Moneydance Personal Finance Software Review

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Early in 2010, I embarked on a journey to find the best personal finance software.  That journey led me to a product that some months ago I had never heard of – Moneydance.

Moneydance Review: 2010 Moneydance Edition

Subtitle: Why I selected Moneydance out of the sea of personal finance software:

  • In my research on products, I tend to focus on the feedback and reviews of actual users.  Those who used Moneydance had very good things to say about the product.
  • The software has two features that are very important to me – it is a desktop program, and it allows you to budget in multiple currencies.
  • It offers a free download and the ability to use the product for up to 100 transactions before you buy it. Why not try out a product when you can do it for free?
  • After my research and trial, I purchased a personal copy of Moneydance.  I should note that my money was subsequently refunded and I was offered a free product when they found out I was a personal finance blogger.  This, however, is not a paid post and the opinions are 100% mine.

Review Moneydance Software Features:

MondyDancehomepage

Here is a screenshot of the homepage

This product is supported by Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems.

Online banking and bill payment

This personal finance software can synchronize your records with transactions downloaded from your bank (using OFX, QFX, or QIF files).  This makes reconciling your bank statements and paying your bills a breeze.  Unlike other products, the bill pay feature is offered free of charge.

How to make a budget in Moneydance: Easy budget management

Setting up a budget is easy.  My wife and I have always used Excel for our budgeting, but my wife really likes the way this product is organized and how clean everything looks.  This personal finance software tracks your spending in real time so you can see if you’re meeting your budget.  Don’t worry – when you start to get close to spending your money in a certain category, it shows that category in orange – proceed with caution.

Schedule all things financial

A common complaint about finances is that people simply forget to pay bills or they are not organized enough to remember everything.  Simply ender recurring bills, loan payments, and income, and this product will remind you when your payment is upcoming.

MondyDance transaction

Investment portfolio information

If you own stocks, bonds, CDs, mutual funds, or other types of similar investments, you can track the performance.

Customize with extensions

This product allows you to add on certain extensions according to your need.  You can get a credit card payoff calculator, debt payoff calculator, an investment profit calculator, or other important tools.

Reports and Graphs

A picture is worth a 1000 words.  There is no better way to get an overall look at your financial situation than through a visual report.  Built-in reports and graphs include: Budget, Missing Checks, Net Worth, Account Balances, Cash Flow, Transactions, Cost Basis, Income vs. Expenses, and VAT/GST.

MoneyDance Expenses

Protect your privacy – and your peace of mind

You can save this product with a password for safety and privacy.  Depending on your comfort level, you can locally store password information on your own computer or manually enter it each time you want to update your accounts.

International support

If you live overseas or travel overseas with any frequency, then Moneydance will be hard to beat.  They offer multi-currency support and translations into eight different language.  On the homepage, you can automatically track the latest exchange rates.

What Do I Like About Moneydance?

  1. Clean interface.  From the very first time, this product was easy to use.  Things are where you would expect them to be and everything looks clean and crisp.
  2. Foreign currency features – since we live overseas, this was a big one for us.
  3. Easy graphs and charts
  4. The price.  The $49.99 cost with no required upgrades is much less than what we paid for Quicken.
  5. Budgeting feature.  For some time, my wife has been less than satisfied with the Excel documents I worked up.  She claims they are confusing and hard to navigate.  The primary features we use are the transaction registers and budgeting.

What Don’t I Like About Moneydance?

My biggest problem with it was that it was not really a smooth transfer from Quicken.  They have just recently come out with a user guide that will help make the transition easier.  When I exported and imported files, I had to adjust and doctor it up.  However, I did want to learn a new program and I did want to get away from Quicken, so I went through the learning curve.

I wish it was better able to sync with some sort of tax program.  However, to be honest, I had that feature with Quicken, but never used it.  For accuracy, I always manually calculated and reviewed everything myself.

Get Moneydance today …

The free trial is the best feature of this product.  You download a fully functional version of the software and you have the opportunity to enter up to 100 manual transactions into the software.  Once you enter your 100th transaction, you can visit the Moneydance website and purchase a license key.  Simply enter the license key into your existing software (under help), and you now have unlimited future use of the software – you don’t even need to download the software again.

Buy your copy of Moneydance now – click here. Or get your free trial copy today.

All product links in this post are affiliate links.

