Goodbye iBank 3, hello Moneydance

moneydance-pic.pngRegular readers will recall my disappointment with iBank 3. The upgrade from the previous version was going to cost $30 and I didn’t feel I was getting good value for money. I decided to retry Moneydance for a while. This had been my previous personal finance app before I was won over by iBank 2 eighteen months ago.

I’ve used the Moneydance 2008 beta in place of iBank for the last two weeks. I wanted to see if I would miss iBank 3 and if so, was it worth paying $30 for the upgrade?

What do I miss from iBank?

  • It has the feel of a proper Mac application
  • The ability to only view recent transactions
  • The widget to enter today’s transactions

What have I gained using Moneydance?

  • An easy-peasy idiot-proof method for reconciling statements. You also can’t alter a reconciled transaction without Moneydance asking are you really sure you want to do this as it could mess up the balance of subsequent statements.
  • A net worth over time graph
  • Helpful pre-defined graphs and reports (and it’s easy to edit them to your own settings)
  • A simple homepage that includes upcoming transactions and stock prices
  • An easy to read graph on the homepage showing expenses or income over a range of timescales
  • Quick keyboard entry of transactions
  • Two columns – one for payments and one for deposits. This means I don’t need to enter a minus sign in front of expenses.
  • A satisfying cha-ching sound on entering transactions!

My biggest complaint about Moneydance 2007 had been the horrible green GUI. The 2008 version is much better – it’s grey and looks far more like a Leopard application. Also it now has a pop-up calendar that I love.

I initially felt bad about considering dumping iBank. IGG’s support for iBank 2 was fantastic and I felt like a bit of a traitor. But I feel let down with iBank 3. I expected so much more and I just don’t think it’s worth the $30 upgrade. (Of course, there was also the option to stick with iBank 2 and not upgrade. The problem was, I had been using the iBank 3 beta for a month. Data entered into the new version can’t be read by the previous version. I would have to re-input a month’s transactions which frankly, I couldn’t be bothered with.)

Moneydance 2008 is clearly the winner here. There are still a few features I would like to see:

  • The ability to download quotes for UK ISA funds
  • Compatibility with Spaces in Leopard
  • The icons to be on the left of the toolbar, not the right

I feel very happy with my decision to return to Moneydance. And it doesn’t even cost me anything. Bargain!



83 Responses to “Goodbye iBank 3, hello Moneydance”

  1. m_s Says:

    Thanks for this review – I have been bouncing back and forth between these two myself. What I’m eagerly waiting for, though, is YNAB Pro for Mac: apparently it goes into beta next month… (I’m in no way affiliated, but I use the Excel version already, like Jesse’s style, and appreciate his financial model overall.)

  2. Rachel Murphy Says:

    Thanks for the link – I’d not heard of YNAB before. It looks quite interesting. How well does it work with iWork Numbers?

  3. m_s Says:

    unfortunately, not very well, so i’m lumbered with running it in openoffice or neooffice at the moment. both work well, but i’m really looking forward to seeing the standalone app.

    at the moment, just like you, i’m bouncing back and forth between ibank and moneydance, and like you, i’m starting to come out on the side of moneydance…

  4. rishabh Says:

    not sure if you’ve heard of chaching? google midnight apps.

  5. Rachel Murphy Says:

    @rishabh: I’ve tried Cha-Ching. On the surface it looks fantastic but it’s lacking too many features to make it useable for me. The developers have been promising a 2.0 beta for some months but there’s been no word from them for a while. It certainly has potential but at the moment it’s no competition for Moneydance.

  6. Scott Says:

    I agree. After testing out all of these personal finance apps on my Mac, MoneyDance 2008 was the clear winner. I can’t believe a Java Swing application can look and perform so well. Anyway, I just love MoneyDance!

  7. Rachel Murphy Says:

    Thanks for your comment Scott. I think the developer has done a really good job with Moneydance 2008 – it’s far more Mac-like than previous versions. Just little things, like the pop-up calendar, make it a pleasure to use.

  8. Brian Puccio Says:

    Thanks for your reviews on iBank 3.

  9. Rachel Murphy Says:

    Thanks Brian. I always enjoy reading software reviews on other blogs so I’m glad people like mine. Reviews on “proper” websites are always helpful but I think it’s good to get a real user’s point of view too.

  10. Benz Says:

    Hey Rachel:

    I’m at the end of my rope with iBank. The upgrade to 3.0 completely screwed up the reconcile function.

    Just wondering: It’s now been about 5 months since you posted this. Still geeked about Moneydance?



  11. Rachel Murphy Says:

    @Benz: Yep, still enjoying using Moneydance everyday. It’s not perfect but almost all my criticisms are to do with the style rather than how it functions. I think Moneydance’s method for reconciling statements is particularly good.

