Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it has been discontinued. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.
The Microsoft legacy continues in the realm of personal finance with Microsoft Money Essentials. This program covers banking, investing, financial planning, and has a slew of reports. At $19.99 it's quite a bargain.
This choice financial software package is comparable to our top pick in most features and even seems to be a little more user friendly. However, Quicken offers more reports, producing a clearer and fuller illustration of your entire financial status.
Microsoft Money was easy to install, and very easy to use. We found it had a little more of a polished interface compared to Quicken Starter Edition and Moneydance. The update process was simple, and Money's home page provides a great at-a-glance summary of your finances.
Microsoft Money Essentials allows you to manage multiple accounts at multiple banks or credit unions. Once your accounts are set up in the program you can connect directly to them and transfer money, and *make electronic payments.
*Additional fees apply to use Online Bill Pay services
Microsoft Money Essentials has a helpful reporting section, displaying charts, graphs and the like for cash flow, net worth, and even investment reports.
Microsoft Money Essentials connects to the web to use a number of useful calculators, including loan, mortgage, refinance, and home equity calculators. For a more inclusive financial planning section that covers insurance, debt reduction, retirement, college and planners, you might want to consider upgrading to Money Plus Deluxe.
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Once again Microsoft has put together a very practical software package with Microsoft Money Essentials by offering easy-to-use tools and a program that interacts with the web to provide tons of information.
The bottom line—Microsoft Money Essentials is exceptionally user-friendly and effective, but offers limited financial reports. For in-depth financial reports consider upgrading to Microsoft Money Plus Deluxe, or try our Gold award winner Quicken Starter Edition.