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I'm using Quicken 2008, I'm pondering upgrading to the 2010 edition, but...I'm having some problems; the online balance says I have like 3,000 some dollars and my Ending Balance says that I have like 600 dollars.

I'm totally confused by this. My thought is that the online balance is what the bank believes I have in the bank. But I really don't know how much money I have right now. Is it 3,000 or is it 600? I mean that's a really large gap there.

Why are there two different balances and what do they both mean?

Please note that I get my transaction input from two different places:

  1. My PDA has Pocket Quicken installed on it and I sync this up with my Q2008 installation.
  2. All three of the Financial institutions that I use all sync up with my installation Q2008.

I also read somewhere that if you have duplicate transactions in your Q2008 you should delete them. Does either the 2008 or 2010 edition have support for this, and how do you go about using it to iron out the errors in your account (if they are indeed errors...)

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I just opened my Quicken 2009 to see exactly what you're talking about. This may be slightly different from 2008, but in 2009 there are three numbers at the bottom of the register: Online Balance, Current Balance and Ending Balance.

Online Balance is the number downloaded from my bank. That's what's in my checking account right now, but I know that I've written the rent check and it hasn't yet been taken out of my account.

Current Balance goes by the transactions I've entered, in addition to the information downloaded from my bank. So, that number has taken into consideration that I've got a few checks hanging out there. (Of course, that only works if you tell Quicken that you've written those checks.)

Ending Balance takes into consideration info downloaded from my bank, checks and transactions I've told Quicken about that have taken place already, and upcoming transactions, like my student loan payment that will be automatically deducted from my account tomorrow. You can tell Quicken how far in advance you want these factored in for each bill. For paychecks, I have it set to automatically enter into my register 2 days in advance. For automatic payments, I set it to enter in my register a week in advance.

Now, unless you have more than $2000 in checks hanging out there, it's unlikely that your Ending Balance is correct. But if you have any checks that haven't been processed yet, or you know about upcoming transactions, you really can't run out and spend the $3K that your Online Balance claims you have. (Not that you were planning to do that anyway.)

Bottom line, you need to reconcile your account. Duplicate entries could explain the discrepancy, and should be deleted. In the future, if you're downloading transactions from two places, make sure you match them to avoid duplicates.

Sorry this was wordy, but hopefully it helps! Good luck!

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  • @JCarterRN Hey I just switched to 2009 so it's all good! :) – leeand00 Nov 6 '09 at 20:12
  • I have 2009 now, but where does it say Current Balance? – leeand00 Nov 16 '09 at 3:42
  • Weird... they must have changed it! Where it used to say "Current Balance" it now is blank for bank accounts, and has a "Credit Remaining" figure for credit cards. I wonder if they slipped it in with downloaded updates because it was confusing people before. :) Anyway, I'm sure it was there before, because I was looking right at it when I typed my response. That, or I'm losing my mind... – JCarterRN Nov 16 '09 at 19:09
  • Ok, I think I've figured it out. It seems that Quicken 2009 shows a Current Balance only when that figure is different from the Online Balance. If they are the same, Current Balance disappears. Glad I'm not losing my mind. :) – JCarterRN Nov 19 '09 at 19:25
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While I don't use Quicken (yet – though I am considering it) I'd trust the online balance, i.e. the balance reported by your bank. The other ending balance is calculated by Quicken based on transactions it has in its database. There are at least a couple of likely reasons why there may be a discrepancy:

  • Data errors: If you do have extraneous or missing transactions, it could throw off the Quicken balance until they're corrected. I use Microsoft Money and monitor my transactions carefully and I won't change that practice if I switch to other software. When it comes to financial software: "trust, but verify." Not only do the financial software people have to get it right – so does your bank! Perhaps I'm jaded; my first experience downloading transactions didn't go very well :-)

  • Timing: Another possible discrepancy is that your bank's online balance may be reflecting transactions that are pending. For instance, I've noticed before that my credit card "available balance" as reported online by my financial institution reflected some charges that were authorized but not yet posted to the account. It is especially noticeable when there's a large charge. If your bank "knows about" transactions that are not yet posted, it might reflect the expected amounts in your online balance, whereas Quicken would have no transaction detail yet so it would be unable to factor them into the calculation of the ending balance.

I can't comment on the specific features in 2008 or 2010 with regards to duplicate transactions, but perhaps someone else can comment on that part of your question.

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  • @Chris these are all things to consider. I'll add them to my list of things to look for when I can't get it balanced out. – leeand00 Nov 3 '09 at 5:05

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