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Mint.com Review

Free
Reviewed
June 2012
by ConsumerSearch
Mint

Best personal finance website

Pros
  • Creates spending reports and graphs
  • Tracks more types of accounts than any other site
  • Automatically aggregates and updates account data
  • Offers money-saving suggestions
  • Award-winning iPhone app
Cons
  • Must provide login information for all accounts
  • Some see money-saving suggestions as ads
Where to Buy
 

Mint.com tracks your bank and credit card accounts, along with brokerage, 401(k), IRA and 529 college-savings plans; it also can keep tabs on auto loans, student loans and mortgages. Mint.com connects to over 15,000 U.S. financial institutions, slightly more than other personal finance services. Originally designed to efficiently handle the automatic addition of transactions and bank account details, Mint.com added a welcome feature so users can do this manually. Reviewers find Mint.com to be strong in automatically categorizing purchases into more than 100 categories; users can also create their own custom categories. However, some reviewers found that transactions were sometimes incorrectly placed in the wrong categories.

In addition to keeping track of your purchases and financial details, Mint.com offers money management tools. You can set limits in each spending category (travel, food, etc.), and Mint.com will send alerts when you go over budget; balances (or deficits) carry over from month to month. Analyses of your financial history from the last six months help you to see exactly where your money went. Mint.com also provides tools to assist with investment management of stocks or commodities. In addition, calculators help you save toward specific goals.

According to reviewers, what chiefly sets Mint.com apart from other online finance software is its Ways to Save feature. Based on data in the user's accounts, Mint suggests vendors who offer the same services (such as credit cards) that the user is already paying for, but at lower prices. However, this feature draws mixed reviews. As Mint.com receives revenues from some of these companies, some reviewers see these suggestions as thinly disguised ads, while others point out that clicking the links to these recommended services is totally optional.

Mint.com's iPhone app has been well received, although some reviewers are unhappy that it's read-only -- you can review your financial info (albeit in real time) through your iPhone without being able to update it. Reviewers at PCMag.com say that the iPhone app is "the easiest way of checking account balances on the fly," and like the feature that geotags where you spend money. Mint.com also offers apps for the iPad and for Android mobile devices, though all mobile apps are intended as a supplement to the main Mint.com service through its website.

We found comparative reviews of Mint.com at PC World, TopTenReviews.com, Lifehacker.com and MoneyCrashers.com. Older reviews (from 2009) are still useful; those at PCMag.com, CNET, Kiplinger.com and SramanaMitra.com thoughtfully evaluate Mint.com, sometimes in comparison to other financial sites.

Our Sources

1. PC World

PC World's Yardena Arar recommends Mint.com for its comprehensive reports and great graphics. She finds its auto-categorization of transactions to be useful and fairly accurate. Its one downside is that it's "not great" at identifying itemized deductions.

Review: Battle of the Budgeting Tools: Manage Money Online and on the Go, Yardena Arar, Jan. 9, 2011

2. TopTenReviews.com

In an individual product review at TopTenReviews.com, editors state that Mint.com makes money management "ridiculously simple." They find the service easy to use with a quick setup, and give it 4 out of 4 stars. One downside identified is that it took the testers some time to manually update their accounts.

Review: Mint.com Review, Editors of TopTenReviews.com

3. TopTenReviews.com

The iPhone app for Mint.com doesn't impress the editors at TopTenReviews.com as much as the website service. They state that the iPhone app provides only read-only access to their financial information and that updates seem slow. They recommend the iPhone app as a complement to Mint.com's full online service.

Review: Mint.com 1.3.15, Editors of TopTenReviews.com, As of May 2012

4. MoneyCrashers.com

Erik Folgate at MoneyCrashers.com awards Mint.com a rating of 3 out of 5. He appreciates the customizable experience of Mint.com, in addition to its well-designed interface. However, he had problems getting hold of a live customer service person, and doesn't like the promotion of credit cards through the Mint.com website.

