Quicken Online + The iPhone = Yuck! (with iPhone screenshots)

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quickenimage.gifI’m reminded of Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog Day when he was behind the wheel of a pickup and cautioned the groundhog: “Don’t drive angry, don’t drive angry!” That was just before they drove off a cliff. Now I can hear Bill telling me, “Don’t write angry, don’t write angry!” The truth is I am angry. Why? Having learned that Quicken Online was engineered to work with the iPhone, and having received an iPhone for Christmas from Mrs. Dough, I was excited to check out Quicken on the iPhone. And I wanted to share the experience with you by taking screenshots of Quicken Online directly from my iPhone. So I spent 6 hours (yes, 6 hours) hacking my iPhone so that I can take screenshots with it. I then spent 30 minutes signing up for Quicken Online, giving it all of my most secret financial information, and then accessing it on my iPhone. The results? Let’s just say it’s not pretty.

Quicken Online from my iMac

Quicken Online from my iMac looked pretty sharp. Both Gina at Lifehacker and JD at Get Rich Slowly have put together very nice visual reviews of Quicken Online. You can check these reviews out. The nice desktop screen shots, including pie charts and graphs, set my expectations for what I would see through my iPhone. After all, the iPhone runs the Safari browser, so there’s no reason why the graphics shouldn’t measure up to a desktop.

The Quicken Online splash screen gave me false hope

When I first went to Quicken Online from my iPhone, the site looked great:

quickensplash.png

The graphics and layout of this sign-up screen look identical to what you’d find on a desktop. So I signed up, gave Quicken my user id and password for my checking account, and navigated to Quicken Online on my iPhone.

Quicken Online for the iPhone is functional but uninspired

When I got to Quicken Online for the iPhone, I thought something was wrong. I kept looking for all the spiffy graphics and charts. Nothing. It’s functional, to be sure, but nothing more. Here is a screen shot of My Accounts:

quickenonlineaccounts.png

I literally spent 10 minutes hunting for buttons or links that would take me to all the great graphics Quicken Online offers on the desktop. The “Home” tab on the desktop version is no where to be found on the iPhone version, and neither is the “Track Spending” tab. Both of these features on the desktop version offer descent graphical representations of how you’re spending your money. It was a real disappointment not to find these same features on the iPhone version of Quicken Online. I could show you screenshots of the “My Bills” and “Add Transaction” tabs, but they are just as uninspired as the “My Accounts” tab.

Eventually, though, I did find a way to bring up some smart looking money management graphics and tools for iPhone users. From the Quicken Online screen, scroll up to the top of the page and enter the following URL: www.mint.com. What you’ll find is not perfect, but it’s light years better than Quicken Online, as the following iPhone screenshots demonstrate:

mint1.png mint2.png

mint3.png


mint4.png

Maybe spending 6 hours to jailbreak my iPhone wasn’t a waste of time after all.

Published or Updated: March 15, 2013
About Rob Berger

Rob founded the Dough Roller in 2007. A litigation attorney in the securities industry, he lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, their two teenagers, and the family mascot, a shih tzu named Sophie.

Comments

  1. I’d think the fault lies mostly in the iPhone display specs – at a measerly 320×480 pixels you can get the “impression” that you’re looking at a chart, but you wouldn’t be able to read anything. Just try to make out what the charts on your Mint.com screenshot are actually about.

    I’m sure Quicken could have migrated a few simplified bar charts to the online version for iPhone browsing, but it would be purely cosmetic.

  2. Best Advice on Debt says:

    Mint is freaking awesome!

    I like it’s simplicity. I prefer it over the desktop software of Microsoft Money and Quicken.

    And it’s free!

    • DR says:

      I’m quickly becoming a Mint fan, too. Frankly, Quicken Online was an ill-advised step by Intuit. If Quicken has any value over online options, it’s data security and rich feature set. Quicken Online offers neither.

  3. TonyL says:

    I think the Quicken Online deveolpment plan is off. They are now introducing ability to view investments from financial sites. This is cute and all but how often am I going to check my 401K. They should have made cash and split transactions the top priority as those would likely get used daily.

    For me although I guess I could stare at my investments all day, but being practical the program is nothing more than a electronic checking account ledger.

  4. Murph says:

    Okay so I took your raving advice and tried Mint.com. NOW I WANT OUT! It took me about two min. to realize the reason Mint.com will not work. ADDING TRANSACTIONS! when I over spend it is because I write a check, forget about it and then WHAM, yeah I know thats my fault but I grew up in the debit card age, I don’t write checks very often so when I do, RENT, its a big one. Yeah its free but its a glorified spending report. It has no way for me to add info like, BILL PAY NOTIFICATION, CUSTOM CATEGORIES. For 3$ a month im going to stick with a website that lets me control the finances and doesn’t spend its time telling me about a better credit card rate, if I need that I will check my daily junk mail.

    • DR says:

      Murph, I guess it goes to show we should all use what works best for us. I still like Mint, although it certainly can be improved. That being said, the absolutely best tool I’ve found to track my finances is Excel.

      • Brian says:

        Hmmmm…I thought Quicken was meant to track finances lol. I have been using it for about 15 years, that’s all. Why not provide something like pocket quicken????? Come on Intuit!!!

  5. Alex Brar says:

    You can take screenshots without jailbreaking your phone, it’s just home button + power button. Or at least you can now, with OS 2.x. This article was written back in the 1.x days, and I have no clue :|

  6. Justin says:

    Good news for you. Quicken just released Quicken Online Mobile for the iPhone.

  7. Stephen Mason says:

    Call me old-fashioned, but…who cares about graphics? Meaning me, I don’t care. I’d settle for just being able to RELIABLY record real-time transactions. Given that most transactions are electronic now, it would be nice if these apps incorporated a consistent means to enter transactions as they are made. From what I have seen, in spite of all the pretty charts, tips, and tricks, neither Mint nor Quicken Online for iPhone can reliably perform even this most basic tool of financial management.

    I have not yet taken the plunge and bought an iPhone yet. If it included the ability to use it like an electronic checkbook, this would certainly make getting one much more attractive to me. I’m still trying to decide whether it is really worth it yet. It still seems too much like a glorified toy to me.

  8. Wikinvest says:

    We just launched a new iPhone app called Wikinvest Portfolio Manager. It syncs directly with multiple brokerage accounts and lets you see stock quotes and market news in real time. Check it out!

    http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/wikinvest-portfolio-manager/id384583497?mt=8

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