Moneydance vs. Quicken is a battle between two very similar personal finance tools. Quicken has some serious name recognition for good reasons, but Moneydance has powerful features that work well for Mac users – something Quicken has always struggled with.
Both Moneydance and Quicken have budgeting, investment tracking, bill payment options, categorization of transactions, and much more. And, each has a few features of their own that make them really stand out.
Today I’m going to look at Quicken vs. Moneydance to help you decide which personal finance tool is best for you.
Moneydance vs Quicken: Which is Best in 2021?
✓ Our Top Pick
Graphing and reports
Debt Reduction Plan
Overall look and user experience
What is Moneydance
Moneydance has been around for over 20 years and was created by Scotland based Infinite Kind. It’s gone through a series of updates and software releases to provide even more functional and comprehensive financial tracking and analysis.
One of the most important things to know about Moneydance is that its local software, so not cloud-based. That means data is stored on your server, but you can still link and sync your accounts.
Another obvious stand out feature is that Moneydance is not subscription-based, making it much different than many other personal finance apps. You pay a one-time fee, have free access to the next updated version, and then receive a discount on future software updates. Updates are completely optional, and you can use the software without doing so.
Top Moneydance features
You can enter transactions manually or you can link your accounts and let Moneydance download and sync your transactions. You’ll need to categorize transactions by clicking on each, confirming the download, and selecting or creating a category. After you use Moneydance for a little while, the software learns how to categorize transactions for you.
Using Moneydance for online banking takes time out of logging in to all of your accounts separately and verifying and tracking each transaction. You can do this for all of your accounts in one place with Moneydance.
Moneydance will auto-create a budget for you once you start categorizing transactions, and you can customize it to work for your goals. You can run reports and create weekly, monthly, or annual budgets with Moneydance. You can do all of this with multiple budgets.
If your financial institutions support online bill pay, you can use Moneydance’s Direct Connect to link your bills and pay them online. To set up Bill Pay, it’s virtually the same process as setting up your online banking – you find your financial institution, follow prompt to enter your log-in details, and confirm the link.
To pay your bills online with Moneydance, Direct Connect will send a payment request to your bank’s server, then a corresponding transaction will be created in your Moneydance account register. You are charged for Bill Pay if your bill holder or financial institution charges a fee.
As far as Moneydance vs. Quicken, Moneydance gives you free access to online bill pay while you’ll have to pay extra with Quicken.
Moneydance makes it easy to track individual investments, investment accounts, and your overall portfolio. This allows you to get a broad overview of your investments while giving you easy access to in-depth information like stock splits and computing cost basis.
Graphing and reports
Moneydance lets you easily create individual graphs and reports for different facets of your finances, including:
- Checking account balance
- Asset allocation
- Currency history
- Income and expenses
You can select the type of transaction, date range, and any additional settings you want to include. Once you run your reports and graphs, you can download and print the images if you like having a hardcopy on hand.
For advanced users, Moneydance provides you with a developer’s kit that lets you create your own extensions. This free kit includes sample code, necessary libraries, and an ANT build file. You also have access to Moneydance’s Extension Development support forum.
Moneydance supports multiple currencies and makes automatic conversions. They are also working on software to automatically track cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. You can track it manually right now.
What is Quicken
Quicken is known as the OG personal finance tool… it was first released back in 1983! There are regular updates and releases to add features and to address user’s issues, and that’s one of the reasons that the average tenure for Quicken users is ten years.
Quicken offers software for both Mac and PC users, but Mac users often complain about limited features and glitches that make it a less than stellar personal finance tool if you’re using it on a Mac. Still, Quicken keeps working to mitigate and fix those issues so it’s a powerful tool for all users.
Unlike Moneydance, Quicken is subscription-based, which is part of it’s newest release. That means you’ll need to pay annually for access. It’s also recently switched to a cloud-based model.
Top Quicken features
Quicken has preset and customizable budgeting categories, and you can set limits, get notifications when you overspend and edit as needed. You can run reports and future forecasts using your budget information. You will have to pay for Deluxe or Premier to access more than a monthly budget.
You can read more about budgeting with Quicken at Quicken vs. Mint: Which Budgeting Tool is Better in 2021?
