Mint.com Review – Should I Use Mint?

Mint is a FREE online personal finance (web 2.0) service similar to Quicken. For over three years now, I’ve taken mint.com for a test spin with my personal finances. With Mint you have no local software to install, and it’s a service you can access with any web browser or mobile device. This review of Mint.com has been updated for 2013.

Using Mint

To use Mint it’s free to signup. Mint is a breeze to add accounts. I picked ten accounts we have to test their service. I selected a mixture of: banking, credit cards, loans, and investing brokerage accounts. Upon initial setup, Mint.com seamlessly downloaded my financial data.

Every time you revisit their web site, your financial data gets updated automatically. The web site presents your financial information in a slick easy-to-use web interface – pretty graphs and all. Though the service appears to be more about the glitz than useful functionality. Mint’s dashboard web page gives you summary of what’s going on with your personal finances.

Budgeting and Goal Setting

Mint’s primary feature is all about budgeting and setting up goals, and this is where their service shines. Budgeting is super easy to setup. Downloaded transactions will get auto-categorized into predefined categories. You can create your own subcategories, but unfortunately cannot modify the top level categories.

mint.com - Budget Overview

At glance see your spending habits (click to enlarge)

You also have the option to make changes to your transactions after downloaded. The auto categorization is far from perfect, and you will need to make adjustments from time to time. Though once memorized, Mint will remember repeating transactions so it will automatically match to the same category in the future.

Mint.com’s service seems to be more focused on catering to the masses. It is very strong with budgeting and tracking expenses, but its investing area is simplistic at best. Like most of Mint, it is much simpler than Intuit’s Quicken and lacks many features (see our Quicken Review).

With the acquisition of Mint by Intuit, it’s obvious this is the future of the Quicken product line. In addition, Microsoft discontinued Money January 2011, so there aren’t many viable alternatives around.

Mint.com Apps and QuickView

Mint offers access to your financial data via their web site, and by your favorite mobile device. They have mobile apps for Apple’s iPhone, iPad, and Google’s Android. This allow for quick and easy access to your finances on the go. You’ll need to sign up for an account on mint.com first, before you can use the app.

mint.com Apple iPad

mint.com Apple iPad screenshot

First released in 2012, Mint QuickView is a companion app available only for Apple’s OS X operating system. It’s another method to get a quick glimpse into your personal finances. Mint QuickView is easy to install from Apple’s App Store, and syncs up with your Mint.com account. You then get a green leaf at the top of your toolbar that’s always running in the background. The app will alert you via badge notifications of changes to your finances. If you have Apple’s Mountain Lion or Mavericks edition of OS X, it can also put notifications into your message bar which is quite useful. QuickView has similar functionality to Mint’s web site, and is recommended if you use Apple’s OS X and like Mint’s service.

Get Alerts From Mint

Mint keeps an eye on your money, so you don’t have to. Alerts can go to an Email address or directly to your smartphone. Get alerts for:

  • Late Fees
  • Over budget on a category
  • Bill reminders
  • Rate changes
  • Large purchases

Great Features in Mint

  • Weekly summaries via Email – Find out what’s happened in the past week with your finances.
  • Alerts via Email or SMS page – Mint will alert on pending bills ,and ways to save money on transaction fees.
  • Budgeting and Goal Setting – Know exactly where you are spending your money in a easy to understand graphical format.
  • Mobile App Support – Support for the Apple’s iPhone, iPad, OS X, and Google Android. The apps are all free. Get your financial information on the go.
  • Automatic Downloaded Transactions – Automatically syncs your financial data into Mint (when it works properly).

Issues with Mint

  • Lack of advanced features - Their investing section is OK at best. Personal Capital is a possible alternative that offers better investment tools.
  • Synchronization Issues – This is a sore point with many users of Mint. At times syncing with your bank breaks, and can take a long time to get resolved. At the moment I have accounts syncing up with Mint, but are no longer showing in my accounts area to modify.
  • Lack of report generation – The only way to generate a report is exporting a CSV file to a spreadsheet like Microsoft Excel.
  • No Reconciliation – You cannot reconcile against your monthly bank statements. Mint assumes the data downloaded is always correct.
  • Lack of Customer Support – Mint.com is a free product. I assume because of this the support is lacking in this area. You have support via Email (reported to be very slow to respond) and their forums. Phone support is not available.
  • No History Before Mint.com – You cannot import data from other personal finance application into Mint.com.
  • Security - I understand their security setup. What concerns me is the centralization of so much data by itself. This can be very useful for a hacker. You can’t write checks or purchase stock, but that’s not the issue I’m concerned about. It’s the disclosure of financial information in one central location.
  • Backups – With many web 2.0 services, you are relying on them to perform proper backups. While in this case no critical data can be lost (account data is stored with the bank), the setup of categories and alerts are stored with Mint. Users have reported loss of transactions within the service.
  • Auto Categorization – Assignments to income/expense categories are not always correct, and sometimes manual intervention is needed.

How Does Mint.com Make Money?

The service is free to use, and there are no hidden fees – otherwise known as the freemium model. You might be asking, “How does Mint make money from this free service?” Mint makes their money by offering “ways to save” or make you money by recommending various financial services in which they get a referral fee.

Mint also sells the aggregate (not your individual) financial data to various providers. Things like: consumer spending, the average credit card balance, how many retirement accounts a user may have, etc. It must be stressed, the data is collected anonymously and does not reference back to individual usage.

Is Mint Safe?

I think locally installed applications like Quicken are going the way of the Dodo bird. I know, call me old fashion, but I like having all of my data locally within Quicken. I do think a hybrid of local and remote application (cloud based) like Mint.com is the future of this industry. Intuit’s Quicken 2014 edition shows some future possibility of this realm.

Since I’m in the technology industry and deal with security all the time, I know the risks of leaving security to a third party. Mind you, I’m not saying Mint is insecure. In many cases an individual’s desktop computer is much less secure. Of course, for Mint the perception of security is their biggest adoption road block.

How Does it Compare to Quicken?

While I use Quicken as our primary method to manage our finances, I have also somewhat outgrown Quicken as well. Recently, I’ve been creating Microsoft Excel spreadsheets for managing parts of my portfolio. Specifically I manage our precious metals, and security bucket (which is primarily fixed income) outside of Quicken. Quicken, or any other application for that matter, does not seem to have tools to help manage these areas of your finance. To manage these assets, I wind up transferring the total amount into a Quicken account. With this said, Quicken still has many features and functionality that in Mint is either very simplistic or non-existent.

