As the barrier breaker into easy personal finance management, Mint has certainly made a name for itself. The free service has expanded with many other features, but it’s biggest selling point hasn’t changed.
For me, the simple consolidated overview of financial accounts continues to be the most useful aspect of Mint – frequently on a smartphone.
Having used the popular personal financial management tool since 2009, I find that there hasn’t been a difference in how I utilize Mint now.
As one begins to amass financial accounts, it becomes a tedious task to achieve a scoping view of every account in the financial kingdom.
Like many American adults, I have savings, checking, credit card, brokerage, and retirement accounts. I had used Intuit’s Quicken software but it was much too detailed for my needs. However, Mint’s simplicity fit the bill. (Intuit acquired Mint in 2009.)
I’ve often been presented with situations where I knew credit card bills were on the way, but I didn’t know if there were sufficient funds in my checking account and if I’d need to pull money from savings. In seconds, I would be on Mint’s iPhone app to get a one-stop view of how my money would flow.
It cuts out the need to log into each account one by one as Mint.com’s automatic updates take care of this.
What Does This Transaction Fall Under?
Although Mint makes an honorable effort to identify the categories of account transactions, it has become rather cumbersome.
An ACS Express Pay transaction (a student loan payment) is always confused with Express (the clothing retailer) despite having edited the category a dozen times. I’ve entirely abandoned categorical management because of this, therefore rendering Mint.com spending charts and graphs pointless. To Mint’s credit, it does get most transaction categories correct.
Other little gripes I have with Mint include; 1) receiving reminders after bills are already paid, 2) lackluster focus on investing, and 3) offers to sign up for accounts that I already have (such as ING Direct online savings and Vanguard IRAs).
On a positive note, Mint’s graphs for income, debt, and net worth featured on the website are quite informative. Watching the bars rising nurtures the motivation to keep saving. Setting goals and budgets are also very simple.
For now, I’m generally happy with Mint.
If Mint’s categorization system can learn to recognize the correct categories based on my activity, I’d certainly be more involved.