Quicken Bill Pay not commencing as promised

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I bought 2018 Quicken Premier for Windows (upgrading from Deluxe) because they said it included Quicken Bill Pay.  That was maybe a month ago.  I heard nothing further from Quicken or any of their contractors for Bill Pay.  I called and they said they had been swamped with new orders for QBP, causing delay, sorry, but I'd bee seeing two micro-deposits to my checking account "soon."  I've not received them.  They did give me detailed instructions of how to make the switch from my bank's online banking and bill pay (which works with Quicken) when and if I'd ever get the two micro-deposits.  Time passed and, frustrated, I today found a conversation here where folks are complaining bitterly about QBP and the sub-contractor providing it.  I think I was mis-led into signing up for Premier under the (apparently inaccurate) representation that I'd be getting QBP for free (free, maybe, but did I get QBP?  NO!!!), thus avoiding my bank's $9.95/mo charge for online banking and bill pay.  Sounds like I'd be better off sticking with my bank (which I have, so far, anyway).  What is the best way to deal with this?  Ask Quicken to refund the difference and go back to Deluxe?  Help!
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David Kosterlitz

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Posted 4 weeks ago

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GeoffG, SuperUser

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Agreed, this is very poor service.  I've forwarded your concerns to someone at Quicken to look into this.
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jacobs, SuperUser

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David, if one of the Quicken moderators here doesn't reply or can't do anything about this, you might want to try contacting Quicken Support (chat or phone) and telling them you'd like to downgrade from Premier to Deluxe and get a refund (or extension?) for the difference in cost, due to their third party provider of Quicken Bill Pay not being able to fulfill your order. (Editing to add that Quicken Support is closed on Thanksgiving.)
(Edited)
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Sherlock, SuperUser

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Just to be clear, you should be following the instructions provided here: https://www.quicken.com/support/sign-quicken-bill-pay  

So, if you haven't already, you should enroll to create and activate your Quicken Bill Pay account at: Quicken Bill Pay website

(Edited)
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David Kosterlitz

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Thanks GeoffG, jacobs, and Sherlock! 

GeoffG, it is nice to hear that someone agrees with me that this is poor service and thanks for trying to "raise" someone at Quicken (though apparently a separate business unit, QBP, handles this instead of Quicken themselves, and to further complicate matters, QBP uses a third-party subcontractor). 

jacobs, I am inclined to do exactly as you said.  Even if I were able to wake up someone in Quicken to get my order fulfilled, this ordeal already has undermined my confidence in QBP and their subcontractor enough that it seems better to forget about QBP and instead just keep on paying my bank $10/mo for their online bill pay service, which has worked well for years.  If it ain't broke, don't fix it.  You get what you pay for; QBP was supposed to be "free" upon upgrading to Premier; I now see that QBP's service is worth that "free" ($0) price (i.e., QBP's service is non-existent and worthless).  I upgraded to Premier from Deluxe, paying an incremental amount over the Deluxe price.  It seemed like a good deal (I'd save $10/mo ($120/year) that I pay my bank), if QBP service worked, but it doesn't.  I wonder if the marketing executive at Quicken who rolled out this offer knows how bad the implementation is.  

Sherlock, I looked at the website you mentioned, but found nothing helpful to my particular situation.  Also, Quicken told me about two weeks ago to wait for two micro-deposits that they said were coming to my checking account before switching, in Quicken software, my provider of online payments from SunTrust to QBP.  No micro-deposits have come weeks after I bought Premier.  I think it is time for me to follow jacobs' advice.  I feel entitled to a refund of the incremental cost of Premier over Deluxe.    

Like many in this forum, I've used Quicken for centuries and I really like the software.  If I didn't, I'd have quit after my first 100 years with them.  I buy every new release as soon as it is available (there really is no choice if you want to try to stay sane, and Quicken probably knows that).  I've usually had good tech support from Quicken.  But the execution of this offer of "free" QBP for upgrading to Premier has been botched.  Quicken is responsible, along with QBP and the subcontractor.  I plan to keep using Quicken software, but not QBP.  I expected better from Quicken.  
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GeoffG, SuperUser

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Have you considered a different bank?  I'm not suggesting this to bail on your current bank or excuse QBP, only to offer alternatives.  There are some banks (perhaps fewer each passing day) that offer free bill pay service with direct connect.  PNC (my bank) is such a bank.  I don't know if I'm grandfathered in or if it and others still offer bill pay free, but it might be something to consider.
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jacobs, SuperUser

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Just to clarify, Quicken really has nothing to do with Quicken Bill Pay, other than making their applications interface with this service. The service is run by a separate company, Metavante. Those are the only two parties involved.

You’d think Quicken could exert some influence on Metavante about their less-than-stellar customer service, but that doesn’t seem to be the case from the comments I’ve read on this site over the years. Metavante is a very large company providing a wide range of services in the financial services industry — Metavante has multiple services and divisions, and is owned by Fidelity National Information Services — so I’d guess Quicken Bill Pay is a very small piece of what they do.
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GeoffG, SuperUser

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"Quicken really has nothing to do with Quicken Bill Pay".. I'm not saying you are wrong, I know nothing about QBP.  However, the manner in which Quicken has made QBP front and center when establishing a bill payer provider, I can only assume they have a financial gain.  I recently setup a new data file and needed to reestablish all existing accounts.  Setting up the bill payer service with my existing bank was an expedition!  I think it has been intentionally buried in the software to promote QBP.
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jacobs, SuperUser

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Geoff, I was only clarifying David's comment above mine in which he referred to three different entities of Quicken, a separate business called Quicken Bill Pay, and a subcontracted service. There are, I believe, only two parties: Quicken and Metavante, which run the Quicken Bill Pay service. 
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David Kosterlitz

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Thanks, GeoffG and jacobs!  You've both given me good options to consider.

GeoffG:  I'll consider a different bank that (like PNC) does not charge for online bill paying but does use Direct Connect.  Direct Connect is a critical element required for online bill paying to work well, in my experience.  I tend to agree with your comment that "the manner in which Quicken has made QBP front and center when establishing a bill payer provider, I can only assume they have a financial gain."  One part of such gain could be the incremental cost to upgrade from Deluxe to Premier that I've paid recently (for nothing, apparently).

jacobs, I take your point that only two entities, Quicken and Metavante are involved.  So the name, " Quicken Bill Pay" would be just a servicemark, trademark or trade name (together "servicemark") for Metavante's QBP service.  But I'd think that Metavante would have to compensate Quicken somehow for the use of it's company name in their servicemark, by royalties or other payment.  So Quicken would benefit not just from the incremental cost to upgrade to Premier, but also from royalties (which Quicken may have already received for years). 

I am surprised that Quicken would get itself into a situation like this particular QBP promotion and that no one from Quicken has stepped up to post an answer and resolution in this thread.  I'll post what I end up deciding to do.  

  



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Quicken Sarah, Official Rep

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Hello David,

My name is Sarah and I am a Moderator for the Quicken Community and Official Representative of the Quicken Support teams.  Thank you for taking the time to share the details of your experience with the Community and I apologize for any frustration or inconvenience experienced.

I'd like to provide a little background on the relationship between Quicken, Metavante and the Quicken Bill Pay service.  Prior to the split between Intuit and Quicken; Intuit had contracted with Metavante to provide bill payment services for Quicken Users (and Users of other Intuit Products/Services).  When Quicken separated to become a standalone company, all customers with a Quicken Bill Pay account were able to retain their accounts and bill payment access under the contracted terms between Intuit and Metavante and continue using those services until that contract ends, which is when Quicken 2017 is discontinued in April of 2020.

There are not many vendors who offer all the services that Metavante does so, when the separation happened, Quicken opted to continue the business relationship with Metavante and wrote a new contract for the Quicken 2018/19 subscription products.  All of which is great, except for the fact that because it is a new contract, all subscription Members who wish to use the Quicken Bill Pay service have had to establish new Quicken Bill Pay Accounts with Metavante, under the new contracted terms.  Many Users have had to complete the full new account approval process, which requires additional documentation and proof of identity from Users to meet federally mandated laws for authorizing financial services such as bill payments.

Unfortunately, Metavante was not prepared for the influx of new account requests from Users upgrading or purchasing Quicken 2018/19 and they have been struggling to meet their service level expectations and are taking longer than anticipated to approve new account requests.  

The Quicken Senior Leadership team is aware of the delays with Metavante and have been working closely with them to help manage the requests in a more timely manner but since they are a separate third party company who provide a service for us but are not directly owned by Quicken, we are limited in what we are able to do, I apologize.

I took the liberty of reviewing the last contact with our Support Teams and it sounds as though the decision made was to stay with the Quicken Premier version and cancel the request for the Quicken Bill Pay account however, if I've misunderstood that in anyway, please let me know, I would be happy to further discuss with you what alternate resolutions may be possible.