  12. Mark Says:

    I’m keeping an eye on the upcoming “Quicken Financial Life for Mac,” as it sounds promising.

  13. Rachel Murphy Says:

    @Mark: No good for me though as Quicken isn’t supported in Britain.

  14. Stacey Says:

    Ive been looking for a good mac financial application for sometime now and finally just yesterday I decided to download two trial versions of Moneydance 2008 and iBank 3. Ive played around a bit already with Moneydance but I was wondering (as I cant seem to find) does either of them have an Invoicing feature?


    p.s. this blog has been a great help.

  15. Rachel Murphy Says:

    @Stacey: Glad you’ve found the blog useful. I don’t think either iBank or Moneydance do invoices. The developer of iBank also does iBiz which is an invoicing manager though.

  16. Stacey Says:

    After playing with moneydance a little – I was disappointed. Well, actually i really liked it – so Im disappointed because I dont think it will meet my small business needs. Im totally new to financial management and the world of financial/accounting software. Im gonna play a bit more now with ibank 3 to see if its better suited to what I need. One thing a bookkeeper friend told me I absolutely need is a software that allows me to set up a chart of accounts. Does ibank does this? and am I right in thinking that Moneydance does not?

    • B Walchko Says:

      You need quickbooks… used it for all my business needs… it does invoices and charts of accounts can be edited. I’m not crazy about some of the quicken software but for business you can’t beat quickbooks

  17. Rachel Murphy Says:

    @Stacey: I’m not sure what you mean by “chart of accounts”. I just use Moneydance to track my personal accounts and don’t know the first thing about bookkeeping! For my own purposes I have found Moneydance to be the better of the two at producing tables and graphs. It comes with a nice set of pre-defined charts and it’s easy to make your own. I found iBank very limiting in that way (although it’s graphs were more attractive).

  18. Stacey Says:

    A chart of accounts is when you take all of the accounts or transactions in your general ledger and categorize them… once youve done this, separate accounts appear so that all your assets, liabilities, revenues, expenses etc, show up in isolation. So that if you want to see only how much youve spent on rent or insurance those accounts show and keep track of all the transactions related to rent and/or insurance. Im wondering if the Smart Account in iBook is the equivalent of Chart of Accounts, and if Moneydance has a feature that will allow me to do this?

    Does any of this make sense! lol! Im trying to understand all of this myself and Im begging to feel discouraged about finding a program for my business and my mac…

  19. Rachel Murphy Says:

    You can do this in Moneydance by clicking on Charts and Reports and then Detailed Expenses. You can then select which categories you want it to display, such as insurance. You are then presented with a list of transactions. If you double-click on one you can see which account it’s from.

    You can do something similar in iBank although it’s a little more fiddly to set up.

    What would be great is if you could have a global search where you could type in, for example Marks and Spencer, and you would be shown each transaction across all accounts. Unfortunately neither do this. I did put it in as a feature request to iBank a couple of years ago and they said they’d consider it. Maybe iBank 4!

  20. Becky Says:

    I think there is a global search feature in MoneyDance that you are looking for, Rachel. I am using MoneyDance 2008r2 on Leopard. There is an icon shaped like a pair of binoculars in the upper right corner of the window. It’s between the Home Page and Graphs & Reports icons. The tool tip that appears when you hover over the binoculars is “Find Transaction…” When you click the icon, the Find Transaction window appears. You’ll have the option of checking boxes next to the items used to refine your search. If you were looking for Marks & Spencer, you’d check the box next to “Description” and then type in Marks and Spencer in the description box. It should show you all transactions across all accounts. If you wanted to refine to a specific account, then you’d also want to check the box next to Account and choose the account from the list. Hope this helps….

  21. Becky Says:

    Thanks for blogging about your experiences with both iBank & Moneydance. It helped me decide to stick with MoneyDance, even though the eye candy that iBank offers is tempting. I’ll stick with something that I know works — and is platform independent. And I’m so thankful to have alternatives to Quicken!

  22. Rachel Murphy Says:

    @Becky: I can’t believe I have never noticed that search feature. Turns out I’ve spent rather more in Marks and Spencer than I had thought!

  23. Stacey Says:

    Have any of you had experience with Jumpsofts Money 3?

  24. Rachel Murphy Says:

    I tried version 2 very briefly a long time ago. It was too lacking in features for me at the time. I’ve not tried Money 3.

  25. David Glenn Says:

    I am really happy to have found this blog. I was concidering iBank3 as a switch from Budget by a company called Snowmint:

    I have been using Budget for Mac OSX for about 6 years. Its based on the envelope system. A true Budgeting means that has really helped me get my spending under control. If anyone is intersted:

    Budget is what I said, you set up envelopes and when you get paid, you allot your money to the envelopes. If you need to get groceries, you spend from your grocery envelope. It has a lot of great features, but it has its short comings that I recently starting thinking about.

