Mint is a popular budgeting app that automatically syncs information to provide users with data on their personal finances. The app allows you to set personalized goals and budgets, and it monitors your transactions to provide insight into spending trends and patterns. You also receive alerts for when bills are due, a budget is exceeded or if there are suspicious purchases.
There are a few downsides to Mint, namely synchronization issues that can be a headache for users. Overall, Mint is a useful tool for budgeting and financial planning with a simple, intuitive platform. Read on for our full Mint app review.
- What is Mint?
- Mint’s strengths
- Mint’s weaknesses
- How does Mint work?
- Who is Mint for?
- Is Mint safe?
- Alternatives to Mint
What is Mint?
Mint is one of the best free, mobile applications for budgeting. The app is available on the Apple App Store and on Google Play. It aggregates personal finance information to provide users with a comprehensive view of their spending, budgets, balances and more.
Mint budgeting and personal finance
Tracking your expenses and budget can sometimes be difficult to manage, but Mint’s platform manages that information for you. Mint integrates with a wide variety of financial institutions: bank accounts, credit cards, investments and loans (including personal loans and student loans). By automatically compiling that data, Mint saves its users the time and hassle of manually tracking income and expenses — and the app provides useful analysis, as well.
Mint allows you to create custom budgets for different expense categories, helps track certain savings goals and offers helpful recommendations based on user behavior. You can set daily and monthly budgets, and Mint tells you whether you’re on track to meet or exceed those targets. Once you’ve used Mint for a while, the app presents your historical data and provides valuable context on the various trends related to your financial situation. Those insights can be customized as well, and Mint’s flexibility is one of its big advantages over similar apps.
Mint’s alerts are a helpful safeguard when it comes to budgeting and spending. You will receive a notification when bills are due, and Mint can help you schedule reminders for bill payments so you don’t fall behind. Mint can also alert you if there is suspicious activity on any of your accounts that are tracked by the app.
Mint credit score reporting
In addition to tracking your income, expenses and other financial activity, Mint monitors your credit score and provides alerts if there are any significant changes. If you verify your identity, you’ll get a free credit report to provide a more comprehensive view of your financial situation. Mint also provides some educational resources on how credit scores are calculated and how you can work to improve your credit score.
Mint financial products
As a free service, one of the ways Mint makes money is by promoting advertisements related to credit cards, personal loans, insurance, bank accounts and investment accounts. These advertisements aren’t the only way Mint makes money (they also sell anonymized data to third-party entities), but they are a prominent part of using the app. Mint’s partners cover a wide range of financial services, and its website features many of the deals that are offered on the app. Mint receives a referral fee from these third-party companies.
Accessibility and ease of use
One of Mint’s biggest advantages is how compatible it is with most financial institutions — and how those integrations enable users to avoid tedious data entry for budgeting. It’s an app that’s easy to use and quite accessible for most users, once accounts have been linked with Mint. It also features a modern design and user-friendly functions.
Expense tracking and budgeting
By using Mint, you can customize your data in order to delve deeper into your habits and find which types of spending are causing you to exceed your monthly budget. Expenses can be sorted into multiple categories, and users can designate custom subcategories for certain types of spending, like food and utilities.
Mint also allows users to set and track specific goals related to spending and saving. Between its budgeting and goal-tracking capabilities, the app gives users useful benchmarks for improving your overall financial health.
Notifications for financial alerts
Mint sends users a variety of notifications, including whether you’ve exceeded a particular budget and when a bill is due, or there’s unusual spending or withdrawals on any of your accounts. The app also tracks whether an account balance drops below a certain threshold. It’s a useful safeguard for monitoring financial activity. Users can set up notifications and receive them via email or through the app.
While it’s often convenient to have automatic data updates, there can sometimes be issues syncing with financial institutions. Mint tracks problems reported by users, like incorrect information or missing transactions. Mint has plenty of available integrations, but you may not be able to connect smaller financial institutions, like local credit unions.
Since the app doesn’t offer users the ability to manually input data or reconcile the information with bank statements, there’s no way to correct faulty integrations or to add data from lenders, credit unions or other entities that can’t connect with Mint. As a result, you may end up missing pieces of your bigger financial puzzle.
Poor investing features
For most users, Mint’s limited tools for investing aren’t a huge drawback, but if you want a more complex view of your finances and assets, you may prefer a platform that better accommodates investors. Mint does track basic metrics for investment performance and informs you of fees related to investment products, but competitors — like Personal Capital — offer more comprehensive information related to portfolio performance and potential investment strategies.
How does Mint work?
In order to create an account with Mint, you’ll need to set up an account with your email and a password. The next step — connecting your various financial accounts — might be time-consuming but will save you quite a bit of effort in the long run. You’ll need your account information, including usernames and passwords, in order to create those integrations.
After bank accounts, various types of loans, credit cards, mortgages and brokerage accounts have been added, you can create your budget and set specific categories for types of spending. After that, you’ll be able to set specific goals, such as paying off a mortgage or student loans, getting out of credit card debt or building up an emergency savings fund.
Mint is a free service that earns money by showing users ads from third-party companies, as well as selling anonymized data that it aggregates from users. There are no premium upgrades on the app: every feature is free for all users.
Who is Mint for?
Mint is a very popular app, and many types of people find it useful. Because of its simplicity, it may be a better option for people who are getting started with managing their finances, particularly young people. People who have more experience with personal finance or have more complex financial situations may prefer an app that has more robust tools for investing or financial planning.
Is Mint safe?
Mint has many of the same security features as banks. Its parent company is Intuit, which also owns services for tax preparation (TurboTax) and payroll processing (QuickBooks). There’s multifactor authentication and a four digit login code on the app itself, and if you ever lose your phone, you can delete your data remotely from the app. Mint sells consumer data as part of its business model, but the data is anonymized.
Alternatives to Mint
You Need a Budget (YNAB)
|Cost||Entirely free||Entirely free||$84 per year|
|Budgeting||Customizable budgets||Limited tools, lists expenses||Allocates every dollar to a category|
|Integrations||Synchronizes transactions||Synchronizes transactions||Manual transaction syncing|
|Investment tools||Monitoring only||Investment management||None|
|Free credit report monitoring||Yes||No||No|
Mint vs. Personal Capital
Personal Capital is a free online service that offers a suite of tools related to personal finance: money management software, investment analysis and advanced savings strategies. Compared to Mint, Personal Capital is a more detailed and comprehensive tool, but it doesn’t have the type of budgeting flexibility and user friendliness that makes Mint such a popular choice for people who want to gain control of their personal finances.
If you’re an advanced investor, Personal Capital will better accommodate your specific circumstances; Mint is a better choice for people with more typical financial goals and budgeting needs.
Mint vs. YNAB
YNAB is a web-based platform that’s undergone substantial updates since its creation; it frames its service as an educational resource that provides rigorous instruction to help users better handle their financial obligations. Mint’s budget targets and customizability offer users many of the same capabilities, though there is more of an emphasis on historical data than future spending relative to YNAB.
The biggest difference between the platforms is the price: since Mint has robust budgeting tools and expense tracking, it’s a better option because it’s free. YNAB’s $84 annual cost works out to $7 per month.