Thank you,

Sarah
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David Kosterlitz

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Thanks Sarah. 

I assume you read my thread so far.  My motivation to switch to Premier was that Quicken was saying that you get Quicken Bill Pay (QBP) free with that.  I thought I'd save the $9.95/mo that my bank charges for Direct Connect.  But weeks after I got Premier, QBP did not start.  I called and was told to wait for two micro-deposits and then proceed to start service.  But those never came.  Today I had a long conversation with QBP (in the Philippines).  They said I had sent in everything they wanted:  SS card, utility bill, a voided check and my driver license.  They said I have a QBP member number.  But they said that after I faxed those items to them, they had sent me an email saying that my driver license (DL) was not legible (but I never received it).  So I can try to send the driver license again now (and I thought I would enlarge and darken it as well).  She put in a "ticket" for me (I have the number) for monitoring of my activation and said she would check it next week, but that everything takes 48 business hours to come to QBP from their "Account Processing" Dept, usually.  They seem bureaucratic and seem to tell me something different each time I call.  Not promising as a service provider.  Also someone posted in the community that QBP is a nightmare - this makes me hesitant to proceed.  

But before I try faxing my DL again, I must say that the experience with QBP so far is not encouraging, so I wonder how well their service will work.  The lady at QBP advised that QBP is a division of Quicken, albeit different than the one that provides the Quicken software.  She said that QBP is not a separate, third-party company from Quicken, nor a subsidiary.  Metavante, she said was just a software supplier for QBP. 

She also said that all my payees would likely carry over if I switch to QBP, but that she was more sure of that for existing QBP members who now have to get new QBP accounts all over again than she is for me if I am just starting QBP coming from Direct Connect.  She said there is nothing written that says my payees would carry over, but that, anecdotally, she worked with one such customer and the payees did transfer over.  It would be kind of nice to know the answer to this before making the switch.  Can you confirm that the payees would transfer over if I switch to QBP?

You were correct that I told QBP that I would not use their service, but in this call, when I called back I was told that I am at the last step so I should try for QBP, because it is free, so I told her not to cancel my application for QBP.  She said if I don't send in my DL the application will cancel anyway after about 2 weeks.  But all they need is a legible copy of my DL, then I can get the micro-deposits. 

Then I go to the QBP website and enter in the two amounts of the micro-deposits: 

Tools
QBP
setup QBP Acct
put in my ID & PW
select "connect" then "link" then "next"  (I can't recall if this "linking" was just for existing QBP users who have to re-enroll).  It would be nice if there were clearer, simpler instructions and process.

After doing the above, the lady today said I could use QBP.  But I think not quite then, either because I was also told a week or so ago when I inquired I was walked through the steps to change my online service provider from Direct Connect with my Bank to QBP and I think I still would need to do those steps too, before I could use QBP.  This is because I can't have more than one electronic service provider for bill paying at the same time.

And two Super Users made suggestions that I followed up on.  First suggestion was:  cancel Premier and drop back to Deluxe and either stick with my bank, SunTrust, which has "PC banking and bill pay" for $9.95/mo that has Direct Connect and works with my Quicken software.  But when I called Quicken about that, I was told that I was beyond the 30-day cancellation window, but that I'd received a discount on Premier for signing up for two years, so even if I'd met that window, Deluxe for two years (now) only costs about $5 less than what I paid for Premier, so I said I'll stick with Premier.  

The second suggestion was to find a bank that does not charge a monthly fee but provides Direct Connect online banking and bill paying that works with Quicken.  Two banks were mentioned to have this:  PNC and Chase (there may be others).  I called Quicken Bill Pay (QBP) and was advised not to use PNC because QBP is having connection problems with PNC due to some security software that PNC is using, but they said Chase works fine.  A QBP rep said that Chase just requires direct deposit in a certain amount (I have that) for Direct Connect to be free.  My bank was not willing to waive the $10/mo when I called today to ask if they would since we have two direct deposits over $500 each monthly.  I am reluctant to switch banks.  But I guess my choices now are to just keep paying SunTrust $10/mo and go on with my life, or stick with SunTrust but switch to the "free" but dubious QBP, or switch banks to, e.g., Chase and stick with Direct Connect (free with them) and not have to deal with QBP, which appears not to provide "world class customer service" (far from it). 

I might fax in my DL again to QBP, along with an enlarged copy of it.  But please address the points I've raised and clarify if I have this right.  Then I will decide whether to proceed with activation.

I love Quicken software but this QBP offer has been botched.  I would have expected better service from Quicken.  I've already spent way more time on this than the $120 I'd save for this year by stopping Direct Connect.  But I am a detail person....

Thanks,

Dave


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David Kosterlitz

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Quicken Sarah, Official Rep:  where are you?  Please respond to my most recent comment, which was a response to yours.  Is QBP a viable service?  Thanks.
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Snowman

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No it is not a viable service.  I used to be a customer of Paytrust and Metavante was in charge of it.  I was a happy customer from 2000 to 2017 when several of my scheduled payments WERE NOT MADE.  I called to investigate and was told that the payments in question were over their $10,000 dollar limit.  I asked when that policy had been implemented and was told it WAS ALWAYS their policy.  I then said in the prior 16 years I had dozens of transactions over this "limit" and they were always paid.  The support person accused me of lying and I asked for a email address to send the proof to her.  The response I got back was I made up those transactions because I responded too quickly with my proof.

I then said I was closing my account and that took 8 months to do because they kept reactivating it once it was closed.

I was then told I would have to break the payments up so that they were less than $10,000 and one of those payments would have resulted in 3 payments instead of one.  QBP offers "free" service as long as you are below the number of transactions that "free" limits you to.  So now they are going to almost force some users to go over the limited number of transactions per month.

If you bank is charging you $9.95 per month for bill pay take it or go to the bank and talk to them into lowering or waiving that fee.  The $9.95 per month is less than that cost of hiring anybody to do this for you.  I talked to may  bank and they waived all fees for direct connect and so forth for all my 4 accounts at their bank.  Be reasonable and firm but do not go in looking for a fight you will lose.

Sorry I do not have better news.  Metavante may be "the only game in town" but what it to stop Quicken from doing something better?  They have no motivation to do so, the type of Motivation that created Quicken in the late 1980's in the first place.  The quickest way to fail is to not try at all and that is were Quicken is headed with QBP, a failure.
(Edited)
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SimonSezSo

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The answer you got from Metavante regarding the 10,000.00 limit was purely CYA.  They should have been enforcing the regulation but wasn't abiding by it in the past.  I will say that they have not choice in enforcing this, but the way they are going about it and the answer you got was poor customer service.  
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DanR

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That is not true.  There is no "limit" of processing payments >10k - only additional paperwork that's required on transactions over 10k (CTRs).  They are choosing to limit their AML compliance risks.  They certainly have the choice to allow payments >10k.
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SimonSezSo

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Dan R. I am agreeing with you.  That's is why I say why it's say it's CYA (please look it up).  It is their choice to limit transfer amounts, and they  are doing so to avoid additional reporting requirements.  They probably allow transfers > 10000 in the past and not complying with reporting requirements and were called out on it, so they took the route of limiting transfers to < 10000.
(Edited)
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DanR

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My reponse was to this - “I will say that they have not choice in enforcing this”. It sounds like we agree, though, that they do have a choice.
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SimonSezSo

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I see what you are saying.  All I meant by that was, if the wanted to be able to offer transfers >10000, then they have to choice but to comply with the regulations to do so.
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Mike

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I am also having a hard getting this "free" service that is included with Quicken Premier operational.  They said between 5 and 10 business days.  It's been 17 days so far for me.  I did call Quicken Bill Pay support and, like many have stated, I only received apologies -- no solutions.

I understand that Quicken Bill Pay is a separate entity, but that doesn't make it OK that what's offered -- and being paid for -- isn't working.  It is unacceptable.  Being separate entities is not an excuse for failure.  Quicken and Metavante entered in to an agreement to provide a service.  Both are profiting from this agreement.  Both parties are equally responsible to provide the promised service to the people that have paid for it.  C'mon, Quicken and Metavante, get it right.  Do what you've promised.  Do what you've already collected money to do.

I seriously doubt this will actually be read by anyone that works for Quicken that will able to deliver on promised services that have already been paid for, but I'm posting it anyway.  Crossing fingers...
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Quicken Harold, Official Rep

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Hello Mike. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Quicken Bill Pay is a separate entity, as you mentioned. There have been times that customers had to wait an average of 10-20 business days (based on previous calls from customers who have called in regarding the service) before they get their micro-deposits. This is after the verification process and other steps in order to get QBP activated.

