Personal Capital vs. Mint – Which Is Best for You?

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Which finance software should you use — Mint or Personal Capital? This is a frequently asked question because both services are very popular online tools. At a casual glance, they might seem the same; both are personal finance apps, allow you to sync your financial accounts in one location, and are free to use. But there are distinct features that make each one different too. Here's our personal capital vs mint comparison.

How does Personal Capital compare to Mint? Which is better and why?

First, let's get into a little history with both services.

About Mint

Mint.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 Capital

Personal 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?

Mint

  • 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.

Personal Capital

  • 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.

Budgeting

  • 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.

Winner — Mint

Bill Alerts

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.

Winner — Mint

Synchronization

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.

Winner — Personal Capital

Customer Service

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.

Winner — Personal Capital

Investment Analysis

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.

Winner — Personal Capital

Security

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.

Winner — Mint

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.

TIE — Mint and Personal Capital are equal in Mobile Apps

Retirement Planning

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.

Winner — Personal Capital

Personal Capital vs Mint Summary

HighlightsPersonal CapitalMint.com
Cost/1010/10
Customer Service 9/106/10
Ease of Use 9/109/10
Synchronization/107/10
Accessibility/108.5/10
PromotionsJoin for Free
Price$/month$0, 0, free/month
Trial Period Days0 Days
Refund Policy
Budgeting
Bill Payment
Bill Management
Investment Tracking
Retirement Planning
Tax Reporting
Reconcile Transactions
Credit Score Monitoring
Zillow Tracking
Custom Categories
Manual Entries
Import QFX, QIF Files
Currency SupportUS/Canada
Access/108.5/10
Two-Factor Authentication
Customer ServicePhone: 24/7; EmailEmail
Personal CapitalMint.com

Mint or Personal Capital? The Overall Winner Is… Personal Capital

In fact, we've named Personal Capital one of the best investment apps. However, Personal Capital isn't as good in budgeting and bill pay, while Mint excels in this functionality.

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.

Larry Ludwig

Larry Ludwig was the founder and editor in chief of Investor Junkie. He graduated from Clemson University with a bachelor of science in computers and a minor in business. Back in the ’90s, I helped create some of the first financial websites for firms like Chase, T. Rowe Price, and ING Bank, and later went on to work for Nomura Securities. He’s had a passion for investing since he was 20 years old and has owned multiple businesses for over 20 years. He currently resides in Long Island, New York, with his wife and three children.

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60 Comments

  1. Personal Capital overall is really the better tool, but the inability to customize categories is a complete non-starter for budgeting, which is why I don’t use it as a serious tool. It is a shame because the rest of the service is outstanding.

  2. I cannot find any personal finance application online which supports accounts and assets in both the UK and the US. Neither Mint nor Personal Capital support accounts outside of the US and Canada. Does anybody have any recommendations for this?

  3. How does Personal Capital handle tax preparation? I do not see this addressed. I currently use Quicken for Mac and am interested to switch platforms.

    Can one print out Income and Expense Reports with PC? Quicken for Mac offers this feature which is very helpful to sent to my Tax Preparer.

    Thank you, in advance, for your answer.
    …carol k

  4. Hi Larry, I just recently started investing via stock trading; I have put in $1,000 in my trading account. Would you recommend Personal Capital to someone like me?

    1. I can’t give you a recommendation, but will say Personal Capital requires a minimum of $25k in net worth before you can use their advisor service. The free personal finance app side you can use regardless of net worth.

      1. Personal Capital does NOT show IRR. It simply takes final balance and initial balance for the time period to compute what it calls “performance “. This is meaningless (or misleading at best) for an account where you are making regular contributions.

  5. Mint has no way I know of to print out a year-end spending report for tax preparation. Nor does it interface with TurboTax like Quicken does. Do you know if Personal Capital can produce a Spending Report by categories for tax-prep?

  6. What about security? Both store our username/passwords for all the financial institutions we authorize, on their servers? I dont mind using only on my mobile, so if they are storing passwords on my iphone i might be ok with it.

