Quicken has been one of the early pioneers of the personal finance software market. Intuit introduced the product in the early 1990s, and Quicken remains the only desktop app that covers every part of personal finance.
Technology has made rapid advances since then. What remains the same is the need for people to take more control over their financial life. A couple of years ago, Simplifi by Quicken was introduced as a web-based personal finance app.
This personal finance app targets a younger demographic that wishes to save money, create a spending plan, and reach their savings goals. Simplifi by Quicken is a very different approach to personal finances from other products the company has launched.
Simplifi’s closest competitor is Mint which is completely free if you use the ad-supported version. Is Simplifi by Quicken the right solution to help manage your personal finances?
Let’s discuss the personal finance app in more detail.
What is Simplifi by Quicken?
Simplifi by Quicken is a personal finance app that is designed to help people get a big picture view of their finances and help manage their cash flow. The budgeting app can answer questions like “How much money have I spent?” and “Do I need to save more money in my emergency fund.”
There is both a desktop website and a mobile app version of the software.
You might be familiar with personal finance apps like Mint and Personal Capital, which both work very similar to how Simplifi does. It allows you to pull in all your financial accounts into one place so you can get a full financial picture of where you’re at.
Who is Quicken?
Simplifi was created by Quicken. Quicken has been around for over 30 years and is one of the most recognized and reputed companies in the financial services industry. Quicken was sold to H.I.G. Capital in 2016.
Intuit is no longer associated with Quicken and does not operate either Quicken or Simplifi.
What are Personal Finance Apps?
Personal finance apps are financial tools that allow you to pull all your financial accounts into one site so that you have a view across all your bank accounts. Personal finance apps can pull in your checking and savings accounts, credit card, and investment accounts.
Once you’ve connected your bank account to the app, you can receive real-time updates on your account balances. This allows you to view your recent transactions as soon as they hit your bank account.
Not only does this allow you to track spending across your financial accounts, but it can alert you to two important things. The first is that it can remind you of a transaction that you may have forgotten about. When you have multiple accounts, it is easier to forget a purchase that you made.
It will also prevent fraudulent activity on your accounts. For example, if you notice a purchase that you never made, then you can take measures to contact your financial institution and have the account closed.
There are other benefits to your financial life that a budgeting app can help you with outside of basic financial tracking. For example, many budgeting apps allow you to create a monthly spending plan.
This allows you to track your monthly expenses, look for spending patterns, and help reach financial goals like saving up for a down payment.
You can create a savings goal on many of these budgeting apps and track your progress. Oftentimes, the mobile app will allow you to link up to a savings account to help you reach your savings goals.
Security on a budgeting tool is very high. The technology behind them is like the security that banks use.
Despite this, you should be vigilant in keeping your data safe since it contacts sensitive information about your financial life. For example, don’t use public Wi0Fi networks when accessing your iPhone or Android mobile app.
How Simplifi Works
You can easily create a Simplifi by Quicken account. All that you need to provide to set up your account is your name and Zip code.
After that, Simplifi will ask you to give them access to your financial accounts. Ideally, it will work best if you link it up to all your accounts.
When it links up to a financial account, it will search for the institution that provides your account. You’ll be prompted to enter the user name and password for each of them.
Once this has been completed, the app will import all your recent transactions and provide updates moving forward.
Simplifi allows you to track your net worth, income, total savings, set savings goals, and much more. The app is available in the App Store and Google Play store. In addition, you can use Simplifi as a web app on your computer.
Simplifi offers many different features that you can use to help you with your money management. Here are a few of their most notable features below.
Connect to your Financial Accounts
The ability to pull third parties into the Simplifi app gives you comprehensive spending tracking. Simplifi has made it very easy for anyone to pull in their accounts, even if they’re not highly tech-savvy.
Bills and Subscriptions
You can also link your recurring bills and subscriptions to Simplifi and view them easily on its dashboard. That gives you an easy way to see all your upcoming bills so that you never miss another payment.
Simplifi’s spending plan feature enables you to get projected balances on your accounts. It does this by forecasting out your income and fixed expenses each month.
