Very disappointed in how trial handles "Manually Entered Transactions." Changing category counts as "manually entered."

grantsr's Avatar


27 Mar, 2023 10:22 PM

According to your marketing verbiage, on your website, the trial allows one to download and import an "unlimited number of transactions," so that users can fully test out the software. You say the only limitation is that there is a maximum of 100 "manually entered transactions." Otherwise, you say, one should be able to fully test out all of the features of the software.

I find these claims to be disingenuous.

What you leave out is that any change to even an imported transaction counts against that 100 transaction limit. Merely changing the category of a transaction counts as a "manually entered transaction." I am a retired technical writer, and I can tell you that no reader would think the term "manually entered" means the same as "slightly modified." Every normal reader will assume that "manually entered transaction" means creating a brand new transaction from scratch. If I delete all the transactions and re-import them, it doesn't matter. That 100 transaction threshold has been reached, so the software allows no further modifications to the newly imported transactions.

This limitation essentially makes it impossible for me to truly test out all of the features of this program. Without being able to set the categories for more than 100 entries, how can I test out your reporting features. How can I test out the software's ability to "learn" which categories certain transactions should go into? I can't.

I imagine you have already started typing your standard response: That I can simply purchase the product and then get a refund, if I don't like it. You know as well as I that that is just a cop-out. If you are disingenuous when it comes to your trial period, how are customers to expect you to be honest when it comes to returns? Besides, what is the point of a trial that is so limited that no one can truly "trial" the software? Are you hoping customers will fall for the sunk cost fallacy, and just go ahead and buy it after they have spent so much time trying to trial it? That is a classic scammer tactic, and not befitting a legitimate software company.

I have searched your discussion forums, and found a post where this is mentioned. That post is from 2019. I couldn't help but notice that none of your staff commented on that post. But, I find it difficult to believe that your staff simply neglected to read that post, as you have someone read all of the posts. So, I know you have known about this issue since at least 2019, but have chosen to do nothing. Again, very disappointing.

Therefore, my suggestion is that you either be honest about how your trial actually works, or modify your software to not count an imported transaction against that 100 transaction maximum if said transaction only had minor modifications. I understand that, if you allowed any and all modifications to an imported transaction, a nefarious user (with way too much time on their hands) could get around your trial limits by importing one transaction and modifying it over and over again. So, simply allow changes to only the category and memo fields. Simply disallow edits to the payee and amount fields. Or just count those latter edits against the 100 transaction maximum. Further, if a transaction is deleted, then it should not count against the 100 transaction limit, regardless of whether it was imported or truly manually entered.

Finally (although I shouldn't have to mention it): Your reaction to this post will determine whether I choose to purchase your software.

  1. Support Staff 1 Posted by Maddy on 28 Mar, 2023 11:06 AM

    Maddy's Avatar

    Thank you for contacting Moneydance support.

    I'm terribly sorry for the misunderstanding but the trial version is fully functional - no scams :) and it allows you to manually enter 100 transactions indeed.
    Your statement come across very strong and we believe that with some guidance you might be able to reconsider it.

    Imported transactions are not limited, so you'll be able to fully test downloading data from your bank, and importing data from other personal finance software.

    If you decide to purchase the program at a later date you can keep all data you have entered during the trial period.

    Generally you can find the Moneydance knowledge base here which will be useful if you're using the program for the first time. But the crucial article (you might have missed, perhaps) is the following:

    After downloading/importing your data, you should go through the confirmation process, as outlined here.

    To begin the confirmation process, you should select the first transaction in the register with a 'blue dot'. A panel will appear on the right of your screen which shows the 'Current Transaction' details. You should amend the category within this panel, then select 'Confirm'.

    You'll see the solid blue dot change to a blue circle. Moneydance will then move to the next unconfirmed transaction in the register.

    As you go through this process it will become quicker and easier. Moneydance will begin to recognize the information you have previously confirmed, and start to suggest the correct categories within 'Similar Payees' in the panel on the right.

    The next time you download from the bank many of the correct categories will automatically be assigned, and this will improve as you confirm more transactions.

    If you manually re-enter a transaction that was previously downloaded that counts towards the manually entered transactions but modifying an imported transaction does not. So, if there is anything in this process that you have not understood fully, please let us know and we will be happy to provide the information you required.

    Finally, it might be useful referring you to this other article for Reconciling.

    I hope this information is helpful. Please let us know if you have further questions or need more assistance.

    Maddy, Infinite Kind Support

  2. 2 Posted by grantsr on 13 Apr, 2023 12:22 AM

    grantsr's Avatar

    I have been thinking a very long time about my response. You should know that I am a former network manager as well. I have dealt with dozens of vendors and supported hundreds of different programs. I also read every single word of both your Guides and your knowledge base already. (Yes, I am that guy.) I am absolutely not mistaken. I know exactly what I did, and I know exactly what happened. In fact, I did not enter a single manual transaction from scratch. I did not ever "manually re-enter any transactions, either. I only modified downloaded transactions. And yet, I still got the notification that I had exceeded the limit of manually entered transactions.

