Should I give up on iBank 3 and go back to Moneydance?

picture-1.pngiBank 3 from IGG was released earlier this week. Four weeks ago I wrote a post about my first impressions of the beta. Generally I was pretty impressed. The bugs I commented on (icons and date format) have been fixed. However, the more I have used it the more disappointed I have become.

My biggest disappointment is the portfolio. iBank 3 can use a variety of online sources, such as Yahoo or Google to obtain quotes for your investments. It can also display a graph of value over time from the downloaded data. All my investments are UK ISA funds. Unfortunately Yahoo doesn’t recognise any of them and Google only a couple. However, there is a bug where Google downloads all quotes as zero, overwriting any I may have put in manually. And as Google is unable to download my quotes properly I’m not able to graph their value. Since this feature wasn’t available in iBank 2 I haven’t actually lost anything but it’s a shame as it was a feature I was really looking forward to. I’ll just have to stick to Morningstar for graphs.

I think I was expecting more from iBank 3. It isn’t really that different from the previous version. I was certainly hoping for more of an overhaul of the GUI. Entering transactions is fiddly and still long-winded if you’re trying to use the keyboard. And I had hoped for more from the charts. I think they are still unintuitive to create. It would have been nice to have some more predefined charts available such as net worth over time, expenditure over time and predicted future balance.

I do like the improved method for reconciling with bank statments. And the iPhone integration is fun to use (although of limited practical value for me).

So have I upgraded and paid for iBank 3 yet? Well…no. I can’t. To obtain the lower upgrade fee ($30 rather than $60) you have to upgrade through iBank itself rather than IGG’s website. And it doesn’t work. Well, not for me (and quite a few others from reading the forums). I keep getting “an unknown error occurred” when I enter my credit card details.

moneydance-pic.pngSo for the last four days I have reverted to Moneydance. This is what I used before I discovered iBank 2 18 months ago and still had it installed. I gave up on Moneydance because I didn’t like the GUI. It’s green, dated-looking, unintuitive and not Mac-like. However, Moneydance does have a nice front page with a chart showing expenses that I prefer to iBank’s pie chart. It also shows net worth over time, something iBank can’t do. As far as entering transactions goes, there’s little between the two. I always liked the way statements were reconciled with Moneydance but now that’s been improved with iBank 3 there’s little difference between them. Moneydance has a lot of predefined charts – they’re not terribly pretty but they do the job. I find them much easier to use than iBank. Moneydance uses Yahoo to download quotes so no use to me.

So, to summarise, Moneydance is better because:

  • I prefer its graphical representation of expenses on the front page
  • it can show my net worth over time
  • it can predict future balances (although not terribly accurately I should add)
  • it has useful predefined charts
  • it doesn’t cost me anything (unlike the $30 it will cost to upgrade to iBank 3)

iBank 3 is better because:

  • it looks like a proper Mac application
  • it works with my iPhone
  • I feel loyalty towards iBank and like to support small Mac developers

Looking at this list it would seem obvious I should choose Moneydance. But I really don’t know. I feel a lot of loyalty towards iBank. It is terrible that I have to make this decision. Four days ago there was no doubt – I would upgrade to iBank 3 as soon as it was out of beta. But being unable to actually pay for the upgrade has made me rethink things. I bet I’m not the only one – there are probably scores of iBank 2 users out there wondering if they should forget upgrading and change to something else. This has been terrible PR for IGG and I’m really surprised at their apparent lack of support at the moment. Previously their support has been exemplary.

Moneydance has a free trial (100 manually entered transactions and unlimited imported transactions – very generous) and costs $30.

Of course there are other options. I bought Cha-Ching (as part of the MacHeist bundle last month) which is really pretty but lacking so many features as to be useless. I’ve also looked at Jumsoft Money, Liquid Ledger and Moneywell but none of them suited me. What I really want is a Mac version of Microsoft Money (and I’m not the only one – this blog post has over 230 comments regarding the difficulties of finding decent Mac personal finance software). For now I’m going to continue with Moneydance – until the upgrade problem with iBank 3 is fixed, and then I’ll have a difficult decision to make.

I’d love comments from any others having problems with iBank 3 and what you plan to do.

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25 Responses to “Should I give up on iBank 3 and go back to Moneydance?”

  1. Sean Says:

    You might want to try the public beta of Moneydance 2008 which is more mac-like:
    http://moneydance.com/preview/

    I’m a bit biased because I’m the developer of Moneydance, but I’d appreciate it if you’d check it out. I am also a small mac developer, but Moneydance also just happens to run on win+linux πŸ™‚

    Cheers,
    Sean

  2. Rachel Murphy Says:

    Hi Sean. Thanks for that link. I’ve just downloaded the Moneydance 2008 beta and I’m impressed – the expenses chart on the home page is really nice. And no green – hooray! My biggest criticism has always been the GUI but this looks a lot better. I’m seriously considering going back to Moneydance and I’m going to spend the next week giving it a proper re-evaluation.