Summary

Mint is great for creating, and tracking your budget. The alerts via Email are useful and welcomed feature. It’s unfortunate that Mint’s investing area is very weak for all but the basic investors. The investing area is so weak – they don’t list it on their own web site as one of the primary reasons to use Mint.com.

Mint, unfortunately, does not have investment and asset allocation tools like Personal Capital (see Personal Capital review). If you have over $100,000 in investments, Personal Capital is a much better fit.

In addition, Personal Capital doesn’t have the same synchronization issues as Mint.com. When Intuit acquired Mint.com, it replaced Yodlee (which does the financial synchronization) with their own internal system.

Many users of Mint.com stated synchronization issues started happening only after this switchover occurred. Personal Capital uses Yodlee to link up accounts. Our experience Personal Capital’s synchronization is more reliable.

We recommend using Mint for its basic budgeting features. Since Mint.com does not cost anything to use, you might as well signup and give it a spin. For better investment tools and more reliable synchronization, I recommend Personal Capital instead.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Comments

  1. Kayla says

    I love mint.com. I use it daily. Although it was meant to be a budgeting tool, I used it to track my expenses and understand where my money goes. The flexibility to run pie charts for monthly, quarterly and yearly spending reports is awesome.

    Another feature I like is to compare your spending with any city in the US it tracks. I learned my city has one of the higest drinking spending. No wonder we have so many drunk kids around here. LOL…

    I recently installed the free iPhone version. It's alright, not great, but still useful.

    • JB says

      It might be a decent program (remember, you get what you pay for) but their “customer service” is HORRIBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No phone number to call – just email, which is maddening! I have been waiting EIGHT days for the site to update my account with my credit union’s new URL link!! EIGHT DAYS to change the old URL to the new one!!! Meanwhile, nothing is being updated in my account and it’s VERY frustrating!!!!

      Even MORE frustrating is that I keep getting the same auto-generated responses to my emails from ‘people’ like “Ahmad”, “Fariz”, “Febry” (are these even people???) every time I inquire about when the link will be updated . . . “Thank you so much for your email. We love hearing from you, whether you’re sharing a great testimonial or something we’d better fix. All of us are working really hard to make Mint better for you.” BLAH BLAH BLAH!!

      So if you decide to use the program and spend many, many hours changing information to make it correct, just be prepared if something goes wrong because you will be waiting a VERY LONG TIME for the fix!!!!!

      • CM says

        JB: absolutely correct. Their email responses are always the same pre-canned text, and maybe something “We understand your frustration and have forwarded your comments on to our web team blah blah blah”

        This was even the case when I wrote to inform them (after a month of waiting for them to resolve an issue with my bank, which apparently was a result of Mint’s refusal to respond to a request from my bank for some documents involving information security and privacy) that I was closing my Mint account. Mint’s problems with my banks seemed to be increasing in frequency and duration (in my last months, it was usually 2 or 3 accounts down at a time), so I gave up on them and their nonexistent customer service.

  2. John says

    I agree with you that I prefer to take care of my own security. I think Quicken still stores your login information on its servers. I haven’t confirmed this though.

    • says

      Hi John,

      Its been said the most secure computer is turned off and locked in a safe.

      In my business I deal with Internet security all the time. With that said I feel more secure with my data since I can deal with the ‘knowns’ and potential access points

      With Mint (and any financial institution for that matter) there are many layers of unknowns. This isn’t saying Mint isn’t secure either. Using Quicken potentially has less access points. Though many unknowable users have compromised desktops and could be better off not keeping their data local.

      • dP says

        tbh, mint.com is probably more than secure than 80% of users desktops. We are talking about a lot of liability here. You think Intuit acquired this company without putting a lot of money in the backend security??? It’s absurd to even suggest that. I work for a social-networking site of only around 2 million users, and you should see the amount of resources we put into security.

        • says

          dP, it’s not the amount of time or money that’s the issue. A site is only as secure in it’s weakest link. As a security professional we have to be correct 100%, a hacker it only takes once.

          Again this isn’t stating mint.com isn’t secure. I also use mint, though I would rather deal with knowns with my setup. With any cloud based solution it’s a black box to the end user. So you have no idea how much security (or not) is going into that service.

          Keep in mind the many recent break-ins to Fortune 500 companies services. These companies also spent a lot of money on security. The RSA getting hacked is a good example.

    • says

      Hi Susan, If you are referring to mint.com there is nothing to sync. The iphone gets it’s data from the web site. The web site gets it’s data from the banks. There is no desktop for the Macintosh is the same thing. Currently there is no Mint app for Windows. Everything sits within the cloud.

  3. Matt says

    I was a big fan of Quicken Online. As I began the forced transition to Mint.com, I already noticed significant differences that I considered big failings. Mint.com’s screens allow NO customization (columns, views, etc.). QO was able to show you form the overall transaction screen what account each transaction was under–Mint.com only allows you to do this when you select account by account.

    Mint.com also has a problem with duplications–I ended up with **5** different occurrences of my main checking account, completely throwing off my balances and requiring me to spend HOURS marking duplicate transactions. I am about to discontinue using because of this–my last transaction from my ORIGINAL instance of my primary checking account stopped getting updated over a MONTH ago.

    Also, my 401(k) (via Hartford) and my Mellon ISD accounts lost the ability to log in via Mint and they are completely out of date. I have asked Mint support about these, but they have yet to fix. I understand this is a free service, but it has failed to be useful. Since I do not receive paper statements on any of my accounts, this means I now have to go back and make sure I have pdfs or downloads of all my transactions :( I was hoping I could continue to use Mint to consolidate everything, but I can no longer rely on it.

  4. says

    @InvestorJunkie – I too remember the early days of Quicken and it’s amazing how far personal finance software has come in the last couple of decades. What is equally amazing is how much further it needs to go in order to accommodate the varying levels of consumer needs. Mint was launched as a quick and easy budget tracking and categorization tool with a truly genius mechanism for categorizing expenses. This was the game changer as prior to Mint, the personal finance software space was relatively dead. Since then, they’ve bolted on some neat tools, but it remains, by and large, budgeting and tracking software.