    It cant go behind the scenes and automatically log into your bank and get your information on transactions. it does not seem to deal with investments…but i am not entirely sure as I do not have any to track. It does not currently have a mobile version that can be synced with online or otherwise. They are developing it though.

    Biggest plus…the Support. You pay once and never ever pay for upgrades. And they update regularly. The website has forums and they are so open to suggestions that I can honestly say I have at least 6 things i requested over the years that were implemented and one that is being implemented in the next version. If you have an issue and post a question, they have gotten a response back so quickly and its from the developers themselves. The support of the company is the biggest issue that makes me hesitant to switch to another program. But my curiousity is getting the better of me.

    (This is not a business sort of Program. This is a personal Budget program that works well for my family. Something to look at.) The aestehtics do not entirely feel OSX’ish, but it is getting better. They promise the new version out soon is going to revamp a lot.

    Any other opinions on this program?

  26. Rachel Murphy Says:

    @David: Budget isn’t an application I ever looked at so I can’t comment on it. However I agree with you on the importance of support. IGG’s support for iBank 2 couldn’t have been better but they lost their way for a while on the release of iBank 3. I’ve just had a glance at their forums and they seem to be active in dealing with issues again now though.

  27. Krista Nelson Says:

    I too am glad to have come across this blog post. I used Microsoft Money on my PC for years and years before switching to a Mac at the beginning of this year. When I switched I decided on iBank and have used it since January 2008 (10 months). I have never been completely satisfied with it and feel like I encounter glitches quite often. I have major problems with the reconciling feature and my categories are all screwed up. Not to mention the printing options are extraordinarily limited.

    Anyway, I got so fed up tonight that I decided to look into Moneydance 2008 and I have to say… it looks promising. I guess I’m just a little freaked to change to another program AGAIN.

    Besides iBank 3 and Moneydance, are there any other programs for Macs that I should be looking into before I make a decision??? I don’t want to spend $40 just to find out that I don’t like Moneydance either. Ugh. Help! Thanks so much!

    – Krista

  28. Rachel Murphy Says:

    @Krista: Moneywell, Cha-Ching and Jumsoft’s Money were three others that I considered. Moneywell was good but too budget-based for my needs. Cha-Ching and Money were both too basic when I tried them. Money has since had an update but I’ve not looked at it. Cha-Ching’s developers are working on a new version. I didn’t think much of their support but maybe it’s better now.

    I would advise downloading the demo of one or two apps to get a feel for them. Doing the research is time consuming but it’s worth it to avoid making a mistake and plumping for an application that doesn’t suit you.

  29. Del Nabla Says:

    Rachel – Many, many thanks for your blog, I have been struggling for almost a month to make iBank work – (I am reconstructing Quicken after the backups failed; & 20 years of Q have left me weary (1998); and iBank 3.2.1 looked promising) But…there are problems, here’s one:
    Try the most basic accounting step – add a transaction to an existing account – O.K., but then it won’t be in calendar order, therefore the balance is incorrect!! In all fairness, we (N.C. and I) are working on this via email but – I’m less hopeful daily. del.

  30. Rachel Murphy Says:

    @Del: I’m glad you’ve found the blog useful. Hopefully you’ll get your iBank difficulties sorted. If not, I’d suggest a look at Moneydance. (They should be paying me – I’m starting to sound like an evangelist!)

  31. Emrys Says:

    Hi there,

    Ive been trying to find a financial management program that will directly access my UK accounts, to save me from having to log in, download and import my transactions into Ibank. Any alternatives out there – or banks that offer these services?

    Any help appreciated…!

  32. Rachel Murphy Says:

    @Emrys: Unfortunately I’ve never come across any application that lets you do this in Britain. It’s a shame because it would save a lot of time.

  33. BevnTempe Says:

    Thanks for this blog. I really helps. I’m using Quicken 2005, but would like to find another. I will download Moneydance and iBank and see how I like them. Any opinion about the upcoming Finances for Mac from Quicken?

  34. Rachel Murphy Says:

    @BevnTempe: Quicken no longer supports UK users so I’ve not really looked into it.

  35. Alastair Scott Says:

    @emrys: This is simply not possible in the United Kingdom – the authorities are *very* conservative about what can be done with online banking. You are lucky if you can download transactions from a browser as a CSV file!

  36. Alan Says:

    Like everybody else I’m glad I found this blog. I’m a fairly happy Moneydance user who just downloaded iBank to see if it was better. I’ll save time by deleting it and getting on with something useful!