All I can say is that if you have completed all the paperwork and verification with them, then once everything is processed, you will receive the micro-deposits.

If you have other questions about QBP, you are welcome to contact their customer support # at 877-486-8844.

Hope this information is helpful.

Respectfully,
~ Quicken Harold.
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Mike

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Thank you for the nice e-mail, Harold.

I realize that this is not your fault.   My dissatisfaction is certainly not aimed at you personally.

It's just seems that Quicken and QBP obviously have some pretty significant problems with delivering services after collecting money for said services.

Again, "separate entity" isn't an excuse and is not relevant to the fact that what's advertised isn't being delivered.  Quicken and QBP need to get it together.  Once money has been collected, failure to deliver is unacceptable.  If you can't deliver, don't take the money.  If there's an average wait of 10-20 business days, that's what your documentation should say.

(Don't get me started on problems with downloading transactions from financial institutions.  Maintaining the ability to Download transactions is the most commonly stated justification for the need to purchase Quicken updates.  Still, there are plenty of problems with that working consistently.  I know...  you don't have to tell me that the banks are a separate entity so it's ok that there are problems with that and Quicken too.)

As indicated, I did contact QBP support.  Only apologies.  No solutions.

Respectfully,

Mike
(Edited)
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GeoffG, SuperUser

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Some banks offer online bill pay free of charge with some restrictions that will integrate with Quicken. Chase, PNC and Wells Fargo to name just three. A bit of research will provide alternatives to QBP.
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Mike

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Thank you GeoffG.  I've been using Quicken for ages...  (For me that goes back to the early 90's.)  It's a love/hate relationship, Geoff.  Seriously considering other personal financial software.  I am mirroring my finances with two others right now.  I actually prefer one of the others -- and it costs less!

Perhaps Quicken should say "We do better with some banks than others.  We really don't do what we say we do for everything... just some things."  And...  Wells Fargo charges for this service.  (They also insert their logo in to the Quicken Splash screen.  Seriously?)
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David Kosterlitz

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So, update on my story:  Within a week, I faxed in to QBP an enlarged version of my driver license, with a cover letter stating my QBP Member Number, as I was told to do by phone.  Now I am waiting for the two micro-deposits.  I guess maybe in a month or so I might see those.  But all these problems raise doubt in my mind about dealing with and using the QBP service.  So, can anyone who uses QBP already tell me if it works reliably for all of their financial institutions?  Especially, if you switched from Direct Connect to QBP, did you find that QBP worked just as well as Direct Connect?

I like what Mike has said.  Unlike him, however, I have not tried any other financial software than Quicken.  I always had the impression that Quicken was the "gold standard" among the companies providing financial software.  I am hoping to stick with Quicken because it has worked well for me for many years. 

Mike appears to agree with me that the roll-out (implementation) of this "free" QBP for subscribing to Quicken Premier has been botched.  I agree with him that just saying that Quicken uses a subcontractor for some bill-paying software does not absolve Quicken of responsibility to make good on their promise of free bill-paying service.  It is incumbent on Quicken to exert pressure on Metavante to provide timely connection to the bill-paying service, or, if that fails, to replace Metavante with another software provider subcontractor who will.  Has Quicken complained to Metavante?  Which executives at Quicken and at Metavante are responsible for the contract between these two companies?  Are they talking to each other?  Why can't this problem be elevated to higher levels of Quicken management to engage more "muscle" to get this problem fixed?  Where does the buck stop?

When I applied for QBP, I sent in every document they asked for and then heard nothing.  I called and was told to just wait for the micro deposits.  I heard nothing so called back.  Only then was I told that my application documents were all received in proper order except that, "your driver license was not legible."  QBP did not, as they should have, send me any email (nor did they call me or snail-mail me) saying that my application was incomplete (in just that one small aspect).  QBP did not "reach out" to a customer to advise them the status of their application for service; instead, they put the onus on me to keep calling them.  Had I not called QBP to keep after them on several occasions, my application would apparently have been closed with no notice to me, and I'd be left scratching my head and frustrated.  Is this the image that Quicken and QBP want to present to the world?  If so, good luck attracting new customers and retaining existing ones.    

So far, QBP and Quicken have only offered lame excuses.  Not world-class customer service.  What happened to the "gold standard"?  If Quicken wants to be the leader in the financial software field, they should invest resources now to get these problems fixed quickly.  I did not upgrade to Premier in order to buy problems.  It's been like paying extra so that someone will hit you on the head with a hammer.

I appreciate suggestions from other users about banks that might provide "free" bill-paying service that works with Quicken software.  My bank, SunTrust, provides that but only if you go to their website, not by going into my Quicken software.  That extra step would be inconvenient to do every time I update my various financial accounts in Quicken.  But I'd prefer not to change banks.  If QBP (1) actually works well once hooked up, and (2) actually will get me hooked up, then I would be able to keep my same bank and have "free" bill-paying (and transaction downloading) directly through using Quicken software for my checking account (which I can then reconcile using Quicken).  This was the "value proposition" for the customer in Quickens "upgrade to Premier" offer.  But, after I did my part (upgraded and applied for QBP), Quicken has yet to do their part.  And customer service has been very poor.  
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Snowman

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Many companies now offer services that will automatically debit you bank account every month shortly before the due date for the bill.  My electric, water, garbage and credit card accounts are all paid in this manner.

I download my statements every month (saving them as a separate PDF file NOT as an attachment in Quicken) and look on the statement for the date and amount of the next debit and I put that into Quicken.  This has the added advantage of letting me know if my checking account will have sufficient funds to cover these future payment.

There is not even a real reason anymore the have Quicken Bill Pay.
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David Kosterlitz

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Thanks, Snowman!  For this comment and your other one, not shown in the above thread, in which you said:

No it is not a viable service.  I used to be a customer of Paytrust and Metavante was in charge of it.  I was a happy customer from 2000 to 2017 when several of my scheduled payments WERE NOT MADE.  I called to investigate and was told that the payments in question were over their $10,000 dollar limit.  I asked when that policy had been implemented and was told it WAS ALWAYS their policy.  I then said in the prior 16 years I had dozens of transactions over this "limit" and they were always paid.  The support person accused me of lying and I asked for a email address to send the proof to her.  The response I got back was I made up those transactions because I responded too quickly with my proof.

I was then told I would have to break the payments up so that they were less than $10,000 and one of those payments would have resulted in 3 payments instead of one.  QBP offers "free" service as long as you are below the number of transactions that "free" limits you to.

If you bank is charging you $9.95 per month for bill pay take it or go to the bank and talk to them into lowering or waiving that fee.  The $9.95 per month is less than that cost of hiring anybody to do this for you.  I talked to may  bank and they waived all fees for direct connect and so forth for all my 4 accounts at their bank.  Be reasonable and firm but do not go in looking for a fight you will lose.

Sorry I do not have better news.


--------- so:

from what you say and what I know, QBP appears to be a "stripped down" service compared to Direct Connect, in that (1) QBP has a limited number of transactions that are free (after which QBP charges a fee), whereas Direct Connect is apparently unlimited; (2) QBP has a $10,000 limit on the amount of a payment, whereas Direct Connect has no limit that I know of.  So for Direct Connect I pay $9.95/mo, but I get more, whereas with QBP it is "free" but I only get a stripped down service.

I asked my bank to waive the monthly fee, given that I have direct deposit monthly of two recurring pension checks (both over $500) and a recurring set of RMD deposits (together well over $500) and given that they pay no interest on this checking account, but they refused.  I'd try another bank, but then I'd have to research all the hidden charges, balance requirements, maintenance fees, etc. that would be hidden in the fine print of their account agreements, to be sure that the new bank would actually be a better deal than the bank I have.  A daunting proposition.
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jacobs, SuperUser

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David, I understand you have not had a good experience establishing Quicken Bill Pay, and I absolutely won't offer an ounce of excuse or justification for the poor quality of this start-up service.

But you seem to be asking repeatedly for some things which I think Quicken representative Sarah has already answered higher up in this thread. You write: "It is incumbent on Quicken to exert pressure on Metavante to provide timely connection to the bill-paying service, or, if that fails, to replace Metavante with another software provider subcontractor who will."

Sarah noted:
There are not many vendors who offer all the services that Metavante does
She added:
Unfortunately, Metavante was not prepared for the influx of new account requests from Users upgrading or purchasing Quicken 2018/19 and they have been struggling to meet their service level expectations and are taking longer than anticipated to approve new account requests.  
That's not good, but it is an explanation about why things have gone south.

You then ask: "Has Quicken complained to Metavante?  Why can't this problem be elevated to higher levels of Quicken management to engage more 'muscle' to get this problem fixed?"

