If you're familiar with Quicken, you already have an idea what Moneydance is all about.
It's a personal finance and budgeting tool that enables you to organize and track your financial activity. You can have all of your financial accounts – checking, savings, investments, retirement, credit cards, and other loan accounts – working through a single application.
Moneydance is likely the most well-supported and well-maintained personal finance tool I've seen after poring through their customer support forums for answers. So many people turn to Moneydance as an alternative to Quicken once they've had enough with various synching problems, account access programs, and buggy features. Moneydance will never be without its own future technical issues, since external systems change, but the speed at which the software team resolves it gives me confidence that problems are solved quickly and customers do feel like they are being heard.
That's important when one of their biggest competitors has a history of being the fleetest of foot with technical issues.
How Moneydance Works
Moneydance is offered by a company called The Infinite Kind.
It's a group of senior developers, designers and software architects, working together to create desktop and mobile applications. Based in Edinburgh, Scotland, they employ people around the world. In addition to Moneydance, they are also the proud purveyors of SyncSpace and SketchTo.
Using Moneydance, you can have your entire financial universe assembled in one place. It enables you to automatically download financial transactions from your various financial accounts. Moneydance organizes your transactions by automatically sorting them into their proper categories.
What's more, you can access all your accounts in one place. That will eliminate the need to log on to a half dozen or more accounts each day. The app uses charts and graphs to give you a visual picture of where your money's going. That can be particularly beneficial for anyone with difficulty tracking spending.
You can also pay bills from the app, as well as receive alerts to remind you when payments are due. The last feature can save you money by helping you to avoid late fees.
And unlike pure budget services like Mint, Moneydance provides investment tracking. That includes savings, mutual funds, stocks, bonds and other investments. Not only does it keep track of your investments, but it also displays the performance of each.
Moneydance is available for Windows, Mac and Linux, as well as iOS and Android mobile phones.
Moneydance Key Features
Online Banking. You probably have online banking through each individual bank but what if you have several accounts in two or more banks?
This is where Moneydance online banking can be a serious benefit. You can access each account from the same app. Moneydance automatically downloads your transactions, then automatically categorizes them to help you track your spending. You can also make payments directly from the app.
Moneydance Summary. This is your high altitude view – the big picture of your finances.
It includes account balances, upcoming and overdue transactions, payment reminders, and even foreign exchange rate information. While everything is summarized on one page, you can click on an account, or choose one from the drop-down list, to go directly to that account. There you can enter transactions, or reconcile your account.
Graphing Tool. If you're a visual learner, and many people are, you'll come to appreciate this feature. It enables you to generate visual reports tracking both your income and expenses.
You can create any type of graph you're comfortable with, and customize it with the desired date range and any other parameters you choose. Graphs can also be printed or saved on your computer.
Account Registers. Here you can enter or delete transactions, or make any edits necessary.
It's set up like a traditional checkbook, but it automatically calculates your balances and sorts your transactions. It also has an auto-complete feature for recurring transactions.
Payment Reminders. You can use this tool to schedule either individual payments or recurring transactions. Use it and you'll never forget a payment again.
Investment Tracking. This is where Moneydance departs from many of the pure budgeting apps. It enables you to follow your investments not only by updating the total value of your portfolio but also by providing the performance of individual securities. You can track stocks, bonds, certificates of deposit, mutual funds, and just about any other type of investment.
You can customize investment tracking by setting it to automatically download daily security prices. It can also help you to perform cost basis computations, as well as to account for stock splits.
Foreign Currency Transactions. If you do any foreign currency transactions or have a foreign-based bank account, you'll really appreciate this feature. Moneydance can handle multiple currencies and will make automatic conversions. It keeps a history of conversion rates too so your transaction from two years ago uses an accurate figure from that exact day. There's no need to get out your calculator and look up daily exchange rates. It all happens automatically.
Moneydance can be purchased for a flat fee of $49.99. This is an advantage over competing platforms that have monthly fees. You can make your one-time fee upfront, then use the app forever. Payment can be made by Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, PayPal, or Amazon gift cards.
If you purchased Moneydance 2015, you got a free upgrade to Moneydance 2017. If you purchased an earlier version, you can get Moneydance 2017 for half price. With major releases, existing customers get the next one free and future ones at half price. Quicken, and most other software packages, makes you pay full freight with each major upgrade.
Moneydance is offering a free trial. You'll have access to the fully functional app, for entering up to 100 manually entered transactions. Once you reach that threshold, you can make the one-time payment and continue using the app. Or not.
The Moneydance app comes with a 90-day money back guarantee. If you're not happy for any reason, you can return the product for a full refund.
Moneydance Pros and Cons
- Reasonably priced – The one-time fee of $49.99 is quite reasonable for a personal finance app that does all that Moneydance can.
- One-time fee – if you're looking for a budgeting software app, the last thing you need is another monthly expense for the app itself. Moneydance spares you the extra hit.
- Not cloud based – If you are worried about your data being stored in the cloud, Moneydance doesn't. It's stored locally.
- License is for personal use and per household – You don't need to pay per install, pay per person using it, or how many computers you use it on. It's one license per household for as many computers as you want.
- Free Trial – you can “test drive” Moneydance for 100 transactions. If you like what you see, you can pay the fee, and continue using it. If you don't, you can simply drop it and move on.
- The 90-day guarantee gives you the opportunity to back out with a full refund if you decide you're not happy with the app, even after you complete the initial 100 transactions.
- Digital reconciliation – you balance your accounts and reconcile transactions, as well as detect fraudulent activity in any of your accounts.
- Currency conversion – not everyone regularly engages in foreign transactions, but if you do, Moneydance is the personal finance app for you.
- Feels cluttered – The dashboard tends to be a bit cluttered and could be especially confusing if you have a large number of accounts included and are still learning the system.
- Importing is tricky – This is not uncommon. To import data you need to make sure the data is exported into a QIF file, which is an ASCII text file generated by Quicken. QIF stands for Quicken Interchange Format.
Is Moneydance Worth It?
Moneydance offers a free trial for 100 transactions and 90-day money back guarantee, so you can give it a reasonable test drive to see if you like it.
There are so many different budgeting software apps out there and it often comes down to which you'll be the most comfortable with. Some are fairly simple in nature, like EveryDollar, and others are slightly more complicated, like Quicken. Moneydance could be the app that works for you.
It goes beyond pure budgeting, by offering investment tracking and currency conversions. These will be more important to you if you have multiple investment accounts, or regular foreign transactions.
If you'd like more information, visit the Money Dance website.