Quicken Premier Review: New Subscription Model, Same Great Software

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For as long as there have been home computers, the Quicken brand name is the one most consumers trusted to manage their finances.

Today, most people have multiple electronic devices, all of them computers in their own right. Yet, back when home computing was the hot new technology on the scene, there weren’t as many options for people to choose from. In fact, not many folks even knew how they were going to use their computers, beyond surfing the early internet and games. However, thanks to a product called Quicken Premier, people soon realized that they could use their computers to manage their finances in more detailed ways than ever before. It was fast, easy, and one of the few programs you could get for both Windows and Apple operating systems. 

As things have evolved, so has Quicken. Now it’s not just one product, but a whole suite of products for home and business finance. There is Quicken Starter, Quicken Deluxe, Quicken Home, Business, and Rental Property. But the product we’re going to focus on is Quicken Premier, the software designed for both personal finance and for managing your investments. It combines the familiarity of a storied brand with the cutting-edge features. Let’s take a look under the metaphorical hood, so you can determine if this is the product for you.

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A Little About Quicken Premier

Before we get into the specific features of Quicken Premier, we should examine how the company got where it is today. From the earliest days of the computing revolution to the app store on your latest mobile device, there is a Quicken product that works with it. Of course, the company has undergone a major change that left some long-time customers unhappy.

What is Quicken Premier?

The first version of Quicken was released 35 years ago in 1983. The first iterations of the software ran on the text-based operating systems of Apple II and Microsoft DOS. Eventually they released versions for Windows and Macintosh, though the Mac version of the software had a database issue until 2010. Quicken completely redesigned the database structure for the Mac OS. These two versions of the program were also notoriously incompatible, meaning that people who used Quicken for Windows at work couldn’t sync up their ledgers if they had a Mac at Home. Over the past decade, the folks at Quicken worked very hard to develop updated versions of their product, including a mobile app. With the new subscription-based model for the software, customers are supposed to expect near-constant improvements to Quicken functions and quality-of-life changes. 

Quicken was the brainchild of Intuit, Inc., a business and financial software company that used the program to capitalize on the home computing boom. They tried to focus on convenience, adopting the ability for Quicken to download transaction data from your bank via a dial-up modem. This allowed people who never balanced their checkbook to balance it in seconds, as well as see how they spend their money. About 10 years ago, new versions of Quicken were differentiated by their year of release. Today, that’s not the case. Intuit started Quicken Online but eventually bought out competitor Mint.com. Their system online was better, and Intuit migrated their customers there. Then, in 2016, Intuit sold Quicken to H.I.G. Capital. 

Who is Quicken Premier best for?

Since taking over the Quicken brand, H.I.G. Capital sought to improve the business and adapt their thinking to the modern computing age. They also needed to diversify their product offerings, especially since Intuit kept Mint.com and QuickBooks, the small-business sister software to Quicken. But, not all Quicken users need the same features. Some people turn to Quicken because they have little-to-no idea how to manage their money. These folks would be best served by Quicken Starter, which helps users develop budgets and good habits. Users who want to develop a savings strategy can turn to Quicken Deluxe, while small business owners can use Quicken for Home and Business. There is even a specialized Quicken for folks with rental properties. Then, there is Quicken Premier. 

This software is best for people who want to manage their finances, some of which consist of stocks and other investments. This software is designed to do all of the things Quicken is known for. You can categorize your expenses, sync your info with your financial institutions, and develop a budget complete with goals. But Quicken Premier also allows you to track your investments. The software provides analysis, showing you detailed information about your return on investment. You can also see analysis of the internal rate of return. Quicken Premier is for the investor who knows her stuff about the market, and she needs a software that can keep track of it all.

What are the best uses for Quicken Premier?

Naturally, the best use for Quicken Premier is for tracking your investments. The analysis provided by the software helps to ensure that you can get a big-picture-look at your capital gains and losses. The investment features on this version of Quicken are its very reason for existence. So, if you have a robust investment portfolio or even if you are just getting started, this is the Quicken product you will need. Of course, just because Quicken Premier is geared for investors, it doesn’t mean that you can’t use it for all the things people use Quicken for. Users can still download their transactions from their checking, savings, loan, and investment accounts automatically. You can incorporate your investments into your budgets and planning your financial goals.

Why is Quicken Premier a subscription-based service?

Until just this year, Quicken users would have to buy new versions of the program every three years. People would use Quicken 2008 for a year or two, then they’d upgrade to Quicken 2010. However, since the H.I.G. Capital purchase, Quicken is moving to a software as a service model. This means that instead of buying a new program every few years, Quicken users will pay a yearly fee and their software will always be the latest version available. Naturally, taking a beloved product that could once be “owned” is now only rented.

In a letter from Eric Dunn, the Quicken CEO describes the thinking behind the switch. The price of the membership is less than the cost of the software, by about 33 percent. If a user used online bill payment, online backup, or other extra Quicken features, they will ultimately save money. For the users who would purchase the program at a discount every three years, there are still retail partnerships available. Of course, even if you decide to cancel your subscription to Quicken, you maintain control of your financial data and can access it, should you want to save it, any time.


Features and Benefits of Quicken Premier:

So, now we know where Quicken came from and how it changed. It’s time to take a look at Quicken Premier’s specific features and benefits. Some of these benefits are universal to all Quicken products, while the latter two are specific to Quicken Premier. We break it all down for you below.

1. Enter your info manually or sync with your bank.

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Managing your accounts, from bills paid to quick debit-card transactions, is the foundational function of the Quicken software. When this software first hit computer store shelves, managing your personal finances was much different. Every purchase wasn’t automatically listed for you somewhere like it is today. Those who even bothered to keep track had to use a paper register. They had to balance their checkbook against their bank statements each month.