Sarah wrote:
The Quicken Senior Leadership team is aware of the delays with Metavante and have been working closely with them to help manage the requests in a more timely manner but since they are a separate third party company who provide a service for us but are not directly owned by Quicken, we are limited in what we are able to do.
So she's answered that they are doing what you are saying they should do. They may not be achieving satisfactory results, but as Sarah notes, there is a limit to what Quicken can get another company to do.

Ultimately, if Quicken management decides the situation is just too bad and not getting better, they can decide if they should terminate their services with Metavante. But consider this: that's no easy task. First, they'd need to find another company which can do the same thing, and Sarah noted above that there simply aren't many companies who offer these services. Further, switching vendors would mean every Quicken customer would likely have to go through the sign-up process -- as required by federal law -- yet again, so they would need to find a way to manage such a major migration; it might be possible, but I expect it would likely entail many months of planning and execution.

In the short term, there's probably no solution other than trying to wait out the backlog in applications. It sounds like you've completed all the steps involved, so hopefully you'll go live in the next week or two, and hopefully then have smoother sailing. (Again, that won't excuse or diminish the difficulties you -- and other Quicken customers -- have experienced.)
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DanR

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the only "advantage" offered by quicken bill pay is that you can do it all from within quicken.  If you use your bank bill pay outside of quicken - all works fine, but you still have to enter the transaction in quicken.

That isn't much of an advantage when the services is so poor, though.
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David Kosterlitz

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OK, I take your points.  But do you use QBP?  Does it work well for you?  How long have you used it?  Is it worth it for me to stick this out, or should I just forget it?  Thanks.
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jacobs, SuperUser

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David, I don't use Quicken Bill Pay, which is why I didn't offer you any assurances that it'll all be great once you get over the startup hump. In my experience, we see more complaints on this forum about the start-up process you've been navigating through than we do about problems QBP once people are using it.

Since you've already gone through the weeks-long wait and dealt with transmitting all the documents they require, I'm not sure why you'd walk away just now. I think you should wait until they enable your account, and then try it. If you want, just set up a couple payees and pay a few bills to see if its easy for you to use and works well -- if so, continue, and if not, go in a different direction. 
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Snowman

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Jacobs, what you have described as an explanation from Sarah is just an excuse.  I (and you) should understand that Sarah can't really tell what is the truth that Metevante is a train wreck in the process of happening.  Metevante was having issues BEFORE Q2018 or Q2019 was ever put out so the explanation that Sarah gave does not hold water.  David your experiences (if  you continue with Metevante) will not get any better after the "startup hump".

The question then becomes "why doesn't Quicken either a) buyout Metavante and fix the problem or b) start their own service.  The answer is they will not because they do not lack the entrepreneurial spirit that spawned Quicken in the first place back in the late 1980's.  That lack of motivation and spirit is the cause of many of the issues that Quicken suffers from today.

I speak from 17 years of experience with metevante and Paytrust.  In 2017 it took months and months to extract myself from the service when it started to apply a limit to transaction of $10,000.  From 2000 to 2017 I have dozens of transactions over this amount and they were paid promptly until during one trip out of the country in 2017 they stopped and never informed me.  I found out when I returned from the trip and had to pay late fees and penalties because they did not process my (over $10,000) payments to two credit cards.
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jacobs, SuperUser

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@Snowman, come on, this isn't just a "lack of entrepreneurial spirit." Why doesn't Quicken buy out Metavante? Because Metavante is probably about 50 times larger than Quicken! Not very feasible. Why doesn't Quicken do it on their own? Think about the resources it would take, in people, time and funds, to create such a service -- it would be considerable. For all we know, maybe they're currently working towards doing that when their contact with Metavante expires in 2020, but my guess is that they couldn't possibly make enough money to justify such a hefty investment.

If the majority of user experiences are negative -- and I don't know if that's the case -- and Quicken can't find another company to provide this service, it might be better for them to terminate the service. Some users would complain, and some would abandon Quicken because of it, but at least they wouldn't be providing a service that doesn't work as advertised for their customers. 
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David Kosterlitz

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Interesting points.  I'm wondering whether whoever provides the service I know as "Direct Connect" which serves dozens of banks could be used also by Quicken.  Direct Connect seems to work very well.  Has Quicken considered that idea?
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jacobs, SuperUser

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Direct Connect *is* Quicken's service to connect directly with a financial institution's server on demand. (It's actually run by Intuit, and Quicken pays them for the service.) So I'm not sure what you mean by wondering if Quicken has considered it.
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Snowman

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@Jacobs, and I bet Quicken is now about 50 times larger that it was when it began.  Metevante is a big company.  But if they are this HUGE company, with all these unlimited resources why are we being told they were buried by the mass influx of Quicken users and that is why it is taking sooo long to set up new accounts?

I go back to my comment that it is a total lack of entrepreneurial spirit because if you have that spirit the fact that it will be hard to do does not stop you from doing it, you are always thinking HOW they can do it.

I would hope that when 2020 rolls around Metevante is dropped like a bad habit.  Some users will complain and yes some may drop Quicken.  Is that any better then the Quicken users that are dropping out now because of Metevante?

It is all about perception.  The perception right now is that Metevante is slow, awkward to use and will not handle transactions over $10,000 AND Quicken is doing nothing about it.  That is the perception and it is not helping Quicken in the least. 
(Edited)
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jacobs, SuperUser

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@Snowman, What company isn't much bigger than when they began as a startup? I'm not sure of your point there. I don't know the headcount at Quicken, but I'd guess it's under 300. I also don't know a headcount at Metavante, but they had nearly 6,000 when they were acquired by FIS years ago.

So why is Quicken Bill Pay such a problem at Metavante? I'd guess the team that does QBP is a small one relative to the size of the company. (Sort of like Quicken was when they were a small piece of Intuit.)

I'm also not sure how the QBP issues with Metavante lead to your repeated cry about  about a lack of entrepreneurial spirit at Quicken. Two years ago, Quicken was separating from Intuit and faced some enormous challenges in doing so. They had to re-engineer their products and back-end services off Intuit's servers, while trying to add functionality to an immature Mac product, so it makes sense that they couldn't and wouldn't tackle reinventing bill pay services at the same time. That's not lack of entrepreneurial spirit; that's smart, in my opinion. Then they doubled the size of the Mac development team to try to speed development, and they built a new web-based interface on the mobile app/Quicken Cloud architecture -- both probably more pressing needs than re-inventing bill pay services. Longer-term now, fixing problems with their bill payment service should be on their roadmap.

You say Quicken is doing nothing about the problems with Metavante, but let's be real: neither you nor I know that. All we know is there are issues for users, and there are no quick solutions. Replacing Metavante with another company or home-built solution are long-term projects. We now know their current contract runs through April 2020; who knows what Quicken management is doing about that?
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Snowman

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I already told you what they are doing...nothing.  It has been almost 2 years now and the service has become worse, not better.    Obviously nothing is being done.  Their web based "cloud" architecture is the cause of many of Quicken's current ills. 

There are many alternatives to QBP, better, faster and more reliable.  In all probability in 2020 it will be dropped.
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David Kosterlitz

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Can you name some of these alternatives and rank them?
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jacobs, SuperUser

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David, the moderators of this site (paid for by Quicken) will not allow discussions of the merits of various competitors to Quicken. You'll have to search elsewhere on the Internet for that.
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QPW

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I think something might have gotten missed here:

There are many alternatives to QBP, better, faster and more reliable.  In all probability in 2020 it will be dropped.
Can you name some of these alternatives and rank them?

I assume David that you want to stay with Quicken?

Well if that is the case you as the end user can't choose from the "many alternatives", only Quicken Inc can do that.

Certainly anyone can pick to use a bill pay system outside of Quicken.  I'm sure your financial institution even provides one.

The whole point here though isn't to just use a bill pay system, it is to use one integrated into Quicken.  For that you can't pick and choose.

There are only two choices, Direct Connect which leverages the OFX protocol to talk directly to the financial institution and leverage their bill pay system.

The financial institution has to support both Direct Connect and bill pay through it.  And there might be a charge for it.

The other choice is "Quicken" Bill Pay, which of course the one provided by Metavante.

And as a "customer" of the Metavante service Quicken Inc is most likely "complaining" to them when the Quicken customers complain to them enough, but there is just so much Quicken Inc as a "customer" can do, just as there is only so much you can do.

Yes they can drop the service and get another one, but that is far from easy.

If you think of this, if Metavante had "conformed" to Quicken they could have just provided an OFX server and it would operate just like any other financial institution that provides this bill pay through Quicken.

Clearly though Quicken Bill Pay is instead "conforming" to what Metavante wants (use their APIs to send and receive requests)

So if they choose to drop Metavante they will most likely have quite a bit of work to change over to some other services API/interface.  And there isn't any guarantee that other service will be that much better.

