Quicken vs. Mint – Which Is Better at Managing Your Money?

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If you had to think of two personal finance applications, more than likely you would think of Quicken first, followed by Mint. If you want to manage your personal finances better, both are extremely popular. The question, then, in this ultimate battle of personal finance apps is: Which one is better?

At one time Intuit owned both services, but in 2015 they decided to sell Quicken to the private equity firm H.I.G. Capital.

Let's talk about the history of each service first.

HighlightsMint.comQuicken
Rating8.5/108/10
Budgeting
Investment Monitoring
Retirement Planning
Bill Payment
Manual Entries
Bill Management

About Quicken

Quicken is a desktop application you install locally on your Windows or Macintosh computer. It's the “grandaddy” of personal finance software, appearing first for MS-DOS and Apple II (remember them?) back in 1983.

Times have changed, and now Quicken has multiple versions of its application — from Window and Mac to apps for the iPhone, iPad, and Android. Quicken's desktop software can sync up with the mobile app.

But changing times have also brought a changing playing field for these types of applications. Whereas Quicken was once the only game in town, now it faces stiff competition from some alternative players, including Mint.

Quicken can help you keep track of your money, pay bills and set — and — keep budgets. It can even help you manage your investments and — in a new feature — track the value of your home.

However, it's not without its faults. I once used Quicken every day, but now I've found that there are much more comfortable and more reliable apps for day-to-day use. However, when it comes to comprehensive financial management, none of these smaller apps have all the features of Quicken.

However, Mint makes for a worthy opponent…

About Mint

Mint is a free online-only personal finance app. It is a cloud-based service, and you can access Mint via any web browser or mobile app on your iPhone or Android smartphone.

The Mint app was started in 2006 and was acquired by Intuit in 2009. While Quicken used to be Intuit’s lead product, Mint has become their sole focus since announcing the sale of Quicken.

The platform incorporates all of your financial accounts — bank, investment, credit cards, and loans — in one place and provides a big-picture view of your entire financial situation. At the initial setup, you can add all of your accounts in a pretty seamless download process. After downloading and syncing your transactions, Mint’s software automatically separates them into predefined categories.

While you can’t modify the top-level categories, you can create and add your own subcategories. Once set up, Mint will remember repeating transactions so it will automatically match the same category in the future.

With Mint, every time you visit the site, your financial data gets updated automatically. The software presents your financial information in a slick easy-to-use web interface, with information and pretty graphs on a user-friendly dashboard.

Features Both Quicken and Mint Offer

Budgeting Both provide a program that lets you know exactly where you are spending money in an easy-to-understand, graphical format
Direct Import/Synchronization Both software platforms allow you to link your accounts (bank, credit cards, loans, etc.) and import transactions automatically, synchronizing your entire financial picture in one place
Multi-Device Capability Changes made to your account on any device (smartphone, desktop, tablet, laptop) automatically carry over to other devices you’re using
Mobile App Both Quicken and Mint offer mobile support via Apple iOS and Google Android
Credit Report Monitoring Both Mint and Quicken allow you to monitor your credit score
Weekly Email Summaries Find out what’s happened in the past week with your finances

Features Unique to Quicken

  • Reconcile Bank Statements — Quicken allows you to check your recorded transactions against your current bank statement. Think of this as the online version of balancing your checkbook.
  • Data Stored Locally — Quicken keeps your data on your own computer, so you don't need to worry about it being unsecured in the cloud.
  • The Inspector — This feature allows you to see summary information about your budget, as well as provide quick options. It will let you know, for example, whether or not you’ve budgeted enough for an upcoming expense.
  • Retirement Planning — Quicken has the functionality to help with setting and meeting your retirement saving goals.
  • Tax Reporting — With Quicken you can either directly import into services like TurboTax, or generate tax reports to hand over to your accountant.
  • Bill Payment — You can pay your bills with Quicken, whereas Mint no longer offers this functionality.

Features Unique to Mint

  • Alerts via email or SMS — Mint will alert you about pending bills and fees that hit your accounts and will suggest ways to save money on transaction fees.
  • Credit Score Tracking — View and monitor your credit score, account usage, payment history and errors at a glance.
  • Investment Tracking — Mint offers investment tracking although it’s okay at best. If you’re more of a buy-and-hold than an active investor, the investing section offered by Mint may be all you need. Personal Capital is a possible alternative that offers better investment tools.
  • Net Worth Report — Mint calculates your net worth and displays that figure prominently at the top of your account.
  • Apple Watch — Mint is accessible via an Apple Watch.

The Comparison of Mint and Quicken

We break down the comparison into these categories: Budgeting, Synchronization, Cost, Customer Service and Education, Security, and Mobile Access.


Budgeting

Both apps are stellar at budgeting.

