Today I’m writing with some big news: this fall we are switching to a new pricing model. This new model will coincide with the release of Banktivity 8 for Mac, iPhone and iPad. We call this new model a “subscription that doesn’t suck” because, while you will be asked to pay annually, if you choose to cancel: the app continues to work and provide value, and we never hold your data hostage. For the rest of this blog post I dive into why we are changing pricing models, and I cover some of the details of our new subscription.

One important note before I dive into the details: over the coming weeks I plan to release a couple more blog posts covering the new features coming to Banktivity 8 for macOS, iOS and iPadOS. It’s been a long road to get here, and I’m excited to finally be sharing what we’ve been working so diligently on!

Why change pricing models?

There are two main reasons for switching to our subscription model. First, we want to work on things that make you, our customer, happy. Second, a lot has changed since we first started offering connected services. What used to be cheap, or even free, has now become quite costly.

Happy customers

We hear a lot from our customers, and that’s great. We hear that you want enhancements to existing features to make the application easier to use, faster releases of bug fixes, new features and OS compatibility updates, and you want all of our applications to work together. We want all of those too and our new subscription model helps us get there.

More updates, more frequently

Going years between big releases isn’t really good for customers or us. We want to release features as they are ready, not accumulate a bunch so that we can then declare a big new release and charge for it. With subscription we can just release features as they are implemented – this is a win for everyone.

One purchase, all of our apps

If you go out and buy all of our apps today, you will be faced with two required purchases (Mac and iPad), one free download (iPhone), and one optional subscription for Direct Access — which works across all devices. In addition to this being confusing, it never feels good to have to buy so much to go “all in” on personal finance software. We want customers to manage their finances at their convenience and we’ve developed three great apps (Banktivity for Mac, iPhone and iPad) to help them do that. But it’s confusing to have to buy two different apps and one subscription and understand how it all works. With our subscription you pay and get access to (and support for) all of our apps, including all upgrades with new features, enhancements, and fixes. 

Online services

Back in the old days, there were many online services that were free and we were able to piggy back on these. For example, Yahoo’s stock quote service used to be free, disk space was often free and so on. But times have changed. Yahoo doesn’t even have a stock quote API for developers anymore. Really, across the board there has been an increasing monetization of data. Additionally, services which we’ve maintained for years, like our cloud sync server, are more expensive to operate now because of increased security threats. When it comes to managing financial data, you don’t want a company that has a “set and forget” mentality. We take security and privacy seriously, even if it demands more resources from us. By switching to our subscription model we can ensure that our customers are paying for — and receiving — active support and security for our online services.

What happens if I cancel?

We understand that some customers might wince at the sound of subscriptions. We get that! Many companies today take a very unpalatable stance on data access. For example, if you subscribe to Adobe’s Creative Suite and you stop paying their subscription, you can’t even open your existing Photoshop files. Hitting closer to home, if you subscribe to YNAB, but decide to not pay your subscription, you can’t access your budget or data. We think this is an odious practice: they are effectively holding your data hostage – ransom payment required! 

Our approach is fundamentally different than many of the subscriptions out there. With our subscription, we don’t hold your data hostage. If you decide to cancel (hey we get it, it happens, no hard feelings!) you can continue to use Banktivity in basic mode. That is you can still add accounts and transactions, manage your budget, create and edit reports and so on. Other premium features, mostly the ones that connect to our online services, will stop working. This means with a cancelled/expired subscription, Direct Access, stock quote download and such will stop working. Similarly, our technical support will only be available to people with active subscriptions. However, our online support articles will remain available to everyone.

Common Questions

How much does it cost?

Our customers span a broad range when it comes to where they are on their financial journey. Some of our younger customers have only recently gotten to the point in their lives where they have finances to track at all, and may just be beginning to build an emergency fund — while some customers are managing millions of dollars across a diverse array of accounts and currencies. Given our customers’ diversity, we knew a one-size-fits-all pricing wouldn’t work for our subscription.

We will be offering three different pricing tiers to better accommodate our customers’ needs.

Our lowest priced tier is called Bronze and will cost $49.99 USD a year (that’s a little more than $4 a month). It includes everything you need to get started with managing your finances including Direct Access connectivity, cloud sync, budgeting and more.

The next tier up is Silver and includes everything in Bronze plus support for tracking investments, mortgages and loans, real estate and more. Silver also includes support for downloading stock quotes and home prices (US homes only). Our Silver tier is $69.99 USD a year (or less than $6 a month).

Gold is our premium tier. It includes everything in Bronze and Silver plus support for setting up and tracking accounts in different currencies and check printing. The gold tier also allows you to download currency exchange rates. The gold tier is $99.99 USD a year (or a little over $8 a month).

Compared to what some of our competitors offer, we think our new subscription is a great value.

Is there a free trial?

Yes! You can try the new Banktivity 8 apps for free for 30 days. After 30 days, your credit card will be billed based on the selected tier (bronze, silver or gold). During your trial you can switch tiers as much as you’d like to help you decide which is the right feature set for your financial tracking needs.

