Mint.com, a new free personal finance management site, is easy to get started, though we’re not sure we’re completely satisfied with where we end up.
To begin, just enter in the user names and passwords for your online banking accounts. The site is easily understood and instantly navigable.
It synced effortlessly with all our accounts, loading all our transactions in under a minute. Within minutes, we were looking at pie charts of our spending habits broken down by type and shown over time. Neat.
What would really take this service up a notch is if it allowed you to transfer funds between accounts. I would love to be able to pay off credit card from my checking out by only logging into one website.
One drawback is that because my bank doesn’t communicate who the merchant was on a paper check, a good number of my bill payment transactions fall outside Mint’s system.
Our credit card APR was incorrectly listed as 0%, and then told us we could save a grand by switching to Capital One. No thanks.
Lastly, many have raised questions privacy and security concerns, including the insecurity of handing over your banking and account passwords to a third party, as well as the technical method for how Mint executes transactions. If these thoughts make you squeamish, check out Mint’s security practices.
Overall, Mint seems like a great way to get a quick snapshot of your overall personal finances. For people with multiple credit cards and no experience with setting up a budget, it could be quite a boon. But for us, the lack of bank to bank transfers, no detailed recording of check-based transactions, and the lack of interface with brokerage accounts, means we won’t be giving up our simple, powerful, and infinitely customizable personal excel sheet budget for Mint.com anytime soon.