Quicken vs. Personal Capital Review: Which One Is the Best Money Management Tool?

By in Budget, Investing, Money Management | 13 comments

Quicken vs. Personal Capital: Which One Will Handle Your Money Better?

The one thing that every successful person does is properly manage their finances. To help you make the best financial management software choice, read this Quicken vs. Personal Capital review. You’ll get an in depth look at the features of the free Personal Capital Dashboard and the paid Quicken program, along with pros and cons of both.

I’ve used Quicken for decades and Personal Capital for less than three. Yet, when I was introduced to Personal Capital, I linked up my accounts (very quickly) and was blown away with the free features. 

I continue to use both Quicken and Personal Capital.

It’s important that the financial management software program you choose can accommodate your accounting needs and expectations so read this Quicken v.s. Personal Capital comparison to decide which one (or both) is for you.

Quicken vs. Personal Capital – Uploading Data

Personal Capital wins hands down. Linking and syncing accounts was fast and accurate with Personal Capital. The platform updates automatically.

Free Personal Capital Dashboard

Quicken is poor at syncing accounts. Users must initiate updates. I frequently call financial institutions’ customer service to re-link accounts to Quicken.

Quicken vs. Personal Capital – Dashboard Home Screen

Personal Capital is stronger on the investment related information and Quicken is more focused on budgeting data.

Both the Quicken and Personal Capital dashboard’s show all account listings on the dashboard. That includes bank, investment, credit card, debt and asset (like your home) values.

As previously mentioned, Personal Capital’s account values are automatically updated. Quicken’s aren’t. Both platforms show your net worth figure, although Personal Capital also shows a 90-day net worth graph.

Both platforms show cash flow information – monthly income vs. expenses.

Both platforms show 30-day spending by account.

Next, here’s where the dash boards vary.

Personal Capital Dashboard Information:

  • Graphs cash balances
  • Graphs 90-day investment portfolio growth
  • Graphs retirement savings
  • Compares your investment returns with those of major market indexes in market movers section.

Click here for Free Personal Capital Dashboard Signup.

Quicken Dashboard Information:

  • Bills and income reminders
  • Budgeting data is accessed from the budget that you input. You can customize to show budget categories vs. actual spending.
  • Calendar view of income and expenses.

Quicken vs. Personal Capital – Apps Flexibility / User-Friendliness

Both programs have their mobile application counterparts that will let you access your financial information on the go. While Quicken sends user control alerts, Personal Capital gives real time financial updates.

Quicken vs. Personal Capital -Investment Tracking

When it comes to investments, Personal Capital beats Quicken due to it’s automatic updating. Although Quicken comes close with additional reports.

Personal Capital is distinct from Quicken in that it is both a paid investment manager and a free financial dashboard. Whereas, Quicken is a paid money management software program.

After the signing up for Personal Capital you gain access to the following investing-related reports:

  • Net Worth and Account Balances
  • Cash Flow Analysis
  • Investment Returns
  • Asset Allocation View
  • Retirement Fee Analyzer
  • Investment Check-up

With Personal Capital you receive a picture of your current financial situation, help managing your investments and how your investing can be improved. Quicken doesn’t offer this type of feedback.

Quicken is more cumbersome when it comes to tracking investment values. The lack of an automatic investment value feature adds time to the analysis process. Yet, Quicken provides a variety of investment reports as well:

  • Asset Allocation
  • Investment income
  • Investment Performance
  • Investment Transactions
  • Investment Values vs. Cost Basis

Quicken vs. Personal Capital – Advice and Planning

Quicken offers more in-depth retirement planning and debt management and lacks Personal Capital’s investment fee analysis and investment checkup. 

Retirement – Personal Capital analyzes your portfolio and determines how you’re set up for retirement. You get a likelihood of reaching retirement financial goals along with planning tools and recommendations.

Quicken has a “Lifetime Planner” that allows you to input date and determine how various scenarios will affect your ultimate retirement. This feature includes income, tax rate, inflation, savings, investments, and expenses details. Quicken’s planner feature is more interactive than Personal Capital’s retirement planner.

FinanSavvy and OnTrajectory both offer in depth retirement planning tools as well.

Investment Check up – Personal Capital analyzes your portfolio and makes investment recommendations. The analysis of my personal portfolio showed that it was too conservative. Personal Capital made specific investment recommendations.

For a fee, Personal Capital will manage your entire investment portfolio and provide access to Certified Financial Planners for financial planning and questions.

Fee Analysis – Personal Capital analyzes your investment fees and compares them to an average benchmark. Quicken lacks this feature.