If you pay for Quicken Premier, you get free access to Quicken Bill Pay. This includes up to 15 payments per month, and you can download PDF copies of your bills through the bill center dashboard. Quicken Starter and Deluxe users can pay an additional $9.95/month for Quicken Bill Pay.
Quicken Starter doesn’t include any investment tracking tools, but Deluxe and Premier (for Mac) include:
- Track investments and retirement accounts
- Access to Morningstar’s Portfolio X-ray tool to evaluate your investments
- Compare buy-and-hold options, improving your portfolio analysis
- Compare your returns to market averages
- See your cost basis and create tax reports
If you are looking at the Windows version of Quicken, you will have to pay for Premier to access more tools than just investment and retirement account tracking. Premier for Windows includes everything above plus Morning Star’s Portfolio X-ray tool and the ability to compare buy and hold options.
Debt Reduction Plan
While this is currently only available with the PC version of Quicken, it’s a great feature if you need help paying off your debt. You connect all of your debts so Quicken can access your interest rates and balances, then helping you develop a plan for paying it all off as quickly as possible. It uses the debt avalanche method – paying off loans with the highest interest rate first.
You get an easy-to-read chart that lets you see your progress and timeline, and you can also play around with different scenarios to see how you can accelerate your payoff.
Your credit score
Pricing – Moneydance vs. Quicken
Quicken has three tiers of service:
- Starter $34.99/year
- Deluxe $49.99/year
- Premier $74.99/year
Quicken is currently offering a 10% discount on Deluxe and Premier for new users. Each version comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Moneydance only has one level of service for $49.99, but you get lifetime access. You get a free upgrade to the next Moneydance release, and each subsequent release is discounted. There is also a free trial period – this is access to the full app for up to 100 manually entered transactions.
One of the major differences between Quicken vs. Moneydance is that Quicken has recently switched to a subscription model. That means you will have to pay for every year you want to use the software.
Customer service – Moneydance vs. Quicken
Neither Quicken or Moneydance have phone support, but both online forums where you can ask questions and get help from experienced users and support staff. Both also have an FAQs section and articles on how to use the software.
The biggest customer service difference with Moneydance vs. Quicken is that Quicken has live chat.
Overall look and user experience
When you look at the websites for both Quicken and Moneydance, you’ll notice one striking difference – Moneydance has a pretty outdated look. The software itself works really well, and it’s updated regularly, but it just doesn’t look as modern as Quicken. I’m not sure this should deter you, but it’s worth mentioning.
Besides the look of Moneydance, both apps make it easy to access features and run reports, and both sync accounts and transactions seamlessly.
Quicken vs. Moneydance for Mac users
Talk to anyone using Quicken on a Mac and they all have similar complaints – PC users get more features for the same price. This is 100% true, and Quicken continues to address this with updates and complete software rebuilds.
Moneydance is the same software across the board. The price is the same, the features the same, and the support is the same.
But, if you’re a Quicken user and want to switch to Moneydance, there currently isn’t an easy way to export your data. Moneydance says they’re working on this issue.
The final word on Moneydance vs. Quicken
Both personal finance apps have solid features to help you become a better money manager. The budgeting capabilities with both are easy to use with support communities that will walk you through any confusing steps.
Quicken has significantly more features in terms of investments – like Morningstar tools and comparing buy and hold options – but you’ll pay extra for them. Or, you can use an app like
Personal Capital and get free access to robust investment tracking tools.
Read my full Personal Capital 2021 Review to learn more.
Moneydance looks a little dated, but it’s becoming a top pick among Mac users because its strong features work the same on Mac’s OS. Another reason it might stand out is that you pay once for lifetime access.
The Moneydance vs. Quicken debate really comes down to what features are most important to you. Do you want lifetime access? Do you want cloud-based software? Do you want one app for both robust investment and budgeting tools?
M$M tip: For more reviews and comparison of the top personal finance software of 2021, read:
- Mint vs. Personal Capital vs. YNAB: Here’s the Winner
- YNAB Review 2021: The Most Effective Budgeting App Around?
- Mint vs. YNAB 2021: Which Budgeting App is Best?
- Best Budgeting Apps and Personal Finance Tools