    I must apologise for not considering you a small Mac developer! I suppose as Moneydance is cross platform I’ve never thought of you that way. Looks like that’s one less point for iBank 3.

  3. Sean Says:

    Hi Rachel. Please keep in mind that the current MD2008 is a beta. There are some problems with it, but they are quickly being fixed. I hope it will only be another one to two weeks before the final release is ready. Also, I should say that in terms of features that Quicken and iBank are the next best choices after Moneydance πŸ™‚

  4. Jayelyn Says:

    Hi Sean. I’m in the exploration stage wanting to move from Quickbooks (on the Windows side of my Mac) to something that has at least some of the business functions (P&L, Balance Sheet, ability to close out a year and start a new one). I’ve been experimenting with iBank and would like to try your new beta. Do you think it might be a good fit?

    Thanks–
    Judy Greenough

  5. J John Says:

    Hi,
    You must be surprised; I have indeed moved to Moneydance after installing iBank3. I have been a user of iBank2, which served me quite satisfactorily. iBank3 has been a great disappointment. It is not opening my iBank2 data and surprisingly, not even accepting entry of transactions. Now, I have turned back to Moneydance, which has made my life easier.

    J John

  6. Donald Perreault Says:

    I purchased iBank 2 during the iBank 3 beta on impulse and to get the free upgrade. I was using Quicken and was just happy to find a Native banking application so I could be rid of Quicken. My few complaints with iBank 3 are with the single column for both deposits and withdrawals, it can be confusing. The single column forces the user to use the minus sign when deducting from the account. Entering transactions is not that intuitive. I miss being able to use the plus/minus sign to increase/decrease the date or check number. If you choose to pick a date from the iBank 3 popup calendar when you select a date the calendar doesn’t disappear, it just sits there till you tab to the next field. I want to be excited with iBank 3 but the more I use it the more disappointed I get.

    There is another new app from Motitions called Prospects that looks beautiful but lacks many features needed to be full time banking application. I purchased Prospects on impulse also.

    I need some help with my impulse purchases πŸ˜‰

  7. Rachel Murphy Says:

    @ J John: I feel just the same. iBank 2 was satisfactory but iBank 3 has been a disappointment. It’s good to be using Moneydance again.

    @ Donald Perreault: I’d forgotten how annoying the single column is in iBank until I starting using Moneydance again with its two columns. It make it a lot quicker to enter transactions. I’d not heard of Prospects before – it does look very pretty but I’d better not try the demo. I also have a problem with impulse buys!

  8. Rob Alfieri Says:

    Like so many others, I’ve tried them all. I finally settled on Moneydance 2008. I’m finally rid of that nightmare Quicken Mac. Moneydance is fast, easy and does a much better job of matching and not duplicating imported transactions.

    The interface in 2008 is better than 2007 and improving daily. Like with all applications, there are some quirks, but the developer is working diligently to incorporate user feedback.

    Being a Java application, it also runs on all the major OS platforms! Now that’s something no other vendor can say.

    Moneydance rocks!

  9. Nik Says:

    I echo Rob Alfieri’s comment – I blogged about my experience with Quicken here:
    http://nik-notes.blogspot.com/2008/03/can-i-finally-kick-out-quicken-closer.html

    Moneydance is certainly my favorite for now.

  10. Rob Alfieri Says:

    Check out this new beta for MyMoney 2.0 at http://www.mthbuilt.com.

    It’s got a way to go, but if you were looking for something with a very similar look and feel to Microsoft Money, this may fit the bill.

    Right now it’s in early Beta. I am having difficulty importing QIF files and it is a bit sluggish. Also, support for heads-down data entry (keyboard) support needs work, but I like where they are going.

    With the right level of polish, faster performance and easier keyboard entry, this one could be the top contender for 2008.

    Check it out and give these folks your feedback. They seem to be on the right track!

  11. Tim Says:

    Hi,

    We noticed a spike in our logs from people coming from this blog, I guess many folks are in fact frustrated with iBank.

    I can’t speak on iBanks behalf, but I am very qualified to speak on My Money behalf because I run the joint πŸ™‚

    The reason we started My Money was mostly because we were very frustrated with Microsoft Money, as years went by it actually got worse not better. At some point all the frustration built up and since I have never been much of a quicken fan so I thought, well, how difficult it would be to do a program just like Microsoft, may be just a little bit better.

    Well, after 2 years we are finding out that it is in fact very difficult. But the good news is we are almost there. Our windows version is quite stable, we have a sizable user base that is very active and seem to be very involved with what we are doing, based on all the emails we get.

    We just released on Mac, this is literally very first version on this platform and frankly we probably should have waited a bit. But we also thought, well, lets just put it out there we will see what people think.

    We will address all issues, and we will do it sooner rather than later; this is because I recently moved my personal files to macbook, so the program better run there and run well πŸ™‚

  12. Rachel Murphy Says:

    Hi Tim.

    My Money certainly looks interesting – it’s very pretty. I’ve just tried importing .qif files from iBank and Moneydance but couldn’t get it to work. But I’ll keep an eye out for updates and have another try with the next build.

