Review: Quicken Mobile

Quicken was first released in 1983 and has been the most popular financial software package since, so it’s only fair that expectations for it are high. I’ve been using it since Windows 3.1, and have seen it grow and become easier to use over the years. I have to say that if it’s properly set-up from the start, and use it to track all of your finances, it will give you an accurate picture of your financial health. Remember, Quicken is much more than a checkbook register, it;s a tool to track your spending, investments and financial security.

For a lot of people trying to get a handle on their finances, something like Quicken can feel daunting, but it shouldn’t. My husband finally took the plunge and picked up a copy of Quicken this month, he was tracking his finances on Excel spreadsheets before the switch. For a first-time user, setting it up was easy. All he had to do was follow the prompts and he got his car loan, mortgage and investments up and running. After a few pointers, he took to it.

Tip: When setting up Quicken for the first time, take your time. Do it over a few days of you have a lot of accounts.

Watching my hubby set everything up made me think about using the Quicken App on my phone. I tried it once years ago, but found it clunky and not very useful. However, that was years ago and decided to take another peek at it.

One of the things you have to remember when using the Quicken Mobile app is that it’s a Quicken companion, not a replacement. It doesn’t do everything the PC program does, but it will allow you to add a quick deposit or purchase and associate it with a category just like in Quicken, which makes it useful when on vacation or away for the weekend. Heck, your finances are never on vacation.

Although Quicken Mobile will give you access to your checking, savings and credit accounts, I found it odd that it only keeps a running total of accounts that update via the one-step update, it won’t show a total on accounts you update manually. All the manual transactions will be available, but not the totals. If you have accounts that don’t utilize one-step update, keep this in mind.

The mobile app will also display your stocks and 401(K)/403(B), but not your assets (house, car, etc…).  I’m not sure how often you’ll want to check your investments while you’re away from home, but it could come in handy if you get curious. I can’t think of a scenario where this would be helpful to me, but I’m a long-term investor and not a day trader.

The portion of Quicken I probably look at the most is the spending section. I often look at my spending, drilling down into the categories, at the end of the month to see how much I spent. This is where I keep track of groceries, household repairs, holiday spending, etc… I was thrilled to see it in the app, but disappointed to find out that you can’t drill down into the sub-categories. Hopefully they’ll fix this very soon.

The budget feature is being revamped on the mobile app, so I haven’t seen it in action, but I assume it will be similar to the PC version.

Since Quicken Mobile is a financial app, I was pleased to know that I can set a PIN to access it on my phone. I figured once I did that I would be able to use my fingerprint to open it the way I can with my banking app, but use of the fingerprint sensor wasn’t an option. Yet another WTF issue that I hope will be fixed soon.

My takeaway for the Quicken Mobile app is that it needs a lot more work under the hood before it can truly be useful, especially when it comes to entering transaction while away from home and tracking your spending, even if you can’t do it properly and dig down into the sub-categories. Hopefully Quicken will get on the ball and fix these issues soon.

The Quicken Mobile app is available at iTunes and the Google Play Store.

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