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quicken 2018 for mac cover 2

Quicken 2018 For Mac Review: Now Subscription Only

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There are no huge changes in the Mac release of Quicken 2018 but there have definitely been improvements to Bill Pay, Loan Analysis and Investment tracking. The overall interface looks slightly slicker too. The biggest changes are undoubtedly the introduction of 3 versions of Quicken for Mac users and the switch to an annual subscription model.
3 new versions for Mac users to choose from
Much improved Investment Tracking
Better Loan Analysis
Subscription only - no one time purchase available
Still lacks Quicken 2007 core features
Many reports still missing

Quicken 2018 for Mac is now available and the big news is that it has officially moved to a subscription only pricing plan. If this is the last straw for you, check out our look at some of the excellent Quicken alternatives for Mac that exist nowadays such as the impressive free version of Empower.

MacHow2 was the first to report that such a move was in the pipeline shortly after the release of the Canadian version of Quicken 2017 for Mac although Quicken Inc later denied any decision had been made about the US product. Now however, it’s official that all Quicken 2018 products are only available on a subscription basis. In this review, we look at what this means for you and what’s new in Quicken 2018.

What’s New in Quicken 2018 For Mac?

For all Quicken for Mac users, the biggest changes in the 2018 version are:

1. Quicken for Mac is now subscription only – you can’t just make a one-off purchase anymore, you have to make an annual or bi-annual commitment to it. Note that 2 year subscriptions are only available from third-party retailers such as Amazon, Staples and Office Depot. Quicken Inc only sells 1 year subscriptions at the moment.

2. Quicken will now be available in 3 different versions that were previously only available on Windows:

  • Quicken Starter for Mac
  • Quicken Deluxe for Mac
  • Quicken Premier for Mac

3. In any subscription, you also get 5GB of Dropbox space to backup your accounts. Third parties such as Amazon are offering up to 15GB of Dropbox space included in 2 year subscriptions. Dropbox backup support already existed in previous versions of Quicken but you now get more space. You can simply configure Quicken 2018 to backup your accounts to Dropbox for extra security.

For Quicken Deluxe for Mac subscribers and above there are additional benefits:

  • You now get a customized investment portfolio with IRR and ROI. This also includes Investment Lot tracking, Linked eBills and PDF statements.
  • You now get “What-if?” analysis for loans with ability to vary payment scenarios

For Quicken Premier for Mac subscribers and above you also get:

  • Quicken Bill Pay for automatic payment of bills with 11,000 online billers now supported according to Quicken Inc
  • Priority Phone support. It’s not exactly clear what this means because as yet, there’s no official Quicken Policy on it but presumably it’s the same as Quicken Premium Support which previously was only available for Windows.

Quicken For Mac 2018 Pricing

Subscriptions for Quicken 2018 are available on a one year or two-year basis. However, Quicken Inc is only selling one-year subscriptions – two-year subscriptions are only available via third-party vendors such as Amazon. Subscribing for two years at a time works out cheaper than just a one year subscription, plus Amazon is offering 3 months for free and an extra 15GB of Dropbox storage (more on this later).

Subscriptions are tied to your Quicken ID and you can install Quicken on unlimited Macs or PCs with one subscription (more on this later). Note that there is no free trial although Quicken offer a 30 day money back guarantee if you’re not satisfied (which is down from 60 days compared with previous versions).

The exact pricing for the different versions of Quicken 2018 on Mac and Windows are as follows:

  • Quicken Starter (Mac & Windows)
    • One-year membership: $34.99
    • Two-year membership: $49.99 (available at retail)
  • Quicken Deluxe (Mac & Windows)
    • One-year membership: $49.99
    • Two-year membership: $79.99 (available at retail)
  • Quicken Premier (Mac & Windows)
    • One-year membership: $74.99
    • Two-year membership: $119.99 (available at retail)
  • Quicken Home, Business & Rental Property (Windows)
    • One-year membership: $99.99
    • Two-year membership: $149.99 (available at retail)

You can see full details of how Quicken 2018 versions compare here but In a nutshell, Quicken Starter will be too basic for most needs and most serious Quicken users will need Quicken Premier. The only difference between Quicken Deluxe and Quicken Premier is that Quicken Premier supports Bill Pay. If you can live without that, then the Deluxe version will do. The system requirements for all versions of Quicken for Mac 2018 are OS X 10.11 El Capitan or higher.