    To Stacey I’d say – if you want a business accounts package, you need a proper ‘balanced journal’ kinda thing – I use MindYourOwnBusiness on the Mac. It’s a fair bit more expensive than MoneyDance or iBank and doesn’t handle investments, but it does do VAT, auditing, creating tax records and all those boring business things. Once I got the hang of it MYOB has been almost perfect for my business accounts (not affiliated!)

  37. Rachel Murphy Says:

    @Alan: If you’ve downloaded iBank it’s probably worth a look. And then, if you don’t like it, you’ll feel ever better about using Moneydance!

  38. PSoni Says:

    I’ve been using MS money for quite a while on PC am thinking of switching to Moneydance on the MAC and scrapping the PC. I have a lot of data on ms money. Is it going to be a big issue trying to load this into moneydance?

    • Rachel Murphy Says:

      @PSoni: It’s a couple of years now since I transferred data from MS Money to Moneydance. As far as I recall there were no problems.

  39. PSoni Says:

    In the new moneydance, do I have to download bank statement on my computer and then upload to the program, or will I be able to automatically upload directly into moneydance?

  40. Rachel Murphy Says:

    @PSoni: You can download directly into Moneydance, depending on your bank. Last time I checked it didn’t work with any British banks but it seems to be compatible with many American banks.

  41. Cycledoc Says:

    I was unable to easily download accounts from MS Money when I switched to Moneydance. Data did come through but you needed to go through each transaction to be sure it accurate and that the reciprocal account, if a transfer, also registered the transaction. I started all new accounts.

    Moderately pleased but somewhat concerned that the developers will stop developing the program.

  42. Rachel Murphy Says:

    @Cycledoc: I suppose it’s a risk that a developer may stop developing any piece of software you come to rely on. Moneydance seems to get fairly regular updates which is a good sign.

  43. charlie98 Says:

    I am a Canadian running Quicken on my Mac via VMWare Fusion so as I look at iBank3 and Moneydance that is the standard they have to meet / beat. Neither comes remotely close to Quicken so I am heartened by the potential of a new Quicken for the Mac during 2009.
    I gave up on iBank virtually immediately but lasted a bit longer with Moneydance only to discover some dealbreakers for me. Most important was no Canadian mutual fund quotes. It was difficult though not impossible to set up and use securities and investment transactions but the portfolio view is quite poor. Then there is the issue with the small sizes of drop downs leading to constant scrolling. If I am giving the impression that I don’t like the GUI then I am getting my point across. For a really frustrating experience try using their new forum. The search function is best described as a joke.

    Sorry to be so negative but to say I was disappointed is phrasing it mildly.

  44. Rachel Murphy Says:

    @charlie98: Moneydance’s UI isn’t always quite Mac-like enough for me but I suppose that’s because it is multi-platform. You’re quite right about the new forums – nowhere near as useful as before.

  45. Rich Nardiello Says:

    Great blog, Rachel!
    I’ve been a Quicken for Mac user for years, but I’m tired of the lack of Mac support and features as compared to the Windows versions. I could run Quicken with Parallels and Windows, but I’d rather not have to deal with Windows.

    After reading the great and very informative entries here, I plan to download Moneydance and give it a try. Thanks again and I’ll be back often!

  46. AlanG Says:

    I’ve used financial software for quite awhile beginning back in the days of Managing Your Money. Since its demise, I have used Quicken on the PC. A couple of years ago, I switched to a Mac but have continued to run Quicken (2006) in VMware because I was not impressed with Quicken for Mac. Since then, I have been looking for a decent Mac replacement. I was extremely interested in iBank when version 3 came out hoping that would be “the one”. It wasn’t. Their release was premature and too buggy. My girlfriend spent a good while establishing all the categories only to lose all the work because the file would error on save. I just couldn’t trust my years of financial data on such a product. While I continue to watch over the iBank forums and download the latest releases (yes, I purchased it), I still can’t shake that first bad experience.

    I had also acquired a license of Cha-Ching through a package deal. It was too basic at that point to satisfy what I was doing in Quicken. It also appears the developer(s) is having a time getting a new version out the door.

    Recently, since we’re starting a new year, I began to look at what was available again this week. Moneydance 2008 seemed to be getting some good reviews so I downloaded the trial. I also updated to the latest version of iBank. It’s still too early to tell but if there’s any indication with how the conversion process went, I’m probably going to go with Moneydance.

    All of my accounts in my QIF file (over 15 years worth) transferred beautifully to Moneydance. I did have a couple of entries I had to correct but they were easy to find and fix. I’m talking 15 years worth of checking, savings, investment and retirement accounts.

    I can’t say the same for the latest build of iBank. Most of my major accounts that I am currently using did not transfer with the correct balances. I could not find a simple entry or fix like I was able to in Moneydance. I’m still going to work through it and see what I can find.

    Sorry for the long response!

  47. Rachel Murphy Says:

    @AlanG: Thanks for your comments. Isn’t it a shame that as Mac users we are so limited in choice for good personal finance software?