What happens if I’m a paying Direct Access subscriber and I want to move to Banktivity 8?

We allow customers to convert their remaining Direct Access time to the new system. This way our customers that want to move to our new subscription don’t have to leave unused time on our old system.

Can I subscribe through Apple’s App Store?

Yes, you will be able to subscribe through Apple’s ecosystem or buy from us. If you download Banktivity for Mac from our website, then the purchase will be through us. If you sign up through one of our apps downloaded from the App Store, then you’ll be signing up through Apple. You will still get the same great support no matter which channel you choose!

What if I want to stay on Banktivity 6 or Banktivity 7?

You can continue to stay on your current version of Banktivity if it is working for you. Nothing about them is changing now, but they will no longer be developed and support will eventually be phased out.

Will Banktivity 8 work offline?

Yes. While an internet connection is required to purchase and use some of our online services, all non-Internet based features fully work, even if you are offline.

Conclusions

We didn’t arrive at these changes overnight. For years we’ve been thinking about ways to deliver more updates to customers in less time. Further, we need a better way to pay for the online services our customers expect us to develop and maintain, in a world where those services incur continuous ongoing costs. Last, we wanted to do all of this while still offering a tremendous value to customers with the right spirit.

If you are a current Direct Access subscriber we think switching to subscription with Banktivity 8 makes a lot of sense. For as little as $5 more a year you get all three Banktivity apps, the new features coming to Banktivity 8, and access to future features as we continue to improve and enhance Banktivity across Mac, iPhone and iPad.

We love our customers, without you, we wouldn’t be where we are today. Further, we want to be around for many more years to come. So, please accept a heartfelt THANK YOU for your support over the years and we look forward to building the best finance apps for you and your family for many years to come.

I’m looking forward to talking about some of the user-facing features coming in Banktivity 8 for Mac, iPhone and iPad in the coming weeks!

Sincerely,

Ian Gillespie, President

Ian Gillespie
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490 comments on “A subscription that doesn’t suck

  • I started off with iBank and have been a Bantivity Customer for a while. I held my nose and bought it because it wasn’t Quicken. But this simply is not a fair upgrade. I am paying $5 more on the basic subscription just to lose features I have now. And to get what I have now, I have to pay $25 more. So where is the customer-centric vision in that? I agree with what one of your ‘soon to be former’ customers said — sell more product to make more money. Don’t gouge your loyal base. Listen, Banktivity is not all that great, even though the customer service is really good. I am constantly fixing it’s duplicate entries, it’s wrong transfers into accounts, the direct access is quirky, some things merge, other things don’t, the reports are way too arcane, and my register is almost never right unless I go through my online bank statement and do a ‘quick reconcile’. This is not flawless software you’re selling. But it’s not the quicken monopoly and it’s just for Mac, and that’s why I came here. To keep my business, you need to give better answers than telling me I am getting more than I need in exchange for paying more than I can afford. Quicken is dangling a $46.79 price for more offerings than your $69.00 price. I think you can take off the multiple device support and cloud-based storage, and repackage this to a much more palatable package for consumers who just want to sit at their mac once a week and take care of their bills. Please don’t do this!

    • Hi John, thanks for the comments. If you just want to sit down on your Mac once and a week and take care of bills, you should subscribe for a year and then not renew. The app will keep working and you’ll get updates, free. You won’t get connected services or tech support, though. This is basically why we offer this unconventional piece to our subscription. We know there are customers out there don’t use our connected services and don’t need our technical support. For those under these conditions, then buy the subscription once and be done. It’s a really good deal! 🙂

      • That’s what I’d take (and I’d have to go the Gold one, just because I have accounts in two countries), but I’d loose the stock prices, which is an important part for anyone managing their retirement assets through banktivity.

      • Hi Ian,
        I like the look of the new version. I am a version 7 user in the UK so can’t use the online service..That suits me and I’m happy to import my transactions manually via QIF files .
        Am I right in thinking, from your comments above, that version 8 without a subscription would be the best solution for me? If I download the trial version but don’t proceed with a subscription, would I still be able to use Banktivity 8 in offline mode?

  • Hi Ian, I am using Banktivity 8 under 30 day trial to see if it fits my requirements..So far so good and I am enjoying this App. I have few queried though before I decide to go for subscription.

    1) If I choose to cancel subscription next year, do I still have to  login on Banktivity App with Banktivity account?

    2) After cancelling subscription, would I be able to import transactions using .OFX files  saved on my laptop?  

    3) In one of reply you mentioned that after cancelling subscription, the app will keep working and you’ll get updates. Please can I ask, up to what software release, we will get free updates? 

    As a UK based user, I am not planning to use Direct Access or other online services so want to make sure I can use Banktivity 8 offline in case I choose to cancel subscription at some stage. 

    Thanks in advance. 

  • I don’t know if I have the paid version of Banktivity 8. how do I find out? I have had trouble
    changing from 7 to 8 and have written chats and, so far, have gotten no help. Please help.

