What is Mint.com?
Mint.com is a website designed to aid users with finances. The site aggregates information from all of the bank accounts, credit card accounts, investments, and other financial accounts which a user may have. The site then categorizes transactions into areas such as “Mortgage” or “Food and Dining” so that users can see where they spend the most money. Mint.com provides a number of features meant to assist users in improving their finances. Mint.com is a free service. 1
The features include Way-to-Save, a feature that encourages users to alternate methods of spending or storing their money to increase their profit (Note: because Mint.com is a free service, these recommendations are a source of revenue for the site). Mint.com also offers a budget feature, where users can set goals for their budgets and then be able to check their progress on following said budget. Mint.com offers a mobile device app that allows users to check their finances from anywhere. 2
What are the benefits?
Mint.com’s services are excellent for helping users to organize and budget their finances.
Financial tips and features such as “Ways To Save” helps users to save money.
The accounts alerts available to users can help prevent identity theft. 3
What are the risks?
Because Mint.com is connected to banking accounts, security is one of the top concerns for the site. Mint.com claims to use bank-level security, with 128-bit encryption and third party security monitors. Additionally, users cannot actually transfer or use money in their Mint.com account, and therefore if a malicious user were to steal a password, they could not complete any monetary transactions. Finally, Mint.com also monitors accounts so that when any suspicious spending occurs, they will text or email an alert to the user, possibly saving them from losing money. 4
Mint.com is a for-profit company, therefore some of their financial advice is driven by commission gained from site redirects. Therefore, the advice should be considered biased.
Mint.com analyzes the spending habits of its users. It has considered selling aggregate information. Though the information does not contain personal details, some may still consider it a breach of privacy. 5
Though more of an annoyance than a risk, sometimes the categorization system on Mint.com is inaccurate, so payments might be categorized in the wrong area, misleading users on their accounts information. 6
How Can I Use Mint.com Safely?
Do not wholly rely on Mint.com for account information. Frequently check accounts through the actual bank or venue where your money resides to ensure that the information Mint.com has is accurate.
Create a good username and password that could not be easily accessed. Refrain from using the same password for your Mint.com account that you use for other sites. Never share your username and password.