    As Mint continues to sign up new users at a rate in the tens of thousands each week, I think, as you point out, the trend toward web apps over desktop apps is here to stay. Certainly security is always a concern, but there’s no such thing as 100% secure. The best answer to the uncertainty of having accounts hacked is continual, regular monitoring – something that services like Quicken, Mint, and others make very easy and convenient.

    You mentioned that you use Morningstar, and I assume this is the retail version available at Morningstar.com. If you’re looking for more advanced features, your best bet is to purchase their advisor workstation product that runs around $2,500 to $6,000/year. A big price tag, but the features are exponentially more robust (yes, account aggregation is available through non-consumer facing providers and seems to work better). Whether or not that kind of data will ever be free is hard to say, but I can tell you from conversations I’ve had with Morningstar that it’s unlikely to happen anytime soon as they control the lion’s share of that market and it would be extremely difficult to re-create their data and analytics.

    Also, I’d like to ask you a question. Why do categories matter in budgeting? We’re working on our second version (1st one was a stinker) that we’ll release next month and are intentionally staying away from categories because we don’t see value in tracking them. Could you give some perspective on this?

    • says

      Hi Michael,

      Morningstar Advisor workstation? I’ll have to look into that. I was actually thinking a Bloomberg terminal.

      Categories? For reporting and accuracy of budgeting. Especially that they are automatically done for you.

      • says

        If you’re more into trading, the Bloomberg terminal is hard to beat. I would say Morningstar’s Advisor Workstation is more for reviewing and optimizing portfolios than for day-to-day trading. Either way, there is something to be said for paying significant sums for data and analytics once your portfolio reaches a certain size.

  5. Brian in Austin says

    Excellent review. Thank you for putting it together. I’m was a long time user of Microsoft Money. In fact, when I made the switch to OSX I too invested in Fusion to maintain my use of Money. I was saddened by Microsoft’s exit from the market but also saw some opportunity to choose a new option. I reviewed tens of different options including Mint, Quicken for Mac (a steaming pile of dung – I agree with you), Moneydance, iBank, Cha-Ching, Liquid Ledger, MoneyWell, … and several others. What I found was that, except for iBank and Moneydance, all excelled at one thing but were woefully inadequate for completing against Quicken for Windows. Moneydance was impressive.. boasting features that rival Quicken for W but I found the interface clunky and not, shall I say, Mac-esk? I ultimately decided to go with iBank because of its clean interface. I also decided that I could live without bill pay. I have since come to regret that decision. The most recent release, iBank4, shows that iggsoft is more interested in a flashy looking application than they are in making something that is efficient and stable. When looking for my personal finance solution of choice, I had also looked at several online solutions including Mint, Mvelopes, Yodlee, and others. I found that the online solutions were becoming pretty amazing but I still worried about security. Plus, Intuit had just purchased Mint and its future was cloudy. Since then they have continued to shore up several of the features that made me baulk at mint (lack of custom categories, not splitting, etc). I think the biggest thing for me was how I couldn’t upload my years of data.

    So… I’m back at it again.. Finding a possible replacement for my personal finance software (this time iBank). This time I have decided to do a little more soul searching. Do I really need to track my history (beyond, say a year)? Do I really need 50+ categories? Why do I put myself through two hours+ per week to track every nickel and dime of my accounts?

    I’m drawing a bit of a blank on this. I think that this software definitely plays to my OCD tendancies, but what I like about Mint is that it does not focus on my OCD. Instead it looks at the crucial money management problems: taxation, basic budgeting, bill paying, and “real-time” tracking and alerting. It’s goal is to save time. Still, I’m sure I’ll find myself hunkering down in front of iBank tracking every nickel and dime of my money. Is there any help for someone like me? :)

  6. Aimee in Lake Erie says

    Thanks for the great review on Mint. I am really new at online or offline budget software – I am the worst when it comes to finances. I pay my bills on time, my credit is ok but what I am looking for is a program that will tell me what to pay first, how much to pay and then what to do with what is leftover – if anything.

    I am currently working two jobs, I have a lot of cc debt and I need guidance. I am too embarrassed to ask for help face to face with an advisor and I really can’t afford to pay fees.

    What software program is best for me?

    Help!!!

  7. Steh says

    I have spent a lot of time setting up and trying to use Mint.com. It has the potential to be a great site and helpful to many but I had nothing but problems. The site is based on the ability to load your bank account and others accounts to the site and see an overall view and set a budget. The site continues to have problems in downloading my bank accounts balances and charges. I send a error report and complaint about the problem and they reset the link and it works for a day or so. Then it will not update again. It has been an on going problem that they don’t seem to be able to fix or care about. Every time I have the problem I check directly my bank account online and there is never a problem but for so reason Mint.com gets locked out or something and can’t keep my account up to date. So, when I want to check and use Mint.com it is not up to date and it takes hours if not a day to get it fixed. I have lost count on the number of times I have complained about this and nothing changes. So, what should be and could be a very valuable site to many, has been nothing but a pain. Just a word of caution, that if you want to spend a good bit of time setting up your Mint.com file, be aware it may not work very well at all. I am throwing in the towel and giving this site a failing grade. Don’t have time to continue to chase it. JUST BEWARE!!!!!

    • JB says

      Steh,

      I’ve had the SAME problem lately so I feel your pain! I have spent HUNDRED of hours (no lie!!) manually updating nearly every entry shown from nearly 2 years worth of transactions so that I could get a TRULY accurate account of my spending in various categories for the main purpose of creating and managing a budget. And now, after all of that time, it seems all a waste of time because my account has not updated in EIGHT DAYS (credit union I use updated/changed their URL login-in link and Mint CSR’s can’t seem to figure out how to remove the old link and replace it with the new one). Seriously – that’s the problem.

      I am SOOO done with Mint.com AND Intuit programs. I’m going to spend some $$ to purchase software that does this in hopes that I will find program with a customer service dept. that takes phone calls. No guarantee but anything has got to be better than this!!!

      By the way, did you ever get your problem resolved?? If so, how long did it take????