Savings Goals – Quicken helps you save for future goals such as a summer vacation or college and “hides” these funds from view.

Debt Reduction – Quicken has a Debt Reduction Planner to help you create a plan to eliminate debt. Personal Capital does not.

Click here for direct access to Personal Capital Dashboard Signup.

Quicken vs. Personal Capital – Budgeting

Quicken is better suited to budgeting than Personal Capital.

Budgeting – Quicken allows you to create a budget by category and compares your actual income and expenses with your budget.

Personal Capital allows you to view income vs. expenses, but doesn’t have a feature to create a budget.

Tracking Income and Expenses

Both platforms provide views of income and expenses.

In Quicken you can create and assign budget categories, but not in Personal Capital.

In Quicken you can also view reports and income by categories. This is very handy if you’re running a small business or at tax time.

These are Personal Capital’s Budget Reports:

  • Cash Flow Analysis
  • Income Report
  • Spending Report

These are Quicken’s Budget Reports:

  • Current or Historical Budget or Graph
  • Itemized Categories
  • Itemized Payees
  • Spending by Category – Report or Graph
  • Spending by Payee – Report or Graph
  • Current Spending vs. Average Spending by Category and Payee – Report or Graph
  • Current Income and Expense by Category and Payee – Report or Graph

If you’re not ready to pay up for Quicken, Mint allows you to create a budget for free. And they’re both owned by Intuit. 

Quicken v. Personal Capital – Fees

The Personal Capital Dashboard and reports are free. So, there is every reason to sign up, link your accounts and make use of their features.

Quicken versions and descriptions - basic, starter, premier, and home and business

Quicken has several versions as well as a subscription model (prices are subject to change).

Quicken Starter (14 months) – $39.99

Quicken Deluxe (14 months) – $32.99 (on sale from $54.99)

Quicken Premier (24 months) – $99.99

Quicken Home and Business (27 months) – $159.99 

Some advanced Quicken features weren’t covered in this Quicken vs. Personal Capital review.

Quicken v. Personal Capital – Security

Quicken is a desktop program and information is stored locally, although you can upload it to the cloud. I personally have a dedicated desktop computer upon which I store my Quicken data and don’t use the cloud option. I also don’t access Quicken from my laptop or phone. 

Quicken has 256-bit encryption to protect data transfer from your financial institution. There’s also a “password vault” that protects your institutional passwords.

Personal Capital requires two factor authentication to enter the site. The data is encrypted with military grade AES-256. Employees don’t have access to any password type information.

Finally, both sites have vigorous firewalls to protect their servers.

Quicken v. Personal Capital – Final Wrap up

Each of the financial management programs have their advantages and disadvantages.

If you’re seeking an in depth money management tool with help slashing debt and tracking individual budgeting item then Quicken wins.

If you don’t need in-depth budgeting but want to view, track and analyze your investments, and see if you’re on track for retirement the Personal Capital is great.

Sign Up for Personal Capital

If you want it all, for free, go with the free Personal Capital dashboard and free Mint.com.

But if you like the in-depth budgeting and financial reports and planning, then pony up for one of the Quicken versions.

I’m content using both Quicken and Personal Capital, but am disappointed that Quicken is not better at linking financial accounts.

*Disclosure: Please note that this article contains affiliate links which means that – at zero cost to you – I might earn a commission if you sign up or buy through the affiliate link. That said, I never recommend anything I don’t believe is valuable.

    13 Comments

  1. I gave up on Quicken about 4-5 years ago. I was tired of the mandatory upgrades and keeping my accounts current was a constant struggle.

    Then I found Personal Capital last fall (via a podcast). It was so much easier to use and now I can go there to get a snapshot of my net worth. The only product they aren’t compatible with that I use is M1 Finance.

    When I signed up, I did get a deluge of emails and phone calls because although the service is free, they do want to be my financial advisor!

    Lynn Dye

    March 6, 2018

  2. Hi Lynne,
    I totally understand your situation. I use both Personal Capital and Quicken, and I get frustrated with the difficulty of syncing my accounts in Quicken. That said, I still find features that I like with both and I guess I’m also a bit hesitant to give up the reporting function of quicken, because it is great at tax time sorting all expenses by category. But the Personal Capital dashboard and investment tracking is awesome! It’s nice to hear from you!

    Barbara Friedberg

    March 6, 2018

  3. Barbara
    For someone who hasn’t used any software at all would you recommend both Quicken and Personal Capital?
    Obviously there are two categories here 1)Tracking, budgeting, paying off debts of personal checking, savings, money market accounts etc 2) Portfolio management of investments that could (or could not) include Bank/credit union accounts.
    Is there any way we can have one to include all or you recommend we do both? Thanks so much for an informative website.