Your discretionary spending is what you have leftover after your upcoming bills. This amount is also known as your “Spending Plan.”
The money that’s leftover could go towards various expenditures, depending on what your need at the time is. For example, you may need to buy new tires this month before the winter season starts. In a few months, the extra money could be used to pay off personal loans.
There might be specific spending categories that you want to keep tabs on more closely. For example, you may want to set up a limit on how much you spend on eating out.
Simplifi allows you to set up a spending watchlist so you can easily see how much of your budget you have left for trips through the drive-thru or dinner dates with friends.
The personalized spending plan features aren’t the only things that the Simplifi app offers. You can also take advantage of its investment features which allow you to view all your investments holdings.
Even if you have some stock investments through TD Ameritrade, an employer-backed 401k at Fidelity, and Roth IRA with Schwab, you can get access it all with Simplifi.
Simplifi offers users a way to filter their reports by categories, payees, tags, accounts, and more. This provides you with more insight into your top spending categories so you can get a handle on your spending behaviors.
One example of a way that you could take advantage of this feature is by filtering out your monthly summary report by how much you’ve spent on groceries. From here, you could compare it over months and see if there are ways to save money in this spending category.
Your spending behaviors are automatically monitored by Simplifi, which allows them to create reports to help with your money management. This gives you a chance to see how your net worth and savings change over time.
What does Simplifi Cost?
Simplifi offers a 30 day free trial period to try it out. There is no need to scour the web looking for free coupons.
After trying out the free version, it costs a flat $5.99 per month. When compared to similar financial products like You Need a Budget, this is a relatively low price.
If you want to save money, you can also go with their annual plan that runs $47.99. This subscription plan drops the price to $3.99 per month, a $2 monthly savings.
The annual plan is definitely the better choice out of the two if you plan to use this paid app.
Simplifi Pros and Cons
Pro: Offered by one of the Most Respected Companies in the Financial Space
Quicken is the company that’s behind Simplifi, and they’ve earned a great reputation in the industry. This provides a level of trust in using their app.
Pro: Can put your entire Financial Life on one Platform
All your bank accounts, credit cards, loans, and even investments into one place to get your full financial picture.
Pro: Ad-Free App
Some free personal finance apps like Mint have ads appearing within its app. This can get annoying. However, Simplifi keeps its mobile app free of these distractions.
Pro: Very customizable
Your financial management experience can be entirely customized for you. Create your goals, spending limits, categories, and more.
Pro: Encourages you to Meet your Goals
The app helps keep you focused on reaching your financial goals. It even celebrates your success along the way.
Pro: Great User Interface
The app is very clean and easy to use. The dashboard is visually appealing
Pro: Allows you to Set Goal-Based Savings
Reaching financial milestones can be difficult to visualize. Simplifi uses goal-based saving that makes it easier to stay focused and motivated.
Con: Does not offer Credit Scores
Your credit score can have a huge impact on your finances and life. Without a good credit score, you can’t get approved for loans (car, mortgage, etc.).
Even if you can get approved, you’ll receive a higher interest rate, which takes more money out of your pocket. At this time, Simplifi doesn’t offer any sort of credit score monitoring.
Con: Bill Tracking Tool is Simple
The tracking tool that you can use for your bills is pretty bare-bones, especially compared to other tools out there.
Con: Not Geared toward Self-Employed
If you are self-employed, Simplifi lacks the features that would be useful to you. Therefore, you should consider other options.
Con: Must Pay to use App Long-term
After the first 30 days, if you want to keep using Simplifi, you will have to pay either $5.99 per month or $47.99 annually.
Since there are a lot of free apps available in this space, it might not be as appealing.
Con: Investment Features are lacking
More robust apps have more capabilities than Simplifi offers with its investment tools. If you are seeking an app to help you with your investments, Simplifi might not be best for you.
Con: Can’t import Quicken data
It is truly puzzling why a product that’s made by Quicken can’t read or import your Quicken data onto Simplifi. The two platforms are not comparable with each other.
