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Beware of Geeks Bearing Gifts:
Free Quicken 2018 CDs Come with Costly Catch

Quicken 2018 Upgrade CDOver a million Quicken software users are in for a costly surprise if they install the free upgrade CD that many received in the mail last week. Consumer World is warning them that the 2018 upgrade could triple their cost of the popular personal money management program.

Starting with the 2018 edition, the new owner of Quicken (H.I.G. Capital) is converting the software to a subscription service and charging a regular annual fee of $49.99 for Quicken Deluxe. If not renewed, the user faces the loss of online functionality to update account transactions and pay bills.

Quicken $49.99

The previous owner, Intuit, required purchasers to upgrade only every three years or lose online access. The list price for the three year program then was $74.99, but was often on sale for $50 or less, and even lower when bundled with TurboTax.

“This is a pure money grab by Quicken’s new owners,” commented Consumer World founder Edgar Dworsky. “The original intentional crippling of the software after three years was bad enough, but now reducing it to just one year in essence triples the cost for many, and will drive away thousands of users.”

How did the new management disclose their major change in terms for 2018 in the fancy three-fold mailer that accompanied the upgrade CD? It was only in a hard-to-read fine print footnote.


Quicken 2018 fine print Click to enlarge

For those who cannot read that, it says that a purchase would entitle users to [only] one year of Quicken, that data downloads stop at the end of the term, and that users’ memberships would be automatically renewed each year and users charged the then current renewal rate.

When Quicken introduced annual subscriptions in Canada earlier this year, it utilized an additional ploy to encourage annual renewals. It disabled the ability to even add transactions manually if the software was not renewed after a year. Following public criticism alleging that the company was holding users’ data hostage, they relented and lifted that restriction.

Echoing the company CEO’s open letter to customers about the changes, a spokesperson for Quicken explained that the primary reason for instituting annual renewals was so that their technical team can concentrate on continually improving a single version of the software. Currently the company has to separately update the 2015, 2016, and 2017 editions. He did acknowledge, however, that they are getting “negative feedback” about the pricing change.

Dworsky challenged the company’s justification suggesting that they could have just as easily introduced a single version of the software good for three years from the date of installation rather than just one year.

Quicken was spun off from a company that also engaged in tactics to “encourage” customers to upgrade. Two years ago, Intuit created a self-inflicted public relations nightmare when it changed the functionality of its most popular version of TurboTax tax preparation software to force users to upgrade to a more expensive version. After a public outcry, the company restored the software to its original form.

Consumer World recommends that current users of Quicken 2016 and 2017 continue using those versions since they are still fully functional until April 2019 and April 2020, respectively. But, they should lodge a complaint with the company now (here and here) if they are upset by the pricing changes.

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19 thoughts on “Beware of Geeks Bearing Gifts:<br>Free Quicken 2018 CDs Come with Costly Catch”

  1. Users who don’t need all the banking and checkwriting features of Quicken can install free open source software called GnuCash. It does the double-entry bookkeeping of Quicken, accepts .qfx downloads from banks, credit card companies, and other financial sites, but won’t do the online banking and check writing of Quicken. Best of all, it never locks out older editions or prevents you from accessing prior year information — even many years into the past. It runs on Windows, OSX, and Linux.

    I switched from Quicken to GnuCash about 10 years ago and have never regretted it. I’m primarily interested in tracking spending and use our bank’s web site for bill payment. It’s all free!

  2. Since the split I have had more problems when downloading info from bank to Quicken! Always having to go back and balance acct to correct balance and now this! GnuCash sounds pretty good… going to go take a look.
    My last problem was when I put something in for payment it would add it and when putting deposit in it would subtract it!

  3. I ditched Quicken years ago when they upped the price but took away bill pay. Bill pay was the entire reason I used Quicken to begin with. I’m not sure how they can justify the price nowadays.

  4. I was tired of Quicken’s pricing/renewal schemes, and switched to MoneyDance years ago. Also left TurboTax in the dust and went with H&R Block tax software. I am free of the Quicken/TurboTax pricing schemes and happier for it.

  5. Take a look at Moneyspire they don’t force you to upgrade or get into a costly subscription. They are very good personal finance software and an excellent Quicken alternative.

  6. Quicken still exists? I do not understand why the ‘average’ person would pay for something like this? Buy a calculator and keep track of your own finances.

    Also, Edgar is now referring to himself in the ‘third person’ in these articles?

    • Edgar replies: I have always talking about MrConsumer in the third person and only rarely say “I.” To be able to pay bills electronically and download monthly statements right in the software has been great.

  7. Thanks for the article Mr. Consumer! I got my new Quicken disk in the mail today and might have installed it if I had not seen this article first. I have Quicken 2017 so I’m good for a couple more years. If they don’t make some changes, Moneyspire looks like it will serve my needs nicely – and I see it also offers an invoice feature which might come in handy for my small business.

    • Edgar replies: Good timing, Bob! I am trying Moneyspire right now, but can’t get it to connect to my bank. Wrote to tech support. Also know that they have periodic sales during the year… as low as $29.99.

  8. Just looked at Moneyspire.. interesting. They do charge $30/year to download data from my bank though.

    Edgar replies: Robert… if your bank supports direct connect (like what Quicken uses on their no-extra-charge service), there is no charge from Moneyspire for electronic access to your online bank account, credit card, etc. There is a separate service that costs money for financial institutions that don’t support direct connect.

  9. I’m soo sorry that Quicken as taken this meth. I have use Quicken for 24 years and it has been A++++ in Book. I just cannot see why they are doing this. Sound like they got this idea from Microsoft 365 and so now they are doing this.
    I’AM sorry you have taken this angle too.
    Thank you for letting me post what I really think.

  10. I suppose I should have been clearer in my post. I was referring to the use of ‘Dworsky’ in the article.

    What did all of you do BEFORE Quicken hit the ‘internet’?

  11. I hang on to Quicken 2014 because I still print an occasional paper check. I switched to H&R Block tax software after Quicken’s first price gouge. Never returned to Intuit.

    Is there any 3rd-party software that’ll print paper checks?

  12. I switched to MoneyDance years ago after Microsoft Money shut off DirectConnect access to my banks for no valid reason. MoneyDance pledges never to do anything like that.

  13. Thank you all for alternative suggestions. I did not know they existed. Will check them out. My Quicken expires April 2019.

  14. I too have been using Quicken for decades. I’m still using a 2011 version of Quicken. I generally only upgrade every several years or so. I figured it was finally time for another upgrade. Now I’m not so sure after reading all this. Everything I enter is all manual. I never perform automatic banking downloads or bill pay through quicken. I do use the report generator at tax time, so that’s why I’ll probably just keep using my current version until I can find a decent alternative. Don’t know if the alternatives mentioned will perform the type of reports I like, but I’ll look into it.

  15. I’ve been using Quicken since 2004 for multiple sets of books (home, farm, church, in-laws). I don’t use online services, instead choosing to manually write the checks and enter into the ledger. Will any of these alternates – MoneyDance, MoneySpire, GnuCash – import my history from Quicken into their program?

    Edgar replies: Sue, both MoneyDance and MoneySpire do accept imports of Quicken files. I don’t know about GnuCash. I have to tell you, though, I have uninstalled them not being happy with one aspect or another of them.

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