Quicken 2010 review: Quicken 2010

As with past versions, Quicken Deluxe 2010 pulls in financial data from your banks and savings accounts. There are tools to create graphs and reports to itemize spending and banking, and to plot transactions on a calendar. There's also a debt reduction planner and a tax-planning wizard. Quicken could use a few more online social Net links, too, such as an option to sync reminders to an online calendar.

Intuit isn't blind to consumers' changing expectations in management software, online or offline. Quicken 2010's refurbished look does help, and conservatives who feel more comfortable keeping monetary details stored locally on their PCs rather than encrypted in the cloud lose nothing by downloading a free trial. For strictly online users with only personal finances (not investments, property, or small businesses), Intuit offers a free, online version that's similar to Mint.com. Quicken Online has budgeting, tracking, and reminders, encryption, an iPhone component, and the added capability to prep the data for tax time, assuming you also use one of Intuit's TurboTax products.

If you've used Quicken before, you can import data from previous years. The same goes for anyone switching over from Microsoft Money. With Microsoft Money killed off (additional details), Quicken is the best desktop alternative.


Some tools, like the bill reminder, are still a tad clunky.

Service and support
Quicken support is unchanged from previous years. E-mail support is free, and Intuit promises to respond within a day. Chat help is also free and is available 24-7. Phone assistance is $24.95 per call. However, some support calls are free, such as if you're having problems installing the program or converting data from earlier Quicken versions.

Overall
Quicken Deluxe 2010 remains a useful, if not exciting, management app equipped with rich balancing and budgeting tools. As for the future of Quicken, Intuit's recent acquisition of flashy online finance manager Mint.com could spell the merging of Mint's online budgeting and reminder features. Mint's exciting visual style could also draw younger users to future versions of Quicken, assuming Intuit goes that route, making future versions of the classic, but dated, money manager truly fresh.

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