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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Ian Gillespie, President