Finance Explorer - Free download and software reviews - CNET Download.com

Finance Explorer

CNET Editors' review

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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All User Reviews

Results 1-10 of 11

  • 4.0 stars

    "A good way to keep track of your spending"

    April 23, 2011  |   By rspmaster

    Version: Finance Explorer 5.1.1

    Pros

    Easy to download banking information

    Cons

    Only one bank website remembered would be useful to have more options.

    Summary

    Works well and easy to use, easy to find if your bank makes any mistakes on the statement. The budget makes saving easier.

    Reply to this review

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Easy and simple!"

    April 19, 2011  |   By nicolleen1

    Version: Finance Explorer 5.1.1

    Pros

    Very simplistic and easy to use. Import bank statements, (ofc,ofx,qif), group entries, create budgets and get a detailed monthly overview of all income and expenses. Stock updates are available. Groups are not predefined and can be adjusted monthly.

    Cons

    Categories and groups cannot be predefined, moving entries from one group or category to another requires the user to retype the assignment of each entry. Also, the column width jumps back to its original settings each time the view is changed.

    Summary

    I was looking for a small, very simple software to use for my personal finances, which is also portable, and this one fulfills pretty much all my requirements. It is great for managing personal money matters.

    Updated on Apr 19, 2011

    Forgot to mention: The manual is also very simplistic, but the forum support is very dedicated and helpful!

    Updated on Apr 19, 2011

    Forgot to mention: The manual is also very simplistic, but the forum support is very dedicated and helpful!

    Updated on Apr 19, 2011

    Forgot to mention: The manual is also very simplistic, but the forum support is very dedicated and helpful!

    Reply to this review Read reply (1)

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  • 4.0 stars

    "It's a great free money management program!"

    April 4, 2011  |   By hardrive77

    Version: Finance Explorer 5.0.4

    Pros

    It was easy to install and easy to set up. Runs fine with no problems.

    Cons

    Could use a set-up wizard to set up accounts.

    Summary

    In economic times, you can't beat this software for free!

    Reply to this review

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  • 2.0 stars

    "Waste of time and effort"

    June 11, 2010  |   By pyrocrafter

    Version: Finance Explorer 4.2

    Pros

    Simple input for simple transactions

    Cons

    Wasted hours on a program that didn't do what I'd expected and then there was an error in the OFX file, so couldn't transfer data to another program.

    Summary

    I just spent all afternoon entering nearly a year's worth of accounts, thinking I'd be able to print out an income and expenditure page for my accountant but you can only print out monthly lists of ins and outs all muddled up together. I'd imported previous account in QIF OK but as it didn't do as I'd expected I asked it to Export the file. MSMoney wouldn't import it, so I downloaded another program to import OFX files. It couldn't do it. So, then I downloaded an OFX analyser from Microsoft which said the file data had mistakes in the code.
    So, now I have to manually enter all the invoices again. Back to MSMoney, which itself plays up in XP. DOH! :(

    Reply to this review

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  • 2.0 stars

    "The only free finance management utility I have found."

    February 26, 2010  |   By beatodermatt

    Version: Finance Explorer 4.1.1

    Pros

    It works if you find out how to make it work.

    Cons

    I found it hard to use and it could be made far more user friendly.

    Summary

    I think I will install a commercial product, but most of them are also very complicated. You need almost a degree in accounting to use some of these.

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  • 4.0 stars

    "easy to use and effective"

    October 2, 2009  |   By rspmaster

    Version: Finance Explorer 4.0.1

    Pros

    easy to download bank statements and make up a budget. provides clear statement of all your assets and what you spend.

    Cons

    Take a little time to find out how it all works.

    Reply to this review

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  • 2.0 stars

    "Discovered that I didn't need this product"

    August 17, 2009  |   By mdvictoria

    Version: Finance Explorer 4.0.1

    Pros

    I uninstalled this product because I don;t need it.

    Cons

    Product uninstalled as above.

    Summary

    I had been using MSMoney2007 and lost it when I reinstalled Windows. I needed it for my backup and couldn;t find original disk and MSMoney has been discontinued. Got to Finance Explorer looking for substitute but after consideration I'm using a Quicken Product I've inetalled..

    Reply to this review

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  • 4.0 stars

    "So easy my mom can use it."

    August 7, 2008  |   By boygnius

    Version: Finance Explorer 3.1.3

    Pros

    It is a simple, compact program that has enough features to help you stay on budget and balance your finances. It loads quickly and doesn't eat up resources.

    Cons

    I wish I could encrypt the information to keep it from prying eyes. Could be too simple for some people.

    Reply to this review

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  • 2.0 stars

    "i couldnt work it out"

    November 13, 2007  |   By birdie74

    Version: Finance Explorer 3.1.1

    Cons

    maybe its me but i couldnt get it to work

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  • 4.0 stars

    "Love It"

    July 7, 2007  |   By Eliandra1022

    Version: Finance Explorer 3.0.4

    Pros

    Very similar to Micro Soft Money....without the price tag for those of us getting ourselves out of debt! Comes with online tutorial, which I am looking forward to perusing.

    P. S. Why would one want a budget / home finances program that would NOT download bank transactions? For those who DO want this there is an open source GNU, which acts as a check register / transaction register in which one must manually type in ALL transactions. Personally, I quickly deleted that program.

    Reply to this review

    Was this review helpful? (4) (0)

Results 1-10 of 11

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