Mint Review

Now that Mint.com has launched in Canada, I thought I would give it a test drive to see what it can do and write up our mint review, and so far I am quite impressed.  To give you a background of my financial tracking skills I have always tried to keep up to date with my spending, but found it hard to do since I don’t have all of my assets in one place. Some banks have their own tracking software, which is great but you just can’t see everything.  I used older versions of Quicken and I found it never updated very well with my bank which was a big reason why I didn’t like it. Not to bash Quicken, in their defense they have resolved some of these issues. I also always seemed to lose my copy of Quicken or the backups, causing me to have to manually enter everything in since the program has to be installed on your computer.

With Mint it is online-based making it easy to access your account with any computer or mobile device. They make it very easy to add your bank accounts, credit cards, investments, assets, etc.  You even have the option to merge all of your transactions together.  If you buy gas with three credit cards and two debit cards, it can still tell you how much you spend in total that month. Mint also gives you recommendations on what credit card you should use that best fits your spending habits.  Based on your investments, Mint will also provide you with ways you can earn more with competing savings accounts or GICs from other institutions.

The Overview Of Mint.com

  • Owned By Intuit (owner of Quicken)
  • Read-only site which uses the same level of security as your banks
    • Since it’s read-only, it is impossible to move money to another institution
    • It is free to use
      • Many people wonder how this service is free; my guess is that they make some pretty good money off of the banking, savings, and credit card services that they recommend to you based on your spending.

    Pros

    • All of your accounts are in one place
    • Easy to read and the auto update works incredibly well
    • Helpful graphs and charts to see where your money is coming from, and where it is going
    • You can have the option to send you email alerts when you’re over budget, or to remind you about bill payments
    • Mobile app makes it easy to take with you on the go
    • Super easy to set up

    Cons

    • Tried to get my mom hooked up on it, but Mint doesn’t recognize credit unions very well.
      • To be fair, each credit union is independent from one another (the only exception when there is a group of 1-4 credit unions acting together). So Mint manually has to get agreements and instructions on how to add hundreds of credit unions instead of one central bank like CIBC or RBC. I just did a quick check and Manitoba has ~39 credit unions! Imagine a province that’s more populated like Alberta or Ontario!
      • Sometimes the auto category feature doesn’t work as well as it should and it names your transaction something it shouldn’t. Although, anytime I buy anything from Safeway it labels it groceries and it is consistent. I never had Mint name something from Safeway as “rent payment” or anything far off like that.
      • Some people worry about the security of the site and adding all your account info and passwords into the system. It does seem risky, but I have a few arguments about it.
        • First off, everything is encrypted which will take years to solve
        • I have next to no money in my chequing account! If I were a hacker I would go after someone with 6 or 7 digits in their bank account.  You are literally a drop of water in the ocean of data. If Mint gets hacked, they will email you and you can easily change your passwords.

Mint Review – Overall

Mint is great to use if you’re looking for easy financial tracking where you don’t need a second degree to figure out how to use it. You can set it and almost forget about it, just check it once in a while and everything stays pretty accurate. From there, it might surprise you that you’re spending $500 on gas each month and you can save 15% just by switching credit cards.  I will be using Mint from now on to get a total bird’s eye view on my finances all on one site.

This is written by the staff at my university money and is not associated with Mint.com or its affiliates. We get a small compensation for whoever signs up by clicking one of the Mint banners or links within this article.

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Very thorough review, thanks. :-) I just recently decided to give mint another go, but I still need to finish setting it up…I get sidetracked easily. I didn’t know that it hadn’t been available in Canada before, at least you guys have it now.

We’re always on the tail end of the fancy new developments.

vtoolshop

I get sidetracked easily. I didn’t know that it hadn’t been available in Canada before, at least you guys have it now.

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