Over the years, no company has toyed with the loyalties of Mac users more than Intuit. The company has published the Quicken personal finance app since the early days of the Mac, and it has received preferred treatment from Apple on a number of occasions, aiding its success. (Apple subsidiary Claris bundled Quicken with ClarisWorks in 1992 and Apple itself bundled Quicken with Performa models in the mid-1990s.)
And yet, Intuit has jerked Mac users around repeatedly. Back in 1998, the company announced it was dropping Quicken entirely (“Intuit Drops Quicken for Macintosh,” 20 April 1998), before reversing the decision just weeks later after pressure from Apple (“Quicken Speeds Back to Mac,” 11 May 1998). Quicken 2002 Deluxe made the transition to Mac OS X successfully, although subsequent versions required the Rosetta emulator to run on Intel-based Macs. That was fine for Quicken 2005, 2006, and 2007, but then development paused, with Intuit announcing that the planned Quicken Financial Life would be delayed from 2008 to 2010 (“Quicken For Mac Delayed Until 2010,” 10 July 2009). It never shipped, and in 2011, Quicken 2007 was eventually replaced by the weaker Quicken Essentials. Quicken 2007’s reliance on Rosetta meant that it wasn’t compatible with Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, forcing many users to put off that upgrade (“Intuit Reminds Quicken Users of Lion Danger,” 6 July 2011). But in 2012, Inuit released a version of Quicken 2007 that could run in Lion and later versions of OS X (“Intuit Releases Quicken Mac 2007 OS X Lion Compatible,” 8 March 2012). Eventually, Intuit moved beyond Quicken Essentials to release Quicken 2015, though it too didn’t match up to Quicken 2007 (“Quicken 2015: Close, But Not Yet Acceptable,” 2 October 2014). And finally, Intuit said last year that it was looking for a company to acquire Quicken, a process that’s still underway (“Intuit to Sell off Quicken,” 24 August 2015). Phew!
Back in 2011, when Quicken Essentials was doing a poor job of replacing Quicken 2007, Michael Cohen wrote “Finding a Replacement for Quicken” (5 August 2011) and “Follow-up to Finding a Replacement for Quicken” (20 September 2011), which did a fabulous job of helping readers understand their needs and choose from the available alternatives to Quicken. If you’re considering switching to another personal finance app, be sure to read those articles.
But it’s time to do something different, which is to provide a forum for TidBITS readers to share their opinions of the state of personal finance software for the Mac. As we did with personal information managers (“Vote for Your Favorite Mac Personal Information Manager,” 11 January 2016), we’re asking you to evaluate the personal finance apps you’ve used. The survey is embedded at the bottom of this article on our Web site or you can navigate to it directly.
A few important notes before you start clicking your answers:
- Please rate only those apps with which you have significant personal experience. That means weeks or months of use, not something that you launched once before discovering that it lacked a feature you need. Don’t enter ratings for apps you haven’t used.
- We’ve listed a lot of apps in the poll, but if we missed the one you use, let us know so we can add it. To keep this manageable, we’re focusing on Mac apps that could conceivably replace Quicken — full-featured personal finance apps. Please don’t suggest simple budgeting apps, iOS-only apps, Web apps, or anything that’s not in active development. There’s nothing wrong with using these tools, but we have to draw a line in the sand somewhere.
Some apps will get more votes than others, so when looking at the results (click Show Previous Responses after you vote), take that into account. A lot of votes may indicate popularity (or a successful attempt to game the system), but an app with just a few highly positive votes is still worth a look.
Ratings don’t give a complete picture, so feel free to say what you like or don’t like about apps you use in the comments for this article; we’ve seeded the top-level comment for each app, and please keep your thoughts within the appropriate top-level comment. Searching for the app name will be the fastest way to find the appropriate comment thread.
We’ll report on the results next week, calling out those apps that garner the most votes and have the highest ratings. Thanks for the help!