  48. AlanG Says:

    It is! And I was somewhat surprised when I switched over to a Mac. The general perception had always been Windows was a better “business” system and Mac was king in the graphics, imaging, and publishing world. I just thought I’d be blown away with personal finance possibilities on the Mac!

    I’ve now established the online banking piece on my accounts in Moneydance. That was easy!

    The one thing I keep hearing about Moneydance is the “non-Mac like UI”. Personally, I’d rather have functionality and dependability first. Not that a good interface doesn’t help in using an app and the developer should strive for that, but I’m concerned iBank went for the showy Mac like UI instead of stability and usability.

  49. Rachel Murphy Says:

    @AlanG: That is exactly where iBank falls down – too much in the way of flashy Leopardy stuff. The reflections of the graphs for example. And Cover Flow for transactions. I think the developer spend too much time making it look fancy to the detriment of useful features. Personally, I preferred iBank 2 to 3.

    Moneydance is less Mac-like although the 2008 version is far better than previous ones. I’m not fussed that it isn’t as pretty as some other software. When it comes to finances I just want it to work properly.

  50. DanM Says:

    Very good info on finding a Mac alternative to Quicken which has numerous bad reviews. I have yet to hear a good report on Quicken support. Seems like Moneydance wins on this blog.

  51. Rachel Murphy Says:

    @DanM Moneydance certainly suits me best. It’s always worth a look at the others as well though as everyone has different needs.

  52. Joe Mahlo Says:

    I am a long time MS Money user in South Africa. I was pretty happy with Money 2003 until the support was withdrawn. I have just spent the last three weekends searching for a suitable replacement on the Mac platform. Tough job, but glad that the views expressed on this blog helped me make up my mind. From what I read I will go with MoneyDance while waiting for Quicken Fiabcial Life for Mac.

    Thank you for the blog. Joe

  53. Rachel Murphy Says:

    @Joe: Glad I could help! Another that might be worth a look (if you haven’t already) is Prospects by MotiMotion. It was mentioned by someone in the comments a year ago on my other Moneydance post. At the time it was too basic so I didn’t try it out. But there have been quite a few features added since then. I’m playing with the demo at the moment. It’s very attractive but not currently as stable as Moneydance.

  54. Scott L Says:

    Hi Everyone,
    I have been reading blog after blog regarding this matter.
    I have narrowed this decision down to 3 options, would love to know what you all think:

    1. Use Parallels w/Windows for Mac and get Quicken until Quicken Financial Life for Mac comes out
    – PROBLEM – The website for Quicken Financial Life states very clearly that you CANNOT IMPORT FROM WINDOWS QUICKEN – total bummer, making any transfer or switch a huge re-startup
    2. Moneydance seems to be getting the biggest vote of confidence from the crowds, but does not seem to offer any portable entry capabilities
    3. Fortora – no one seems to be commenting on this software, but it looks to have a lot of similarities in confidence and support to Moneydance – can anyone give a review of this compared to these other above options?

    Thank you,

  55. Scott Levy Says:

    One quick note: For anyone who is thinking of switching from Quicken in windows (even if using Bootcamp on Mac) to Quicken Financial Life for Mac, they have a statement on their website which states that there is currently no way of transferring data between these programs. Bummer.

  56. Rachel Murphy Says:

    @Scott: I’ve never heard of Fortora before. I’ve just taken a brief look at the website – the screenshots look quite good.

    I’ve been impressed with Prospects which I’ve been trying out for the last few weeks. I may even consider switching from Moneydance. I’m hoping to do a blog post on it in the next week or so.

  57. Anne R Says:

    I have been running Quicken 2004 and Moneydance side by side for years now – I like everything about Moneydance EXCEPT it does not allow me to forecast my future balance in the way Quicken does and this is a feature I use a lot. Quicken has now finally and terminally crashed I think. I can’t upgrade as Quicken is no longer available in Australia but it leaves me without the ability to see how much I’ll have in the bank at the time of my next paycheque. I tried iBank a few years back and it was so, so unreasonably slow I had to give it up. Does anyone know of an alternative program that gives me the ability to forecast a future balance (not like Moneydance does in that clunky graph)?

  58. Ted Zimmerman Says:

    I too am looking to wean myself from Quicken for Windows which I’ve been using for about 10 years now. There is no doubt that despite its quirks, Quicken is a very well featured product that has been tested rigorously over the years and it suits my needs well. I manage my investment portfolio using other online tools, and my forecasting and budgeting is done in Excel so I have no need for either of those two features in a software package. What I am really trying to escape from is the Windows environment, and now that I have migrated all my other business software to my Mac it is the last application that remains on my XP box.

