Posted by: admin | October 8, 2008

The Best Online Personal Finance Website

I recently discovered Mint.com, and I must say it is the best online personal finance website.  In a nutshell, Mint.com aggregates all of your banks/credit cards/investment accounts information into one place online.

Here is a snapshot of the overview page that has all your accounts:

First, let’s walk through the process. You fill in your email address and passwords, and then almost immediately begin filling in sign-in information for the online banking service you use. The graphic user interface is fast and intuitive:

mintcom-adding-accounts.jpg

Within minutes, Mint has pulled the most recent 132 transaction from four credit cards, a checking account, and paypal. They support hundreds of different accounts, from banking checking and savings, credit cards, Macys and other store cards, as well as investment accounts. In the near future, they will support student loan accounts as well.

Yes, this is scary, but Mint claims they can keep you safe by not storing your banking login information themselves:

We ask for your online banking user name and passwords, but we do not see or store that information. That means no one at Mint, and no potential hackers of Mint.com, can access your banking credentials. Your online banking credentials are stored only with these institutions enabling Mint to automatically and securely update your transactions and saving you from updating, syncing or uploading financial information manually. All communication between Mint and its online financial service providers is encrypted using 128–bit SSL encryption, the financial industry standard for data protection.

The next step is to classify and review your transactions. Mint lets you put them in buckets–and naturally it will get a few wrong to start with–but you can set up rules to classify new transactions how you like. For example, I set one that sets any checks with the amount of my rent to go into the rent bucket:

mintcom-transactions.jpg

By doing this, you let them do some analysis on your spending or earning trends. Note, the trends feature appears to update daily, not in real time, so if you classify a bunch of transactions, it won’t update the trends page with your new categorization for some time. This is unfortunate, but probably necessary. This lets them make, say, a graph of your spending v.s. the average NY spender:

mintcom-spending-01.png

mintcom-spending-02.png

I guess I need to spend more money at Amazon and Best Buy to fit in these days. Lastly, there is their “ways to save” page, which is basically targeted affiliate ads with various banks. This is their revenue stream–getting you to sign up for new credit cards and open new accounts–tread lightly here and don’t go overboard with the new sign ups:

mintcom-savings.jpg

Conclusion

Mint.com is award-winning online personal finance software that manages most personal finance account types, provides budgeting tools and generates personalized money-saving ideas. Mint automates many personal finance tracking tasks, and sends out account alerts so you do not forget to pay bills. Mint does not have advanced personal finance tools, but the available features are excellent.
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Responses

  1. I’ve heard a lot about this, I might have to give Mint a try


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