Anyone else use Moneydance?  What do you think?

Comments

    • says

      @Financialbondage
      I’m not a Mac user, but that is one of the things that people really like about it – Mac compatibility.

  1. Arthur @ FinancialBondage.org says

    I’ve always done pencil and paper budgeting because it’s easier (for me) than learning a computer program from scratch… I just don’t have the patience to learn how to use the budgeting programs out there… at first glance, this program also seems a bit overwhelming. I’ll see what I can do… may have to stick with pencil and paper. :)

  2. Stacy says

    I’ve been using this software for 18 months and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it!! I also have a Mac and it works great. I love how I can see exactly where every penny is going without much trouble at all.

  3. Mike says

    A couple of downsides to Moneydance 2010:

    Online BillPay compatibility with financial institutions; not every bank/credit union will work with MD2010 and you can’t find out which ones do or don’t until you shell out the $40 for the license. Don’t confuse the online banking capabilities listings with online BillPay.

    The Reconciliation Tool, used to balance your accounts, requires you to have a *paper* copy of your bank statement. My Quicken 2007 (PC version) downloads all my cleared transactions (whenever I want) so I can compare and clear them without the need for a bank statement. Needing a bank statement to reconcile seems pretty lame in this day and age.

    The included Help manual in MD2010 is for the 2008 version of the software; you need to go to a separate site to download the .pdf for the manual ….which then is not integral with MD2010.

    Overall I have not been too impressed with MD2010 …especially not compared to my 2007 PC version of Quicken. If this is considered good software, the bad stuff must be truly awful.

    • says

      @Mike
      Thanks for your feedback. I think it will be very helpful for people considering Moneydance.
      Re financial institutions: In my case the same two banks that would not ‘automatically’ download with Quicken will not download with Moneydance. I suspect that if you shot them an email they could tell you if your bank was included before you made the purchase.
      Thanks for the heads up regarding the Reconciliation tool.
      As of April 14th they have a 2010 help manual – http://moneydance.com/blog/archives/119.

  4. Mike says

    Downloading your bank info (i.e. transactions) works well and you can see a list of the banks Moneydance is known to be compatible with (it’s posted on their website).

    What I am referring to is the ability to pay your bills through Moneydance …the BillPay interface with your bank …this is the function that can be a bit “iffy” depending on your financial institution. You may have no problems with setting up online payment capabilities; you may have to contact your financial institution directly; you may have to *pay* for this feature (even though it might be free from your bank’s online payment service) when used via Moneydance …or you might not be able to use it at all. There is no listing of compatibility with BillPay services and Moneydance; the folks at InfiniteKind (the developers of Moneydance) tend to keep this compatibility aspect very quiet; it is buried in the manual: “Note that not every financial institution which Moneydnace supports for online banking will allow application-based online bill payment….” (from pgs 41,42 of MD2010 User’s Guide). Since the online banking feature is not activated until you pay/register the software there’s no sure way to know beforehand. At this point InfiniteKind is still gathering data on BillPay compatibilities (there is a response to this situation in their help blog) but it is ultimately up to your financial institution’s policies ….which can and often do change …with regard to application-based online bill paying.

    • says

      @Mike
      See Angie’s comment in response – honestly some of thsi discussion gets out of my knowledge. I actually don’t use any bill pay features so I don’t know much about it.

  5. Angie- Moneydance Support Staff says

    @Mike- I’m a Moneydance support staff member, and I wanted to clarify a few pieces of your comment.

    We’re a small company, and when we released Moneydance 2010 we made a few mistakes. The biggest one was not integrating the new help documentation into the program, and we’re just now getting that issue resolved. We understand now this was a serious issue for our users, and will be sure not to make this mistake again.

    The online banking and bill pay feature is active in the trial version. We also provide full support to users who are using the trial version. Basically, we want people to be able to try out the full program and then decide if they would like to buy our product- this feels fair to us. The only limitation of the trial version is the 100 manually entered transaction limit. I’m sorry this wasn’t clear to you, we’re working on revamping our website so this information is clearer. Honesty and transparency are important to us as a company.

    There are two ways to connect to banks online- through their websites and through a specially dedicated server (this is known as a direct OFX connection). Many banks charge a fee for connection to their direct OFX server, either for downloads or bill pay. Most banks do not charge for connection to their website. We know that for a few banks Moneydance’s bill-pay tool is sometimes “iffy,” and we continue to work on diagnosing and resolving this issue, but it’s been a sticky one.