    It’s great to see that new financial software for the Mac is appearing. For such a long time there seemed to be so little choice and there’s been a real gap in the market. I think the next few months could prove interesting.

  13. Rob Says:

    Does My Money allow me to use direct connect with OFX? I like being able to have my transactions download directly into my financial software, instead of exporting the file from the bank website and then manually importing it.

    iBank 3.0 has this feature, which is really nice, but I’m not convinced iBank is what our family needs over all.

    My Money, are you listening? There is a huge market share for you if you get going!

  14. Tim Says:

    Rachel,

    We just posted a new build that takes care of Multi-Account QIF imports, those are the QIF files that are produced by the IBank, Moneydance and others. Take a look, let us know if things worked out for you or you still have issues importing.

    Rob,

    We do have a capability of going to banks directly but at the moment it is shut down. Sorry.

    We plan on enabling it in the next couple of builds. Meanwhile, you can do what I do, login to the banks website, download and save the statement to the desktop and use File-Import to bring your transactions into the database. Sorry for the inconvenience.

    And yes, we are listening and paying attention πŸ™‚

    Thanks

    Tim

  15. Scott Says:

    I found that Moneydance was the best for me on the Mac. Excellent application and it’s hard to believe that it is Java and not a Mac app with the 2008 release.

  16. Microsoft Money and a Mac - davidgagne.net Says:

    […] Should I give up on iBank 3 and go back to Moneydance? […]

  17. Denise Says:

    I have used MS Money in the past and when I switched to Macs I tried Quicken (yuk), tried Liquid Ledger (it screwed up dates on importing transactions) and now just use Excel. I diligently download my statements each month as ofx files hoping one day something would turn up. I am trialling iBank and have just downloaded Moneydance and Jumsoft Money. What I really want though is something which will work with my iPhone. Can anyone confirm whether Moneydance or Money will? iBank supposedly does but I have not got it working yet.

  18. Rachel Murphy Says:

    @Denise: Moneydance definitely doesn’t work with the iPhone and I’m pretty sure Money doesn’t either.

    I’ve long had this idea it would be fun to maintain my own finances in a spreadsheet. I feel it would give me more flexibility, especially when it comes to graphing the data. When Numbers came out last year I had a brief go at it but realised I don’t know enough about spreadsheets to get it to work properly. Since then I’ve had “Learn how to use Numbers” on my Someday/Maybe to-do list! For now though I’m continuing to use Moneydance.

  19. Rachel Murphy Says:

    @Denise: I’ve just been doing a bit of internet research and it seems the Moneydance developer is working on an iPhone version. See here: http://moneydance.com/forum/YaBB.pl?num=1214761955

  20. Denise Says:

    @Rachel: Spreadsheets can be very powerful and once set up and all the formulae entered, can give you a highly customised solution. However, after a while they become unwieldy – I just want a nice, easy to use application that will help me manage my finances more efficiently.

  21. Denise Says:

    @Rachel: I have also been doing some Internet research – I read that about Moneydance but don’t know what the timescale is. Money looks nice but no sign of anything for the iPhone. Cha-Ching supposedly are about to release an iPhone companion app so I’ve also downloaded their beta but their past reviews don’t read too good. I ruled out Splash Money as it has a weird way of importing and I cannot get the fields to match up with my OFX files whatever I try whereas iBank had no trouble. So I am still undecided – I’ll play with MoneyDance, Cha-Ching and iBank and let you know.

  22. Rachel Murphy Says:

    @Denise: I’ll be interested to hear which you settle with.

  23. Denise Says:

    Well, after much researching I first tried importing the same transaction file into each of the systems I was trialling (Money, Cha Ching, MoneyDance and iBank). I then tried out the various functions such as reconciling statements, assigning categories, balancing accounts etc and then tried searching for specific transactions using different methods and then looked to see how much had been spent with a given supplier or in a specific category in a given period of time. It was quite intensive but necessary to get a feel for the strengths and weaknesses of each application so I could make an informed choice based on what was important to me. My choice then, was iBank based on ease of use, look and feel, accurate importing of multiple account ocx files and the ability to remember category assignments so that after a while I had hardly any to do manually. The colour coding I found very useful, reconciliation quick and easy and have now successfully imported files going back four years giving a valuable history of transactions. It backs up to my iDisk and also syncs with my iPhone so that when I am out I can quickly check my balances. I can’t edit entries from my iphone, which I don’t really want or need to do but I can add new entries which sync back to iBank. Overall, I am very pleased with my purchase and how easy it has been to get my finances sorted out. I hope someone else finds this information useful.

  24. Rachel Murphy Says:

    @Denise: I’m glad you’ve found something that works for you. iBank has a lot going for it. I always liked that it felt like a proper Mac app and I found the iPhone sync useful. For me, in the end though, there were too many small annoyances to continue using it. I switched back to Moneydance and haven’t looked back.

  25. Mark Says:

    In moneydance trial, I couldn’t find anywhere to print my checks like quicken or iBank…does anyone know?


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