Starting with this year’s release, Quicken 2018, Quicken has changed their pricing structure and the various Quicken editions. (See the current best prices for Quicken here.)
If you are looking for an alternative to Quicken, I have a couple recommendations at the bottom of this article.
First, let me explain the new Quicken editions. Then I’ll talk more about the pricing changes.
New Quicken Editions for 2018
There are now three editions for Mac users and four editions for Windows users.
Mac users can rejoice because Quicken Starter, Deluxe, and Premier work on both Windows and Mac. Formerly, there was only one limited version of Quicken for Mac, but now Mac users get the same versions of Quicken that are available to Windows users, along with all the great features that have been missing from previous Mac editions.
The former Quicken Rental Property Manager and Quicken Home and Business editions have been combined into the new Quicken Home, Business, and Rental Property. This new edition includes all the features of the former Quicken Rental Property Manager and the former Quicken Home & Business. At this time, Quicken Home, Business, and Rental Property works on Windows computers.
The Windows and Mac versions are nearly identical, with very minor differences. Premier editions and above come with Quicken Bill Pay included for free, a $119/year value. Premier and above also come with free priority customer support.
New Quicken Price Structure (Membership Subscription)
Beginning this year, Quicken will now be a membership subscription. Under this new pricing system, Quicken users pay for a 12 or 24 month membership subscription to the software instead of paying for an annual upgrade. This is a good thing. Let me explain why.
First of all, in previous years, many Quicken features would stop working at a pre-determined date, regardless of when a user purchased and installed the software. Under the new subscription model, a user gets a full 12 or 24 months of full Quicken functionality beginning when the user installs and activates the software. This new subscription system is more fair to users because you now get the full term of Quicken usage that you pay for, regardless of when you purchase or install your Quicken software.
A second advantage of the new subscription system is instant access to new features. Under this new system, as soon as Quicken releases an upgrade, enhancement, or new feature, all users get it right away. Under the old system, you had to wait until a new version was released in the fall before getting access to new features. Now, new features will be added and installed continuously, giving you the latest and greatest version of Quicken no matter what time of year you purchase it.
The new subscription system also includes 5 GB of free online secure backup storage in partnership with Dropbox. This lets users backup and restore Quicken data from Dropbox without having to pay for an additional storage fee.
Quicken Premier and Quicken Home, Business, and Rental Property users will receive Quicken Bill Pay included for free. This Bill Pay feature was previously a paid addition to Quicken, but is now included in the membership subscription price. This is a $119/year value that’s included free. This alone makes Premier worth the price. You can pay any business or individual in the U.S., making is super easy to pay all your bills on time from one place.
Lastly, Quicken is the best personal financial management product available. I want to see it get better and continue improving. The only way that can happen is if Quicken receives enough revenue to pay for more developers and to show a profit. This change to a membership subscription model will help Quicken receive a more consistent revenue stream to keep the company profitable and working on improving our favorite money management program.
This all comes at a cost of only $2-$4 per month (check out current prices). If you don’t think Quicken is worth this price, I would suggest you try one of the Quicken alternatives listed at the end of this article.
Now for some big questions people are asking:
Is Quicken now an online program?
No, Quicken is still a desktop program that you install on your computer. The new subscription membership only changes the way you pay for Quicken, but the program itself is still the same (with updates and new features). Your Quicken data is still saved on your own computer, not in the Cloud. Quicken does come with free Dropbox space, but you do not have to backup your Quicken data to Dropbox unless you choose to do so.
What happens if your subscription expires or you don’t renew? Do you lose access to Quicken?
No, you don’t lose access to Quicken. You’ll still be able to use Quicken to view all your data, enter transactions manually, and view/print reports. Online-based features will be turned off, meaning you won’t be able to download transactions directly from your bank or use Bill Pay, but you will still be able to enter transactions manually and access all your data. If you decide to renew your subscription, all the online-based features will be turned back on. (Note that this does not apply to the Quicken Starter edition. If you are using Quicken Starter, all your data will become read-only when your subscription expires.)
If I install Quicken on more than one computer, do I have to purchase more than one subscription?
With Quicken 2018, you are allowed to install Quicken on an unlimited number of computers. You can even install it on a PC and on a Mac. You only need to buy one subscription. The subscription is linked to your Quicken ID. As long as you are using the same Quicken ID on each device, you can use Quicken on as many devices as you would like.
Where should you go to get a membership subscription to Quicken 2018?
There are a few different options, and as always, I’ll try to point you to the best deals.
- Least Favorite Option: If you want to pay full price and get just a one-year (12 month) subscription, you can go directly to Quicken.com. There you can purchase a 12-month membership to any of the Quicken editions at the full retail price. This is the most expensive way to purchase Quicken.
- Better Option: If you would like to save money (and who doesn’t), I would recommend going to an online retailer. Most online retailers are selling 2-year (24 month) subscriptions to Quicken at a significant discount to paying for a one-year subscription twice.
We list the current best prices from around the web on our price comparison chart.
- Best Option: If you want to save even more money, I recommend buying your subscription at Amazon. Amazon has an exclusive deal with Quicken to offer a 27-month subscription for the price of 24 months. So you essentially get an extra 3 months on your subscription for free. There are several other advantages to purchasing Quicken on Amazon:
Amazon Exclusive Subscription Advantages
- 27 months for the price of 24 months (three months free)
- 15 GB of additional free online storage for Quicken backups with Dropbox (in addition to the standard 5 GB that now comes with Quicken)
- Free Premium support with unlimited priority access official Quicken Customer Care ($49.99/year value)
New features for Quicken 2018
Quicken 2018 New Features for Windows
- Automatic bill tracking with 11,000+ billers supported
- More custom report layout options and export to Excel
- 5GB free secure online backup with Dropbox
- Move and archive investments (Deluxe and up)
- Better investment performance analysis (Premier and up)
- Free Quicken Bill Pay included with Premier and up
- New custom invoices with your logo, color, payment links to Paypal and web links to Yelp (Home, Business & Rental Property only)
- Email rent reminders, receipts, and business invoices directly from Quicken (Home, Business & Rental Property only)
Quicken 2018 New Features for Mac
- Three versions for Mac: Starter, Deluxe, and Premier
- Support for 11,000+ online billers for automatic bill tracking
- 5GB free secure online backup with Dropbox
- Customizable investment portfolio views (Deluxe and up)
- Investment tracking by lot (Deluxe and up)
- Loan analysis with variable payment scenarios (Deluxe and up)
- Free Quicken Bill Pay included (Premier only)
Alternatives to Quicken
Understandably, some people are frustrated with Quicken’s change in pricing. I personally am happy with the change as I believe it will lead to a better product and ensure Quicken’s survival for years to come.
However, if you want to try a different personal financial management program, I have two recommendations. One is completely free and the other has a free 30-day trial.
1. Personal Capital
My first recommendation is Personal Capital. This program is completely free and is an outstanding product. It’s easy to set up, easy to use, and lets you keep track of all your accounts in one place. For anyone with investments, it has especially good investment tools that are better than those that come with Quicken. Go here to try Personal Capital.
My second recommendation is Moneyspire. This program is very similar to Quicken, it supports both Windows and Mac, and comes with a free 30-day trial. You can even import your Quicken data into Moneyspire so you don’t lose any history. This is the best desktop personal financial management program next to Quicken and a great alternative if you are looking for a change. Go here to try Moneyspire.