    Quicken allows you to connect to your bank’s website through their program or through the OFX server, Moneydance only connects to OFX servers. The reasons for this are complex- technological, licensing, and proprietary software to name a few. We’re looking toward integrating a third party system which would permit us to connect to more financial institutions directly through Moneydance, but it’s a major project and is several months away.

    As for the reconcile tool- You don’t need a paper statement to do this, although when we describe the process in our help guide we use that as an example. We felt it was the best way to describe the process for those who are new to personal finance software. When you begin the reconciling process you are given the option to select an “As Of” box. “Selecting the ‘as of’ option will automatically mark all downloaded transactions posted on or before the given date as ‘reconciling’. This often results in an easier reconciliation process, however you should also double-check your transactions as they are downloaded.” This can greatly simplify this reconciling process for those who download their transactions into Moneydance.

    If I can be of further assistance, please feel free to contact me (and our other support staff) by emailing us at support at moneydance dot com.

    • says

      @Angie
      Thanks for taking the time to respond to these comments. I’ve found that Moneydance has the important features I need, but I don’t understand all the details like you obviously do. Thanks for helping clarify things.

  6. Angie- Moneydance Support Staff says

    After mulling over Mike’s comments I spent some time today improving the phrasing on our website. We’ve clarified the functions (and limitations) of the trial version on our “Download” page, more obviously referred to the trial on our “Purchase” page, and overtly stated that many banks charge for direct connect and bill pay services on our “Financial Institution” page.

    We’ll also be releasing our next full stable (as opposed to preview) update, Moneydance 2010 r3 build 748, in the next 2 days. This version will correct the user guide issue and brings some wonderful new features, including new reports, which were not available in the last stable build (r3build 735).

    While it’s sometimes hard to hear criticism, we believe it’s also important to learn from our mistakes. As always, you can contact us at support at moneydance dot com.

  7. Chris Fane says

    Will moneydance provide me with a year-end tax report, similar to the one Quicken used to provide? Being a UK user I am still using Quicken Deluxe 98 on my PC, but am now switching to a Mac. I am interested in Moneydance because Quicken ceased to support the UK market some years ago.

  8. Ted Redinbo says

    Will moneydance be able to in the near future use voucher checks that have the check at the top and the stubs below?

  9. Jim says

    I have trouble connecting to several of my banks. Support just tells me to download manually, but even that doesn’t always work.

    I’m using Quicken 2008, and it’s not perfect, but significantly better in this respect. On the other hand, Quicken is buggy, and some of the bugs I have encountered are a real nuisance.

    For example, it asks me for every transaction with a major company if I want to “standardize it,” meaning remove the store number and other similar stuff. I check the box and the setup option to turn this off but it still happens. Support told me to recreate my Quicken data file and re-enter all my accounts, which did not work.

    Also, it stopped working with some banks, and again they told me to start over, recreate everything, and not have too many accounts at the same bank. This seems to have prevented a recurrence, but I still don’t like it.

    • says

      Jim,
      I’m assuming your first you are comparing Moneydance and Quicken 2008, correct?

      That is always the issue with software – be sure it is compatible with your bank. This is especially true of a credit union. I do manual downloads with Moneydance.

      I had the exact same issue with Quicken requiring me to upgrade in order to continue using online services. I didn’t like that.
      Thanks for your comment. I think it will be helpful for anyone trying to find the ‘right’ software.

  10. Jim says

    I forgot to mention that I first encountered these kinds of problems in 2006. I upgraded twice hoping for bug fixes, but I got only new features that I didn’t need. Now I’m using the 2008 version, and they’re telling me I have to upgrade to continue to get online service. I can’t see upgrading again, after giving them several tries, especially since the prices seem to be higher, so I’m looking for good software that lets me reconcile with my bank. MoneyDance doesn’t seem to be it, but what else is there?

  11. Angie says

    Hi all, Angie from Moneydance here to try to answer your questions

    Chris- Moneydance has a bunch of reports which permit flexible date ranges, including an easy “last year” option. I would recommend you check out our free trial to see if Moneydance will work for you.

    Ted- It’s a feature we’re considering for the future, but not one that is in the immediate future.

