Microsoft Money 2007 Premium is a convenient tool to manage household financial accounts and track a budget. But it hasn't changed much from version 2006.While it is an affordable and easy-to-use application, market leader Quicken 2007 provides an even simpler interface and the capability to digitally store images of receipts and cancelled checks.
We tested the $79.99 Money 2007 Premium ($30 less with a mail-in rebate), which includes extras such as a free year of credit monitoring and online backup, as well as H&R Block's DeductionsPro. You can also check out the new, basic Money Essentials for $19.95; the $49.99 Deluxe version, which lacks Premium's extras but includes the latest budgeting tools; or the $89.99 Money Home & Business, which adds invoicing, payroll options through PayCycle, and Schedule C tracking.
Thankfully, Money's system requirements haven't changed drastically: you'll need Windows XP SP2 or later. Installation took us less than 10 minutes in our tests. We were careful to uncheck any boxes that might place us on unwanted advertising mailing lists; take care to do the same when you register this product.
If you're upgrading from a previous version, Money 2007 will display your saved transaction history from 2006 or earlier. To set up for the first time, Money makes it a snap to add accounts, especially if they're already accessible online. Signing in to Money while you're connected to the Internet will update the latest information from your connected bank, credit card, and other financial accounts. Money provides links to a variety of financial accounts and displays them within its easy-on-the-eyes, blue and white interface.
However, we're not crazy about needing a Windows Live (formerly Passport) ID to use Microsoft Money 2007 to connect to our financial accounts online, although data transmissions are encrypted, of course. It is convenient, but you'll need to entrust your financial information to Microsoft's servers. If you're using that same ID to log in to Windows Live's many services, such as Windows Live Mail (the update to Hotmail) and even Windows Live Local's maps, then you should zealously guard that password or otherwise risk losing control of your financial secrets. Unfortunately, we were unable to sign in when we first mistyped our Windows Live ID. Money told us to "go online" but didn't say where. We would have appreciated a link to the online sign-in page for Money.
We like Money 2007's well-laid-out and customizable interface, which by default displays a list of accounts and a spending pie chart on the Home page. Intuitive shortcuts include the ability to double-click a pie slice to bring up a register of expenses for editing. The browser-like layout includes back and forward navigation arrows and various straightforward drop-down menus. You can quickly access specific resources for banking, scheduling bills, creating reports, investing, planning, and taxes.