BTW if I just judged on the comments I have read in this forum, which is really all I can do since I don't use the service, Metavante certainly sounds like a terrible company.

On the other hand I see people posting "I have been using Quicken Bill Pay (which is Metavante)" for 15 years without problems.  So clearly they have provided good service to some people, at least in the past.  So it is very hard to judge base mostly on only the "bad comments" that you get in such a forum.
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David Kosterlitz

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Thanks QPW, for these helpful comments.  This leaves me still in a quandary about whether to use QBP.  But your details are helpful from a technical standpoint.  I guess it would have been much better if Quicken had asked Metavante to conform to Quicken as you put it, rather than the other way around.  If that had happened, Quicken could have asked Metavante to "provide a an OFX server and it would operate just like any other financial institution that provides this bill pay through Quicken."  I assume that would mean Quicken and QBP would be using Direct Connect, just like some banks do, if I understand you correctly.

Then you say "Clearly though Quicken Bill Pay is instead "conforming" to what Metavante wants (use their APIs to send and receive requests)."  I just looked up "API" which refers to Application Program Interface.  But I'll confess, I do not understand what this means in this context.  Is Direct Connect an API, too?  

I have the same question about OFX.  I read that "Open Financial Exchange (OFXis a freely-licensed unified specification for the electronic exchange of financial data through the Internet, and between or among financial institutions, businesses and customers. OFX is not a financial institution."  But I am still not sure how it applies here.  Is Direct Connect an OFX?

Further explanation would be helpful.
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QPW

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I assume that would mean Quicken and QBP would be using Direct Connect, just like some banks do, if I understand you correctly.
That is correct.

I have the same question about OFX.  I read that "Open Financial Exchange (OFXis a freely-licensed unified specification for the electronic exchange of financial data through the Internet, and between or among financial institutions, businesses and customers. OFX is not a financial institution."  But I am still not sure how it applies here.  Is Direct Connect an OFX?
Yes and no.  :-)

The history goes like this.  Intuit, Microsoft and CheckFree got with the "financial institutions (actually just the bigger ones)" and the result was the creation of the OFX standard, which is an open standard.

Then right after that Intuit add a few fields to that standard, and called it QFX.
The fields they added were to identify the financial institution, and the main use of that information is to "check if they are a participating partner".  In other words ones that have a support contract with Intuit.  This is one of the money streams that Intuit used to pay for all of this (and make a profit of course).
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David Kosterlitz

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I'd like to thank both jacobs and Snowman for their helpful comments.  I am thinking of just staying with Suntrust and keeping on paying their $9.95 per month.  I don't see any better options for me right now.  I'll update this if things change.
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David Kosterlitz

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A minor correction to my initial post:  I have Quicken 2019 Premier, Ver. R15.18, Build 27.1.15.18.  
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David Kosterlitz

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I called Quicken Bill Pay today and they said my application is complete and that I should received the two micro-deposits in 1-3 business days.  Then I should sign in to QBP and confirm those deposits, then link my checking account through QBP (instead of SunTrust Bank PC Banking and Bill Pay through Direct Connect as it is now).  If all goes well, then I could stop the PC Banking and Bill Pay service through SunTrust Bank, saving $9.95 per month that it now costs.  I'd continue to use my SunTrust Bank account, but with QBP instead.  I will update this post for those developments.
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David Kosterlitz

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Update - today I got the two micro-deposits.  So now it is "crunch time" should I go ahead and activate QBP and at the same time de-activate my SunTrust "PC Banking and Bill Pay which uses Direct Connect (I'd also have to tell SunTrust to stop billing me $9.95 per month for it)?  I guess there is no harm in trying out QBP; if it ends up not working well, I could always ask SunTrust to re-start their Direct Connect service.  If QBP does end up working well for me, then I'd be saving that monthly fee which was my motivation for going into this whole upgrade to Premier and get QBP free.  So I think I will try it.  This might be my last post - if QBP works well for me.
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jacobs, SuperUser

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David, It's not an all-or-nothing situation. If you wish, continue your SunTrust service for the next month or two, and continue having them pay some of your bills -- but move one or two over to QBP to see if it works to your satisfaction. If you're satisfied after a couple months, then move the rest of your payments over and discontinue your SunTrust service.
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DanR

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I stopped using QBP due to lots of small issues, but also have the ability to pay bills with direct connect through BofA and PNC.  From what I recall, I wasn't able to use QBP and the bank's BP concurrently.  I could use QBP for one bank and use a different bank's BP through direct connect, but not QBP and direct connect BP at the same bank.
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David Kosterlitz

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Thanks jacobs and DanR!  Here is the scoop:  After spending several hours today, I got my QBP account all set up and activated, including confirming the two micro-deposits.  But QBP said that in order to use QBP I had to call Quicken and get disconnected from my bank's Direct Connect service, and then call my bank to cancel the service and monthly charge. 

So I called Quicken but they warned me that if I disconnected from Direct Connect, I could use QBP to make payments from within Quicken, but unless my bank had "EXPRESS Web Connect" I would not be able to download transactions from my bank into Quicken (so would have to go to the bank's website to see them).  They said to check with my bank to see if they have Express Web Connect before disconnecting from Direct Connect. 

So Quicken has three different types of electronic banking service:  (1) Direct Connect (full featured, works great); (2) Web Connect (not full-featured, doesn't meet my needs, based on past experience at a credit union); (3) Express Web Connect (said to to enable downloading transactions from bank into Quicken) and thus, combined with QBP would result in the same services I now pay monthly for with Direct Connect from my bank.

So I called my bank, and was told that they DO NOT Offer Express Web Connect.  So that means that the only way to keep the electronic banking service level that I have now is to keep on paying my bank its monthly fee and keep Direct Connect through my bank.  That means not using the QBP account, that I laboriously set up, at all!

I told the Quicken rep, who remembered me from when I upgraded to Premier a few weeks ago, that I thought that Quicken, in offering free QBP, should have told me that I would lose the ability to download transactions unless my bank had Express Web Connect.  He said well, some banks have EWC and some don't.  

So, I guess I've come to the end of the road.  I will have to stick with my bank, pay their monthly fee for "PC Banking and Bill Pay" which uses Direct Connect, and not use my QBP account for anything.  It's been a very long and difficult learning experience.  I wish Quicken, in its offer of Premier, had clarified this limitation of QBP with certain banks and given a stronger warning both in the marketing of the upgrade to Premier and, again, when I called to upgrade to Premier.  What a huge waste of my time.  I'm not a very happy camper right now.

  
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QPW

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Well that is news to me (about Quicken Bill Pay not being compatible with Direct Connect).  Learned something new, I don't think I have every heard anyone else mention this.  The more I hear about Quicken Bill Pay the less I like it (not that I would use it anyways!)
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jacobs, SuperUser

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I’m also surprised. So surprised i’d Consider calling back on Monday and seeing if you get the same answer (although I would understand if you’re fed up enough that you just want to be done.)

It doesn’t make sense to me that Quicken would offer a “premium” bill pay service which requires users to give up being able to download transactions. And like QPW, because I’ve never heard complaints about this before, I’m a little skeptical whether you got correct information.
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QPW

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I agree with Jacobs and occurs to me there is one thing that I have heard in the past, that you can't have two bill pay services setup for the same account at the same time.  So turning off the other does sound "right", but not the part about Direct Connect in fact if I go to an account that is setup for Direct Connect, but doesn't have the option to pay bills through Quicken, there is a button to turn on Quicken Bill Pay.


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SimonSezSo

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David Kosterlitz The answer you got defies logic.  If Direct Connect is required for you to use a bank's bill pay though Quicken, you would think that that would also be a requirement for QBP.

But I think you would be ok, nevertheless, because I have a feeling your bank doesn't support EWC for Investment Accounts (which is not uncommon).  But I really think they would support EWC for your spending accounts, and  I think QBP support is saying you need to switch only your spending accounts to EWC, not your investment accounts.  So your investment accounts can remain with DC.

Also, I think banks that require DC for investment accounts don't charge a fee.  So if you keep DC for your investment accounts, but switch to EWC for your spending accounts, and stop your bank's bill pay, you will no longer have a monthly fee for either DC or bill pay from your bank.
(Edited)
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QPW

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you would think that that would also be a requirement for QBP
Quicken Bill Pay doesn't require Direct Connect, it is one of its "appealing features", the very fact that you can use it with accounts that don't have Direct Connect/Bill pay through Quicken to the financial institution.