  • Interesting read and I thank you for it. I was JUST ABOUT to change from Banktivity (cur ver 5.6). I do not use any of the wiz features like investments or budgeting or direct downloading. Every few years I upgrade just to stay current but I am not a fan of subscriptions given my basic needs (check writing and manual import of credit cards and bank reconciliation). So why move on and not just upgrade? I would feel significantly better if these two issues have been resolved favorably. I ‘get’ I can buy for a year and then cancel but prefer not to do that. (1) Over various iBank/Banktivity releases I continue to have with importing credit card activity as the rules are extremely confusing so things like Amazon or Apple or Lyft or Groceries, etc. never seem to have proper Categories applied (typically do not even get applied). I have called in on this over the past years and was basically given the cold shoulder – you can go back and see the transcripts – which morphed into ‘can’t help’ because you do not have a supported version. Another reason to upgrade now and again- I get it. (2) While not a fan of subscriptions – which I think your writeup did a good job in making its case, am I to understand I must go to the Gold $100 level/year just to support check printing? Can I not get [what I consider] this basic feature at the lowest tier? Thank you.

    • Hi Stuart, getting the categories to automatically appear 100% correct all the time isn’t realistic. Depending on how the vendor names gets reported to your bank, it can change and then the import rule won’t pick it up. Similarly, for many vendors, the “right” category can change. For example, sometimes I buy household stuff at Amazon, but sometimes it could something totally different (e.g. groceries, home maintenance, etc.)

      You do need to subscribe to gold for a year at least once. But then you can downgrade to a lower tier and the check printing feature will keep working.

  • Have you fixed the direct access issues for EU banks yet? its been a long time.. until this is fixed I won’t upgrade and I will constantly look for alternatives. I agree with the first poster. Banktivuty isn’t great software. its ok. it has the edge in that it has a reasonable mobile app and is available on Mac.. but that is not good enough in reality.

    Paul

  • Hi Ian,

    Cutting to the chase:
    Do I need to subscribe and pay for the Silver level in order to continue using (adding/editing) loan and mortgage account types?

    Backstory:
    I have been a long time user since iBank 3, similar to many others and also do not really use the connected services. I really did not mind paying between $30-$50 USD each year to upgrade on my own time. So we are now moving to a service based (aka subscription based) model for another price hike. I compared your subscription model to many others and it is comparable. So no major complaints other than not allowing all account types in the bronze level?

    For all the dysfunctional parts such as direct access and what not that folks rely too much on automation, I just go with the extra few minutes of manually entering my things in to ensure things are how I want them to be. I get the complexity and the fact that it’s never going to be perfect for every scenario.

    In regards to upgrades, not one person has asked the right question. It matters not when or if the services for Banktivity 7 will continue. It’s simple evolution. The fact is Apple is moving towards ARM based systems with their M based CPU’S and from past history this means we really only have two years before the plug is pulled. Even though Banktivity 7 is not supported on Big Sur with an M based chipset, it functions due to Apple’s Rosetta. So how long will that last is the appropriate question?

    Anyways, I want to continue using Banktivity. I did move to Quicken recently but the conversion was just a huge mess. So I’m back and reading the fine details. Do I have to subscribe to the Silver level for a year to unlock the use of the loan accounts I have or will the bronze level be enough?

    • Hi Arvin,

      You’d need to pay for and subscribe to Silver at least once to manage loan and mortgage accounts. If you didn’t need Direct Access for those accounts, you could then downgrade to bronze.

  • I’m currently using Banktivity 5,6.9 in the UK. .If I subscribe to Banktivity 8 bronze will all my data on 5,6,9 automatically follow me over?

  • Where is the option to cancel the subscription? It’s not very clear on the website under the FAQ or very accessible in the application itself?

  • Hi Ian,

    I have been using iBank since 3. I am upgrades all the way to 7 over the many years. I don’t see that you have added Archive? Way back there was talk about doing so in maybe the next upgrade but it still hasn’t happened in 7!

    Does upgrade 8 have Archive added?

    Dan

  • I won’t be adding this subscription. I prefer to go into my accounts and manually download .qfx or .qif file, being certain each transaction is legitimate and applied to the correct “category.” I prefer to go into my data manually and export information from reports to see where my money is going. In that regard, Banktivity has gotten worse, not better. It’s almost impossible to search for a given transaction because I have to go through every register manually. There are services I WOULD pay more for, like better scheduled transactions that automatically post each month and prompt me to post, and reporting exports to Excel that help me see where my money has gone, rather than the rosy plans I laid out for where it should go. The road to hell is paved with good intentions; I’m interested in reality. I know: what could be better for you than having me pay you every month for something I ought to have been able to buy once and have been done with. I know: everyone is doing it, and you’re just jumping on Microsoft’s and Adobe’s bandwagon. My suggestion would be: come up with software that will allow me to export data from registers as well as reports and import it into Excel, and I would buy it once again.

    • Thanks for the feedback Karen, I appreciate it. Just want to clear up that you can export data from registers via File > Export Selected Transactions. From there you should be able to import that file into Excel. Thanks for the feedback on improving scheduled transactions, we will see what we can do.

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