Although the news that Quicken 2018 is subscription only will grab all the headlines, the reality is that it was already semi-subscription anyway. The online features such as Bill Pay and transaction downloading already had a 3 year limit on them meaning after three years, you had to renew your payment for those services to keep them going. However, there’s no doubt that this move will significantly increase the cost for those Quicken users that didn’t upgrade every year. If you look at the bigger picture however, a Quicken 2018 subscription works out at little more than a few dollars a week which, if you find that Quicken is helping you save and manage your money, it doesn’t seem too bad at all.

Intuit ID Becomes Quicken ID

One big change that affects all Quicken users is that Intuit ID has been replaced by Quicken ID. If you’re using an earlier version of Quicken for Mac or Quicken for Windows and use online services like Bill Pay, you may have already been prompted to update with a “Mandatory Quicken Update Required” message.

quicken 2018 for mac review - quicken update

Don’t worry – this is not trying to force you to upgrade to Quicken 2018. It’s simply upgrading you from an Intuit ID to a Quicken ID which is used from now on to tie your subscription to your Quicken accounts.

You cannot share a Quicken ID with other users. Your subscription is tied to one Quicken ID and password which requires multi-factor authentication to log into via your phone or email. You could of course share your ID, password and phone/email authentication with another user but it’s neither secure nor practical to do so.

Main New Features

The most noticeable changes in the Mac version of Quicken 2018 are as follows:

  • New Bill Management Center. Bill Pay now supports around 11,000 online billers and the bill management center has been revamped.quicken 2018 mac review - new bill pay
  • What-If? Analysis for Loans. You can see how different scenarios will affect your ability to payback loans. Loan Amortization was already introduced in Quicken 2017 and continues in Quicken 2018 although it’s only for fixed rate loans, not variable or daily interest rate loans.loan analysis

The other notable changes are to the Investment Center which looks a lot slicker and more detailed. However, although overall Quicken 2018 feels a bit quicker and snappier than 2017, there does seem to be some lag when scrolling through investments, especially when dealing with several years of data. Stock price updates and stock prices from other countries aren’t available though and many investment reports aren’t available in the mobile version.

Note that one current bug is that if you’re migrating from Quicken for Windows to Quicken for Mac, currencies are not imported properly. For example, UK pounds will be imported as US dollars instead so if you have multi-currency accounts in Quicken for Windows, you should hold switching for now. Note also that there’s no support for crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum in Quicken 2018.

Still No Transaction Download Acceptance & Matching Control

One of the most requested features by Mac users is the ability to control transaction downloading and matching in Quicken For Mac. This is one of the many features that used to exist in Quicken 2007 for Mac but later disappeared when they rebuilt Quicken for Mac in 2010 never to return. It used to be possible to require manual acceptance or automatic reordering into the register but downloading to the register in the Mac version still does not allow users to control or verify that transactions are correct.

The ability to review downloads from your bank and credit card transactions before you accept and categorize them is useful in catching fraudulent charges or errors, editing transactions and other tweaks or checks. Another other problem is that automatically accepting immediately affects the balance of your register or account before they have been verified. If you’re someone who likes to check receipts against the downloaded version, then you’ll find this very time-consuming as you’ll be left double checking every automatically accepted transaction.

Is Quicken For Mac 2018 Now The Same As The Windows Version?

The big question on many Mac users lips will be is Quicken for Mac now finally exactly the same as on Windows? Despite now offering more versions of Quicken that were previously only available on Windows, unfortunately the answer is no. In fact the core functionality of Quicken 2018 still doesn’t match up to Quicken For Mac 2007. The download transaction matching feature mentioned earlier is just one of many features that exists in Quicken for Windows and not in the Mac version but there are many more basic differences.

Most notably, the Reporting features of Quicken 2018 are still far behind what was available in the 2007 apart from improvements such as Investment Lots. There have also been slight improvements in how you can control reports such as font size, row colors, Excel export and an increase in the number of rows and columns supported. Unfortunately Tag Reports, Category Reports, Columnar Reports are all basic reporting features which are still either poorly implemented or lacking in Quicken 2018 on macOS.

However there is hope for reports junkies as Quicken Inc claims that there is a new reporting engine being used in Quicken 2018 which is already being used in the Transaction, Comparison and Transaction reports along with the standard portfolio view. This suggests that the addition of new types of reports is in the pipeline and could be easily added in future updates to Quicken 2018.

What Happens To Your Accounts If You Cancel A Quicken Subscription?