    SInce most of the big companies are getting hacked, this is a real concern

    1. A hash is stored, not a password. Plus with using Yodlee (Personal Capital) Inuit (Mint) you are accessing it through their service which only allows downloading of transactions. If Personal Capital or Mint were compromised they would only be able to grab transactions. The only time they could grab your username/password is during the input of this information.

      1. Not sure if it’s the same as Mint, but Mint requests your bank card # and the password you use to log into that bank card on the bank’s own website. Whereby you can then perform wire transfers, etc. I would think if the password hash algorithm is hacked, then yes, they could in fact gain access and transfer funds from your account. Furthermore, banks won’t protect you from this as they would deem the password hacked via a third party site. This is why I still use Quicken, unfortunately.

        1. Yes but no. They do store a hash. In addition, the banks know the communication is from Yodlee or Intuit and block other transactions from occurring. Meaning they know it’s an aggregation service and only allow read-only of the specific data. Do keep in mind your username/password is using the same services as Mint is using. So for the most part is susceptible to the same types of attacks as Quicken if you perform direct connects.

  7. I’ve been using Mint for budget/banking, and PC for investing. My issues with PC are that it can’t integrate popular free services such as Robinhood. Also, it tries to show you your investment big picture, but fails because a) it doesn’t show you all your holdings (yes you can add manually, but this is an enormous pain), and b) it doesn’t show you your true allocations/sector diversification because it won’t accommodate foreign holdings. Even Canadian ones. So if you’re using the service to see your big picture, you aren’t getting the big picture.

  8. Hi Larry, considering a mobile app to help track finances and budget. I’m wondering if/how either of these tools will sync with my wife’s mobile app as well (since we share accounts). Do you happen to know how we might both be able to track our individual spending (and update our budget) so that we are both looking at the most current changes/expenditures no matter who enters it. Hoping this makes sense. Thanks for any insight or recommendation!

  9. Hi Larry – been following your post with interest. Thanks. I am looking for an alternative to quicken due to their recent 145% increase in pricing with annual support. 1) Does Personal Capital support Canadian investment (I see below that it only supports US currency). 2) what is the catch with PC being free in your opinion?

  10. i have trouble with personal capital in linking accounts with mint i have none also personal capital they always trying to sell you their service by always attacking other avenues to use. high pressure sales. they love to trash betterment

  11. personal capital has fixed a problem that they had previously, namely that you could not customize categories for transactions and expenses. you can now create customized categories, although you can only do so through the app and not through the online portal (which is strange). in any event, that was a major barrier for many users to convert from mint to personal capital. it’s now one more reason to consider a complete conversion.

  12. I am a long time Mint user but do see the benefit in looking at my portfolio in a deeper way with Personal Capital.
    On the other hand, negating budgeting altogether, calling it overblown is a bit unbalanced and shortsighted. Nothing wrong with consumers who want to look after their portfolio and manage a budget. We make a decent salary but still like to budget ourselves accordingly, guessing it might be one of the reasons why we have done well for ourselves.

  13. Wow, you totally didn’t cover the 2nd most important thing to me which is, “What do they do with your information?” You are giving them an enormous amount of personal information, are they doing anything to monetize it, give it away, keep it secure?

    Most important is what encryption they use and how do they keep your information secure. I thought you could have gone into more detail on that, but at least you covered it.

  14. I am glad you mentioned this. I had no thought that anyone would produce this kind of product and overlook something this basic. This is a deal killer for me too. The real cost of software is not the purchase price, but the time you put into it. Without custom categories and subcategories, I would not be able to run the reports I absolutely need to have.

