How does Personal Capital compare to Mint? Which is better and why?
First, let's get into a little history with both services.
About MintMint.com is a free service founded in 2006 and acquired by Intuit in 2009. Since Intuit sold Quicken in 2016, Mint has become the company's sole focus for personal finance management.
Unlike Quicken, there's no local software to install, and you can access the service with any web browser or mobile device. And like Personal Capital, the site is very user-friendly.
The platform incorporates all of your financial accounts, including bank accounts, investment accounts, credit cards, and other loans. It also provides you with a big-picture view of your entire financial situation on one website.
About Personal CapitalPersonal Capital also has a lot of similarities to Mint, but it focuses primarily on investing. Personal Capital is really two services combined into one: a free personal finance app and a paid financial advisor service. This comparison will focus only on Personal Capital's free app.
Unlike Mint, Personal Capital can be used for planning for future financial goals such as retirement, saving toward college, buying a house, etc. Personal Capital has the tools to analyze your investments and tell if you're on track.
How Are They the Same?
- Linking Financial Services- Mint and Personal Capital can link up to thousands of financial institutions, including banks, credit cards, loans, and investments.
- Email Notifications – Get alerts on changes to your finances on a regular basis.
- Cash Flow Reporting– Both can tell you where your monthly expenses are going and into what categories.
How Are They Different?
- Budgeting — Personal Capital can monitor only cash flow and cannot create a budget.
- Ways to Save — Mint gives recommendations on ways to save on the money you spend on your credit cards, investing, insurance, and loans. This is how Mint makes its money.
- Credit Report Monitoring — Mint's free service can monitor changes to your overall credit score on a quarterly basis.
- Mint Credit Monitor — You can get a more detailed report from the three credit agencies via this additional paid option for $16.99/month.
- Two-Factor Authentication — Mint.com offers two-factor authentication to keep your personal and sensitive data secure.
- 401(k) Fee Analyzer — Determine which funds in your retirement plan are costing you the most and lower your fees.
- Retirement Planner — Find out if you're on track toward retirement and play “what if” scenarios.
- Financial Management — Via the optional paid service, Personal Capital can manage your money and give investment advice.
- Asset Allocation Target – Are you overweight or underweight in any of the major equity categories?
- Ad-Free Service — Unlike Mint, Personal Capital doesn't monetize its service via ad banners or recommended services from which it gets a commission.
The Comparison of Personal Capital vs. Mint
We'll break down the comparison into these categories: Budgeting, Bill Alerts, Synchronization, Customer Service, Investment Analysis, Security, Mobile Access, and Retirement Planning.
- Unlike Personal Capital, Mint.com is a budgeting platform, not an investment platform. It focuses primarily on Millennials, managing debt, and budgeting, and its investment section seems like an afterthought.
- Mint has a full-featured budgeting section where you can get a breakdown of spending per category. From there you can put limits on your spending per category and see an overview of your financial situation. This functionality is available via the website and app.
- Personal Capital offers a spending tool that you can use to monitor your spending habits. You get access to a detailed list of expenses per category and can set an overall monthly spending goal but cannot break it down per category. Currently, this feature is available only via their mobile app.
Mint is the clear winner in the budgeting category. It has a full-featured budgeting functionality that you can access from your mobile or desktop.
Personal Capital, on the other hand, does not offer a full-function budgeting tool. You can monitor cash flow but cannot set specific spending targets. However, in my opinion, budgeting functionality is overblown.
Both Mint and Personal Capital have a feature to alert you on upcoming bills. However, from our testing, Mint catches many more bill alerts and accurately reports bills that are coming due. Mint will also notify you via email of a pending bill.
Personal Capital, on the other hand, seems to miss many bills. I wouldn't rely on this functionality.
Based on reliability, we recommend using Mint for billing alerts over Personal Capital.
As I'm sure you can guess, Mint.com uses Intuit's synchronization service. When Mint was created, it used the external service Yodlee to aggregate financial data. Intuit switched over to its own internal systems when the company purchased Mint — assumedly to save costs.
Personal Capital, however, uses Yodlee to sync up financial services and has fewer reported synchronization issues.
Mint uses its in-house system to sync with financial institutions, which means that Mint has been very unreliable to the point where synchronization stops working. Personal Capital uses Yodlee to perform the syncing, which has been a much more stable service.
While I don't have specific numbers, both can sync up with a similar number of financial services.
From our testing, Mint's synchronization is not as reliable when compared to Personal Capital. Also, if you do have issues, Personal Capital appears to be more attentive to fix the issue than Mint.
The clear winner in this category is Personal Capital.
This has been a sticking point with many Mint users — there's no customer service. But every time I've contacted Personal Capital, I've gotten a quick response (less than 24 hours) to my questions. Many Mint users have reported that if you run into any problems (e.g., synchronization) support is pretty much useless. Personal Capital users have not reported any issues reaching customer service or resolving issues.
For the most part, Mint doesn't offer any tools to manage your investments. While it does show your portfolio values over time, there are no tools available to aid with retirement planning or analyzing asset allocation or fund expenses.
Personal Capital shines in this area. You get access to projected portfolio values, retirement forecasting, possible variables that may affect your retirement goals, and personal evaluation to see if you're on track.
For peace of mind, Mint offers two-factor authentication. Personal Capital, however, has a “poor man's version” that requires you to register your computer before using it. But you cannot log in unless the computer is registered via a PIN sent to you in a phone call or email.
Both services are read-only; you cannot perform transactions (i.e., transfer cash out of your checking account) via the services, and the data they download doesn't include any account numbers or other identifiable information should your account get compromised.
Personal Capital's and Mint's apps allows for fingerprint login on iOS devices that support it.
Mobile App Access
Both of the personal finance software have apps for Apple iOS and Google Android. For each service, some features are exclusive to the mobile app or the website. And you'll be able to process most functions on the go.
This fact makes Mint and Personal Capital ideal especially for Millennials who use their mobile phones as their primary — and in some cases only — devices.
Mint.com doesn't offer a retirement planning overview, projected portfolio value, or any other investment-related features.
With its latest Retirement Planning feature, Personal Capital will help you determine how much you need to save for retirement within just a few seconds. And the best part is, this feature is completely free.
Personal Capital vs Mint Summary
|Ease of Use||9/10||9/10|
|Promotions||Join for Free|
|Price||$/month||$0, 0, free/month|
|Trial Period||Days||0 Days|
|Credit Score Monitoring|
|Import QFX, QIF Files|
|Customer Service||Phone: 24/7; Email|
Mint or Personal Capital? The Overall Winner Is… Personal Capital
Overall, Personal Capital is more reliable and has excellent customer service and retirement planning and investing features second to none.
In truth, Personal Capital and Mint.com are not competing personal finance platforms. Personal Capital is an investment platform with limited budgeting or billing capacity, while Mint.com is a budgeting platform with little investment support.
Therefore, you can use Mint.com as your budgeting tool and handle all of your investments through Personal Capital. Since both are cloud-based and read-only services, nothing prevents you from using both simultaneously.
Readers: Do you think we missed a comparison between the two? Please let us know in the comments, and we'll add it to the list.