Wednesday, January 11, 2006

A flaw in Quicken - How to make QIF files work with post 2005 software

I love quicken. It is an amazing program that helps me immeasurably, but I was quite dismayed to learn recently that they have handicapped data interchange using older formats. How did they do this? By disabling the ability to import older .qif files.

Example: I was trying to download transactions from my paypal money market account. I signed on, downloaded the .qif file with all of my information, and then tried to import it into my quicken account. But, I can't download for checking, savings, credit card, 401k, or brokerage accounts.

WTF? Why hamper your users like that? Sure QFX is a more powerful standard, but backward capability HAD TO BE DISABLED when they brought out their 2005 version of the software. They don't want you to use it, so they don't let you. And to make matters worse, they obfuscate that they charge a fee for banks to use the .qfx standard and try to sell this as an improvement (it's not a bug it's a feature). I'm going to stop complaining now and tell you how to work around this.

The Solution
So, what is a user supposed to do? In this case, paypal only supports .qif downloads. The solution to the problem is simple, Use a cash account type instead of a checking/savings/money market account. Then you can import QIF transactions into that account.

If you have a 401(k) or other brokerage, I am not sure how to help you. However, chances are you aren't moving as much volume through those so you should not have as onerous a burden to transfer by hand. If you are trading all the time, and your institution doesn't support QFX, I don't know how to help you other than say 1) stop trading so much, 2) change institutions, or 3) don't buy quicken. Their return on investment tracking is horrible anyways.


mapgirl said...

Good to know. I had this problem just the other day with PayPal.


Anonymous said...

Why not just stay with 2004 version?! That is what I'm doing.
I used both 2002 and 2004 version, an in my opinion, once you have everything setup, the upgrade messes everything up. This is what happend when I upgraded to 2004. Let alone the "new" features they bring.
Just my 2c.