      (here’s my comments from my own post) – It might be a decent program (remember, you get what you pay for) but their “customer service” is HORRIBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No phone number to call – just email, which is maddening! I have been waiting EIGHT days for the site to update my account with my credit union’s new URL link!! EIGHT DAYS to change the old URL to the new one!!! Meanwhile, nothing is being updated in my account and it’s VERY frustrating!!!!

      Even MORE frustrating is that I keep getting the same auto-generated responses to my emails from ‘people’ like “Ahmad”, “Fariz”, “Febry” (are these even people???) every time I inquire about when the link will be updated . . . “Thank you so much for your email. We love hearing from you, whether you’re sharing a great testimonial or something we’d better fix. All of us are working really hard to make Mint better for you.” BLAH BLAH BLAH!!

      So if you decide to use the program and spend many, many hours changing information to make it correct, just be prepared if something goes wrong because you will be waiting a VERY LONG TIME for the fix!!!!!

  8. says

    Sadly, I confess that i use my profile on mint as my ultimate source of financial management ;(. I really need to get more secure, and use quicken, which happens to be the same developers of mint, a company that has a long history safeguarding extremely sensitive financial data. But it still seems scary, but again, Mint doesn’t attach your name to your financial data. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, Mint.com doesn’t allow users to transfer money. So even if crooks got your Mint password, they could only see what you have and not directly steal it. But still… I really shouldn’t use it, just in case XD

  9. says

    I’ve heard Mint is pretty good although I haven’t tried it myself. I like the graph in the pic that you included. Security is one of my concerns for not having signed up but nothing is completely secure these days so I’m sure the benefits are worth the risk. In the meantime I track all my stuff in spreadsheets which works pretty well it’s just a manual process. -Sydney

  10. Ben says

    Mint is basically a toy, and I find it to be more or less useless. It does not support downloads from some of the major banks and other institutions, and does not allow manual entry of data from institutions that are not supported for automated download. So you wind up with garbage in and garbage out. It comes up with budgets and suggestions based on crude general data mining – in my case, missing the mark by a mile. Nice alpha – needs a lot of refinement.

  11. Parker says

    Great comments! These forums are the best resource to get our Real world experience’s out and open to the public to help us all make better decisions.
    I was a mint.com user for over a year, and I worked very hard at making it work for me. I too had all of the same issues, from tax preperation syncing issues to financial institution sync issues. I do understand that it is a 2 way street (information HWY actually) between Intuit and the financial institutions – however as others have questioned, why are there more sync issues with mint than with Quicken, when both are Intuit companies?
    However, by biggest concern with mint is similar to my concern with Facebook, from personal experiences. After being with mint for just over a year I noticed an increase in marketing material sent my way (via mail and electronic), and on one particular credit card offer the credit card company stated that I had great credit and had a line item list, without institution names of my current credit accounts with extremly accurate balances! I continued to receive more offers that contained very accurate financial figures as related to my personal accounts. The numbers were so accurate it was just like logging into mint.com and I felt vulnerable – and then the light went on.

    Of course I contacted mint and sent a very detailed reply as I deleted every piece of information in my account as quickly as possible and closed my account. I did not hear a word from mint, confirming or denying supplying my personal and or financial information to other financial institutions.
    Shortly after closing my account the unusual number of marketing offers stopped and I have never received another offer that contained my personal financial balances.

    So how does mint really make money? How does Facebook really make money? Our own personal information is worth millions…. Be very careful in providing so much personal information to any single institution.
    I’m going to stick with a combination of solutions until the “cloud” is perfected.

    • Hannah says

      Thank you for this post. I have been using YouNeedABudget, but still find it tedious to maneuver. I almost made a mint.com account. Thanks for helping me choose to say no to Mint. I wish there was a secure alternative, even if it cost $$.

  12. Green says

    I still have Quicken 2006 running for tracking my bank and investment accounts on my Macs. I do not use this in relation to on-line banking in any way; just as account registers with information manually entered and reconciled with monthly statements. I can make reports and see where cash flow and investment accounts are at any time. I can also see updated net worth with a push of a button. I’m too lazy and fearful of stolen information to set this up directly with financial institutions. So this works for me, but my problem is simple. Intuit’s Quicken 2006 is OLD OLD OLD. I’m always doing triple backups on external formats in fear of the whole thing crashing someday. I would love to have a Mac update of Quicken, but since that doesn’t exist, can anyone recommend a fresh, user friendly system that will take me safely forward?

  13. Barbara says

    I have put in many hours since May, 2011 making mint work in a way useful to me, by some workarounds. I really have loved it, as it served my purpose UNTIL!!! there was a problem for about a month connecting with my bank. That was back in Oct/Nov 2011. I can not now fix the problems this caused, making all my work useless. I don’t mind fixing occasional problems — but as far as I can find FIXING things is next to impossible. WHY WHY WHY can I not do manual entries for anything before December 1, 2011 to fix this glitch, not even to mention trying to get them out of pending??? I’ve tried many ways to work around this — even at the cost of making my monthly expenses inaccurate for Oct-Dec, but I still won’t end up correct checking account balance. I am now searching for a solution (I don’t even mind buying) that will allow you to WORK WITH the software. But looking at Quicken’s site, I can’t tell what I can do to fix errors, etc. The reports they show look identical to mint, which I liked, but I certainly don’t want to PAY for the priviledge of wasting many, many hours to find out errors can’t be fixed (or categories customized).

    In ‘another lifetime’ I was a mainframe programmer, so I understand things that ‘seem simple’ on the surface to the public are many times extremely hard to do — however — mainstream software should not have such limitations and be as big as mint is. I also wish there was some kind of ‘user manual’ — I did not not a few FAQ’s or their user forum very usable.

  14. Nate says

    I would NOT use Mint again. If you ever have a problem forget about getting it resolved. MINT SUPPORT IS ABSOLUTELY TERRIBLE!!!!!! There is no support phone number, only email. My Mint has not been working for a month now and they are doing nothing to fix it.

  15. Name says

    Within a week or so of setting up my mint.com account, some small payments showed up as multi-thousand-dollar Income items. I reported the issue and about a week later received an email saying the problem had been corrected. I responded that it had NOT been corrected. About another week later I received another email saying the problem had been corrected. (Nope, it’s still not corrected.) MINT IS UNTRUSTWORTHY (and the customer support is certainly non-responsive). I’m deleting my account now, and will be highly suspicious of using any mint (or Quicken) resources in the future. Very disappointed; I had looked forward to using it.

