Is Mint the Best Budgeting App for Me?
Finding the best budgeting tool for you can be tricky since there are multiple options, and each is slightly different. Often appearing on lists of the best budgeting apps, Mint is one of the most popular and easy-to-use apps available.
Mint can help you track your spending and income, alert you to fees or interest and even help you set goals like paying down debt or increasing your emergency fund. Although there are some drawbacks, the robust features that Mint offers make it a good choice for those seeking help keeping track of their finances.
If you’re looking for a budgeting app that’s free, highly rated and easy to use, check out our review of Mint by Intuit.
What is the Mint app?
Initially founded in 2006, Mint is a free budgeting app that allows users to see their complete financial picture in one place. It also offers helpful tools like automatic account syncing and categorization, goal setting, spending alerts and even investment tracking.
Mint also offers educational resources to help you learn about personal finance and various calculators to help you with your retirement planning, debt repayment timeline or savings rate.
Mint has high rankings on the Apple App and Google Play stores, with nearly a million reviews between the sites.
Most of the features in Mint are free. So it makes money through ads and providing offers from financial partners for products like loans, credit cards or investments.
The paid subscription service, Mint Premium, does not contain ads but is currently only available to iOS users. It costs $4.99 per month. Android users who had previously signed up for Mint Ad-free can continue to use the service, but new users can no longer subscribe to it.
How does the Mint budgeting app work?
Mint helps eliminate the need for multiple financial apps and can help users create custom budgets. After users sign up and link their banking, credit, and loan accounts, Mint will download and tag recent transactions.
While many personal finance apps have free features, much of Mint’s value is in its simplicity and the number of tools and features available for free.
Automatic syncing and categorization: Mint will automatically download and update your transactions every time you open the app. It will also categorize your transactions based on previous data into general spending buckets like rent, groceries, utilities and entertainment.
You can create a budget using the general categories provided or customize the categories based on your needs and preferences. Moving transactions is easy if something winds up in the wrong place, and you can create rules for recurring expenses.
Visual comparison: Mint uses various graphs and charts to show how your spending, net worth, credit card balances and investments have changed from month to month. It will also show you how your expenses stack up against your income and how your spending has changed, from month to month and year to year across categories, once you have enough data.
Goals: Users can create multiple financial goals and track progress within the app. Your goals might include increasing your emergency fund, paying off debt or creating a travel fund so you can take a vacation without wondering how to pay for it.
Investment tracking: Mint will keep track of your various retirement and investment accounts in one place. It will even alert you to hidden fees that might hurt your portfolio’s growth.
MintSights: The app will review your data and provide specific insight into your financial life and relevant money-saving offers. MintSights can help alert you to increased spending. It will also highlight your accomplishments when you meet a goal or have a streak of days where you did not spend money.
Credit score and credit monitoring: Through Mint’s partnership with the credit bureau TransUnion, you can check your Vantage credit score directly within the app. Users can see a free credit report summary and learn about the factors that affect credit scores. Mint will also alert you when changes to your personal information or new credit inquiries appear on your account.
Checking your credit score through Mint is free. Plus, it won’t negatively affect your score like a hard credit pull from a potential lender might.
Mint is excellent for beginning budgeters who want help tracking their spending. It’s also great for experienced users who want multiple features without a monthly subscription or commitment. Setting up and using the app is relatively easy. Since it syncs automatically, you don’t have to spend much time maintaining your budget after the initial setup. The app will offer notifications with ways to improve your budget and spending limit warnings to help you avoid spending more than you can afford.
The app will also keep track of recurring bills and subscriptions. Plus, it will send you reminders so that you don’t miss a deadline and incur a late fee.
Mint Premium subscribers can take advantage of no ads (except on the marketplace tab), subscription cancellation services through Billshark, and access to more advanced graphs and spending insights than is available in the free version.
In addition to ads that can feel disruptive, there are reports that Mint can have difficulty syncing with some financial institutions. Most of the time accounts sync without issue, but they may disconnect, and you’ll have to re-enter your account login information, which can be annoying.
Additionally, if you use a bank, credit card or financial institution that isn’t already on Mint’s list of automatically updated accounts, you may be out of luck. If your financial institution isn’t available to sync automatically, you can add it as a manual account. However, you’ll have to make all changes and balance updates yourself, which can defeat the purpose of an app.
Mint also doesn’t allow joint accounts. If you have shared finances with your spouse or partner, you can’t share a single Mint profile. If you want to share account balances in Mint, your partner must create their own account and add your joint financial accounts to their profile.
Is the Mint app safe?
Intuit, the company that owns Mint, also owns TurboTax and QuickBooks. It stores a lot of sensitive data, so it takes cybersecurity seriously. Mint uses multifactor authentication to ensure that the person signing into your account is actually you. It also uses Advanced Encryption Standard with 256-bit keys (AES-256), which helps ensure your data is safe.
Mint also helps customers identify scams or fraud by issuing security notices about fake Intuit emails or customer support scams. Plus, it has fraud prevention technology to identify any suspicious activity.
While other budgeting apps are available with similar features, the fact that most of Mint’s robust tools are free makes it an easy choice for those looking to start budgeting or wanting to automate their current setup.
Users can customize their finances, see what they spend and spot trends, helping to pay off debt or increase savings. Additional features like goal setting, credit monitoring and bill and subscription reminders can help keep finances on track.
Photo by Aruta Images/Shutterstock
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