You know where your money is going and can manage your finances well with either one. Both services are versatile enough for any budgeter to stop over-drafting, set up a systematic way to pay off credit card debt, set up savings and manage your spending. Plus get alerts for unusual activity.

Quicken offers a robust budgeting tool that has greatly benefited from recent improvements. Mint’s budgeting software is also easy to use and visually appealing.

And both have been around long enough that they’re viable options to choose between for basic budgeting. Both are excellent budgeting apps and comparable to each other in most ways.

TIE — Mint and Quicken are both good choices for budgeting.

Synchronization

Both platforms provide automatic synchronization of your bank, credit card and loan accounts with many financial institutions.

While Mint supports a large number of banks and financial services, it also seems to have a lot of technical problems with synchronization. This complaint is an ongoing one among users; you can feel their frustration when you read their comments on synchronization on Mint’s forums. Not only does Mint seem to have a lot of disruptive issues, but they also seem to have a bad reputation for not fixing the synchronization issues in a timely fashion.

Synchronization is an area where Quicken is somewhat better than Mint, though because it uses Intuit's online services, it may have similar synchronization issues.

If you cannot use the automatic methods to download your information pretty much every financial institution supports the open standard. QFX format with Quicken. Lastly, If synchronization breaks with Quicken, nothing prevents you from manually entering your journal entries. Whereas with Mint you cannot enter any transactions if synchronization breaks. Therefore, we recommend Quicken over Mint in this category, though from our testing have had a better experience with Personal Capital synchronization.

Winner — Quicken

Cost

If cost is your primary factor in choosing, then this comparison is an easy one. Quicken retails $39.95 to $119.95 (we list the latest Quicken promotions on our site).

Mint is free to use, and there are no hidden fees. You might be wondering how Mint makes money. There are several ways:

  • Mint offers “ways to save” by recommending various financial services from which they get a referral fee.
  • You’ll also find banner ads in various parts of the website, which provide revenue.
  • You can sign up for premium access to your credit report for a small 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 might have, etc. The data is collected anonymously and does not refer back to any individual user.
Winner — Mint

Customer Service and Education

When you click on the support button on Mint’s website, there is a list of common questions and issues you can scroll through. If you can’t find the answer to your question, you can either email the team or hit the chat button for online help. Response to my specific inquiry from Mint was slow. Spotty customer service seems to be a recurring experience of users who post on their website forum.

Quicken has had a notorious history of poor customer service. Hopefully, the app's new owners will address the problems that so many customers have complained about. They do offer free 24/7 technical service via phone (how useful it remains to be seen). Typically, you get technical support that's from India and reading through scripts to help with your problems. As has been reported by many comments on Investor Junkie, their phone support is more than useless for all but for the simplest of issues.

In addition, with Quicken (and previously with Intuit) there would be many software upgrades of the product to fix various bugs that in some cases should have been resolved before releasing the new version.

Based on issues with both products, I cannot recommend either product as superior in customer service. From our testing, we've had better customer service with Personal Capital and YNAB.

TIE — Mint and Quicken are equally poor choices for customer service.

Security

Security is an important issue for anyone using a personal financial program since your entire financial life could be exposed.

In comparing Mint and Quicken in terms of security, it's all about an internet-based service versus locally installed software on your computer.

With traditional Quicken software, all of your information is stored right on your computer. However, when using the application's online features, Quicken uses the following to safeguard your info:

  • Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology and encryption to make your information unreadable as it passes over the internet.
  • Firewall-protected servers.
  • Integrity checks to be certain messages have not been changed in any way between the sender and recipient.
  • Users can protect their accounts with secure passwords.

Mint also is concerned about the security of your personal and stored information. Key site security measures:

  • Two-factor authentication: In addition to password protection, Mint won’t let you access your account until you validate the device you’re using either via the email address you used when you signed up or by an SMS text message to your cellphone.
  • Touch ID sensor for iOS: This quickly reads your fingerprint and unlocks your phone, allowing you quick access to the Mint.com app.

We believe Quicken's local data storage makes it superior when considering security protection.

Winner — Quicken

Mobile Access

Both apps are very user-friendly when you’re on the go. While there are differences in the display of your information, it really comes down to the personal preference of which one appeals more to you as a user.

Winner — Mint

Summary

HighlightsMint.comQuicken
Cost10/107.5/10
Customer Service 6/105/10
Ease of Use 9/109/10
Synchronization7/108/10
Accessibility8.5/109/10
Promotions14 Month Subscription on Amazon
Price$0, 0, free/month$34.99, 99.99, year/month
Trial Period0 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/CanadaMultiple
Access8.5/109/10
Two-Factor Authentication
Customer ServiceEmailPhone: 24/7; Email
Mint.comQuicken

Which Is Better?