    Jim- I wasn’t entirely clear if the issues you were having connecting with your bank are with Moneydance or Quicken. I do want to clarify that Moneydance never disables the online functions of older versions of our software, although there may be some newer security measures your bank has enabled which we need to update. If there’s some way I can be of assistance I invite you to contact me at Angie (at) moneydance (dot) com.

    • says

      Larry,
      As long as I understand your question the answer is no. You don’t need to be enrolled in bill pay. If you want to download transactions from your bank you will need to have online banking, but that is optional. You can manually enter transactions.
      There is a completely free trial download version so you can download it and take it for a free spin to see what you think.

  12. says

    I didn’t like the way Money Dance handled split transactions. The accounts you wanted to put the transactions were hidden. I trouble connecting with some banks also. I ended up switching to another program. I like the program better even though that the same two banks I have not been able to connect. with.

  13. yadda yadda says

    Getting a free copy of the software and even peddling it through a link makes tis an advertisement, not an objective review. You should’ve refused the free copy and paid for it.

    • says

      Thanks for your concern. I’m not sure the review would have been any more objective it I refused to let them refund my money. Remember, I shopped as a customer and paid as a customer. Only later did they contact me and refund my money. My decisions to buy Moneydance had zero impact by the free copy because that came after the fact.

  14. Daniel says

    Just thought would add that they do have a nice app for your iPod touch that helps me keep track of my expenses as I can enter them as I do them rather than later on.

    • says

      Daniel,
      Thanks for adding that helpful information. I’ve never used anything that needs and app, but I know a lot of people do.

  15. Maggie says

    I´m a huge Moneydance fan – been using it for a few years now and I love it.

    One criticism of software like this that I often hear is that the budget function doesn´t allow you to budget in advance on the envelope budget system, like YNAB does. Wrong. Using the subaccount feature, it is possible to budget forward for a year in advance using the same principles that YNAB uses. Personally I do it a month in advance, but that´s just my preference. So with Moneydance, you get historical tracking, plus forward planning – best of both worlds. And all your budget envelopes clearly showing on the home page.

    Plus. as others have pointed out, there´s the multi-currency function and the fact that it´s cross-platform.

    Did I mention that I love it?!

  16. Allen says

    Hi Craig, got another question. When I exported the account info from MS money, moneydance used the catagory tag that was there for ALL the entries,ie automobile. Can I delete them all in one shot, then replace those that I think need to be catagorised? Can’t find the info in the user manual.
    Allen.

    • says

      Allen,
      I’ve never used MS money so I couldn’t say how their information exports. I’m guessing there is a way to sync it, but I don’t know. Add a comment to the support forum and I suspect you’ll get a response.

      • Allen says

        Craig,
        Thanks, I got a reply from moneydance support, (Angie), hadn’t thought of them.
        You do seem very busy on this site, thanks for your help.
        Allen.

        • says

          Allen,
          I think Angies post shows that the folks at Moneydance do go out of their way to help their customers. Kudos to them for the time and effort. Thanks Angie!

    • Angie says

      Allen- Angie from Moneydance Support here. What likely happened when you imported your file is that you didn’t check the “From Another Program” box, so Moneydance applied all of your transactions to the first category alphabetically (which is likely Automobile). Try running the import again with that box checked, and your categories should come over successfully. To delete all transactions, use Ctrl+A, then hit Delete. If you’ve got a bunch of accounts which imported incorrectly, and didn’t do much else with your data file, you could start with a blank file by going to File->New. Finally, you could revert to a backup (see info in the user guide) from a previous day, before you ran the import- this would be the best choice if you’ve done a lot of work on your data file in previous days and did the import recently. If you have any other questions, drop us an email at support (at) moneydance (dot) com

  17. Sharon says

    I do bookkeeping and work in Accounting for a financial institute. I move from PC to MAC a couple of years ago and have always used Quicken and/or Quickbooks. When I read the reviews of Quicken for MAC..it wasn’t very promising..so after a lot of research and the free trial, I started using Moneydance. I really like it. It’s pretty simple. I have been able to download almost all my banks and credit cards. There is one or two banks I can’t download..but I ran into this issue with the Intuit products as well. There are so drawbacks, like the splits, like the memory of the last transaction..but for the most part, for the price and ease..this product is a winner.

    • says

      Sharon,
      Thanks so much for sharing your experiences. I’m especially glad you included both the things you like and drawbacks. Well done!

