Mac Users Rejoice: The Dark Days of Financial Management Software Options Are Over

During many years, financial management software for Mac was far behind PC. How and why that’s changed.

photo of old mac

***For a long time, Mac users looking to manage their finances were made to feel as if their were using outdated computers. ***

It used to be the case that you couldn’t really run a solid piece of financial management software on a Mac.

In fact, those who were keen on running software on their Macs rather than relying on Excel spreadsheets or using web-based services were better served by enabling Windows on virtualization software like Parallels.

For everybody else, the best option was to use the online service Mint.com—obviously not software they could install and run on their computer.

That’s partly because Intuit, the biggest player in the field, was loth to react to Apple’s 2006 switch to the Intel architecture. Instead of taking the time to develop a powerful product, Intuit quickly threw together a less robust version of Quicken, its PC software. Called Quicken Essentials, it could do little more than tracking money; both journalists and consumers gave it poor ratings.

Unfortunately, the competition failed to deliver a product that could capture the hearts and minds of Apple users. In fact, so dismal were the alternatives that some bloggers went so far as to recommend that Mac users run the Windows Quicken on their Mac via virtualization software — just as if no financial management software had ever been developed for Mac. ( The Daily Mac View’s Kerry Dawson, though reasonably content with Quicken Essentials, was among those who suggested this option.)

Luckily, things have changed.

Enter iBank 5 and Quicken 2015 For Mac

With Windows ruling the market no longer, it was only a matter of time before Intuit began to devote more time and energy to target Mac users, many of which were rightfully frustrated. In the process, however, IGG Software released its solid iBank 5.

screenshot of iBank 5

**One of the most popular iBank 5 features. Designed to lure disillusioned Quicken Essentials purchasers (iBank 5 imports Quicken data, as it prominently says on its website), IGG Software’s offering has garnered enthusiastic reviews, many of which praised its check printing setup and its ability to pay bills electronically with just a few keystrokes.(Depending on which bank you use, this feature may entail you paying a $40 annual fee for IGG Software’s own “Direct Access”.)

Unfortunately, this isn’t the only cost associated it with running iBank 5; the app itself costs $60, while its companion iPhone and iPad apps will set you back $5 and $20 respectively. Worse, more than one reviewer have complained that iBank 5 is still not complex enough to handle their investment needs (this one does a thorough job of explaining why).

screenshot of Quicken 2015 for Mac

***Quicken 2015 for Mac looks right at home in a Mac environment. ***

As for Quicken 2015, it deserves credit for its sleek, attractive design and for its ease for use—features which are typically important for Mac users. And although it costs $15 more than iBank 5, it requires no monthly or yearly subscriptions—plus its companion iPhone and iPad apps are free.

Yet Quicken 2015 for Mac is not without downsides: for example, it doesn’t allow users to pay bills from the software itself, nor does it let them customize graphs or reports. It also lacks features available in its Windows counterpart, such as a 12-month budget, saving goals, enhanced reports, and more. (To its credit, Intuit has created a webpage for users to vote on which features they’d like to see in Quicken 2015 for Mac.)

Summary

Although both iBank 5 and Quicken 2015 for Mac are far from perfect, their very existence proves that software companies are at long last trying to fill in an important gap. Gone are the days of running virtualization software or relying exclusively on web-based services. Mac users now have two solid alternatives in the market of financial management software. Best of all, they can try iBank 5 for 30 days free or use Intuit’s 60-day money back guarantee.

Here’s hoping many more companies will follow suit.

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