    • Nate says

      I would agree! I have 9 months of transaction data on mint which cannot be recovered. My account does not work and has not worked for over a month now! Mint has told me it was fixed 4 times now! I am not over exaggerating when I say, their customer service is worse than any other I have experienced.

  16. says

    Mint.com sucks because the Everything category is messed up. When you click on it, it lists the budget accounts instead of the individual transactions. Also you can’t click on it when trying to view the app on your phone. You can’t see if it was put into the right category or not. This unbelievably horrible.

  17. Dpmma says

    I have been using regular old envelopes as my “system” to pay bills and try to figure out where our money goes. We have a checking account, 2 savings and a very small 401K. I have only 1 credit card with a $175.00 balance, which I keep for something to report to our credit, plus a car loan.
    Is mint safe enough to use to create a budget and to try to help me cut back and start saving towards retirement. I’m almost 45 and am realizing that I have to do something now. I am on my Android phone all the time – I should be more aware of what and when I am spending. I am NEED something. Preferably free is the best since we are very limited on $$….I just want to be sure it’s safe and we won’t lose the little bit of money that we have. We struggle weekly. Thanks.

  18. Ben says

    Mint is a terrific concept and the app is a well thought out and elegant implementation of that concept. However, since Mint was bought by Inuit, the customer and technical support has been terrible. The majority of my accounts work fine, but I have been dealing with a host of issues with one of my accounts for the past 8 months. I have exchanged nearly 50 emails with Mint customer support and have yet to see the issues resolved. Nearly 20 of the emails represent exchanges when I have received what appears to be automated responses informing me that the problem has been solved and that the trouble ticket had been closed. This has been incorrect in EVERY case. None of the issues have been solved and the trouble tickets have to be reopened and often rehashed from the beginning. I have asked to speak to a technician on the phone to better explain the problems or to troubleshoot in real time, only to be told that this is not possible. I have asked that my case be escalated or that I be allowed to engage with a more senior visions service of technical representative (after 8 months on the same problem this seems appropriate) and have again been told that this is not possible. 

    So, great concept, great app, terrible support. If you happen to have accounts at institutions that Mint plays with its great. But if any of your institutions change their policies or systems, watch out. You could loose everything.

  19. andy says

    I think mint is a little scary. I’d rather have the option of not putting my account information AND passwords in, but be able to enter my credit card balances and activity manually as I do transactions instead.

  20. Joel says

    I’m curious to see how well this goes having read all the comments. I keep a budget using Mac’s Numbers program and am hoping to find a faster cheap alternative. I do not mind going into Mint and correcting the expenditure category of ATM withdrawals and “Uncategorized” as sometimes computer programs cannot read the mind of a human. I understand the inherent risks of putting so much information into one place and not having another human to point to, spit on, and blame if something goes wrong. I hope, however, to begin recommending Mint to family and friends by next fall/winter, when nothing has gone wrong during that whole time and I’ve seen an improvement in my savings.

  21. Ed says

    I agree with the author about cloud-based apps and security — thumbs down. I want my stuff on my own disk. If I lose it, my bad. I was a victim of the Sony Playstation Network break-in. Even though they only got my e-mail and started using it to spam all my friends, it was quite upsetting and a hassle to undo. Again, if I lose my wallet, my mistake — I’ll deal with it, but I don’t want to deal with someone stealing my SSN, address and account numbers from some data location beyond my control. No thanks.

  22. Ryan says

    As a security professional, the main reason I would NOT use Mint is simply my trust for a company like MINT (Intuit) to manage the aggregate information I process through their services. Fundamentally, I really have no idea what they do with the information that is aggregated by their application. For that reason alone, I refuse to use a product that I know has explicit (and implicit) questions around the privacy of my information.

  23. Mike says

    I know that Mint.com only aggregates status of accounts, not management. But the idea of it still scares me.

  24. Raehan says

    I used mint for about 10 days then it just occurred to me it is not okay to hand out my financial info to any other person/firm/government. Question is simple….! Why would you want give your banking information to someone else regardless what they say or how secure they claim they are. Yes the interface is definitely attractive and useful no doubt about it. But I prefer to keep my private info on my on devices as they go through daily backup so no worries if my disk crashes. I don’t even use cloud based services to backup my other non-financial data. If I am in Europe, Asia or Australia, why would I release my banking info to a US based organisation. I might use it if I live in the US.

    I have iBank, MoneyWell 2, iCompta, iFinance and lots of other apps installed but I prefer using MoneyWell and currently use it as my primary financial application. Switching between apps is easy if I ever go with any other app.

    But no to Mint.

  25. Donna says

    Mint is a good idea but does not work – it is an exercise in futility – sometimes the accounts work well and download and other times they don;t so it really is not useful unless it is consistent. Their solutions …well….there are none for the most part other than answering your email with the same solution every time even when it does not work the first 7 times. Isn’t that the definition of insanity?

    Who has the time to constantly ask for solutions to their issues !

  26. DSK says

    I kept all of my financial data on Quicken 2004, which did most all I needed. The one thing that bothered me was that ai had to enter regular monthly transactions manually, every month, which was time consuming. I kept all of my data backed up in a separate directory on my hard drive. Of course the hard drive died and took ALL of my data and backups with it. I am now using a Mac, and thought that Mint might be the solution,, but, in order to get my financial records in line, I have to reenter all of my info going back to Dec 2010. It appears that Mint cannot do this. Am i correct? Tried IEEE and iBank4 and both were more than I needed. Thinking of Checkbook Pro or MoneyWiz if Mint does not work. Any help is appreciated.

  27. David says

    I have two unusable Mint logins. After a time, Mint makes changes to
    the behavior of it’s program that cause problems aggregating data.
    Mint is unable or unwilling to address these issues. The customer
    support at Mint is practically non-existant. Although they are
    polite, they are ineffective. Save yourself some aggravation and
    avoid using Mint altogether.

    • CM says

      I completely agree. Almost every time I login, there’s another one of my banks that’s not updating with Mint. And their customer service drones can only spit back canned answers at me.

      Now that my primary bank has been blocking them for the past 3 weeks (and each point points the finger at the other for being the cause of it), I think it’s time for me to give up on Mint.