Just as there are alternatives to Quicken, there are alternatives to its service, Simplifi. One well-established competitor of Simplifi is Mint. It has been a very popular aggregator for many years. Many of its over 15 million users download the app because it is free to use.
Mint allows users to link their checking, savings, investment, retirement, credit cards, and more into its platform.
It categorizes all your financial information, but also allows you to customize them. With your accounts categorized and aggregated, Mint can give you a summary of your activity so that you can create a simple budget.
Mint also allows you to see all your bills, what is due, and when. You can not only keep track of them but also pay them using the Mint app.
Bill reminders can be sent by email or your mobile phone to help you avoid paying them late.
Using Mint Goals, you can set up specific financial goals that you can use the app to keep track of your progress. You can track your investment accounts and get credit monitoring too.
Personal Capital primarily makes its money off its wealth management service. With a minimum investment of $100,000, its services are out of reach for many customers.
However, anyone can use its free financial tools. These include an investment checkup, 401k fee analyzer, and a spending tracker.
The dashboard on Personal Capital allows you to view different aspects, including net worth, cash flow, portfolio allocation, and portfolio balances.
Use the holdings module to see how your investments are performing. You can also view this information as a percentage of your portfolio, dollar value, and whether they’re a “loser” or “gainer.”
They have tools that allow you to track your net income through various income sources and bills. This information can all be linked from other accounts as well.
You can use its spending analysis feature to look at your expenses in categories like groceries and healthcare and divide it by your cash flow.
Lunch Money is one of the newer apps out there. Unlike Simplifi, users outside the United States can use Lunch Money. They have a subscription model, that is on the pricey side: $10 per month or $70 for the first year ($100 after the first year).
It does offer a 14 day free trial period.
It’s made by an independent developer and solopreneur. Lunch Money allows you to import transactions, support multiple currencies, track titles, calculate your net worth, and even keep track of your Crypto portfolio.
The platform is currently only available via the desktop web.
Simplifi Review Ratings: How does it Stack up?
Customer Service – 4/5
If you need help using Simplifi or its web app, they offer an FAQ page on their website. It will help answer general and basic questions about using your account.
They also have a Simplifi Community where you can become a part of the community to receive tips, tricks, ideas, and give them feedback. Simplifi’s online chat team is available seven days a week from 8 am to 5 pm (Pacific Standard Time).
There is no customer service phone number or email to contact if you have questions.
User Experience and Mobile App – 4.5/5
The team at Simplifi created a very simple, friendly, and uncluttered user experience. It shows the company what its target audience wants.
The app makes it easy to log in and quickly view their account balances. The dashboard provides the primary focal point and allows users to slice and dice their data quickly drill down to answer their financial questions.
There is a feature called “Rules Engine” that can fully automate organizing your transactions.
It offers two ways to view your budgeting: The expanded view will break down your personal budget into categories and allows you to customize/group your categories. If you want to take it a step future, you can also have Lunch Money recognize your recurring expenses.
You can access your account via the web on any laptop or desktop. The Simplifi app is also available on iOS and Android devices.
Security – 4.5/5
When you’re aggregating your financials into one platform, security is a top-of-mind concern. Your data is securely transmitted from your bank’s servers using 256-bit encryption.
All the information that is downloaded onto the platform is kept completely confidential. The app only accesses your data to update your accounts.
Tools and Resources – 4/5
Every feature on the platform is easy to use and straightforward. You can’t import data from other apps or with Quicken data. It also needs some enhancements to its investment capabilities and does not allow you to track your credit score.
Pricing – 4/5
There are several notable free apps available in this space which makes it harder to justify paying for Simplifi.
However, these services mentioned often receive compensation from ads that are displaced in their experience. This could be not very pleasant to some users.
Simplifi Review: Bottom Line
Overall, Simplifi offers users a fast and simple platform to see how they’re doing financially. You can try it out for free for 30 days, so you don’t have anything to lose.
Still, since there are other alternatives like Mint or Personal Capital that you can use for free, those apps might address your needs. If you prefer an ad-free experience, however, you might opt for Simplifi.