Quicken made it much easier to do this. In the mid-1990s, when banks went online for consumers, they introduced the ability to automatically download your transaction. It keeps track of your money for you, so you don’t have to. Some users actually prefer manual entry, as it forces them to more closely examine each transaction. You can still use Quicken’s advanced features to reconcile your digital check register with your bank’s data. Still, for the household with multiple accounts to manage, Quicken is able to not only keep all of that information organized, it can generate reports to show you how your money is being used each month. It’s like the perfect accountant, and you don’t even have to make small talk.

2. Easy-to-use interface and simple visual displays.

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If you are familiar with Quicken already, the upgraded interface is mostly what you are already used to using. With Quicken Premier, or the product for business and rental properties, you have access to the most options possible. For the new user this can be daunting, but not insurmountable. The clean user interface features images and text on each button or menu that explains what it does. The in-software help feature is also actually helpful. You may have to work at setting up the system to best suit your needs, and it will take repeated use for you to get comfortable with the software. However, the learning curve isn’t high, and it’s worth the time in order to get the most accurate picture of your complete financial position.

3. Pay bills and keep your budget.

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This feature is not available for all Quicken products, but it’s essential for people who are working to grow their wealth. Quicken analyzes how you spend your money, and it uses that data to help develop a budget. You can set your own financial goals, even changing them from month-to-month. With Quicken Premier, you can also use the software to stay on that budget. For years Quicken has offered electronic bill payment, but usually as an added feature. For Quicken Premier users, access to Quicken Bill Payment is included in your subscription price. This software is for people who want to maintain meticulous control of their finances but doesn’t want it to be a lot of extra work.

4. Run complex reports showing your financial status.

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Quicken Premier is the financial management software for the investor, and many of the program’s special features are geared towards them. Along with your bank and credit card transactions, the data from your investment (and loan) accounts are also downloaded to your database. You can then run complex reports beyond simple budgets and tracking where you spend your money. The analysis Quicken Premier provides allows you to track the performance of your investments. You can see reports detailing the internal rate of return, how much you’ve made from the it, and other factors. That data can be used in conjunction with other features that allow you to examine your gains, both realized and unrealized. You’ll still need a broker, but this product will help you keep that broker honest.


What People are Saying About Quicken Premier:

If you go through the user reviews for the various Quicken products, a pattern emerges. The more features the product has available, the better the reviews. The thing is, Quicken is very good at what it does. There is a reason it is the industry leader in this sort of software. Users rave about the features, the clear visuals on reports, and the ease with which they are able to update their records. While there is a lack of a cloud service, people like that Quicken works with third-party cloud services like Amazon, OneDrive, and others. For those used to Quicken products, it has no equal. New users might find all the options intimidating or confusing, but tutorials are readily available. 

PROS:

  • plus
    Great visuals for reports.
  • plus
    Projects balances and bill payments.
  • plus
    Tools for budgets and debt reduction.

CONS:

  • close
    All the options can be overwhelming.
  • No direct cloud service. 
  • Some may not like subscription service.

While there are some complaints about problems with syncing the software with a specific bank, the most complaints about Quicken relate to the switch to a subscription model. However, this is both where the business is going—Microsoft Office and other software staples do it, too—and a way to keep improvements constant.


Alternatives to Quicken Premier to Consider

When it comes to personal finance management software, Quicken really has no peers. So, we will break down the various versions of Quicken available to you. If you don’t want anything to do with Quicken you can use Mint.com or Personal Capital. Both of these sites offer free bare-bones financial management and premium services you can pay for.

1. Quicken Starter

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The Quicken Starter program is the cheapest option and will allow the long-time Quicken user to still get many of the features they enjoyed. This software will manage your bank and credit card accounts, automatically downloading your transactions from their servers. You can even manually add your loan and investment account transactions, if you wanted to. Starter users also have access to perhaps the most useful feature in Quicken, the reports that breakdown when and how you spend your money. Designed for people just learning how to manage finances, this could work for the financial management of a well-to-do penny-pincher.

2. Quicken Deluxe

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This version of Quicken is still cheaper than the Quicken Premier but adds some new features. Users have access to all of the features that Quicken Starter users have access to, but also get a bit more. If you think of these Quicken products as a progression, a path to financial security, this is the middle step. Along with seeing how and when you spend your money, Quicken Deluxe offers a tool to help craft a budget. You can develop a budget and change your goals month-to-month. It also automatically downloads your transactions from investment and loan accounts. 

3. Quicken Home, Business, and Rental Property

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If the versions of Quicken are part of a progression, then this is for those who’ve almost reached the destination. Along with personal finances, including investments and loans, you can also keep track of your business finances with this software. This version of Quicken allows users to see their personal, business, and rental property finances in a single program. This is the ultimate version of the software for the entrepreneur who wants make sure they have tight control of their finances.


Quicken Premier is a great solution for taking control of your financial situation, both to evaluate your current standing and make plans for the future.

With mobile apps and email-receipts, it can be easy to fall into the trap of doing no financial management at all. You simply trust that you can keep it all straight in your head, and that you don’t have to worry about overextending yourself. Even if that’s true, this is a huge mistake. You want to be able to know that your finances are in good hands and that no one is dipping their hands into your cookie jar. The best way to avoid catastrophe is to stay informed and Quicken Premier helps you do just that.

We hope you enjoyed this review, and that you found helpful information in here about wealth management software. Don’t forget to leave a comment sharing your opinions, thoughts, and experiences below. Remember, if you liked the article, spread the word by sharing it on social media!

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