prices relative to their associated currency so they’re no longer affected by exchange rate updates.
  • New Built-in Browser: You can now access your bank, broker, payment service or other financial provider more securely with Moneydance’s own secure WebKit browser. Moneydance can then recognize and import any files downloaded from that site.

Moneydance Drawbacks

Moneydance definitely feels a little friendlier than Quicken to use although at the same time, it also feels a bit lightweight.

There’s no basic things like budgeting goals, retirement planning and 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.

You can though install Moneydance on as many computers as you want at home if for example, a husband and wife want to have separate accounts.

Business users must purchase separate licenses for each computer they install Moneydance on however.

Moneydance Support

In terms of support, Moneydance is definitely limited compared to most budgeting apps.

There’s not even a direct email address to contact the developer Infinite Kind or a telephone number for support.

However, it does have an extensive Knowledge Base where the developer is very responsive to customer queries and problems.

From going through the knowledge base, it seems that most users questions or problems are rapidly resolved by the team behind Moneydance.

Moneydance Pricing

You can purchase Moneydance for $49.99 from the Mac App Store or direct from the developer for the same price with a 90 day money back guarantee.

There is also a free fully functional Moneydance demo for up to 100 transactions.

Major updates are usually discounted for existing users. For example, the most recent update from Moneydance 2017 to 2019 was 50% cheaper for existing users.

If you’ve got a very old Mac, there’s even a legacy OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard version and PPC Mac version available.

About The Author

MacHow2
Author

MacHow2 is devoted to helping you get the most of of your Mac. We're passionate about all things Mac whether it's helping users with software recommendations or solving technical problems. If you've got any comments about this article, get involved by leaving a comment below. You can also contact us directly using the contact form at the top of the site. Please note that in the interests of transparency, MacHow2 may sometimes receive compensation from link clicks or vendors.

12 Responses

  1. MacHow2
    Martin Robbins

    In your Online Banking section you state: ” Note however that it only downloads account data, it won’t download credit card transactions.” I am not sure what that means.

    When it comes to downloading credit card accounts in Moneydance, these are just accounts that are no different than checking, investment or savings accounts. I have been using Moneydance for many years, through several versions, and I can assure you that credit card transactions are automatically downloaded into the proper credit card accounts in Moneydance. Balancing such accounts are a breeze.

    Most importantly, tech support is first-class. They are fast, responsive and on-target. Backup is also simple and excellent, automatically backing up the data file on closing the program. I choose a belt and suspenders approach by also using the manual backup (found on the File menu) and sending it directly to an external disk.

    I never used the lame Quicken for Mac. (Can you imagine a financial management software package that can’t handle such a common financial procedure as amortizing a mortgage or auto loan?) I used Bankivity which I found much better and more suitable.

    Several years ago I switched to Moneydance and have never looked back. I keep checking each new home/small business financial app to see if one would they better meet my needs but have yet to find one that offers a better all-around experience. I do not use nor need services such as budget targets or retirement planning so this is not a great loss, at least for me. While Moneydance does not allow different profiles for, say, other family members, I just created a different data file for the small business I run.

    Reply
    • MacHow2
      MacHow2

      Hi Martin, Thanks for spotting that – it has now been clarified. And thanks for sharing your experiences using Moneydance.

      Reply
    • MacHow2
      MacHow2

      Thanks! Seems like they’ve discontinued the Slack group although not sure why it now points to the Edinburgh and Dean Dance. The developer is based in Edinburgh though funnily enough.

      It might not be the most effective way but it’s better than nothing 😉

      Reply
  2. MacHow2
    smayer97

    The one BIG problem for migrating from Quicken to MoneyDance is that since Quicken for Mac 2015 onward, there is NO QIF export.

    So this importing function will only work with Quicken Essentials for Mac, Quicken for Mac v2007 or older, or Quicken for Windows.

    Reply
    • MacHow2
      MacHow2

      According to Moneydance, it’s since Quicken 2019 not 2015 that Quicken no longer exports QIF files. So any version of Quicken prior to 2019 should export QIF files still to import into Moneydance and other apps.

      Reply
  3. MacHow2
    smayer97

    I have always wondered why there is any need to prevent copy & paste. Few sites bother to do this…the other impact is that it also prevents searching the article for pertinent info.

    You may want to reconsider this.

    Reply
  4. MacHow2
    smayer97

    Of course, you can simply use the EDIT menu to initiate a FIND…you just cannot use the keyboard.

    Reply
  5. MacHow2
    smayer97

    Actually, this is where MoneyDance is wrong…

    Although Quicken for Windows continues to support QIF export, QEM (Quicken Essential for Mac) was the last version to include the ability to export using QIF.

    There is a parallel export format that is supposed to be similar to QIF called QMTF file format but it was specifically designed to go from QEM back to QMac 2007. It may be a substitute but not sure if MoneyDance will read that file format. One thing that format does not support is the export of investment transaction records.

    (You made me second guess myself but this has just been confirmed by others in the Quicken forum.)

    Reply
    • MacHow2
      MacHow2

      Thanks for clarifying that. So in that case, those switching from Windows to Mac can at least still export their accounts in QIF format from Quicken 2019 and import them into other personal finance programs?

      Reply

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