The Story of MintSo. Here’s the thing…

Quite a few of you have been asking about MINT.  That’s because it’s super popular and pretty dang awesome.

I am a relative newcomer to Mint. I downloaded it this summer, and quickly realized what all the fuss was about. There’s nothing in the market quite like it.

Why is Mint awesome?

When you first sign up for Mint you sync it with all of your bank accounts and credit cards. Mint then pulls all the information in to a one stop shop for your personal finances.

  • It can link to most banks, it even linked to my credit union Mastercard, which always seems totally off the grid. GOOO MINT!!!
  • Not only do you add bank accounts, you can also add other assets: cars, real estate, etc.., as well as debt.
  • It automatically tracks your spending, and puts it into categories. You can set up a budget as well, and it will send you an alert if you’re overspending in a category.
  • Mint also sends you alerts if you’re charged something you would normally miss: Like a bank fee. I never realized how many bank fees were coming my way until my phone started buzzing.

The app is so cool. Once you get it all set up, the overview will give you a complete picture of your financial health, including current accounts, budget, credit score (apparently it’s free… haven’t tested that one out because I didn’t feel like typing in my SIN number), and cash flow/spending charts. It’s a great way to see your finances in multiple ways.

It’s easy to set up, it looks great, and the greatest thing about Mint, is that it’s free.

Every bit of it is free.

Why I’m less of a Mint fan…

Mint is so easy, it’s kind of dangerous.

You can just download it and have Mint on your phone, categorizing your purchases and sending you alerts and making you feel like you’re taking an active role in your finances.

But are you…?

It really depends on who you are, and what you need. It helped me see all my accounts in one place, and I use it as a major tool to track my spending, rather than visiting all of the different banking and credit card websites.

There’s also the slightly weird (although totally understandable) way that they make money, by recommending products that will save you money. A different credit card here, a different bank account there.

Look. I have no problem with Mint trying to make a buck, but for all you users out there, make sure you look at all your options, not just the recommended ones. They might not be (read: probably won’t be) the best options for you.

Why (despite its awesomeness) you might not want to use it at all

Every time I’ve mentioned Mint in the last few posts it has come with a cryptic warning. Hopefully that hasn’t been too ominous, but I just wanted to make sure before I recommended anything to anyone that you knew all the facts.

With Mint, it’s more than just a budgeting software. You are putting all of your banking information and passwords in ONE place. For some people, that doesn’t bother them. But for others, that’s a bit … concerning. It warrants a look in to where exactly you’re putting that information.

The company that owns Mint is called Intuit. And they’re a super solid, super secure company. They maintain that their security is as good as any bank.

The thing that gets swept under the rug is something I found on MONEYSENSE magazine through the delightful personal finance blog YOUNG AND THRIFTY.

“… the federal government’s Financial Consumer Agency of Canada recently warned that by disclosing your passwords to such sites, you might be nullifying an important agreement with your bank that covers you in case of fraud.
When MoneySense contacted the big five banks about the issue, they confirmed that this is the case. “By requiring bank customers to divulge their confidential access codes and passwords, is inducing breach of contract between Scotiabank and its banking customers,” said Scotia’s Joe Konecny. CIBC’s Rob McLeod was equally blunt. “You are responsible for any losses from any use by a third party that provides an online account aggregation service.” ”

You can check out the WHOLE ARTICLE or you can also read Young and Thrifty’s TELLING OF THE STORY which includes great information on Inuit’s security features (they have one of those hand scanny thingies) and other things to consider when debating whether or not to use Mint.

If you want to know more check out what Mint itself has to say about its security HERE. It has a picture of THREE locks on it… so…. Fears assuaged.

I am not saying that you shouldn’t use Mint. It’s a great program, but use it with all knowledge in hand.

Full disclosure: I still use MINT, even though I am slightly wigged out at the prospect of what might happen to my small pile of dollars if something were to go wrong. I use it as a one stop shop for all of my spending.


What do you guys think? Do the security concerns bother you at all? Or does the danger just make it more exciting?