  15. Thank you for this comprehensive review. I was a disgruntled Quicken 2016 user when it suddenly became unstable and unable to sync my accounts. I updated to the new version but much to my chagrin no improvement (lesson learned. It seems to have broken once they sold it in 2015). I then delved into the cloud apps out there. CountAbout was a chore and quite frustrating with sync issues, account link issues, crappy interface etc. After a few attempts and do-overs, I deleted my account. I then went to Mint. Much smoother operation, ease of account linking and relatively successful syncing. I really want a financial planning tool at this point in my life for investment monitoring as opposed to my earlier life of expense monitoring and checkbook management through Quicken. Lately I’ve become a bit sour on Mint due to occasional syncing issues, blase interface, and lack of decent support. Hence, I went to Personal Capital this week. Thus far I like it much better than Mint. The investment tools and advice are a nice feature. The interface is much nicer. The account linking, while comprehensive was a bit cumbersome as it took a few tries to find the “correct” link due to the many choices (Fidelity for example). I still cannot link one credit card account that I know is the correct link. All of my other accounts have been linked successfully and other than the annoying “this account requires you answer a security question before proceeding” sync issue on occasion, I really like PC. I plan to smoke test it in the next few days. I have been a DIY investment “manager” most of the last decade plus for my wife and I, so I am not sure if I would use the paid adviser service. However, at 56 years old, I am planning to retire at 60 (if not sooner) so as I get closer that may make a lot more sense. I made my decision to give PC a try mostly based on your review Larry. So far I find you to have been dead on!

  16. Well, having used this for nearly a week I can say I am almost as annoyed with the constant syncing issues and “your account requires additional security questions…” as I was with Mint. Also, the constant “Security Update: You Used Remember My Device – Please Confirm” with one of my accounts (Pershing) is very annoying. I received my first phone solicitation from PC today as well. Beyond the annoyances, I do like the features and online advice, other than it sees my 401(K) and my Roth IRA as “cash” investments for some reason. I will continue to smoke test…

    1. Jimbo, the security prompts have nothing to do with Mint OR Personal Capital but the security requirements by your bank. They are there for your protection. Now if you don’t like that issue then your only option is to switch banks, but in this hacker filled world this option is unfortunately only going to increase.

  17. I’m having the same problems syncing checking account transactions. I sent Mint an email and will follow up when I get a response.

    I’m unable to receive more than a few months data from one of my checking accounts. The other one gets a few years worth. I need at least 1 full years 2016 to do my taxes with Turbo Tax. Can you help me please?
    Thanks,
    Jim

  18. Getting used to Mint and PC since Quicken was sold and I upgraded from 2015 to 2017
    I like both and they have different functionality than Quicken
    Both were easy to link accounts, PC has a lot of intrusive Email, Popups and Sales calls
    On Mint you can add more Brokers PLUS all your real estate and Cars
    So for me MINT is the clear winner.

    1. At these prices you can have both Personal Capital and Mint. PC will pester you more to get you to sign up for their asset allocation service. PC does not let you add Automobiles and Real Estate. I have both.

      1. PC does allow you to track real estate – but it links directly to Zillow to update current value. It does not allow you to adjust that value.

  19. I’m trying to find an alternative to Quicken and found this article. But your reporting of non-support doesn’t match my one day of experience using Mint. I had a problem with a couple of accounts I set up that didn’t link properly. I did an online chat and, within 10 minutes, had it solved.

    What you don’t mention about Personal Capital but I found out elsewhere is that Personal Capital uses your investment information to personally CALL YOU to sell you their portfolio management services. I have issues with people using that information to personally contact me like that.

    Another thing that irked me is that with Mint, you can at least open the online app and give it a test drive before giving up your personal bank and credit card information that is REQUIRED just to get in the front door of Personal Capital. I’m sure that PC is a good solution for a lot of people – it has a lot of fans. But it’s quick attempt to find out everything about me before I could find anything about it was a put-off for me.

    No final decisions yet – and I’m still test driving Moneydance, which is pretty intuitive.

    1. Personal Capital, of course, makes their money off of their paid advisor service. They will only call you if you are over 100k in net worth.

      Mint is ad and affiliate based.

      While both are ‘free’ to use they both have to monetize the users somehow.

      1. Absolutely true… there’s not many free lunches out there! I looked at GNuCash which is open source and free, but after pounding my head against the wall to make it work for me, I gave up. So even free lunches come with a price!

  20. One feature I use “religiously” is the reconciliation of my credit card statements. This allows me to categorize my expenditures and assure myself that I’ve accounted for all line items listed on the statement. I noticed however that neither Mint nor PC has the reconciliation feature. Why do they not allow me to split my credit card payment into its component parts?

  21. Mint is terrible with investments…they have my cost basis double what the numbers in the column add up to. I hope I can fix it. I don’t need investment advice so I can track all holdings with Vanguard if Mint fails to fix itself. But for my banking it’s pretty good so I can dump Quicken.

