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Quicken 2013 Review

New Mobile App and Budget Take the Stage

About.com Rating 3 Star Rating

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Quicken 2013 runs on Windows desktops and includes mobile apps.

Quicken 2013 introduces mobile apps for iPhone, iPad, Android devices and Kindle Fire.

Intuit
Quicken 2013 brings more flexibility for personal finance software users with a much-improved budget feature, easier loan tracking and something Quicken users have been waiting years for: a mobile app. Quicken 2013 is packed with features just as it has been going back many years. The exception to this is the Mac software, which doesn't offer quite the same comprehensive set of money management tools. This review only covers Quicken for Windows.

Quicken 2014 News

Last year, Quicken made its features easier to find in the software, cleared up the user interface, implemented large font for high resolution screens, and added what was supposed to be an improved budget tool budget tool, and a debt reduction planning module. All of these enhancements remain in Quicken 2013 except for the budget tool. The Quicken 2012 budget tool proved to be practically useless (as evidenced by many of my reader reviews). Quicken 2013 addresses this issue with a completely redone budget tool that I'm really happy with.

Who Should Consider Quicken

  • Those who want to see all aspects of their finances in one place, including financial accounts, budgets, bills, investing, net worth tracking, debt reduction planning, etc.
  • Quicken 2012 users who want a budget tool that really works (last year's budget feature bombed).
  • People who like to dig into the details of their financial life.
  • Those who feel these features are worth paying $60-$100 every three years, when an upgrade is required to maintain Internet enhanced features.
If you just need to track a few accounts and put together a basic budget, Quicken is probably not the best choice for you. While you can certainly do these basic financial tasks in the software, lower cost or free financial software will probably be a better option. Something else to consider for basic money management needs are budget spreadsheet templates which work with Microsoft Excel, Google Docs or the spreadsheet in Open Office.

Pros

  • New budget tool and mobile app.
  • Excellent help documentation makes learning to use Quicken easy and answers questions that may come up about using the software.
  • Comprehensive personal financial management tools well still easy to navigate.
  • Data can be archived to improve performance of the software if you've been using it to track finances for several years.
  • Ability to receive cell phone text alerts pertaining to financial accounts, budget and other items.

Cons

  • Mobile apps still have some bugs to work through.
  • The Windows desktop software is very slow at times. How slow depends in part on the age and set up of your computer.
  • Loan analysis feature was probably released too early and needs some fixes.
  • My annual complaint: no free trial (there is a 60 day money back guarantee).

Quicken 2013 Mobile App

Most Quicken users will agree that the most exciting feature added this year is the mobile app. The mobile app works with iOS devices such as iPhone and iPad, Android phones and tablets, and the Kindle Fire. Although many problems surfaced with the mobile app when it was first released, most have been addressed. At the time this was written, developers were still working on a couple of issues. Check Quicken 2013 Hot Topics for an update on the fixes.

Use the app on a tablet, and you'll get a few more features compared to the smart phone app. However, the mobile app looks fantastic across all supported devices and is extremely useful whatever used on a tablet or smartphone.

Start up the Quicken 2013 mobile app to see an at-a-glance view of spending and account balances along with financial alerts that warn about potential budget overages, account balance limits and bill payment reminders. Individual transactions show a mapped location for where a purchase was made and budgets can be viewed and changed on your mobile device. Financial transactions can be edited and you can add tags and memos. When you start up Quicken desktop software, any changes made on the mobile device will be synchronized.

Quicken 2013 Cleans up the Budget, Introduces New Loan Tool

Quicken 2013 has mobile apps for iPhone, iPad, Android and Kindle Fire.

Quicken 2013 iPad App

Intuit
This year's budget tool is a vast improvement over what was available in the past, offering the ability to work with fluctuating bills and expenses. Unused budgeted amounts can be rolled forward to be used the following month, and budget amounts can be changed in a month anytime of the year without messing up the entire budget. If you change a budgeted amount in one month and need that amount to be copy over into upcoming months, you can now do that in Quicken 2013.

Quicken 2013 Loan Tool

Setting up a loan in Quicken is now much easier to do and viewing transactions related to any loan works just like transactions in a credit card or checking register. Loan analysis features let you experiment with making additional payments to see how this affects the total interest you pay over the life of the loan. Unfortunately, the loan tool in Quicken 2013 still has some growing pains. While developers are working on resolving issues with this feature, the Frequently Asked Loan Questions page lists workarounds for getting the loan tool to function properly.

Other Financial Features

Some other important features in Quicken 2013 are as follows:
  • Easy to navigate and get around in despite having a multitude of features.
  • Multiple currency support.
  • The ability to attach documents like account statements or receipts to both transactions and accounts.
  • A comprehensive, well organized and understandable help menu system, with customer support via chat and phone. There are also online forums where you can get answers to your questions from other Quicken users or support representatives. All help features are available from within the software.
  • Debt reduction planner with what-if scenarios.
  • A large number of customizable financial reports.

My Opinion of Quicken 2013

Quicken 2013 Deluxe box shot.

Quicken 2013 Deluxe

Intuit
Quicken 2013 is financial software that provides convenient ways to track and analyze personal finances and a budget. Quicken Premier adds more support for investments and Quicken Home & Business lets you track both personal and small business finances together. Quicken 2013 Deluxe also provides plenty of money management tools, leaving out extended support for investments and small business features. There is also a Quicken Starter Edition, which I do not recommend because if you want decide to use Quicken Deluxe or higher later, you won't be able to import data from Starter Edition and will have no financial history to review or compare.

While I'm disappointed that the Quicken mobile app wasn't quite ready for prime time when it was initially released, it looks like most problems have been resolved. Workaround solutions are being offered that the customer must use for the loan feature and Quicken states that it may release fixes in the future, I'm not sure that this feature will ever work right in Quicken 2013.

Quicken 2013's updated budget tools scores high marks with me, and for the most part, this software provides many excellent personal finance management tools. Unfortunately, the glitches with the loan tool and mobile app reduced my score to three stars. If you won't really use the loan tool, and if you're willing to put up with what should be (at this point) minor issues with the mobile app until it is perfected, you might want to try Quicken 2013. But, hold onto your receipt in case you need to use that 60 day no questions asked return guarantee.

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by Intuit. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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