Between just these two services, we would have to pick Quicken over Mint (Even though I've switched to Personal Capital). Quicken has much more functionality and can grow with you over time. But for some, perhaps Mint is all you need. If you want a service that's available online via a web browser or app, Mint is a better service for that purpose.

Both Mint and Quicken are designed to show you how and where you spend your money. Both provide a user-friendly tool to improve your money management skills — and financial future — by helping you budget effectively. Both are now online services and compatible across all the devices you might choose to use.

However, Quicken's pricing can be off-putting, especially to Millennials who just want a quick, free app to handle simple personal finance functions. For this audience, Mint is a better deal.

Readers: Which platform do you prefer between the two?

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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17 Comments

  1. One problem with the modern Quicken, it’s useless for people who live in two different countries (say, the US and Canada). You cannot download your transactions from financial institutions on both countries. You need to buy a separate Quicken for each country.

    Mint will allow you to access your banking information from two countries. And the setup is smooth (although I am nervous giving all those passwords away, even though Mint promises the same level of confidentiality as Quicken).

  2. I used Quicken for 20 years, finally giving it up in 2016 for a range of reasons most notably because it kept crashing. One thing I REALLY liked about Quicken that seems to never be discussed anywhere is that I can save ALL of my scanned and downloaded bills, receipts, and other documents and attach them to relevant transactions. Makes it so much easier for me to have a single place I can go whenever I need to reference financial info. That function broke badly in 2014 and Intuit had no interest in addressing (probably because they were selling Quicken and didn’t really care about details).

    I’ve tried Personal Capital for about a year and finally settled in on Mint. With Personal Capital I could upload and save my documents but not attach them to transactions. With Mint there’s no option to save anything anywhere. I have to just make sure that any receipts (specifically for big ticket items) are stored elsewhere.

    Another thing I miss with Quicken (compared to Mint) is that I cannot accurately track paychecks. Quicken allowed me to track everything in my paycheck – including those details most people never look at – like how much in taxes were withheld, etc. As a result, it’s far easier in Quicken to prep for tax season (in years past I was able to do my taxes accurately even before I received W2s in the mail). Mint has no manual entry for paycheck and only registered the net payment. I want to see both the gross and the net pay.

    I’m now interested in going back to Quicken and this review helps a little. Just wish I didn’t have to give them more money just to see if it has improved to my satisfaction yet.

    So to answer your question – I’m decidedly on the side of Quicken – specifically the Quicken that used to work properly.

  3. Its amazing that there is effectively no competitive product to Quicken. I have been a user since at least 1993. In too deep to change now. Its the one application that lets you do everything with one App. I haven’t had any of the sync issues noted… and I have dozens of accounts that sync regularly. I hope someone comes up with an alternative.

  4. Thumbs down on Mint for not allowing the reconciling of bank transactions. It’s a mystery to me why few online financial programs allow for reconciling. Or, does anyone know one, free or at a reasonable cost?

  5. Can I get monthly and annual profit and loss and balance sheets and month to month and yearly comparisons with MINT? If so how?

  6. Just my two cents about reconciling transactions.

    Mint allows tags, so I created a ‘Reconciled’ tag, which displays on each transaction as a checkbox.
    I then check the tag when I have reconciled the line item.

    To see all my un-reconciled entries, I just search on: “-tag:reconciled”, which only shows me items which I need to work on. 🙂

  7. I hate the 2017 Quicken because the budgeting was changed from previous software versions. I can no longer select accounts to use with budgeting so it makes the program useless to me. I have heard this complaint from many people and contacted Quicken about the change. They don’t seem to want to change it back to how it used to work! I am very disappointed and will never upgrade using Quicken unless they fix this defect.

  8. I have been using Quicken since Quicken 4 and I don’t hve much complains up to Quicken 2014 H&B until it can no longer download from banks. I use it mainly for catergorize the income, expenses, investment (few hundred transactions a year, although now I can download directly from the TradeStation into the TurboTax), Schedule C and E and import them into TurboTax.

    But my Quicken 2017 H&B crashed 3 times this morning and few more times in the past week. I have reduced my .QDF size from 660MB to 588MB by deleting some accounts. On top of crashing, the program can no longer do Copy/Cut/Paste for “Payee” and “memo” in both Setup choices, and there is a Shrinking space problem in the “Replace with” in the “Find & Replace” that prompted me to search for an alternative program. My computer is 1 year old with 32 GB RAM, 1 TB hard drive C (118GB used, programs only). 3 TB internal Hard Drive E for data (2 TB used), and Windows 10, 64-bit.

    First article I read was “Quicken Alternatives – Is There Anything Better?” which didn’t give me the answer I was looking for.

    Then I read your “Quicken vs. Mint – Which Is Better at Managing Your Money?” which answered my question.
    It seems I have to stick with Quicken even I don’t like the Quicken 2017 H&B.

    Do you have any other suggestions for me?

