Last year, I did a brief Quicken Online review  announcing that the online money management software would now be absolutely free and that the feature-set, while small, looked promising. I thought Quicken Online was superior to other services because they had brand recognition and integration with their other online applications. Last week, I was treated to a quick demonstration of the online application’s new features as well as a sneak peek of their new iPhone application.
Quicken Online is like a light version of the Quicken 2009 desktop application, with a heavy emphasis on cash flow management. The tool was designed to help people manage their daily affairs and be more forward-looking. It tracks transactions, categorizes income and expenses, and even does a little prediction to determine if you may be in some trouble in the future. Here’s a snapshot of your “Spending Money Outlook” screen:
As you can see, it gives you an idea of each of the scheduled expenses you are going to have as well as scheduled income payments. It does this based on your historical data, your input and the input of the community. For example, if the tool sees that “Comcast” deducts $100 every month on the 15th, it’ll record that as a scheduled expense and show it on your cash flow chart. It warns you if you might overdraw, before you overdraw.
If you’re a novice to managing your money (or just don’t want to spend the time to learn a meatier full service application) and comfortable giving your data to a major corporation, give Quicken Online a look. It’s free after all!
Quicken Online iPhone Application
The part of the demo that most intrigued me was the video looking at the iPhone application. With mobile applications becoming more and more popular, Quicken Online is trying to catch up to the multitude of financial applications out there.
Unfortunately they don’t have any official out yet, it’s a concept/work in progress, but I can say that the app itself looked pretty cool. The app wasn’t just a browser opening up the Quicken Online website, it’s a full fledge tool in and of itself. There was a lot of integration with the online site (your typical alertis and data push/pulling) and then some slick features I thought would be very helpful for novices. For example, they showed me a feature that integrated ATM and branch data on a map, showing you all the ATMs and branches within a certain distance. In talking with the Quicken people, I suggested that they label your bank’s ATMs with special markers, say green, so you could avoid ATM fees, if possible. What’s easier, trying to use a bank’s web interface to find ATMs or firing up a Quicken app to tell you which of your banks has an ATM nearby? I think just that feature alone would help people save a bundle on fees.
Another cool feature was being able to upload transactions on the fly with notes and pictures. So if you’re at a coffeehouse and you just spent $5 cash on a cup of coffee, you could take a picture of the cup of coffee so you knew what you bought when you went back to review it. It’s not a crucial feature but it’s one that certainly falls under the category of very cool.
I don’t have an iPhone but if I did, I’d be eagerly awaiting this little guy to debut in the spring… maybe I need one now, you know, for business reasons. 🙂