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For consumers seeking a one-stop money management app, Mint.com may be the ideal option.
Mint, noted for its easy-to-use features, is a web-based personal finance program that allows users to manage their finances in one place. Whether it’s a mix of banking accounts, credit cards, loans, mortgages or brokerage accounts, consumers can create their financial picture online and manage their finances on the mobile app or at their desktop.
Through budgeting and tracking features, consumers watch their bills and budgets, keeping on top of their finances and making better financial choices. They can also see detailed accounts of where their money goes and where they can save through Mint’s recommendations based on goals and lifestyle.
|Pros||Credit score & utilization monitoring|
|Cons||Lack of investing features|
|Bottom Line||Solid, free budgeting tool|
Managing Your Finances With Mint
Mint’s services are free and users sign up by selecting a bank account or credit card and adding it to the Mint platform. Once the data has been loaded, Mint will organize transactions from it into categories such as “Entertainment” and “Food”. Users can develop a budget for each specific category as way to keep their finances on track.
Mint’s dashboard provides a summary of your personal finances with financial data that’s automatically updated. The more information, such as from credit cards and expenses, that you put into Mint, the more you get out of it. Users can set goals like paying off debt or establishing an emergency fund, and then they can view their progress and data through graphs.
For those concerned about security, Mint has a two-factor authentication that validates your identity before logging in. This can be done through an email or a SMS message.
The Mint App doesn’t have any direct financial perks, but it does offer some benefits that other financial management apps do no, such as not requiring users to install any software.
Recently, Mint launched a free credit score tracking option, allowing users to track their financial picture by logging in to their account and clicking on the “Show Details” button. A wealth of information can be reviewed including age of credit accounts, credit score, errors, payment history, and more.
In addition, Mint has just added a credit utilization ratio feature. Under the “Bills” section in the “Overview” tab, it will show a usage ratio defined as the total amount by the user on his credit card divided by the credit limit. For the ideal credit score, you should strive to keep your credit card usage under 30 percent.
Other benefits include Mint’s weekly email summaries that explain a user’s finances over the previous week. Mint also sends alerts for unusual account activity, upcoming bills or ways to save on transaction fees. Overall, Mint has received fairly high reviews.
Mint does have its downsides beginning with its lack of investing features. Disappointed consumers have looked toward Mint alternatives like Personal Capital and Quicken for their investment tool options.
Many Mint users have also dealt with synchronization issues. Reviews have discussed that bank syncing will occasionally break, including accounts synced with Mint won’t show in the website’s accounts area. Frustrated users have said resolving the problem can take a while.
Other downsides include the lack of report generations, no features that enable users to reconcile their Mint information against a monthly bank statement. And there is no Quicken data imported into Mint.
In addition, Mint recently cancelled its popular Bill Pay feature, but the app has continued tracking bills, setting reminders, and marking them as paid, according to PCWorld. Finally, workers who receive their income inconsistently or in varying amounts may find Mint challenging to use as it requires users to predict their monthly income, but it doesn’t offer alternatives for flexible incomes.
Many users view Mint as a great personal finance option to create and track a budget, credit scores, and goals. Alerts sent via email and text are a nice feature, but Mint’s lack of investing features and no online bill pay may make other financial apps a better option for some consumers. Essentially, Mint provides:
- Solid, free budgeting tool
- A way to set and achieve financial goals
- A custom, comprehensive picture of your finances
Author: Debbie Baratz