    Thank you for your help.

    Yours sincerely,

    Helen Feeney

  9. I just signed up for Mint and, day one, hour one, minute one — it couldn’t link/synch to the first two bank accounts I tried (and they are major banks!) Then I read that they often have synch problems and don’t seem interested in fixing them — that’s a complete non-starter for me. I like “free”, but I want to access and update my information on MY timeline and not theirs. But then I read that they both use the Intuit interface and Quicken may have issues at the same times as Mint — very confusing!! Is there something out there that is MORE STABLE than either of these?

    1. We review Personal Capital and rate it better for sync as it doesn’t use Intuit’s syncing service but Yodlee instead. We’ve found Yodlee to be more stable and was once what Mint used before Intuit acquired them.

  10. I’ve been using Quicken for Windows and Mac since the 1990s. Sadly, my experience has gotten worse and worse, especially recently, which might coincide with Intuit’s sale of Quicken. Recent updates on the Windows version have resulted in the creation of duplicate QDF files which won’t work with Quicken Mobile. And the Mac versions have been poor imitations of the Windows versions since inception, with terrible support and lack of features. As for Mint, its simplicity and more “bare bones” approach are becoming more and more attractive, though I hesitate to completely switch over due to its lack of a reconciliation feature. Since I don’t track my investments with Quicken, I don’t use that feature; if I did, I’d probably enjoy it a bit more, and put up with the recent problems. As it stands, though, I see myself leaving Quicken completely and moving over to Mint, regretfully.

  11. I have used Quicken for years to keep track of my checks and assist with doing taxes. The problem with it is that Quicken abandoned their QIF file format and I got FORCED buy the 2016 version or I could no longer download my financial files from my bank. Then if I don’t update each three years, the software will no longer import my data. IF I can find a better solution, Quicken will be dropped. I tried Mint and at the same time experienced a break-in on one of my credit cards. I never trusted Mint again although I can’t guarantee it was due to them. I don’t like the idea of having to give up account logins and passwords to get the data picked up by any of the services. Essentially to use them, you are breaking the agreement you have with your financial agency about not sharing your login and PW data with a third party. Not a really great computer security thing to have to do. I have tried Personal Capital, and while useful, they are unable to import data from some of my financial institutions due to formatting issues. That makes them a less than whole solution and I suspect Mint and Quicken would have the same issues. I run a spreadsheet to track net worth and have another organization that allows me to enter assets manually. Since I control those, it is safer than sharing all the login data with third parties. Personal Capital does track the value of my house, but Quicken now claims they will do that with version 2017 . Must not be great sales as they are up to a 40 percent off offer.

  12. Larry, you are sorta correct. Quicken will work offline but you must wage war with Quicken and Intuit to do it and never update! And you must use versions before 2016. Since mid 2016, the management of Quicken has decided that all software must register with Intuit or be locked. They now require 2016 (later updates) and later to run all data through Intuit telling folks that is the only way to update data. (I suppose they get a cut.) That is unmitigated hog wash as you can directly connect to any bank and download the same information that Intuit routes to your computer. I will agree that for the novice, Intuit makes it easier but it is still not difficult.

    You mention the abysmal customer service at Quicken. You were too kind! It’s not that good! When I found out they had split with Intuit, I bought a 2016 version! I did not register it as I wanted none of Intuits “service”. After six months, the software locked until I registered. I called them to ask them to unlock it or send my money back. “Oh, we can’t do that.” Seems that the return period was three months even though the lock did not kick in until six had passed. Makes sense to them!

    The fix was for me to buy an older version on E-Bay and run it. OH, Yes, and I would need to locate the back up from my 2010 version, load that into the later software and then manually enter six months of data into the old version since quicken 2015 cannot communicate with 2016. It only goes up, not down!

    Call me old fashion, but I have a strong preference for entering my own financial data and balancing my own accounts, but it is had to do with locked software!

    Oh yes, then there is security. When OPM is hacked, do you really think that Intuit is bullet proof?

    The solution is to go to the 2014 version of Quicken and never give the bastards a nickel for an upgrade. Don’t requester and never link to either Quicken or Intuit!

    The upshot of all this is I am just one of thousands of dissatisfied ex-customers. I should add that I have used Quicken since the mid-1980’s. I even switched from TurboTax after thirty plus years and now use TaxAct for half the price.

    1. Bob, you’re comment was most helpful-I would say conclusive. I have Quicken 2014, and my question is whether to upgrade to Q 2017, particularly with Intuit’s 3-year cycle of forced upgrades.
      I had avoided action because when I upgraded from Q2011 to Q2014, Quicken recalculated all past investment transactions, a significant number incorrectly. It took me more than six months to bring the history back to an acceptable state. After reading this comment, I am convinced that, as bad as Q2014 was, everything after is even worse.

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