Mint.com started as a darling of free online personal finance management tools but the love affair has soured for some users since the site was acquired by Intuit back in 2009. At first it was complaints about the ads for Quicken and other Intuit products and some of the fun language and tone getting lost. But in late 2010 Mint switched their backend system from Yodlee to Quicken’s in-house one, leading a number of customers’ accounts screwed up and prompting some to abandon Mint entirely.
It didn’t take long for Intuit to start ruining a great product. They’ve begun upselling Mint.com customers to two “free” credit report sites that are anything but. UPDATE: Turns out Mint was already doing this pre-Intuit. Bully for them.
One unpleasant surprise about switching to USAA from Washington Mutual is that I could no longer download all my transactions in .CSV format. When I was with WaMu, this made it very easy to import all my banking into my tricked out Excel sheet I use to manage my finances. USAA only lets you download in Quicken or Microsoft Money’s proprietary formats. Cutting and pasting the transactions as they appear on the website, even in Print mode, still is less than perfect. What I found out though is you can use a personal finance management site like Mint or Wesabe to do most of the grunt work for you. UPDATE: Reader Stephen pointed out there is a handy link at the bottom of the USAA page that lets you export as .CSV. I didn’t see this link because I was looking at the “download fund activity link,” which doesn’t have a .CSV option.
Popular personal-finance management site has added some cool new features. You can now add your student and auto loans, monitoring balances and getting reminders when it’s payment time. Over 1000 lenders were added. Mortgages are now supported, letting you set auto-reminders for when payments are due. The site also now tracks your credit card interest rate, sounding the klaxons when your rate goes up. This gives you a chance to negotiate a better rate (here’s a sample script) or port your balance to a lower-rate card (here’s how). More banks and other features have been added, with investment and home value support on the way, bringing it closer to the promise of being your free one-stop total web-based personal finance dashboard.
Some people think that using Mint.com is crazy because of the security risk of handing over all your banking user names and passwords. FiLife asks them some tough questions about their security procedures and gets straight answers, like:
Let’s say you get hacked. Banks normally would protect me if they get hacked, but do I lose my protection if I’m using Mint to access the bank but the breach happens through your systems? You’re legally protected for $0 liability on credit cards and $50 on bank accounts if fraud is reported within two days. These rights are not voided by using Mint, Yodlee, Quicken, Microsoft Money or similar programs.
They also say all user names and passwords are kept on Yodlee’s servers, not anyone else’s. Every lock can be picked, but we’re more concerned about identity theft resulting from our local big box retailer’s lax security procedures than from Mint.com.
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.