Review: Mint.com Review -- Online Personal Finance Budgeting Software, Erik Folgate, March 30, 2011

5. The New York Times

This article compares HelloWallet and Mint.com. Jennifer Saranow Schultz makes the interesting distinction that Mint.com is a money management service, in contrast to the more limited features of HelloWallet, which is more of a money guidance service.

Review: New Tools for Financial Planning Advice, Jennifer Saranow Schultz, March 16, 2010

6. Lifehacker.com

Jason Fitzpatrick appreciates Mint.com's emphasis on user-friendliness and automation. However, he thinks that automation may have been overemphasized, as Mint.com has only recently offered the ability for users to add transactions manually.

Review: Five Best Personal Money Management Sites, Jason Fitzpatrick, July 11, 2010

7. CBSNews.com

Kathy Kristof tries out five personal finance sites, writes a fairly detailed review of each and rates each on a scale of 1 to 5. Mint.com is her top choice, with 4.5 points; she writes that it is "far and away the most sophisticated and comprehensive site. It is also exceptionally easy to use." She doesn't like the Ways to Save feature, however, saying the suggestions often seemed off the mark.

Review: Money Management: The Best Online Personal Finance Sites, Kathy Kristof, Dec. 3, 2009

8. About.com

Shelley Elmblad gives Mint.com an overall score of 4.5 out of 5. She finds the Ways to Save suggestions helpful, and concludes that Mint.com offers enough personal finance management tools for most people while remaining very easy to use. The only drawbacks Elmblad points out are that you can't enter cash transactions manually or reconcile accounts, and that the software only works with U.S. financial institutions. (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)

Review: Mint.com Personal Finance Software Review, Shelley Elmblad, March 23, 2011

9. PCMag.com

Sara Yin awards the Mint.com iPhone app an impressive 4.5 stars out of 5, calling it the "fastest, easiest way of checking account balances on the fly." While you can view your financial data in real time, you can't update anything through this app. Yin highlights the geotagging feature that records the geographic location of each of your purchases.

Review: Mint.com (for iPhone), Sara Yin, Nov. 29, 2011

10. PCMag.com

Mint.com is named a PCMag.com Editors' Choice in 2009. Reviewer Kathy Yakal uses superlatives, calling it "the best online personal-finance software out there," and saying that "Mint.com's interface is one of the best I've ever seen: clean, crisp, colorful, and so simply designed that you can't get lost." She also praises Mint.com for the easy setup, for its Ways to Save feature and for its investment-tracking capabilities.

Review: Mint.com (Winter 2009), Kathy Yakal, April 3, 2009

11. CNET

This older review compares several financial websites. Mint.com gets higher marks than Buxfer.com, Geezeo.com or Wesabe.com (now closed), but Don Reisinger says that it "doesn't provide the kind of depth that you would expect from a full-featured money management tool." Moreover, Reisinger says he wouldn't feel comfortable handing over the user IDs and passwords for his accounts to Mint.com, which he considers a small company. (That has changed since Intuit bought Mint.com.)

Review: Manage Your Money Online with These Services, Don Reisinger, Jan. 22, 2009

12. SramanaMitra.com

Guest reviewers Charles Bush and Kathy Hwang review Mint.com along with other finance websites and rate the sites based on how well they perform in four areas: financial forecasting, education, support groups and whether they have a scorecard feature that lets users know if they are meeting financial goals. Mint.com wins high marks for its aesthetics and ease of use.

Review: Redesign That: Online Personal Finance, Part 2, Charles W. Bush and Kathy Hwang, Feb. 14, 2009

13. Kiplinger.com

This excellent but somewhat dated comparative review provides detailed looks at free finance software websites Mint.com, Wesabe.com (now offline) and Geezeo.com. Mint.com is the favorite of reviewer Stacy Rapacon, who likes the site's ability to track all your accounts, offer personalized savings tips and generate charts and graphs to give users a big-picture view of their financial situation.

Review: The Six Best Budgeting Sites, Stacy Rapacon, March 2009

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