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 newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Daily BriefingQuicken

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

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?