    GK

    September 7, 2018

  4. Hi GK, Personal Capital can track all of the above. If you’re only looking for tracking, I think you’ll be okay with Personal Capital. If you want to categorize your expenses and then look at all you spent in a specific category, Quicken can do that. For example, you can create categories or use existing ones in Quicken. I’d start with Personal Capital free tracking tool. You get retirement planning as well as a good investment analysis at Personal Capital. If you find you want to create your own reports or create your own categories for tracking income and expenses, then you can sign up for Quicken. Let me know what you decide.

    Barbara Friedberg

    September 8, 2018

  5. For personal finance I have always preferred Quicken. Because I also have Mint on my phone, the two work in tandem and gets my finances sorted. I wanted something that helps me track my smallest expenses both online and offline and Quicken does the job. Not too sure about PC because I haven’t tried it yet.

    Do you think I should take it for a run? My main needs are tracking and direct bank connections.

    Joe Carvel

    September 17, 2018

    • Hi Joe, Do you have an investment portfolio of stock and bond assets? If you’re interested in this type of data and reports:
      Net Worth and Account Balances
      Cash Flow Analysis
      Investment Returns
      Asset Allocation View
      Retirement Fee Analyzer
      Investment Check-up

      Then there’s no down side to signing up for Personal Capital. The account linking is quite fast, and it’s a seamless way to check out your retirement readiness, fees and view at a glance your investment progress. Personally, I don’t see a downside for checking it out.
      But, if you’re getting all that you need from your Quicken and Mint accounts, then I don’t think you need to sign up for Personal Capital. Let me know what you decide Joe.

      Barbara Friedberg

      September 17, 2018

      • Hi Barbara, thanks for your reply. Yes, I do invest on stocks and mutual funds, so those analysis reports might just come in handy. Definitely going to take a look, but I think I’ll need time on my hands to sign and set it up. Will get back to you if I hit a bump. Thanks.

        Joe Carvel

        September 17, 2018

  6. Hey Joe, One of the things I liked about Personal Capital is that sign up is very quick! Just have account passwords handy. Please let me know your thoughts about how the three systems, work together (PC, Mint, and Quicken).

    Barbara Friedberg

    September 17, 2018

  7. I have used Quicken for over 20 years and it’s really good with downloading and tracking expenses and following your investments. Being able to do custom reports is great for budgeting and doing taxes. It’s also something that is kept personal on your own computer (remember to do backups). Personal Capital app is nice for a snapshot of your overall financial picture but I would not recommend it for actually managing your money. I have tried it and it does not play well with one of my financial institutions so I have to repair the connection each time I use it. Big waste of time. Then factor in that complete strangers have access to your financial portfolio and start making incessant calls to you ( and emails). It is not worth it.

    Ed

    February 28, 2019

  8. Hi Ed,
    I too use both Quicken and Personal Capital. Unfortunately, as my financial situation is complex, Quicken has it’s share of glitches. Personal Capital, for the price, (FREE) is a great offering and the follow up calls from reps., are a small price to pay for the robust tracking. I particularly like the Personal Capital retirement planner.

    That said, I think that in most cases users need both a Quicken-type system and there is no reason not to also use Personal Capital!

    Thanks so much for sharing your experience.

    Barbara Friedberg

    February 28, 2019

  9. Quicken has never been perfect but it’s better now than it has been . Customer service is far better than it has been and definitely superior to PC. The folks at Personal Capital are slow to respond and offer little help. They took a “wait and see if it doesn’t improve on it’s own” position with an issue I’m having. I don’t think they care unless you use their investment professionals. I get it. For free, what can I expect.

    Ed

    February 28, 2019

  10. Ed, With Quicken, frequently entire files vanish and I have to reinstall from back up. Which is fine now, as I back up after every session. Last year, I forgot to back up several times and had to re-input several months of transactions. Also, I have difficulty downloading from my bank and have to use a work around. I should probably try customer service some time!

    Barbara Friedberg

    February 28, 2019

  11. Oh! That sounds terrible. I have not experienced anything like that nor have I heard anything like that reported. I do backup more often than the Quicken automatic after every five closings backup. I’m seeing that everyone has issue with different programs depending on the institution. It’s hard to say which app will play well with your specific bank, brokerage, etc. so I think it comes down to your preferred interface

    Ed

    March 1, 2019

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