Mint, known for helping users keep an eye on their finances, may offer its very own debit card to actively keep users from overspending. The card was discovered through an advertisement that was hidden in Mint’s code and revealed by TechCrunch.
Called the Mint Control Card, it will honor the spending limits that users place on certain categories. “You can set spending limits in any category you choose, so you’ll never have a negative balance or pay an overdraft fee again,” the ad says.
Since Mint users can review their finances in real-time on mobile devices, they can check how much they can spend and how close they are to breaking their budget. Mint has been called out for not encouraging action, on the user’s part, to take the steps toward improving personal finances. This debit card may be one way for the company to address these concerns.
To sweeten the card some more, Mint plans to dole out 2% cash back on everyday purchases to help users build more savings.
How Mint plans to issue this card is unclear. Will Mint partner with a bank? Or will the Control Card tap the funds of aggregated bank accounts on Mint? Also, what will be considered “everyday” purchases? The credit-card industry has been known to categorize only certain types of purchases (e.g. gas, groceries and food) as “everyday” purchases.
A Mint spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.
Looking like the better deal
In addition to already dominating the field for personal financial management (PFM) tools, with this debit card, Mint steps into the territory of major financial players.
If the Control Card give 2% cash back on all purchases, it could be more attractive than the cash-back debit card offered by PerkStreet Financial, which lets customers earn 1% cash back on all purchases with the ability to earn bonus cash back through certain retailers.
It would also pose a threat to many cash-back credit cards that typically hand out 1% cash back on all purchases that are not in bonus categories. The Capital One Cash Rewards card, which offers an effective 1.5% cash back rate, would appear inferior to Mint’s debit card.
Furthermore, if Mint’s debit card will draw funds from users’ linked bank accounts (or possibly even credit cards), it would contend with PayPal’s debit card, which is capable of tapping a user’s bank account or credit card to pay for a purchase.
Until Mint clarifies how the Control Card will work, it’s hard to determine how it would truly help maximize users’ savings.