It would have been so nice if the way Quicken Bill Payee worked is if they just setup an OFX/QFX server and had Quicken connect to it.  But they didn't instead Quicken had to put in some kind interface to deal with Quicken Bill Payee, most likely using APIs that they provided.  And it seems that that somehow tied in with Express Web Connect, but I don't know the details.
I have a feeling your bank doesn't support EWC for Investment Accounts (which is not uncommon).
No financial institution supports investment accounts using Express Web Connect because Express Web Connect doesn't support investment accounts.  All investment accounts have to be downloaded using either Direct Connect or Web Connect (QFX file) or QIF file (and of course this last one is discouraged and not available on Mac)

As for fees at financial institutions of Direct Connect and bill pay through Quicken to the financial institution.  Some provide both services and charge nothing.  Some will provide Direct Connect for free, but charge for the bill pay through Quicken.  Some it is a "package".  As in say they might have Express Web Connect for free, but you can get Direct Connect and Bill Pay for a fee, but you can't get just Direct Connect for free/lower price.

And if I'm not mistaken this is all about bank accounts not investment accounts.

It isn't impossible for a financial institution to offer Direct Connect, but not Express Web Connect.  In fact Chase just dropped Express Web Connect, but still offers Direct Connect to personal accounts for free (I think they offer bill pay through Quicken for free too).  Most likely they did it because all the complaints they have gotten over the years from trying to maintain Express Web Connect.
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SimonSezSo

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Thanks QPW .  No matter what, seems like a convoluted process.  It also looks like from David Kosterlitz 's experience, Quicken and Metavante don't have coordinated process in place to fully support QBP.  I think the problem is that the margin for this service is so thin and getting resources to handle volume and issues is just not there.
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David Kosterlitz

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Thanks, SimonSezSo, jacobs, and QPW.  To clarify, I am only talking about my SunTrust Bank checking account (my only checking account).  All my other accounts in my Quicken "Account List" are not at SunTrust, are saving, credit card or brokerage accounts, not used to pay bills in Quicken software, and download transactions to Quicken without any charge.

The analysis must separate (1) bill paying from (2) downloading transactions.  Banks connect to Quicken software through DC, WC or EWC, but if you have QBP there is some entirely separate, fourth connection method, different from those three.  Interestingly, the list of financial institutions that connect to Quicken has only two columns for connection method, labeled WC and DC; no mention of EWC (why not?)  Who owns these connection services?  It would be nice if there was a paper describing all four of these connection services and the differences between them (let me know if you know of one).  Quicken really should provide that explanation.

When I use  my checking account register in Quicken I can pay bills online and download transactions because I signed up for SunTrust's "PC Banking and Bill Pay" (PCBBP) at $9.95 per month.  PCBBP connects to Quicken using DC.  Apparently SunTrust pays somebody (who?; under a license?) for the ability to use DC,  which enables both (1) bill paying and (2) downloading transactions. 

For a bank account, you can only have one connection method (DC, WC, EWC or QBP) at a time.  But if I disconnect my checking account's DC, and substitute QBP, that enables only (1) bill paying (not through DC, WC, or EWC and I've not been told how), but QBP does not enable (2) downloading transactions.  For that, my bank, SunTrust, would have to offer EWC (but SunTrust does not offer EWC). 

For those who said I must have been given incorrect information by Quicken, I would like to know what is the correct information.  I can't speak to the issue of profit margins, but my sense is that the provider of WC charges banks less than the provider of DC does.  I've been satisfied with DC.  From past experience at a credit union, I know that WC has limitations that make it unable to satisfy my needs.  I don't think I've ever used EWC.  And the "fourth method" or "mystery method" that QBP uses to enable bill paying in Quicken would not meet my needs because it does not enable me download transactions since my bank does not offer EWC. 

      
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QPW

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Here is a document on the connection methods:
https://www.quicken.com/support/how-quicken-connects-your-bank

Quicken Inc pays Intuit for these services.  And Intuit charges the financial institutions for Direct Connect and Web Connect support.

The "aggregator server" for Express Web Connect where your transactions a stored until Quicken can pick them up during One Step Update, are Intuit servers.  Intuit controls/maintains all the "scripts" that log into the financial institution's websites to get the transactions.

On the question about not being able to use Direct Connect to download the transactions if you are also using Quicken Bill Pay on that same account.

Lets just say that we doubt it, but don't know for sure.  That is why the suggestion was to check again, and see if another Quicken Support person can confirm it.  Quicken Support people have been known to give out wrong information at times.

On the connection methods.  You will notice that the article talks about downloading transactions and paying bill through Direct Connect.  It doesn't mention Quicken Bill Pay.

Frankly what I think is that Quicken Bill Pay isn't a "connection method".

If you look at the Online Services tab in account details you will see you have the connection method, and then below it you have whether you are using bill pay through your financial institution or if you are using Quicken Bill Pay, or if you are using nothing.

So bill pay through your financial institution isn't a "connection method", the connection method in that case is Direct Connect.

It is possible that Quicken Bill Pay has to go through the Express Web Connect connection method, but I think that is unlikely.  That would mean that Quicken goes through Intuit severs to get to Metavante servers.  I think it is much more likely that Quicken goes directly to Metavante through some API they have provided.

That is why it has always been my belief that how you connect to your financial institution to get transactions is completely separate from how you would connect and use Quicken Bill Pay.  Quicken Bill Pay works by using ACH transfers to/from your bank account.

But now that you mention the you are with SunTrust Bank I don't see why they say Express Web Connect isn't available.  Quicken thinks it is.

If start the Add Account process, select Advanced Setup, Type in SunTrust Bank, Next.  It shows all three connection methods.

This is also shown in the fidir.txt file which Quicken uses for this purpose:
02801    02801    02801    SunTrust Bank    http://www.suntrust.com    1-800-382-3232    https://www.suntrust.com/microsites/PCBankingEnrollment/PCBanking/Agreement.aspx    ACTIVE    BANKING,PAYMENT,CREDIT,ACCOUNTINFO&DIRECT    BANKING,CREDIT&WEB-CONNECT         BANKING,CREDIT,ACCOUNTINFO&EXP-WEB-CONNECT    NOT_QBP    NA

You can find the fidir.txt file in folders under:
C:\ProgramData\Quicken\Inet\Common\Localweb\Banklist
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David Kosterlitz

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Wow, thanks QPW!  I read it once, but will have to read it again to try to understand it. 

Why does life have to be so complicated?  Isn't it someone's duty (Quicken, Intuit, Metavante, the banks, or the government) to make sure that consumers have access to clear disclosure of what's what in electronic banking and bill payment?  There is a truth in lending law where an APR or APY must be stated.  Why is there no truth in electronic banking and bill pay law, where transmission methods, fees from banks to service providers (like Intuit or Metavante), bank charges to consumers for online banking and bill payment are stated on the same basis if calculation so that consumers can compare their options?  Should government agencies such as the FDIC, NCUA, CFPB, Comptroller of the Currency, Treasury Department, FTC or others start a program?  Should Congress legislate better disclosure? 

You, and to a lesser extent, I are techies, or detail persons, digging into the weeds on this matter, but think about most people who likely lack the time or inclination.  Who is looking out for their interests?    

But back to technical details.  You say that QBP uses ACH transfers.  That means Automated Clearing House.  I believe that ACH is a method by which banks transfer funds to each other.  If QBP uses ACH (and not DC, WC, or EWC) is ACH the "fourth" transmission service?  Who owns ACH?  What are the fees that banks are charged for using it?  Is QBP a "bank"?  Or at least functioning like one for ACH purposes?

I really appreciate your attempt to educate me.  But I am still confused.  I already knew that my bank's "bill pay" service is not a connection method and that instead the method is DC.  That's why my bank charges me $9.95 per month, to have the use of DC.  If I want to stop that monthly charge, I will have to disconnect my checking account from DC.  DC is not free at my bank.  So, assuming I disconnected from DC, what I was trying to do was to duplicate the bill paying and transaction downloading that I have now with DC, but using some different transmission method. 

By telephone, Quicken told me that QBP can duplicate the bill payment piece of the service (without any charge), but not the transaction download piece.  So QBP would give me half of what I have now.  But how would I get transaction downloads into Quicken when I'd be terminating DC, my bank does not have EWC, and WC is worthless to me?  Or are you saying that I am paying my bank only for bill payment software and that I would get to keep DC even if I stop their paid PCCBP service?  I doubt that is the case... but what do I know?  Or are you saying that because QBP uses ACH, that I will be able to get the download of transactions through ACH?  That seems doubtful as described below.  

ACH transmits payments (money), but downloading transactions does not involve paying money, only transmitting my banks records of my account to my Quicken software so I can update it.  Does that distinction make any difference? 

Oy!!!!!  
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QPW

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OK I think I'm getting a better picture of this and basically Quicken support is correct.

Like I said before if and how a financial institution charges for Direct Connect is up to them.  In your case is sounds like if "You want Direct Connect your pay $9.95 per month, and can choose to use the bill pay through Quicken or not, but that doesn't change the cost."

