Posted by pete on 29th October 2005
I gave in over the weekend and bought the evilness known as Quicken. Quicken 2006 Premire, to be exact. Since the cost of the download version was the same as the plastic-disc-snail-mailed-to-you version and there was no indication of the two versions being any different, I went with the immediate gratification of the download. Turns out that the download is only about 41M and is missing a lot of the support files that come on the CD version. I hope there’s a way I can get the CD version without having to spend any extra.
On top of it all, I’ve been having problems trying to configure Quicken to work with Citibank. Quicken offers two types of connections to financial institutions: web connect and direct connect. Direct connect is pretty much what is says. Quicken directly connects to your configured financial institutions and sends and receives transactions. Web connect, though, is a different bird. The standard Citibank/Quicken connectivity is this web connect. What happens is, I go to one of the Citibank accounts I have, then click on the register tab, then click on the “download transactions” button on the bottom left. It opens a browser window within Quicken that goes to Citibank Online, where I log in as usual. I go to the part of the site where I can download my transactions, then get a QFX file. Quicken intercepts this file and imports the data into my accounts.
This is kludgy and awkward to say the least. It requires me to do two updates to cover all my accounts (and these are not the good kind of updates). I might, might, have accepted this state of affairs if it wasn’t for the fact that I remember having direct access to my Citibank accounts via Quicken when I last regularly used it many years ago, even though they charged $9.95/mo.
I tried calling Intuit’s supprt people. No luck. They only have support people available during west coast business hours. (Which makes sense. It’s not like they have a lot of home users who might try to get their financial books in order when they’re home after work or on the weekends.)
Next, I called Citibank. The woman I spoke with said that they do offer a direct connection between Citibank and Quicken, but I need to fill out some form and the cost is $9.95/mo. *sigh* What’s the URL for the form? Oh, there is none. They’ll (snail) mail it to me. I need sign it, then mail it back to them. I should recieve the form in seven to ten business days. No, there is no PDF or other format of the form available online. No, they cannot fax it to me. No, my previous activation doesn’t count; I need to re-authorize. No, I cannot get the form at one of their many (read: “two”) branches around here. There is nothing I can do to expidite the process. No, I cannot fax back the signed form.
This is frustrating, especially for someone so into immediate gratification, but the real kicker to me is that they are still charging $9.95 a month. I currently have nine different financial institutions listed in Quicken: Citibank and eight others. Of those eight, two don’t offer any Quicken compatibility. In other words, I can use neither web connect nor direct connect to communicate with them from within Quicken and their web sites offer nothing about downloading transactions, either as a QIF or even a CSV or XLS file. (Incidentally, one of those sites is run by Citibank.) The remaining six all over free, direct connections. One of those six: CitiMortgage.
Sure, a company is supposed to profit. Most people don’t go into business to only make life good for others and banks are — surprisingly — not an exception, but when your competition is offering for free what you are charging for, maybe it’d be a good idea to show your customers that you care more about keeping them (at least) than you do about squeezing every single dollar you can out of them before they leave. Or, if you’re going to make your customers jump through hoops and charge nearly $120/year for service that’s free elsewhere, at least they should make it worth $120/yr.
*Sigh* Just another reason to make it my business to find another bank.