    So given that background, I downloaded iBank this weekend and gave it a run through. Unfortunately it doesn’t hold a candle to Quicken’s reporting and data entry features. Specifically:

    * negative balances must be entered for credit card accounts because of a lack of 2-column system for debits and credits
    * matching transactions between accounts isn’t offered – i.e. when I transfer funds from my bank account to my Visa account, I have to manually remove the duplicate transaction
    * report date ranges are difficult to implement using the month/day/year convention, a pop up calendar would be much better
    * reports don’t sum transactions by account type, instead all transactions are grouped as account types are added; for example there is no simple way to view how much I spent in total on Dining in a given month by Visa, debit card etc.
    * further to this, reports have lost any dynamic functionality, a feature I use often in Quicken; for instance, in Quicken I can easily right click on any item in a report to find out more information about it or to build a sub report specific to that transaction type
    * the payee-category relationship isn’t ‘learned’ by the software to enable future autofill of categories for that payee; instead each payee has to be set up as a ‘Smart Import Rule’

    It seems that my choices going forward are to either stick with Quicken on XP, wait for Quicken on the Mac, or try Moneydance. Based on the relatively positive reviews on this blog (thanks Rachel!) I just might give it a go.

  59. Rachel Murphy Says:

    @Anne: I haven’t found any Mac app that does a decent balance forecast unfortunately.

    @Ted: Moneydance would be worth a look. It’s stable, it works properly and has plenty of features. My main criticism would be the charts which aren’t terribly attractive – but they do the job.

  60. AlbertoMichieli Says:

    I m not a accounting, just a freelancer

    I m trying to work in MD using envelope budget

    I setup IncomeCashPool to pay the CC amex So I put 600$ for this month in the payment

    When I open the CC there a -600$ balance

    Then when I enter the transactions in the CC the balance grow and looks I have to pay 2 times

    How should I setup this system?

    see sample in a spreadsheet

  61. Rachel Murphy Says:

    @Alberto: Could it be that you didn’t set the account type in Moneydance as “credit card”? If it was set up as a normal bank account the credits and debits would be reversed.

  62. AlbertoMichieli Says:

    Thank you very much

    The credit card amex is setup as a credit card

    The thing is when I allocated the money from the Chase account, it show funds in the Charge Rate column
    when I make payments/transaction those going to the Payment column

    When I received the statement to pay amex, in the Chase account the total [for example 680] is in the Payment column too, so at then end it will be all transaction + the payment = 2 times

    I can send a moneydance test file or download from here

  63. Nibiru Says:


    My verdict: Moneydance.

    Thanks very much for keeping up with the comments on your three blog entries with regard to mac personal finance products. I’ve just spent the Independence Day Weekend searching for something to move away from Quicken on VMware/XP. I’ve been though just about all of them. I spent the most time with iBank 3.5, and now am finalizing on Moneydance.

    I needed software that could track, checking, loans (properly amortized by the system), assets, like Japanese Yen (denominated in Yen), and generate reports I could trust. Before I get to iBank and Moneydance, let me run through a few others:

    Moneywell: Looks okay, but can handle the loans. Moved on quickly.

    Cha-Ching 2 Beta: Sorry, nice eye candy, but is a near featureless clone of iBank.

    Fortora: Could not handle the loans. Short on features.

    If all you need is basic checking and perhaps budgeting help, any of the above will work fine.

    I initially looked at Moneydance based on your experience and the other comments. But, I really wanted an application designed natively for the Mac. Since iBank is now at 3.5, I thought I would try it out. I went ahead and bought it since I wanted to work with my data and the only way to get past the 100 entry limit on accounts was to pay for it. (There is a 30-day guarantee, which I will be using.)

    iBank has pretty much everything I wanted. Handles the loans, the foreign currency, and has preferences to allow you to customize the interface to a certain extent. Basic layout is pretty good. Menus are clear and easy to navigate.

    The biggest problem is that it is still too buggy. I got my car loan setup and working nicely. But when I created my mortgage loan, I did everything correctly, and it posted properly against my checking, but iBank did not track the loan balance properly. I deleted it, and created it again, and got it working, but I had to reenter a bunch of transactions.

    Then, suddenly, the import utility stopped working. Everytime I tried to use it, I just got the import window all grayed and could not get past it. (Quit, restarted, rebooted, and eventually had to delete the software [kept my ibank file] and reinstall it and got import working again.)

    The reports are generated in realtime based on options (of which there are VERY few), and since graphic based in the UI, are very slow. They are also not working correctly. It saw my credit card as an “assett” for example and gave me no way to change it. There were more issues, but ultimately, the reports end up being useless since you cannot rely on the information to be accurate.

    I gave it a good shot, and came close, but the bugs introduced errors in reporting, and to me, that tends to make this type of software useless. I spent 18 hours trying to get it to work.