Given that it wouldn't make any sense to keep Direct Connect and get Quicken Bill Pay.  You wouldn't want to pay twice for the same basic service.

If Direct Connect (but not bill pay through Quicken) was free it would be a different story.

So to "make this work" as in reduce your costs you would have to go to Express Web Connect to download your transactions.  You said that Suntrust said they don't support Express Web Connect, but Quicken (the program) is telling me different.  It lists Express Web Connect being available for SunTrust bank.  It might be that the support person at SunTrust is wrong on this.  Often times this is the case since this happens way in the "background" and you have to get to the right person before they really know.

But there is yet another possible problem.  As far as I know you can't mix Direct Connect and Express Web Connect accounts in Quicken using the same username.
So that would probably mean all of your other banking accounts have to go to Express Web Connect too.

Now on how Quicken Bill Pay works.  Metavante runs a bill paying system.
Quicken is basically just going to be connecting to that bill paying system and be the "GUI" for it.  It sends and receives requests and results from it.

That bill system is going to need you to fund it.  Metavante is registered as a financial institution.  As such it can setup to do transfers from your financial institution to their system to pay your bills.  And of course they use the US standard for doing that, a ACH transfer.  Whenever you do a transfer from one financial institution to another it is either a ACH transfer or a wire transfer.

You can read more about it here:
https://www.investopedia.com/terms/a/ach.asp

Now on all the complications and who's responsibility is this or that.
In one way I guess you can say that it the price of freedom.

Our government hasn't chosen to regulate any of this.
There isn't any government requirement of financial institutions to support any given system.  Interesting enough in the EU a couple of years ago they put in a requirement that their financial institutions support one or both of two systems for downloading transactions into personal finance software, which of course can also be used for financial institutions to consolidate accounts from another financial institution.

And when you have over 35,000 financial institutions in the US alone with no standards, yes you get a mess.

And note Express Web Connect isn't a standard.  Not only in the sense that no standard board "sees over it" or has published anything about how it works, it is also known not to have any kind of standards protocol.

Express Web Connect can be summarized as nothing more than an agreement between Intuit and the financial institution on how to transfer the transactions from the financial institution's website to the Intuit servers.  And that agreement can be different for every financial institution.  Of course Intuit probably pushes to try to get them to give them the information in maybe just a few different possible formats.  But there is even a bigger problem, and that is just how to log in.  It is extremely clear that the financial institutions each want Intuit to log in using their log in system (which they might change tomorrow) and to play like they are the user.  Note that Express Web Connect was designed to run once a day at night, not an interactive system.

The only thing that probably keeps some of this together is that a lot of the smaller financial institutions actually farm out this work to a third party.  And Intuit can deal with that provider, and as such get setup for multiple financial institutions at a time.

Direct Connect/OFX on the other had is a standardized protocol.  But it hasn't been adopted by all financial institutions. In fact at its height it supported about 4,500 financial institutions, that number is down to about 2,500 now.

It requires special software (and people to support it), and Intuit is charging for supporting it too.

And of course these days the financial institutions have their own offerings and percentage wise Quicken users a small percentage.  And Quicken users don't like to pay the financial institutions for this service.

Intuit doesn't charge for Express Web Connect, and for the most part the financial institutions don't have to run special software and such.

I'm sure the reason Intuit doesn't charge for Express Web Connect is the same reason that Microsoft didn't charge for their "Direct Connect/OFX", they couldn't.

In other words to "break into market" Microsoft choose not to charge anything, and the same would have been true for Intuit to try to expand to more financial institutions.
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David Kosterlitz

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Wow again QPW!  I really appreciate this further detail and info.  It seems the farther I get into this subject, the more complications arise.  Can you tell me where Quicken says that SunTrust Bank has EWC?  

Here is my sense of things, bigger picture wise, non-technical, but practical.  DC is the fully-featured, fully-functional, most robust and best connection.  WC is not full-featured, and may cost less at some banks, but does not meet my needs.  EWC I have never tried, but I am suspecting that it is not as robust, fully-featured and reliable as DC. 

So I look at DC as the "gold standard" of connection methods.  Using DC that is provided by SunTrust Bank in its PCBB service, I get all the features I need:  (1) bill paying from my SunTrust Bank checking account using my SunTrust Bank checking account register within Quicken, and (2) transaction download from my SunTrust Bank checking account into my SunTrust Bank checking account register within Quicken.  I am totally happy with this service.  It seems worth the cost of $9.95 per month.

It was tempting to think that by switching going to QBP I would have the same features for free.  But I can see now that I was wrong to think that way.  QBP might be able to give me service #1 above for free, but cannot give me service #2 above unless my bank has EWC.  Quicken told me that SunTrust Bank does not have EWC available for my personal checking account.  If that was wrong, and, as you say, Quicken does provide EWC to SunTrust Bank for use with personal checking accounts, I'd like to find out authoritatively (so give me a link or some kind of proof if you can).  Only then might it make sense to switch to QBP, though I am afraid that even then, there may be unforeseen, hidden or subtle problems that would make QBP and EWC worse than my SunTrust Bank PCBBP with DC.  Those fears are my "reservations" referred to below.  

You said that switching away from DC would mean that ALL my bank accounts (non-SunTrust Bank) would go off of DC (and I assume you mean my credit card and brokerage accounts, too).  I am confused. 

Other than SunTrust Bank where I have my only checking account, I have other banks for savings accounts, not checking.  I have a brokerage account for investments, not checking.  I have credit cards, which are not checking.  All of those other three types of accounts, savings, investment and credit card, that I have at financial institutions other than SunTrust Bank, download transactions into my Quicken registers for each of those financial institutions.  I do not program in Quicken to have any of those accounts make any payments.  I either go to that institution's website to program a transfer (in the case of savings or investment accounts) or I give my credit card number to a merchant (in the case of credit card accounts).  Are you saying that those non-SunTrust Bank accounts are using the DC I get from SunTrust Bank PCBBP to download transactions from them to my Quicken software?  I wouldn't have thought so.  What I think is that each such non-SunTrust bank, brokerage or credit card financial institution has its own DC arrangement with Quicken (through Intuit) but they just don't charge me any fee for downloading transactions into Quicken.  If so, then my only issue would be with SunTrust Bank's charge for DC, and I would continue to have DC from each of those other financial institutions.  Then, if SunTrust Bank actually does have EWC for personal checking accounts (and at no charge) I could consider switching from PCBBP to EWC at SunTrust Bank and dropping PCBBP (though I still have my "reservations" noted above).

So....    

 
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jacobs, SuperUser

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David,

I think you're torturing yourself. ;)  You actually answered your own questions:
Using DC that is provided by SunTrust Bank in its PCBB service, I get all the features I need... I am totally happy with this service.  It seems worth the cost of $9.95 per month.
I'd stop there.

Just to clarify one of your points of confusion: each account you have in Quicken has its own connection method. You can easily have Direct Connect for one, Express Web Connect for another and Web Connect for another; each account is independent. (Well, that may not be true with multiple accounts at the same financial institution, but you get my point.)
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David Kosterlitz

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Thanks jacobs.  I agree with you!  This whole QBP thing has been a misadventure!  
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QPW

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I agree with both of you that Quicken Bill Pay isn't worth the trouble for you. 

Personally I don't use any bill pay service, I choose "pull" instead of "push" my bills.  As in I go to the biller's site and sign up for them to automatically pay the bill from my credit card (preferred) or checking account.  Past that I probably wouldn't pay for a bill paying service I would just use the web site, but IF I wanted to pay bills through Quicken I would certainly go with paying what the financial institution want for doing it with Direct Connect.

You are correct it is more reliable, and it takes two more players out of the picture.
With Direct Connect Quicken is contacting your financial institution and sending/receiving the request to its bill paying system.  If a problem arises those are the only two "systems" involved.  And you can "fix things" at the financial institution's bill pay system if need be.

With Quicken bill pay you have Quicken, Metavante, Intuit, and your financial institution.
Quicken -> GUI
Metavante  -> Bill Pay
Intuit -> Download transactions (Express Web Connect)
Financial institution -> Provides the funds through ACH transfers to Metavante.

And whereas Direct Connect uses a standardized protocol, Express Web Connect doesn't, it is leveraging the financial institution's website, which can change and cause problems.

Note Web Connect is just downloading a QFX file to get your transactions.  If is basically the "response" that you would get from a Direct Connect/QFX request for the transactions.  So it is limited to transaction downloading and you have to go to the financial institution's web site to get it.

On the subject of mixing Direct Connect/Express Web Connect.

I was talking about you can't mix them if the following is true:
Multiple accounts, at the same financial institution, using the same username to log in.

