Q: I have just purchased Quicken 2004 and I have started getting all of my credit card balances online. I’m also paying my credit card bills and other bills electronically.

When I get a payment notification by email, should I print it out for my records, or is downloading the account information to Quicken enough?

I am scared about losing the paper trail, and possibly damaging my credit by not keeping my books balanced.

A: I get all of my credit card statements online, too. Until you’re feeling comfortable with the program, I’d download the information into Quicken and also print a copy of the record so you can make sure the download of information has posted correctly.

I’d do this for about 6 months, until you’re confident that the records are downloading correctly.

The best way to check, of course, is to reconcile your credit card statements at the end of each month. Since you’re just starting out on Quicken, it should be easy to do. Simply follow the directions when you hit the “reconcile” in the banking section.

Also, when you pay bills online, you won’t have a check number to input into your system. I usually type in “epay” for the check number. This allows me to find my credit card payments rather easily.

Good luck with the program, and congratulations on taking such a positive step for your finances this year.

Published: Dec 22, 2003