  22. With Mint you can change transaction dates when needed (for budgeting alignment). For us who receive a 1st of the month paycheck, which usually posts early when the 1st falls on a weekend or holiday (non-banking day), the inability to change the date completely messes up the ending month and next month budgets. Same with any bank “auto-drafts” on the 1st. Happens about 3 times a year. Or what if I make an ATM withdrawal on or near the last day of the month but want it to hit the next month where it will be spent? This makes Personal Finance (PC) worthless for budgeting. The change transaction date feature has been requested for years and PC ignores it. Poor customer service in my opinion. No thanks to PC.

  23. Larry,

    Thank you for the update. Quicken has figured out how to make their products worse and worse with each update.

    Two of the comparisons that I did not see with your comparison are:
    1. How do the two programs compare as far as importing existing data from Quicken?
    2. How do the two programs compare as far as interfacing with tax software?

    Thanks again.

    1. Hi Brooks,

      1. Neither can import Quicken data.
      2. Neither can be used at the moment for tax planning. I know Personal Capital has discussed this option but it isn’t a feature ATM.

  24. Thanks so much for updating this comparison. I’ve been a long time Mint user (probably since 2008 or so) and the continuing syncing problems became the main reason I’m switching to Personal Capital. I vaguely remember the switch Mint made from Yodlee and how often accounts were “in error” or stopped syncing altogether. When I had a recent issue with syncing with Vanguard accounts, the folks at Mint told me it must be because I or Vanguard made some kind of change to the account information (neither, as far as I can tell). So I’m now happily at PC. There was a lot to like at Mint, but not syncing is a fundamental miss.

  25. Larry, this is a great article. Thank you for this. However, I tried PC when it first launched and I really found the sales call really annoying. It doesn’t take much to hit their threshold for reaching out to you. And they were really aggressive as I kept telling them that I already work with a financial advisor. I was just about to check out PC until I happened to find Tiller. http://www.tillerhq.com. Looks like a startup but I really like their approach as they use Yodlee as well but instead of building a ton of custom software, they work with Google Sheets/Excel instead. They auto populate your sheets and then offer Google Templates that can provide the reporting needs. And since it’s using a spreadsheet, you get all the flexibility and power you need. I plan to give this a try (30 day free trial). Would be great if you can take a look and offer your assessment.

  26. Great article. I currently use both Mint and PC. However PC has issues linking up my investments with apex clearing. Apparently it’s a known issue with no estimate on when it will be fixed. You are correct about PC customer service they have been responsive since I first contacted them on the apex clearing vs PC issue in October 2018.

  27. Larry,

    I’m surprised you rated Personal Capital as the winner of support, you may be getting preferential treatment.

    I’ve used Mint since 2012 and have had my share of account integration issues. Support has not always been useful as sometimes they made me delete an account and re add it losing valuable history but they have ALWAYS responded where as Personal Capital has been AWOL to all of my support requests.

    I’ve used Personal Capital for the last 5+ years now for tracking investments and when it works it’s glorious. However, constant integration problems and incorrect amounts have driven me to utter frustration. I’ve actually deleted and recreated my account multiple times to recreate portfolios as either Personal Capital support has never responded to my support questions although PC sales rep called me over 15 times last year. However the view service is free and no other service gives such allocation breakdowns by fund component.

    Sam

  28. An old review, but good info. The one thing that I can’t believe PC has added is the ability to create custom tags. Drives me nuts. So I mostly use Mint for this one feature. For example, if I travel to 3 cities in a month I want to be able to tag them according to the trips. One travel category doesn’t tell me the picture I want to see. You can create custom categories but I couldn’t find a way to create sub-categories. It doesn’t seem like I can get a good picture of how much I spent on travel AND how much I spent on each trip. This seems like such a simple fix.

  29. Please address the subject of categorizing expenses. I need to be able to categorize a vendor once and have it work for new payments to that vendor as they come in, as well as other old payments. I think that works in Mint but not PC.

    PC is very cumbersome and slow for categorizing.

    Also, Mint allows me to change the name of vendors from an incorrect name to a standard name in the foreground. Don’t think PC does.

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