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Forgettable finance

Don't bother with this pointless personal finance program.

Personal finance technology has come a long way; there are now Web sites that will automatically download your transactions and alert you when you've gone over budget or are in danger of overdrawing your checking account. And then there are programs like Finance Explorer. Although the program does what it's designed to do--mostly--it just doesn't measure up in a world of increasingly sophisticated personal finance software.

Finance Explorer has a pretty bare-bones interface. Down the side there's a menu listing different accounts including bank, cash, credit card, investment, and loan. Users are supposed to be able to download their bank information in OFX, QIF, or OFC formats and then import it into Finance Explorer, but that's not quite how things worked out for us. We attempted to import an OFX file, but the program said that it wasn't a supported file type. Since our bank doesn't offer QIF or OFC, we decided to take our chances with an QFX file, even though that's not listed among the file types that Finance Explorer supports. It worked anyway, but once our information had been imported, we didn't find there was much we could do with it. Users can create budgets, but it wasn't clear how they related to the imported financial information. The program's Help file was a joke, with almost no information about how the program works. Overall, we were thoroughly unimpressed with Finance Explorer; it doesn't seem to do much of anything, and we can't think of any reason why someone would want this program when there are so many really useful competitors.

Finance Explorer installs politely but leaves a file behind upon removal. We do not recommend this program.

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