If you use Quicken 2007 on the Mac, you may have encountered a bank or broker that allows you to download Quicken data, but is not listed in Quicken’s list of financial institutions. That data presumably would load into the PC version of Quicken, but if you try to open it with Quicken for Mac, it may get paired with the wrong financial institution or not work at all. That’s because Quicken seems to charge institutions extra to license downloads for the Mac; many institutions are PC only.
Fortunately, the files are readable by Quicken for Mac and I have been successful at adding a financial institution of my own. You only have to go through this process once. After that, you simply download and open your data files like usual. I think this is an improvement on the prior art for this hack, which involved changing the downloaded file every time (possibly with the help of a script).
Here is how to set it up.
- Backup your Quicken data file. Maybe twice. We are going to do some minor surgery on it later, and it would truly suck if we lost the patient.
- Create a new Quicken data file for experimentation purposes. Choose New from Quicken’s File menu. Quicken will warn you about creating a new file, but confirm that you want to do that. Quicken will immediately want to create an account, but cancel that.
- Update the financial institutions list by choosing Financial Institutions from the Online menu, then clicking Update List. If your institution appears on the list after the update, that’s great news. You should open your original data file, update the financial institutions list there, and proceed as normal for creating a Quicken download account.
- Assuming no joy yet, quit Quicken and find the new data file in the Finder. Right-click on it and choose Show Package Contents. Open the Contents folder and then the FIDir folder, and then open fidir.txt in a text editor like TextEdit.
- Now download a Quicken data file from your institution. The download should have a .qfx extension. Find that file in your downloads folder and open it — and this is important — in your text editor, NOT Quicken. The easiest way to do this is to drag the file to the TextEdit icon in the dock.
- The Quicken download is in a format called XML, which uses “tags” enclosed in angle brackets. Search for the
FIDtags, which should be about 20 lines from the beginning of the file. Make a note of the “official” institution name and ID number.
- Switch to fidir.txt. Make the window fairly wide. You will notice that the data is in roughly columnar format. The first column corresponds to the FID, and the next column is the ORG.
- Now comes a tricky part. You need to find a financial institution that offers similar downloads to the one you just downloaded from your institution. The download types are in the third-to-last “column” of data. For my checking account, I looked for “BANKING&WEBONLY”. Also, make sure the word “ACTIVE” precedes “BANKING&WEBONLY”. You may need to try a few different download types before you get one that works.
- Copy the entire line for the similar institution. You must copy exactly one line of text.
- Determine where your institution should be on the financial institutions list alphabetically and paste the line you just copied. Replace the ID number and institution name with the FID and ORG name in your downloaded file. If the FID is less than five digits, type a zero first. You do not have to worry about the other data on the line, like the web address and phone number.
- Close both files in the text editor and open the experimental data file in Quicken.
- Find the .qfx file in the Finder and double-click on it. Quicken should offer to set up an account for you.
- Assuming all that worked, perform steps 3-12 on your actual Quicken data file.