    Therefore, your statement that, "If you manually re-enter a transaction that was previously downloaded that counts towards the manually entered transactions but modifying an imported transaction does not" is simply incorrect.

    Now, before I go any further, I challenge you to take a computer, with a fresh Windows install, on a reformatted hard drive. Install your software. (I had previously installed version 2022.5.) Import a large enough .QFX file to contain well more than 100 transactions. Simply change the category of 100 of those transactions. Now try to modify one more transaction. Then, honestly tell me what happens.

    With that said, despite the issues with the trial, I have decided to go ahead and purchase the software and finish testing it out over the 90 day refund period. Why? Because I have been doing a LOT of research into alternatives, and Moneydance is one of the few programs that actually meets my needs and works the way I want it to. Perhaps, your early history of being a clone of Quicken played a hand in that. I like that it can easily graph future balances based on transaction reminders, so I can make sure I don't spend more money than I will have available. I like that it has tags as well as categories. I like that it is double-entry but without shoving that in the user's face. Other double-entry personal accounting programs force the user to figure out debits and credits all the time. While, I have owned my own business, and I know how to calculate debits and credits, it is still a pain to do for personal finances. I like the clean user interface. Though, as someone who has programmed in Java (a bit) I can see how your Java libraries are limiting some of your UX design. As a former fan of Java, I like to support anyone who is able to produce a commercial product using it. And, I like that I could write Java extensions or Python macros for your program.

    So, here we are, I don't quite know whether I can trust y'all or not, but I am buying the software anyway. It's not as if I haven't had to do this before. Have you heard of Microsoft? Oracle? (I bet THEY are a nightmare for you.) Yeah, I've gotten used to just working around venders who aren't exactly forthcoming. Don't worry. I'm not out to "Get you." But, I will call things out as I see them. Hopefully, you can simply take that as reliable and helpful input from a customer.

    Speaking of which, I couldn't help but notice that you set this conversation to "Private." Not a good sign.

  3. Support Staff 3 Posted by Maddy on 13 Apr, 2023 11:40 AM

    Maddy's Avatar

    The only reason this thread was set to 'private' is that it came through the 'Refund queue' and generally, refunds are treated as 'private' matters. So, again I'm sorry if you have misunderstood the intention.

    I've set your thread to 'public' again so anyone can add to it, if this is what you wish.
    Please be reassured that 'transparency' is a must for us.

    Please let us know if you have further questions or need more assistance.

    Maddy, Infinite Kind Support

  4. Support Staff 4 Posted by Sean Reilly on 13 Apr, 2023 12:19 PM

    Sean Reilly's Avatar


    I have to apologise for the trial period limit not working as advertised. I personally wrote the code that checks whether an edited transaction counts as a new or existing edit back in 2005. It turns out the structure of a transaction object has changed significantly since then and the condition check is no longer valid. I've now fixed this and the next minor update will stop counting transaction edits as new transactions, and it will also start the counter again at zero for anyone who has already been using Moneydance in the trial mode.

    Also, if you'd like to send me an order number I'd be happy to provide a 50% refund for your recent purchase, as a small gesture to try and make up for the inconvenience of having your trial cut short.

    I appreciate your nice comments about moneydance and agree that java is holding us back a bit in the UX department, but we do have room to improve even within its contraints, and we have plans in motion to break out of the java UI sandbox on mobile platforms.


    Sean Reilly
    Developer, The Infinite Kind

  5. 5 Posted by grantsr on 13 Apr, 2023 04:25 PM

    grantsr's Avatar

    Sean Reilly,

    Thank you so much for contacting me directly. What you have found is one of the things I was about to suggest, but I was kind of waiting to see what response I received. I have never been a professional developer, but I have had my fingers in and out of that pie since 1976. My degree is in CS and Education. (A degree I didn't finish till I was 57.) But, I decided that I wouldn't like the work environment for software developers that is common these days (post Agile).

    Yes, sometimes there are "dependencies" other than merely which libraries are necessary to compile which code, It always seems like overkill to test every single thing in a program every time you merge a branch... until it's not. 😂

    I love Java. There were so many things I wanted to do with it. I could never understand why it just wasn't taking off for desktop applications. Then I was literally heartbroken when Oracle bought Sun. But I still had high hopes for JavaFX. Until that was killed. I tried to re-teach myself C++ but so many of the books are terrible, and I just lost patience with it all. I am an old guy, after all.

    Anyway, I hope you won't mind if I make a lot of very specific suggestions, over time, that I think will improve the user experience. Many of them will be small, and I understand that you may be limited by your existing libraries. But I will make the suggestions nevertheless. Please know that I only bother to make such suggestions for a program that I like, but think has potential to be even better.

    I will make my purchase as soon as I send this response, and get back to you with the order number. Thank you so much.

    Grant Robertson

  6. System closed this discussion on 13 Jul, 2023 04:30 PM.

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