  28. Raehan says

    To me providing them my banks ids and passwords were the main factors of not using mint regardless of what they claim. The rest of issue are secondary.

    In short, would you give me your bank’s login credentials?

  29. W Musico says

    Does anyone out there know of a financial software or web-based service that allows to set your own budgets/categories and enter/edit transactions categories on a mobile app? I signed up for mint, but it does allow the manipulation of their categories. I use quicken and once had a palm pilot that allowed me to enter and sync transactions with the software, but they don’t have support this.

    I’m not sold on any one software and would gladly switch to the service provider or purchase a robust financial software that does have a mobile app.

    • says

      Hi W Musico,

      Mint allows you to edit your transactions, just like the web site. You don’t need to enter manual transactions since it’s done automatically when the transactions are downloaded. There is nothing to sync.

      It also allows to edit the transaction via the iPhone app.

      As far adjusting budgets, you can do this via the iPhone app.

      The only thing you cannot do is create new categories via the mobile app.

      The iPad app have more features than the iPhone version. The iPhone version is really meant for quickly looking at your personal finance.

      Hope this helps.

  30. RJ says

    Just too very basic and inaccurate categorization make it pretty useless. This truely is a product for those that are money dumb and take no inititive in managing their finances. It’s the easy way out, where you just spend, and it trys to aggregate thoses transaction in nice little categories, so you can spend some more. Reading so many reviews, it’s inaccurate to say this product will kill Quicken because there is nothing to compare.

    The real power of Mint is the data mining capabilities of the software, marketed and sold for millions of dollars. Thats what this is all about. As for a replacement to a full service desktop accounting personal finance application, it is not.

  31. Bob says

    STOP and think before using this product. While it is a very sexy, sleek interface with nice infographics, it is by no means a product to manage your finances. First off it is a one way read only connection, which requires a two step process for any kind of bill payment. Really not that convienent as marketed, for sure. Mint is an infographics display of posted and pending transasctions in your accounts, which excludes payments which are scheduled for future or not yet posted or pending. The idea of circumventing overdraft fees remains a real possibility. I suppose the real niche of the product is the ability to rifle through your transactions and roughly assign a category, which is the process people find the most time consuming, and most won’t do it.
    I also think as the previous poster stated, the revenue generating and marketing ability of the product.is huge. While it is subjective, Patzer is a startup entreprenuer engineer, not an accountant or a personal finance expert and the core product reflects it. In my opinion, while brilliant the product is a glorified smokescreen to gather consumer financial data, demographics, income and sell that information for revenue. Basically it wasn’t designed to better enable you to manage your money, but more so to market specific products and services based on your demographic and get you to consume and spend. If you really want your entire financial profile out there on front street, it’s a dangerous proposition. Let the GenY’s have it since their money management skills are non existent.

    • says

      Bob,

      While I agree on the part you mention about the data collection, I do think Mint.com is useful for the audience it targets. I do think it adds enough value to help better track and manage your finances. Keep in mind most individuals have nothing and this is a big step up.

      • Bob says

        Yes I agree with you, there is a market for the product. However plenty of caveats which people need to made aware of if they choose.

  32. Lee Holley says

    All,

    I am a Mac user. Options are limited for financial software for Macs that are as professional and bug free as Quicken. Therefore I have had to keep a PC around to use Quicken. I am looking for a software that I can use on multiple Macs that is cloud based for syncing. I can’t seem to find one that is not buggy. I will say that I am intrigued by Mint but not sure of the security aspect of the software. Thanks Larry for the video review. My question is this. What do you recommend for a hybrid software that I can use? Or is my security concerns for Mint overblown?

  33. Aaron says

    I’ve used Mint for about a year, after having given up on MS Money. I found Mint useful for a shallow look at personal finance and as long as your finances were relatively uncomplicated, they worked well. It does have nice features for hiding certain catagories from reports which was useful when I moved money around to purchase a car.

    However, as far as handling investments, it’s really not up to speed for anything then checking balances. I started using an app called “Fund Manager” (http://www.fundmanagersoftware.com/). I’ve found for investments this to be REALLY good. It’s not for beginners, more for folks who have tried tracking more complicated portfolio’s in Quicken or Mint. I have a bunch of investments across a few countries due to having lived abroad and this program really handled multiple currencies & multiple markets well.

  34. Jack says

    Step 1: Give us your online bank userID and password

    > F* that … I stopped right there. Maybe I’m in the minority, but I think you guys are nuts to hand over this kind of info to a website … this month, I tracked my expenses using the Google docs spreadsheet when I came across mint.com … but when I saw Step 1 … I said, “forget it” … I’m quite surprised at how many ppl are willing to hand over the keys to such private information …

    • mrsthomas says

      I, too, stopped at the “give us your online bank userid and password.” Really? Here – let me give you my cc number and ssn while I’m at it. . .

      • says

        Hi Jack and Mrs Thomas. If you want to understand more of Mint.com’s security you can visit their web site at:

        https://www.mint.com/how-it-works/security/faq/

        While your concern isn’t completely baseless, the chances of this occurring are pretty slim. There are much easier methods in which a hacker can gain entry to your information. Typically most user’s computer is more insecure method. This isn’t to say either that your bank security themselves is completely foolproof. There have been reported cases of banks being hacked at various levels along the security chain.

        So you have to ask the question with any online service, how much do you trust the provider’s security?

        • mrsthomas says

          I typically am pretty cynical as my husband is the manager of the production control portion of a computer center. I am the product of 27 years of a security conscience husband. :-)

          I have not ruled out mint.com completely. I do want to give Quicken a chance since I’ve used it since the demise of Microsoft Money. . .which I miss terribly. Quicken just doesn’t have some of the functionality I desire. We’ll see. . .

          Thank you so much for your response. I appreciate your review of mint.com – especially for those of us who research before handing out sensitive information.

        • Jack says

          Larry,

          You totally miss the point. I never mentioned any concerns over the quality of Mint.com’s security measures. My main concern is giving Mint, a website that I happened to come across, my personal bank info. Who is Mint, what do they do, what can they NOW do once they get the keys to my bank acct, etc. Who keeps Mint in check? Who knows what they are doing “behind the scenes” with such personal info?

          That being said, I don’t care how wonderful mint.com’s security is or isn’t. If people want to hand over the keys to their bank account to some entity on the Internet, that is their prerogative. It’s a free country … as for me, I choose not to.

