Quicken shifts to software subscription model

It's the only option for Canadian customers; firm implies subs are coming to U.S., too

Quicken last month moved to a software-by-subscription model for Canadian customers, and may do the same for those in the U.S. who rely on the personal finance program.

Unlike a pilot program that launched in April 2016, the Quicken subscription is not a pure cloud-based service, but relies on software installed locally on a Windows personal computer.

The two subscriptions available to Canadian users cost $40 a year (Quicken Cash Manager) and $90 annually (Quicken Home & Business). The core software must be installed on a Windows device, and will, Quicken said, be updated "to make sure you're always on the newest version."

More importantly, however, is that the subscription offers one year of what Quicken dubbed "Connected Service," the back end that supports transaction downloads from banks, credit card companies and other financial organizations.

Like most vendors offering software subscriptions, Quicken will automatically ding the customer's on-file credit card for renewals.

But if customers do not renew their subscription, they will lose more than just access to downloads from their bank. "While you can continue to access your data and run reports, you'll no longer be able to download transactions, or add manual transactions [emphasis added]," a FAQ said in reply to a question about what happens when access to Connected Service ends.

The restriction is no different than what other subscription services place on customers. Users who stop paying for Office 365, for instance, can no longer create new or edit existing documents.

But the idea that they could not continue to track finances by manually entering transactions fueled push-back from Quicken customers.

"If the subscription isn't renewed, manual access and updates to the data need to be allowed, otherwise the company will be perceived to be holding the customer's data hostage," argued Dan Glynhampton in a message posted to a Quicken support forum.

"Quicken is supposed to help me manage my finances, not prevent me from managing my finances," added mshiggins on the same thread.

When a Quicken representative intervened on the forum to say that the only real difference between a subscription and the older licensed software is "that manual transactions can't be added" when the former expires, users were quick to respond.

"If at the point the subscription ends my data essentially becomes frozen in time then that makes the program absolutely useless to me," asserted Perculiar_Investor.

Quicken had long used a similar "sunset" policy, as after three years a licensed version of the software would stop downloading transactions from online sources or letting users pay bills electronically. Even then, though, customers could add transactions manually.

In another answer to a question in the FAQ, Quicken implied that all versions, including those aimed at U.S. consumers, would be offered solely as subscriptions. "All future Quicken products will be subscription products," the FAQ said.

The move to subscriptions is not a surprise. Last year, Quicken CEO Eric Dunn said that the company -- which had just split from its parent firm, Intuit -- was investigating a subscription model for the software. "We're open to that. It could make sense," Dunn said in April 2016.

Quicken did not immediately reply to questions, including whether the subscription would be the only option for U.S. users, and if so, when.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Daily BriefingQuicken

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?