Saturday, September 04, 2004

I finally got Quicken 2004 for Mac to work with Citibank

In my campaign to go Mac only at home, the last piece of data to get migrated was my MS Money data. I thought this would be a no brainer since Quicken 2004 for Mac was included with the iBook and everybody reads QIF files. I read in a Macworld forum that with Quicken I could directly download transactions from Citibank from within the program and pay bills, I didn't have to use the Citibank website and no double data entry like I had with Money!!!! This may not seem like a big deal, but I started using direct online banking with First Union (nee Wachovia) in PA. When I moved to CA, no bank offered direct banking and I hate double entry, in Money and on the Citibank website. I stayed with First Union for months to avoid double entry. But with Quicken 2004 for Mac and Citibank, single data entry was again a reality. I enrolled in the Citibank Direct Connect program ($9.95 a month, no double entry is worth it) and patiently waited for my connection kit. I got that in early July, promptly did the setup, but no transactions would download. A call to Citibank revealed I was using the wrong Customer Number, they wanted my wife's SSN, and it wasn't specified on the setup document. With that problem solved, I was making a connection to Citibank, but still no transactions. Citibank didn't understand the problem, so I couldn't get my transactions. I resigned myself to either falling back to using Web statements or switching to another program on the Mac. Web statements looked unpromising, because the Quicken Web Connect format wouldn't import and I had to use the Quicken '98 QIF format. This meant no transaction matching on import, which is totally unacceptable. I started researching why Quicken Web Connect, which does have transaction matching, wouldn't import. The Web Connect file is an XML file, how hard could this be to suck into Quicken? I opened the file to have a look, and I was also seriously thinking of started my own develop effort, and I noticed my Citibank account number looked a bit dodgy, but I couldn't put my finger on it, maybe too short, it didn't hit me yet. I installed and setup another finance program on the Mac (here is a list on Macworld) called Moneydance. This too can download transactions directly from Citibank. I picked up a Citibank statement since I couldn't find the checkbook, but the info in Moneydance, and in a John Madden BOOM, I had transactions. And then all the pieces fell into place in my head. When I had entered my Citibank account number in Quicken, I happened to have the checkbook handy and read the number directly off of that. The account number on my checks looks like this: 0123 4567 8912 In the Quicken Web Connect file and on my paper Citibank statement, the account number looks like this: 123 4567 8912 You will immediately notice there is no leading 0. I changed the account number on the Checking account in Quicken, and now I have every transaction with, so far, really good matching on already entered items. What a timesink. In total, it took me 2 months to debug this and I never saw anyone else online mention this when having problems getting transactions from Citibank with Quicken.