          As always, caveat emptor (let the buyer beware).

          • QVP says

            ALL financial tracking/budgeting products work this way. You either provide your various banking websire credentials or you don’t use their services.

            As a side note, I also do use mint (have for several years), and I definitely like their website and the transaction tracking it provides. Other posters have commented on the trouble they have with some accounts not updating properly for extended periods. That is true and it’s caused because Intuit wrecked mint’s data aggregation software when they bought them. Every other major financial institution uses yodlee as their back end data aggregator, and it works perfectly. For some reason, Intuit insists on using its own technology, which is broken. :(

            Having said that, I don’t really have any troubles anymore with the few banks that I have it connected to. You could also just go directly to yodlee.com and they offer the same service, and its data aggregation never fails. I actually use both services. I like them both quite a bit but Mint has a better web interface.

  35. Jeff B says

    Thanks for reviewing Mint & Personal Capital. I have been using the retired Microsoft’s Money product (free) and find it meets my needs quit well (rental property, investments) without Quicken’s constant reminders to upgrade after 2 or 3 years — plus I found several errors in Quicken that were really pathetic. I used Quicken for about 10 years prior to Money.

    With money I do have to log into my financial websites and download the transactions. If I could skip that part it would be worth switching to Personal Capital, but was scared off by your review — that it doesn’t work for different tax accounts (by the way were you talking IRA vs non-IRA?).

    Thanks again for posting your review.

    • says

      Hi Jeff B,

      Personal Capital DOES work with tax deffered accounts. The issue is in the reporting they don’t consider it tax deferred (ie stating a mutual fund is tax inefficient when in an IRA account). So transactions from your accounts will work with Personal Capital no problem.

  36. Meg says

    I just want to be another voice in this sea of voices to urge someone reading this NOT to use Mint.com. I am not writing about the security issues (if one is willing to use a site like this, then you must assume they have already made the decision to share their bank info and login) but about the ease of use or lack thereof. Mint used to be great. It’s user interface is downright *dreamy* if you ask me – colorful charts and graphs will get me every time! I loved that I could tag transactions by who did the spending in my family and then compare each person’s spending in any given category (Yes, I got petty and compared how much I spend at the coffee shop each month to how much my husband spends so I could show him a chart!) and that a lot of the hard work sorting through transactions and categorizing them was done for me – or easily managed by “rules” I could set in place at the same time I was editing any given transaction (unlike on Adaptu….). But Mint has gone down the tubes. It’s is terrible now. As many other people before me have stated I have been unable to update my accounts for weeks and customer support is THE WORST and they keep sending stock emails that feel somewhat patronizing in nature and then saying the issue is resolved when it absolutely is NOT. Please do yourself a favor and don’t waste a precious moment of your life getting caught in Mint’s web. It is not worth it. Pinch a penny, save your sanity!

  37. QVP says

    This is overhyped crying. Yes it’s true that Mint used to use yodlee (the industry standard) to aggregate data from all of your banking sites, and it always worked without issue. When Quicken took over, they replaced yodlee with their own (broken) backend aggregator. Yes it will periodically fail for some accounts and it can remain broken for weeks (support can’t help).

    However, for the majority of accounts, these problems don’t occur, and for the accounts that do have trouble, those connections will eventually start working again after a few weeks. Yes it’s horribly annoying when it happens to you, but it doesn’t happen to most people, and the problems are usually not permanent.

    I do use other sites as well, and ALL others use yodlee as the backend, and they never break. I certainly wish Mint would go back to their old aggregator, but the front end web interface is still the best one available, and it’s the best choice for most consumers.

  38. David S says

    I have gone through 3 or 4 iterations of trying to get mint.com to function adequately over the past 3 or 4 years, including right now. This time around, I have the same issue I have had every time. I have between 15 and 20 accounts, and 20% of them won’t load. In my previous experiences, I’ve received the same poor service as described above, with no resolution after several months. If even a couple of accounts can’t load properly, my overall financial picture is skewed, and Mint is useless. Without the ability to manually enter data for problematic account, Mint use is an exercise in constant frustration. As someone else said, if you’re young or have only a handful of basic accounts to track, Mint can be a great tool. If you want a complete picture of your finances, you need a tool that won’t have gaping holes.

  39. Aaron says

    Hi all,

    I’m a relatively advanced investor (investments here and directly in foreign countries) and I’ve tried Mint and Personal Capital. I like Mint and use it, but mostly for monthly budget work. I used to use Money before it and it’s definitely a step down from Money in capabilities, but it works. While my investment accounts in the US do load properly in Mint, I don’t really use Mint for investment tracking. I do use another tool, Fund Manager which is not cloud based, but rather desktop based. It’s excellent for tracking investments, not just funds either (it does options, stocks, funds , etc). So Mint for monthly finances, and Fund Manager for investment tracking.

  40. Propinquity says

    I was so happy to find Mint, but am now telling all to beware. My accounts are listing duplicate transactions and RE-duplicating the same ones day after day. I’m up to 42 times on Morgan Stanley today and 39 on Schwab. Mint Customer Service, which used to send a response within 24 hours — form letter thought it may have been — now doesn’t respond at al. And it’s been over a week. When you go on the Community Forum you see the same complaints going back YEARS and no end in sight. All I can trust Mint for now is to keep tabs of cash transaction categories.

  41. Kara says

    Mint Credit Monitoring is terrible. Not worth the $200 upfront fee they charge. Customer service was poor. Questions were never answered correctly. Going back to MyFico because it is more reliable.

  42. Andrew says

    The software is just broken. It looked great at first, but as soon as you try to use it, basic calculations, like the value of your stock portfolio, are wrong. It’s horribly broken. This is not to mention that customer service is non-existent. The forums are full of people complaining about various issues, none of which get resolved. (I have occasionally seen a fig leaf of an answer, when a moderator will ask someone to send a one-on-one email and close the topic and pretend that the issue is due to a customer-specific fluke and not the whole damn system being broken.) Because they are so apparently understaffed, I have a lot of trouble believing their “bank-level” security claim. (For one thing, a basic username and password as the only authentication for every user is not bank-level security, so it’s false on its face.) It’s a scandal that anyone takes this site seriously.

