web stats

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A peppery green Mint.

OK, so I have been wanting to write about this site for a while but did not because I wanted to "check it out" myself first. And, about six months out here I am. If you are as fidgety and control freak about your personal finance as I am and want to know which crevice of your car you dropped your last penny, then this is for you. No no, this is not one of those metal detector for the hobbyists. Mint, allows you to manage and watch your finance from one place.

What you need to do this?
Sign up with minimum information, enter account info (username/password) for your financial account (don't panic yet and continue reading, and do not hesitate to click on the ad on the right).

What Mint does?
If you have successfully completed the above Mint goes out and collects retrieves all transactions from your different accounts and displays:
1. Transactions from all accounts (can be broken down to individual accounts)
2. Show graph for your cash to debt ratio
3. Show graph for spending trends (you can drill down to individual transactions)
4. Information on where you spend money
5. Compares spending habits with US average (basically, tells you how stupid you are)
6. Shows alerts for over budget spending based on patterns
7. Sends weekly reports to your favorite email
8. Sends alerts for upcoming transactions
9. What you can't do is the best security feature, commit a transaction (transfer funds etc)
And more ...

How does it do this?
Before putting any info into this site I did a little sniffing around and this is what I found. Mint uses Yodlee a very well established company that provides the gateway to financial institutions and is proven to be one of the most secure around. My previous employer's 401 K provider (ING) used them for a similar service as Mint's (and more). Mint, by itself holds very little personally indentifiable information and claims to not hold any sensitive info. I have some faith considering this is a very big fish to fry then to steal from somebody like me. Besides, every now and then they expire the financial account info and user has to re-enter this info.

Very nice, what do I pay?
Nothing! Free. So, don't expect an 800 call support. They do have online support via email.

So, how do they make money?
By providing another feature to its users. Ya, they tell you how screwed you are and if you want you can apply to better banks, credit cards etc. and save and make more money.

Over all after using this for over 6 months with real data, I am spanking this 4.5 stars. It keeps me on the toes.

What can be improved?
List of financial instutions. They have most but some are still missing.
I would really want to see some of the stock brokerage account, which they currently don't have. ING used to have it so Yodlee has this provision.

UPDATE: I just got wacked on this post so here I will try to add some more:
I already have the features that I liked and what I missed was user interface:
This is a cool AJAXy site enhancing user experience with ease of use.


Anonymous said...

And this is what you came up with after 6 month?

where is review of
User Interface
etc etc