    While a lot of the planning I did to structure my financial information was conducted in iBank, the iBank bugs added hours to my efforts. Deleting loan accounts and then having to recreate them, and then reenter checkbook entries to get things in balance over and over again was frustrating. (And I could not just import the data since the system has to track the relationship between the accounts properly.)

    I finally got to the point where I felt that I just could not trust iBank not to throw a bug at me that could destroy all my work.

    After a bit more time on it this morning, I decided to move to Moneydance.

    In just about an hour, I got my most complicated accounts setup in Moneydance perfectly, first time. No bugs so far, and net worth tracking is accurate to the penny. I do wish it was Mac native, rather than Java-based. But they have done a lot to at least make it Mac friendly. It looks like Moneydance is going to do the job for me. I can tell you I already feel liberated working it in compared to iBank, just because of not having to deal with the bugs, and seeing my reports and balances make sense.

    I still have not setup online bank linking or anything like that, but I am expecting it to work at least as good as iBank’s. Perhaps once I have gotten a bit farther, I’ll come back and post a bit more.

    But, for now, I am with Rachel: Good-bye iBank, and hello Moneydance!

  64. Johnny F Says:

    Thanks for this blog. I was looking for personal finance software and it sounds like Money Dance is it. I’ll give it a try and let you know how well it goes. I do want to establish a budget, this is a big deal for me to get our spending under more control. Any assistance in this matter would be greatly appreciated.

  65. Tom Says:

    Hi Rachel,

    I *think* judging on what I’m reading that you’re UK based. From your research, do any of these apps work automatically with UK banks?

    I haven’t found any that do yet.


  66. Rachel Murphy Says:

    @Tom: Yes, I’m British. I haven’t found any software that can download direct from a UK bank. I’m sure I read somewhere that it’s the banks here that won’t allow access rather than it being a failing of the various applications.

  67. Igelfeld Says:

    I have been using Quicken on the Mac for 15 years, currently using Quicken 2006. After I read the synopsis of new Quicken 2010 for Mac features, I decided it is time to pack the bags. Considering that Quicken 2010 for Mac is a downgrade in terms of features on all fronts, it is astonishing that Intuit would spend all these resources on something that is not useful at all. It blows my mind as it simply does not make any sense whatsoever. But enough of that. So I have downloaded trials of iBank and MoneyDance and MD appealed to me as it was much more like Quicken. I’ve exported 15 years worth of data from Quicken into QIF file and imported it into MD following the advice given on MD site:

    There were comments here how smoothly this transfer went for other folks but all my accounts were screwed up and required going through all the accounts and fixing things. I mean, not one or two entries going wrong as everyone is suggesting but, at least, 50% of my data is wrong. It was especially bad for investment accounts which were all completely and thoroughly screwed up. I went through one of them spending several hours to fix it all up running Quicken in parallel and then MD crashed. And took all my work down the drain with it. And that fact scared me the most. Whatever you can say about Quicken, it never corrupted or destroyed my data no matter how hard it would crash. I may lose the last few transactions but not everything. So here I am, completely lost at the lack of real options, because if I can’t trust that my data survives, then why would I even use a financial package? I absolutely don’t care about UI, this is finances we are talking about and UI is just an icing on the cake and I can totally live without it but integrity and safety of data is a fundamental thing.

    So what was your real life experience so far with the data in MD (or iBank fro that matter)? Did MD crash on you? Did you lose only what you were working at that moment or did it damage your whole file? How well could MD recover from the crash? Could it just rebuild the data file like Quicken can?

    And what is the deal with the transfer? Why are the accounts so badly screwed up contrary to what is asserted both by the developer and other folks? I can’t imagine that I have the most complicated transactions, although my trading accounts really brought MD down to its knees.

    If I could be sure of Quicken 2006 being able to run on future Mac OS versions I would just sit tight and not bother with anything. But it is already quirky enough on Leopard and I am afraid to move to Snow Leopard to only find out that Quicken runs on it even worse or not at all.

    There got to be a future for financial software on the Mac but so far the reality is not all that encouraging.

  68. Rachel Murphy Says:

    @Igelfeld: I’ve never had any problems with Moneydance. Never lost a single transaction. Different story with iBank – on a number of occasions it crashed and I lost data. And I had a recurring problem where the columns didn’t add up properly.

    When I started with Moneydance I was switching from MS Money and I had no problems with the transfer. I’ve never had any experience of Quicken. (It’s not supported here in Britain.)

    I played with Prospects for a few months. It was pretty but lacked features. Unfortunately the developer seems to have given up on it. I can only assume that developing a finance app isn’t all that rewarding.

  69. MAL Says:

    I installed the trial of MoneyDance and set up all my accounts, loaded all my transactions through qif format, configured the categories and everything looked perfect except that I just can’t do without the forecasting features that Quicken has.

