Quicken Inc has dropped a big hint that both Quicken for Windows and Mac may soon be subscription payment only in the US meaning no more one-off payments for the product. The Canadian version of Quicken 2017 has just been released and is using a subscription payment only model. If users choose not to renew their annual subscription to Quicken on Windows or Mac, they will no longer be able to manually update their accounts, although they will still be able to access them, edit them and run reports. If true, it is likely to push increasingly push Mac users towards better and cheaper Quicken alternatives such as the free Empower.
When it was originally released a few days ago, the FAQ for Quicken 2017 in Canada stated that all future Quicken releases will be subscription products. The big change was slipped into the FAQ regarding connected services:
I don’t like online banking, do I still need to buy connected services?
The new Quicken Canada is designed so that you never go through the upgrade process again. In addition to online banking, you’ll automatically receive new Quicken features, versions, and services as part of your Quicken subscription, so you’ll always have the newest product. To provide you with these new features, a subscription to connected services is a required part of your product purchase. All future Quicken products will be subscription products.
However, as protest and concern mounted online that this meant that the subscription model would soon be used in the USA, Quicken has now revised the FAQ to state: “All future Canadian Quicken products will be subscription products”. The company is currently declining to comment however whether this means it will also be rolled out in the USA.
The FAQ goes on to explain that if a user decides to cancel their subscription, they will no longer be able to update their accounts manually although they will still be able to still access, edit, delete, copy and export data and run or save reports.
What happens to the program when access to Quicken Connected Services ends?
You’ll no longer have access to connected services, like the ability to download banking transactions or investment quotes, mobile access, or premium care. While you can continue to access your data and run reports, you’ll no longer be able to download transactions, or add manual transactions.
This will essentially render Quicken unable to manage your ongoing finances on your PC or Mac until you renew your subscription apart from being able to view existing data and run reports on it.
The Canadian version of Quicken 2017 is currently available in two subscription versions – Quicken Cash Manager which costs $39.99 per year and Quicken Home & Business which costs $89.99 per year. In place of the normal “Purchase” button is a “Subscribe Now” button:
A protest against the move has already started online on the Quicken Community Forum under a post entitled “Quicken Inc should reverse its decision to change to a subscription that makes the user’s data read-only if they stop paying”. Users can vote against the move at the top of the page and at the time of writing, 59 users have voted against the subscription model and voiced their opinion on the forum. While there are clearly many users against the move with some accusing the company of keeping their data “hostage”, there are also many users that say they are not actually against the subscription model as long as it is optional or offers a better deal than the current one-time pricing deal.
Quicken User Dan Glynhampton states:
Whilst I am not against the subscription model in principle, and for a mature product such as Quicken it makes a lot of sense, it has to be priced such that people feel it is as good a deal or better than the previous purchase model. Also, if the subscription isn’t renewed, manual access and updates to the data need to be allowed, otherwise the company will be perceived to be holding the customer’s data hostage.
Meanwhile another user Lanka appeals to Quicken to follow the Microsoft Office pricing plan:
I think it is a really bad idea to change to subscription only as a business model. Perhaps the subscription could be an option much like Microsoft does with its Office product. They offer both a subscription service and purchase option. The subscription is annual with a lower cost but the higher priced purchase option still exists. It is up to the customer to decide which is best for them. I have been a Quicken user for many years and I know that I would prefer being able to choose.
To Quicken Inc’s credit, since Intuit was taken over by H.I.G. Capital last year, it has been much better at dealing with customer concerns with Quicken, especially with the release of Quicken for Mac 2017 which addressed issues that have riled Mac users for years. A Quicken representative has already acknowledged protests about the move on the Quicken Community forum and stated that “our development and management teams will be reviewing all of the feedback here”. It’s therefore possible that Quicken will change or modify its policy on this before rolling it out in the USA.
Although as we wrote in our Quicken 2017 For Mac review, the latest version was a definite improvement on previous versions of Quicken, many Mac users have already abandoned Quicken over the years in favor of alternatives to Quicken for Mac. If Quicken Inc chooses to make subscriptions compulsory for Quicken for Mac users in the US too, this will likely alienate Mac users even more – and a considerable amount of PC users too.
If you’re a Quicken for Mac or even a Quicken for Windows user, let us know your thoughts on this latest move by Quicken in the comments below.