Ending the Mint Experiment

December 2, 2010 by  
Filed under Financial Planning

A few minutes ago I canceled my account with Mint. I opened it earlier this year and have tried to appreciate its value. Unfortunately, it’s been more trouble than its worth.  

We have numerous bank accounts and investment accounts. Not all of them can be tracked by Mint. Some of the accounts that Mint tries to work with do not play nice, requiring repeated updates of log-in credentials.

I’m also tired of the endless selling opportunities that Mint pushes in my face.

The final triggering event was this article on Mint’s struggles to transition from a Yodlee platform to Intuit. I’m not crazy about Intuit either, which is why I have also been weaning myself away from Quicken.

Keeping our Mint account alive was doing nothing for us except increasing the risk of a security breach.

So what, you might ask, am I using to track our finances? The answer: a custom-designed spreadsheet in the Google Docs cloud. I can update this tool in less time than it takes me to maintain a Mint account. I have designed the spreadsheet to present information in the ways that I prefer.  It is a work in progress so I will continue to fine tune it. Because I use Google Docs, the information is available to me from any Internet-connected computer.

The transaction information I used to import into Quicken is available from the financial institutions for me to review and verify online. Life is more simple this way.

Mint had its chance. Now it’s over.

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8 Responses to “Ending the Mint Experiment”
  1. mdb says:

    Wow, I did the exact same thing, opened an account earlier this year (Vanguard gave me the most problems), closed it on Monday and am using a google spreadsheet. I have toyed with creating a google app for myself.

  2. Another Reader says:

    Funny you should write about Mint. I was thinking about canceling my account this morning, as I have not used it in several months and I read the article. I too am irritated by all the sales pitches. I use B of A’s “My Portfolio,” which is the most sophisticated version of the Yodlee software I have encountered. It’s more thorough and there are fewer connection problems with other institutions.

    I logged into Mint to find they had lost a number of classifications of vendors and there were numerous, irritating duplicate entries. I played with it for a couple of minutes and logged out. It was never any good for anything except tracking spending anyway. I haven’t made the final decision, but I’m leaning more toward canceling.

  3. Christine says:

    I’m still using Quicken 2007. I think I missed the special upgrade offer in mid November. The only thing I want “upgraded” in Quicken is more slots for “split” categories. Right now the limit is 30 and I need 45-50 for my credit card bill.

    I am very curious about your google doc (I love google docs and didn’t even bother to get microsoft office on my new laptop last year)—is there any way you could share the template you created? I am wondering how you set up all the columns and categories. I do alright in the google spreadsheet, but am not fluent.

    Thanks! Love your blog!

  4. Holly says:

    I did not have too much luck w/Mint, either. I had tried it two years ago and had thought of giving it another go, but after reading this I have decided that it still has too many irritating ‘bugs’ to even bother.

  5. Dangerman says:

    Care to share a template for that Google spreadsheet?

  6. Doug says:

    I would not trust keeping confidential information on someone else’s server.

  7. Jack Clark says:

    Pretty funny TML seeing as you make money from Mint indirectly since on this website one of the ads by Google regularly has a listing from Mint.

    (I know because I’m staring at it now.)

    Personally, I’ve been using Mint since they have started and my thoughts are that:

    1. No security breach has ever happened. Any website with your financial data including your banks could be breached. Does that stop you from banking online?
    2. “I’m also tired of the endless selling opportunities that Mint pushes in my face.”
    That’s a flat out lie. Yes they have ads on the page but duh, it’s a FREE web site what do you expect? It’s the eternal internet tradeoff, nothing is free and if it is there is usually an ad or two involved.
    But the ads they have are PASSIVLY on the side of the screen. “In your face” would be what Hulu does where if you are watching something they stop the whole show several times and you are forced to watch the commercial.
    That doesn’t happen on Mint and if you can just exercise some self-control and ignore the ad you can get in, do you stuff, and get out and not even notice them.
    3. How many different websites call Mint the best budgeting website?

    Forbes, Money Magazine, and Kiplinger’s just to start. Most people are not making custom Google spreadsheets to track anything.

    The beauty of Mint is that whole “work in progress” of getting the framework and format worked out is already done. And unless you have the brainpower of a gorilla you’ve seen that Mint is fairly simple to use.

    Now I will admit TML that I’m not the financial high roller that you are and indeed there are banks and credit unions whose online software deliberately blocks Mint and then hence Mint will not work for that account and if I had as many accounts as you no doubt I guess that could get annoying.

    So then you just create whatever account it is, i.e. an investment or an auto loan, and then you manually update it in Mint every time you make a payment or a major change occurs.

    (I do it every month as my CU purposely blocks Mint and my auto loan info has to be updated manually. It takes me another thirty seconds to update that when I log in.
    So what.)

    So while I certainly admit that Mint is not perfect and the fact that some financial institutions do not allow Mint to access their systems is clearly annoying; Mint is easily the best site on the internet for budgeting and seeing as the average Joe is clearly wanting something more user friendly I think you of all people, seeing as you preach fiscal responsibility, can see that Mint is a useful tool and does for the people who regularly use it far more good than any other site or than not tracking things at all.

  8. Myrna Beard says:

    I would not trust keeping confidential information on someone else’s server.

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