    Being able to click on the calendar and then see upcoming balances is a must for me. I’m saddened to see that MoneyDance hasn’t implemented this already. They have the calendar now if they could add balances to it then it would be perfect.

    The forecaster extension with that horrible graph format just doesn’t work.. It’s incredibly hard to read when compared to the nice clean calendar in Quicken that shows you day by day your balance.

    No one has yet found another alternative with forecasting?

  70. Rachel Murphy Says:

    @Mal: I’ve haven’t managed to find an application that has decent balance forecasting either. It was one of the features of Microsoft Money that I particularly liked. It’s a shame no one has managed to do it properly on the Mac.

  71. Stuart Says:

    Great to read all these postings. I’d been a Quicken Mac user since 2001, earlier Quicken on a PC. Personal financial management s/w is probably one of the most important applications on my iMac. Having said that, I had become beyond frustrated with Intuit’s inability to support Quicken on the Mac, and was dismayed by the product features as described in the upcoming Quicken Mac 2010 (are they kidding? fewer features than Quicken Mac 2007). Tried Moneydance and iBank. Moneydance is the one for me because they support direct bill pay which, to me, is one of the most convenient things around. Whoever was (or is) the product manager of the Quicken Mac product should be summarily dismissed. They’ve done everything possible to chase away a loyal customer base at Intuit.

  72. J. Moore Says:

    Glad I stopped by and read your blog on money management software. I tried out both ibank and moneydance, and for me, moneydance is the clear winner. Easy to use and qif means I can download current account info from my bank. Nice! Bye bye Qucken

  73. Brian Says:

    I switched to a Mac about a year and a half ago. I’ve been running Quicken on WinXP in a VM during that time but I’m ready to turn off Windows for good. I tried GnuCash, MoneyWell, and iBank but none were as good as Moneydance. We all know the atrocious state of Quicken on the Mac. MD imported my QIF file with only minor glitches and all my balances are tying to the penny. All the important features I relied upon in Quicken also exist in MD. Not every Quicken feature is in MD but the ones that matter to me are. It’s responsive and fast; unlike the other programs I evaluated. The graphs aren’t as “pretty” as Quicken but they’re sufficient. I do, however, I love the simplified home page MD offers. MD allows me to ditch Windows completely and move totally to the Mac while not giving up anything important in the process.

  74. Victoria Says:

    I’ve been reading all these very informative blogs as I’m also trying to decide on personal finance software to us on my Mac.

    Rachel, you mentioned back in March that you were trying out Prospects. Just wondering if you made the shift, or if you stuck with Moneydance?

    Thanks for all the great help!

    • Rachel Murphy Says:

      Hi Victoria. I used Prospects in place of Moneydance for about 6 months. It’s much more attractive, and I like the graphs and charts that are always visible. However there were a couple of annoying bugs and development seemed to grind to a halt. So I decided to jump ship and went back to Moneydance. It may not be the most attractive application but I have always found it dependable and stable. And it is still actively developed.

      I see that the developer of Prospects has recently resurfaced and he said last month that he was still working on it – but there haven’t been any updates for a long time. I do hope that he manages to continue with it as there is a lot of potential there. But I feel a bit safer with Moneydance at the moment.

  75. Georg Says:

    Those people here who are using Moneydance – another question: iBank can create files for tax software (like TaxCut or TurboTax).
    These files contain all relevant account balances, all your stock sales – with the proper purchase price etc.

    Can you do something like that with Moneydance, too?

  76. geva Says:


    This has been a very useful blog entry. I’m getting serious about financial management and have just purchased the latest version of Quicken 2010 (Canada) Home & Business. I’m no accountant, but have been amazed at how unintuitive and outdated the software is. They claim that you can be setup in minutes, however if you have anything other than normal chequing/savings accounts and credit cards, you are in for the long haul. The worst is that they don’t provide explanation/help on things like how to make the “loan” account type work for things like a line of credit. Even when there is a help topic; it is only about 10 words that could be a hint on how to accomplish something if you’ve been using Quicken for 10 years.

    The feedback, comments, and other products have provided a light at the end of the tunnel, that there are other options out there, and I’ll be testing the latest Moneydance and returning Quicken.


    • Rachel Murphy Says:

      It’s good to see this blog post is still proving useful even though it’s over 2 years since I wrote it! I still enjoy using Moneydance. It’s stable, reliable and fairly intuitive. Worth a look.

  77. Bob Says:

    Hi Rachel…thanks for your blog…good stuff. I’m using Windows Quicken 2010 on MacBookPro (Parallels/XP)–hate Quicken support (lack thereof). Considering Moneydance. Can MD accommodate investment portfolio (e.g., stock quote updates)? Is there a User manual/guide for MD?

    Thanks, Bob

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