  18. Gopi says

    Hi There,

    I would like to know if anyone knows of any add on in MoneyDance where it can auto split the incoming money into 5 other bank accounts by the percentage.

    For example i have it split like this.

    EDU 10%
    GIVE 10%
    INVEST 10%
    LTSS 10%
    NECC 50%
    PLAY 10%

    My salary per week is 500 to 600 dollars and i split them into all the accounts. The problem is i have to calculate and key in the amounts manually. Is there like an add on where i can key it into a different screen and it is auto split and the split value is automatically added into the different accounts.

    P/S:- Based on the “T. Harv Eker’s JARS Money Management System”.
    http://secretsofachievers.com/financial-success/t-harv-ekers-jars-money-management-system/

  19. Pam says

    I’ve been using Mint.com for about 2 years and am very happy with it, especially the Android phone app. I’ve always been fairly good about backing everything up, but I still prefer to have my data in the cloud as well.

  20. says

    The main page of Money dance is visually simple, which is one of its strengths. The navigation bar and buttons can get you to any section, and the main content area neatly summarizes your accounts and displays bill reminders and a tidy calendar. Adding new accounts is a snap as well and this program connects to a large number of banks and credit unions the world over.

  21. says

    I am sorting transactions by category and year for 2011 Taxes. Ex. I put 2011 Health and
    and it groups all transactions starting with Jan. 2011 but it also includes Jan. Feb. & March
    2012 transactions. Is this a bug with the most recent version and is there an easy way to fix it.
    Thanks for your help

  22. Angie says

    Thomas,

    Could you drop us a line at support (at) Moneydance (dot) com, and let us know specifically which report you’re running? It would also be helpful to see a screenshot of the settings for the report you’re running. This will help us to give you more personalized attention.

    Angie Rauscher
    Moneydance Support

  23. Robert says

    Craig
    I’ve found this all very interesting, thanks for the blog.
    One question you might know the answer to, can you set up Moneydance for use by two users? Specifically, my wife and I want to be able to “log in”, for lack of a better term, and enter our individual transactions (mostly debit and checking) on our own time from our own laptops (Macs)…
    We’ve researched a few other programs but this request always seems to lead to expensive licensing..
    Thanks for any help.
    Robert

    • Angie says

      Robert- Angie from Moneydance here. We have a simple license agreement- one license per household, regardless of many people are in your household, how many computers you need to install the program on, or how many different operating systems (Mac, Linux, Windows, etc) you use. We’ll also never force you to upgrade to a newer version, or disable features in older versions of our software. If you’re going to run Moneydance on several computers with the same data file, we recommend using a tool such as [Dropbox](www.Dropbox.com) to do so. You can also create more than one data file, if you and your wife maintain separate accounts. If you have any other questions, drop us a line at Support (at) Moneydance (dot) com and we’ll get you up and running!

      Angie Rauscher
      Moneydance Support

  24. Bob says

    Interesting reading this thread. I have tried out scores of personal financial software and kicked the tires of a few online services, first Crown Mvelopes and also Mint.com. I too am a full-time missionary, rolling out financial systems for our ministry overseas, and have taught personal financial management on the side to hundreds of missionaries.

    I have used Quicken since 1993 when my incredibly simple DOS-based software (MoneyCounts) was discontinued. And while I used to start a new file every year due to memory (I could only back up 750mb on a floppy), since memory is no longer an issue I have been using the same Quicken data file for the past 10 years.

    As a result of 20 years of history with Quicken, changing tools creates two major problems:
    1. I have 10 years of history in Quicken, which makes it very easy to find any transaction from the past years–as well as do reports. It’s great to see how our expenses have changed as the family has grown.
    2. More practically: My wife. She manages our budget at home. She is a master at Quicken–and indeed has never forgiven them for upgrading Quicken 3 fifteen years ago (since they ‘upgraded’ some Basic features into the more expensive Deluxe version). So, being a smart husband–one who is happy that his wife likes to manage the family finances–after getting her to test-drive Mvelopes I have not attempted since to get her to switch.

    My opinion might differ, though, if we took an overseas assignment. I could see the benefit of a multi-currency personal finance tool.

  25. Leo Geo says

    Memorizing transactions and printing reports in Money dance is very hard.

    They call their help “infinitely Kind Help” they are not

    I would stay far away from this program

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