Personal Capital vs. Quicken: Here’s Why I Chose Personal Capital

Daniel Penzing
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Which Is Better: Quicken or Personal Capital?

Quicken is a popular personal finance software program (PFSP), designed to help you organize your finances in one place. No longer must you have separate accounts on a variety of sites, across a range of digital products like online banks and stock brokerages … you can now have all your accounts, investments, and transactions in one place, AND be able to easily and completely create budgets and schedules to stay on top of your money.

Personal Capital is a newer PFSP that has risen in popularity among consumers in recent time. The main reason people flock to Personal Capital is because they offer a free financial dashboard where you can keep close track of your money, investments, and assets (including college savings and homeownership) all at the click of a button.

Like Quicken, Personal Capital also offers a variety of other budgeting tools and financial calculators. Personal Capital is also a great choice for consumers who prefer a mobile app when tracking their finances (Quicken has a mobile app that you can download to your phone and use for viewing your finances).

The main advantage Quicken boasts over its competitor, Personal Capital, is the fact that it is very user-friendly and doesn’t require a steep learning curve, whereas Personal Capital is less intuitive and there is a bit of a geek factor.

Reason #1: Quicken Usage Is Declining

While many people still use Quicken, they’re not necessarily using it as religiously as in the past. The personal finacial software application has faced some criticism in recent years. Plus, competitors are knocking at their door.

The criticism that Quicken has faced centers on a perceived lack of features and inability to keep up with other finacial applications. Some older versions of Quicken were plagued with security vulnerabilities that allowed hackers to steal sensitive data from users’ computers. Other finacial applications have a better reputation for protecting consumers’ personal information.

Quicken hasn’t been slow to adapt to the changing landscape in the world of personal finances. They started off by rebranding Quicken Essentials as Quicken 2015. They also added new features to the app to help people save money and be more secure.

Other changes to the Quicken product lineup include:

  • Quicken 2015 was replaced by Quicken 2016 in 2016
  • Released Quicken 2017 in 2017

Quicken 2018 is on the horizon.

However, until Quicken receives more positive press and people start using it again, the future of the Quicken brand doesn’t look too good.

Reason #2: Quicken is Now an Annual Subscription

The fact that Quicken has always been a yearly subscription seems to be frustrating for readers no matter how many times I mention it. I did a little more digging and found out that in the Fall of 2015, Quicken changed from a one-time purchase to an annual subscription.

This is a huge difference for a few reasons:

Hourly Financial Advice

First, looking at your financial statements when you have questions about spending or budgeting is much easier than trying to figure out how much you spent last month.

You can always bookmark a page or contact customer support to have your question answered, but that’s not exactly true financial advice. With Quicken®, you get unlimited financial advice. Need help with debt management or prioritizing savings? Quicken® will help you out.

Plus, the support team has great tools to help you reach financial independence. My favorite feature is that Quicken® will divide your credit card debt by interest rate, helping you make the best decisions on how to pay off outstanding debt.

Oh, and you can complete your entire budget in just 5 minutes in Quicken®.

Reason #3: I Can Sync With More Banks When Using Personal Capital

If you currently use Quicken, you might wonder what Personal Capital offers that Quicken doesn't. We've provided a few features below to help you make your choice!

In the meantime, let me ask you a question. Do you notice anything missing from the image below?

That's right. Quicken has no mobile (or web) app option!

So Why Not Use Mint Instead?

If you look at what the big three personal finance softwares (Mint, Quicken, & YNAB) are trying to accomplish, they actually have a lot in common. All three round up to the nearest dollar and show your remaining balance, with Quicken and Personal Capital having the added feature of an “under budget” feature that compares your budget line items to your remaining balance. Mint automatically calculates the difference.

All three of them can connect to your transaction trackers (Quicken connects to most banks and Mint connects to all bank/credit card/investment accounts), and all three can create budgets, snap pictures of receipts, and manually enter expenses.

Quicken vs. Personal Capital Side-by-Side Comparison

I’ve been using Quicken for many years and have been very impressed with the software. Although I noted some minor problems (such as the lack of an option to print only a single page) in my previous Quicken review, the software is still the most powerful finance software solution out there. And, believe it or not, it’s been around since the early 1990s.

However, I had heard a lot of positive things about Personal Capital from one of my co-workers, who travels to Personal Capital’s Mountain View headquarters once a year for their annual user conference.

So, I decided to open an account with Personal Capital. Here’s what I found out.

The first thing I noticed about Personal Capital was the clean user interface. I really liked how I could see all my accounts in one place without having to go to several different websites. The Visual Assets feature, which is essentially an oversized pie chart, showed me exactly where my assets were concentrated. It also allowed me to drill down and view all my asset holdings on an individual basis.