If you discontinue your subscription Quicken’s Data Access Guarantee states that you’ll always have full access and ownership of your data. However, note that this only applies to Quicken Deluxe and above – Quicken Starter data will become read-only and you won’t be able to edit your accounts anymore. For subscriptions to Quicken Deluxe and above, if you cancel your subscription or it expires, you will still be able to view, edit, export and manually enter transactions and accounts. However, you will no longer be able to use any of Quicken’s online services such as downloading of transactions, mobile syncing, Bill Pay etc. Quicken will continue you inform you of changes and updates to the product.

What Happens If You Don’t Want Quicken To Store Your Data In The Cloud?

The move to a subscription only model means that some users will feel even more uneasy than they already do about Quicken having more control over their financial data. However, even with a subscription, you can still prevent Quicken from storing your data online although it does mean losing access to certain services. If you want to make sure that your accounts are now uploaded to Quicken Cloud then you must disable Quicken Connect, Mobile Sync, Alert Notifications and any Clean-up Payee options you may have activated.

If you still want to be able to download transactions from your bank, you can use Quicken Direct Connect instead which is a direct connection between your bank and Quicken which bypasses Cloud storage. Alternatively, you can use Web Connect which downloads a QFX file from your bank or financial institution and which you can then upload to Quicken. You can find details here out how to configure Direct Connect and Web Connect on Mac.

How To Turn Off Subscription Auto Renew In Quicken 2018?

One of the slightly annoying issues we found is that you can’t actually turn off auto renewal of Quicken 2018 subscriptions in Quicken or on Quicken.com. You have to phone customer support to deactivate it. Quicken Customer Support is available on +1 (650) 250-1900 between 5:00am to 5:00pm Pacific, Monday through Friday. Be warned that at the moment, you may face long waiting times on phone support as the release of Quicken 2018 means the lines are much busier than usual.

How Many Macs Or PCs Can You Install Quicken 2018 On?

You can install Quicken 2018 on as many computers as you like as long as they are tied to your Quicken ID. Initially there was a 3 computer limit but Quicken Inc has revised the Quicken Terms of Use to remove any mention of this limit shortly after the launch of Quicken 2018. However, all versions will be limited to the functions and settings that are configured for your Quicken ID such as Credit Score etc.

When it comes to Cloud syncing, this is more limiting than the old Intuit ID system which allowed you to create a new separate ID for each data file so you could have multiple credit score for multiple accounts. If you therefore used to have different family members or colleagues using the same version of Quicken as you but with their own account, Cloud syncing separate accounts under one subscription will no longer be possible. For each account you want to create and sync across mobile devices, you’ll need a new subscription. If you don’t need Cloud syncing though, this won’t be a problem.

Note that you don’t have to buy the PC and Mac versions separately – a Quicken subscription now entitles you to download both the Windows or Mac version as many times as you like.

Best Deals To Buy Quicken 2018

The launch of Quicken 2018 has already seem some pretty competitive pricing mainly between Amazon, Staples and Office Depot. Retailers are currently the only ones offering two year subscriptions – you can only get one year if you buy direct from Quicken. The best deal we’ve seen so far is for Quicken Premier on Amazon which is currently offering an exclusive extra 3 months subscription free plus an additional 15 GB of Dropbox storage on Quicken 2018 Premier meaning you get 27 months with 20GB of Dropbox storage. In fact all versions of Quicken 2018 purchased via Amazon are offering the exclusive 3 month extra and 15GB extra Dropbox storage deal.

You can however also buy it online from vendors such as Staples and Office Depot. Be aware that currently, all vendors outside of Quicken are selling the CD version of Quicken 2018. However don’t worry as this doesn’t mean you actually need a CD/DVD drive in order to install it. It just means that you will be shipped a physical box with an installation CD in it but within the box, there is an activation code with a URL to download Quicken from so that you can also install it without the CD. If you buy from Amazon or a high street retailer website such as Staples or Office Depot, you will be emailed an activation code. Purchases direct from Quicken do not require any activation code.

Note that as yet, there is no version of Quicken 2018 on the Mac App Store although this will probably be released soon. Existing Quicken 2017 users will probably get some kind of discounted upgrade offer direct from Quicken in the app or via email at some stage.

One word of warning – avoid purchasing Quicken from eBay as most likely they are bootlegged or illegal copies of Quicken. Nowadays every copy of Quicken sold by third-party vendors comes with a one time activation code and without that code, it won’t work.

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