  43. Dean says

    I am not using any personal finance software now but I want to start. I use Apple products at home (MacBook Pro, iPad, iPhone). I do not want to use Mint (weak investing support, no online bill payment, no bank reconciliation capability). I also don’t want to use Quicken for Mac Essentials. I am interested in the VMWare Fusion workaround so I can use Quicken on my MacBook. I understand that you can use VMWare Fusion to transfer an existing Windows based Quicken application and data to Mac, but can you use it to start using Quicken for windows on a Mac on a de novo basis?

  44. dont' spam says

    mint is a joke. You cannot produce reports sorted by date so it is useless for tracking expenses month by month on a spreadsheet, and useless for tax prep. The website is a mess – very hard to navigate, hard to find options, etc. What the heck is “trends” for example.
    I would love to find an alternative, even if I have to pay a small fee.

  45. CJ says

    Larry, you said in this article that you’re using Excel spreadsheets for keeping track of everything. Is there a specific template you use or could point us to along with a crash course in financial tracking using Excel? I’ve been using MS Money for a few years now but it’s starting to get outdated and there are some things on it that need fixed which will never happen now that they have discontinued it, so I’d like to look at other options that aren’t using third party websites.

    • says

      Hi CJ, I use Excel spreadsheets to track things asset allocation for our retirement. Unfortunately no my spreadsheet isn’t ready for others to use nor do I know of any good templates.

  46. James says

    I’m sorry I did not find all of these comments before today. I posted this on satisfaction.mint.com:

    I tried Mint today because of some good reviews out there. The transaction history limitation is a severe limitation making Mint not a valid solution unless you are willing to live without the transaction details needed to build a good budget. I’m not willing to start from scratch and live without the history, so I am closing the account the same day it was opened. It’s too bad the reviews did not point this out as I would not have tried Mint had I known about the limitation.

  47. Victoria Z says

    Hello.
    I saw your review on Mint. What I am looking for is basic. I want to be able to put all my monthly expenses ie: house payment, car payment, cable, electric, phone ect….. with account numbers, phone numbers, due date, amount due, amount paid… ect all in one place and have it calculate for me. Is there a free on line budgeter like that?
    Thanks!
    Victoria

      • says

        Besides Quicken, as Brian in Austin noted, Moneydance is a real alternative.
        I was so unhappy with how Quicken would abandon old software (e.g. the Mac platform) and force me to upgrade to new stuff I really didn’t want, that Moneydance is my preference. It may not be quite as smooth an interface as Quicken, but the same code works on Windows, Mac, Linux, etc, which means my choices aren’t constrained. And I can get plugins and even make my own scripts to add new features.
        http://moneydance.com/

  48. Rob says

    I am an active investor with a decent portfolio spread across several brokerages, banks etc. and 2 rental properties I would like to keep better track of.
    I have been using Mint for about 3 years now but am frustrated by the lack of reporting and the updates breaking from time to time.
    Is Quicken 2014 – Rental the right answer or is there a different product I should look at first? I don’t do much with the budget function of Mint…really only transaction aggregation at this point.
    I dread converting over the 50+ accounts from Mint to Quicken (remembering what the usernames and pwds are and losing the history) – but seems I might be at that point. Any suggestions?
    Thanks!

    • says

      Hi Rob,

      Sounds like Personal Capital is more of a fit for you (at least for online services) compared to Mint.com. See our Personal Capital review for more details. Though it doesn’t track rentals (just like Mint.com)

      Quicken is the most comprehensive and does transactions. So it’s not a read only app. If you are really serious about managing your rental properties and is a business, why not use Quickbooks or Quickbooks Online?

      • Rob says

        Thanks Larry – I just took a look at the Personal Capital threads and website – and it looks like that may certainly be a step up. I figure it’s going to be a pain to transition to either quicken, quickbooks or something else so figured I’d ask what the right one was before diving in. I’ll take a look at quickbooks.
        Thanks!

  49. says

    Larry -

    Thanks for your review. The user comments and your responses are what I found most valuable. I have been working towards finding the right tools and services for my needs and it sounds like I am not alone in searching for the right formula. I wold be grateful for some pointers.

    I have my own business and also own rental properties. I have 5 online accounts with Chase. I have a trusted bookkeeper who I have weaned off of spreadsheets and we use Quickbooks Pro 2006 for Macs. I have considered upgrading Quickbooks but I have been scared off by horror stories and know that Intuit is not Mac friendly. My IT consultant has suggested that I purchase a laptop just for Quickbooks windows. Do you think that is wise? My reaction was always that it would complicate instead of streamline and I have been waiting for a good mac based small business solution.

    I have used Mint for years now. I googled your article because I was trying to get more functionality out of it and collapse any duplicate processes or systems . I use Mint to aggregate all of my info. I like the easy on the go access and up to the minute view of my net worth. My bookkeeper is not yet maximizing all of the online banking features which should help with some of my issues.

    Based on my specific situation any software thought? Any advice on what to do about Mac Quickbooks Pro 2006

  50. John Pitt says

    I don’t understand how anybody can recommend Mint. It’s essentially unusable for me. The servers are agonizingly slow, and the Category functionality simply does not work. Trying to change Categories is hit or miss — some changes take, some don’t.What a mess! I suspect Quicken is letting it die, especially the free version, to get people to switch to its legacy software. I can’t stand it any more.

    Mint has just one advantage — its ability to autolink to your accounts and sweep in your data.

    I just have one question. Can anybody recommend another platform that has the autolink feature with decent analytical functionality and a committed team that stands behind it?

  51. KP says

    Does Mint allow for multiple users for the same mint account? If so, do both log-in with the same username/password or are those different?

  52. John Pitt says

    Larry, thanks for your suggestions. Yodlee is new to me. An industrial-strength expenses aggregator is really all I’m looking for since I run my own analytics on spreadsheet with proprietary categories. Personal Capital was going to be my next stop, but I will add Yodlee to the list.

  53. Joy M says

    I’ve used MINT for about a year now and have generally found it easy to use and helpful in tracking my spending and accounts (checking, savings, brokerage, 401K, amex CC). Recently, all of my transactions are showing up as “UNCATEGORIZED.” This has rendered the service utterly useless to me. Based on the forums, I’m not the only one suffering from the product glitch. Hopefully an update be will be released soon. Otherwise I suggest finding an alternate solution.

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