So this wouldn't affect you at all.

But if say a person had both a checking account and a savings account at the same financial institution under the same username, they could have one setup for Direct Connect and the other setup for Express Web Connect.

Also note Express Web Connect doesn't support investment accounts, they have to be Direct Connect or Web Connect.

On the "authority" that Quicken supports Express Web Connect at SunTrust.
https://ofx-prod-filist.intuit.com/qw2700/data/fidir.txt

This is the server copy of the file that Quicken downloads from Intuit to know what is available.  You will also find it in the sub folders of:
C:\ProgramData\Quicken\Inet\Common\Localweb\Banklist

Here is the SunTrust line from it:
02801 02801 02801 SunTrust Bank http://www.suntrust.com 1-800-382-3232 https://www.suntrust.com/microsites/PCBankingEnrollment/PCBanking/Agreement.aspx ACTIVE BANKING,PAYMENT,CREDIT,ACCOUNTINFO&DIRECT BANKING,CREDIT&WEB-CONNECT BANKING,CREDIT,ACCOUNTINFO&EXP-WEB-CONNECT NOT_QBP NA

You can also see this when setting up a new account:





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David Kosterlitz

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QPW, thanks very much again.  You, jacobs, Mike and the others have all been a big help.  I feel as though I've now "beaten this to death" and there is nothing to be gained by "beating a dead horse."  If it ain't broke don't fix it.  I will stay with SunTrust PCBBP and pay the monthly fee.  As far as this whole QBP fiasco goes, my only comment left is "lately it occurs to me, what a long, strange trip it's been!"
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DanR

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David - it looks like you can pretty easily avoing the 9.95/month from SunTrust. Disable your online services(with SunTrust - inside Quicken), then re-establish using express web connect. Then setup your QBP. It should work just fine. If it does, cancel your direct connect with SunTrust and you should be set.
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David Kosterlitz

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Thanks DanR,

Well, I guess it wouldn't hurt to try what you say and see if it works...
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David Kosterlitz

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OK DanR,

I did what you said.  It seemed like the download, using EWC, worked.  I did have to remove a few duplicate transactions because apparently EWC names the payees or creditors slightly differently than what I had in my register (from using DC).  Since I was just billed $9.95 for PCBBP on 12-7-18, but have de-activated Direct Connect, I think I can try downloading with EWC for the next couple of weeks, and paying any bills using QBP.  If that works OK, then in a couple of weeks I can cancel PCBBP with SunTrust, saving the $9.95 per month charge that would otherwise occur about 1-7-19 and future such charges.  I will keep my fingers crossed.  Can y'all believe this???  I'll update if I have any problems with this plan.

I guess QPW was actually right in saying that SunTrust has EWC for personal checking accounts (and thus the guy on the phone from Quicken was wrong).  SunTrust Bank does not make it easy for a customer to figure that out.  Even when I looked at the proof QPW gave me, in that printout it did not seem clear that they provide EWC!  Thanks to you, DanR, with your step-by-step instructions, and thanks to QPW, you two have both led me to find out that I can use EWC to download!

I might now be "cooking with gas!"


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David Kosterlitz

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Update - I had to call QBP to get it started and then I had to call Quicken to configure the download from my bank using EWC.  After that, it seems like the system is working for me, just as well as before when I was using SunTrust banks PCBBP through DC.  These two companies asked for feedback.

I gave Quicken feedback to the effect of:

The process of shifting from SunTrust Bank's "PC Banking & Bill Pay" (which uses Direct Connect for BOTH making payments from within Quicken AND for downloading transactions into Quicken) to (1) Quicken Bill Pay for online payments from my checking account using QBP's own system and (2) Express Web Connect for downloading transactions to that account was quite complicated, including "linking" and "deactivating" and "re-activating" and it involved several calls to Quicken tech support, QBP tech support, and even to my bank's online banking department.  I was given incorrect information by Quicken earlier (Luis I think his name was, in Customer Service, I believe) that my bank did not have Express Web Connect.  But people in the Quicken online Community Forum said it did, and helped me set it up.  But it turns out that I had to use a different user name for Quicken Bill Pay payments out of SunTrust checking than the one I use for downloading transactions thru EWC (though I only have to input it one time, in the connection method window) and different from my QBP user name to enter their website (though that likely won't be used often).  Fortunately, after calling QBP and working through the bill pay issues, Carlos in Quicken Tech Support was able to prevent the duplications in the Account List that resulted, and iron out the other miscellaneous complications. 

I gave Quicken Bill Pay feedback to the effect of:

I am switching from my bank's PC Banking and Bill Pay (using Direct Connect) which handled bill payments and transaction downloads (both within Quicken), to Quicken Bill Pay for online payments from checking (within Quicken) and my checking account Bank's Express Web Connect for transaction downloads (within Quicken).  The rep got me going with Bill Pay, but then suggested that I call Quicken to get my downloading of transactions working with my bank's Express Web Connect connection method.  Fortunately I got Carlos a senior level tech support guy at Quicken, and he helped me eliminate the duplications I was getting in my Account List.  Turns out I had to change my user name in Quicken for QBP to be different that my user name in Quicken for downloading transactions from my bank (they can't be the same).  Carlos also suggested that I try Password Vault and so I am trying it.  Quicken Bill Pay should have someone like Carlos on their staff or should co-ordinate with Carlos or other senior Quicken Tech Support agents, to make the process easier.

However, despite the complications, I am now getting the downloads by EWC.  I've not yet tried to make a payment using QBP.  I hope to do it as soon as I have a bill to pay that, unlike most of my bills,  is not on automatic debit or automatic charge to my credit card.  If that works, I'll update this thread.  I assume that it will work, and then I will be able to cancel the $9.95 monthly charge from SunTrust Bank for their PCBBP and I will no longer be using DC.  

I really want to thank several users in this forum for giving me helpful information every step of the way!  It was quite complicated, but I think I'll now be getting the benefit of saving the monthly bank charge, which was what I hoped I would get from upgrading to Premier that Quicken.  Maybe some other people would not have spent this much time, but if I can use this new setup for a few years, it will have been worth it.  Plus, I learned a lot.


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QPW

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I'm glad you got working.  Watch out for the 15 payment per month limit. :-)
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Mike

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I am still waiting, David.  Glad you actually heard something that resembles progress.  I look forward to hearing your updates -- hopefully of success.  As I read the posts on this thread, the facts that remain, regardless of excuses that have been posted are:

1. Quicken has little to nothing to offer with their upgrades.  What they do offer to justify updating is poorly executed, if executed at all.

2. Quicken has collected money for services that have not yet been provided.

3. Quicken's and QBP's customer service/support is significantly lacking and has not yet provided any solutions.  (I work in IT.  If I was as poor at resolving issues, I believe I'd be unemployed.)

I have items posted elsewhere, but they're not related to this thread so I'll spare you all my dissatisfaction with Quicken in general.

Good luck, David!!
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David Kosterlitz

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Thanks Mike.  I respect your experience and your comments.  I have a few minor dissatisfactions with Quicken, aside from the QBP issue.  (1) One is:  When I download from my 529 account, each time it makes me go security-by-security and accept each transaction (even if I initially hit "accept all"); then I have to elect, on some of them, average cost or FIFO.  I wish I could just select average cost for all the securities, and also be able to simply hit "accept all" and be done.  Wish Quicken could implement that.  (2) Another is:  I've noticed that after doing One-step Update, after I accept transactions on one account and then select the next account to review the new transactions there, sometimes the program seems to spontaneously hop out of the next account and go back to the one I just finished.  Wish Quicken could fix that.  I've told them about both of these things.  (3) Another issue is that when I do a search and find a list of transactions for that search, I wish that I could download those into an Excel spreadsheet, but it seems impossible or very difficult to do so.  It'd be great if they can fix that.  I am not a techie like you, but I am a detail person...

However, I can live with these minor dissatisfactions, and am generally happy with Quicken.  They basically force you to upgrade every year, even though I'm not sure there is that much incremental change to the program.  But this just makes it like a subscription model, like Microsoft Office 365 went to several years ago.  If this is just life in the 21st century, then I'll just live with it.
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David Kosterlitz

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PS - I decided to "solve" the above issue #1 by having the 529 account not automatically update (with all its different securities transactions) and instead to just manually update that account by periodically going to the 529 plan's website and taking the balance shown there and manually input it into Quicken.  
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Snowman

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Sounds like a good plan. 
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David Kosterlitz

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Thanks!!
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David Kosterlitz

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OK, thanks, that is understandable.  I've looked at some other services, but have not yet found any that I like as much as Quicken.  I do wish, given the comments in this thread, that Quicken would give its customers some reassurance about the longer term future of QBP, i.e., that they will support and improve it.