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Mint is a largely fee-free budgeting app that offers various tools to help you plan and track your spending, negotiate bills and even monitor your credit. While it relies heavily on ads to keep its service free, Mint's owner, Intuit, offers an ad-free paid tier, as well as a premium tier that provides more features—both of which are relatively inexpensive.
If you're thinking about using a budgeting app to help manage your money, here's what you need to know about Mint and whether it might be a good fit for you.
How the Mint Budgeting App Works
Mint isn't the only budgeting app that offers free features, but it may have the most robust lineup. You can connect all of your financial accounts to get a full overview of your finances, plan and track your income and spending with customizable categories, and get insights into how you may be able to improve your money management.
Mint also offers a credit monitoring service, which comes with a VantageScore® credit score. Keep in mind, though, that while the VantageScore can provide you with a good idea of your overall credit health, 90% of top lenders use the FICO® Score☉ , which is calculated differently. In other words, your VantageScore credit score may not always provide the same picture that lenders see when you apply for credit.
Mint comes with several helpful tools you can leverage to make the budgeting process go more smoothly and also to make better decisions about your money. Here's what you can expect:
- Direct import: When you connect your financial accounts, Mint will automatically import transactions as they post, so you don't have to check each individual account every time you update your budget.
- Automatic categorizing: When transactions get imported, Mint will automatically categorize them for you based on transaction data. You can make changes if you need to, but the automatic feature can save you a little time whenever you review your spending.
- Goals: If you have a savings goal, you can set it up in your Mint account and track your progress toward it. Ideas include a vacation fund, holiday spending, a down payment fund and other short- and mid-term savings objectives.
- Alerts: Mint will notify you when the cost of your recurring subscriptions increases, your bills are due, there's unusual spending, your account balances are low and more.
- Investment tracker: Mint can help you keep track of your investment portfolio and even spot unnecessary fees your investment advisor, 401(k) provider or broker may be charging you.
- Resources: Mint offers a wealth of resources, including calculators to help you with retirement, paying off debt, investing and more, as well as articles that can educate you on just about any personal finance decision you need to make.
- Paid features: While most of Mint's features are free, it does offer a premium version, which comes with a modest monthly fee. With that, you'll get help with canceling subscriptions you no longer need, spending projections to help you avoid overspending and money spotlights to help you understand your spending habits as they compare to other Mint users.
You can get most of what Mint has to offer for free. But the budgeting app uses a lot of ads, which can feel intrusive. If you want an ad-free experience, you'll pay $0.99 per month. If you want the premium version of Mint, which can help your budget become even more effective, the cost is $4.99 per month, which is still less expensive than what many other budgeting apps charge.
Mint's owner, Intuit, also owns the QuickBooks accounting software and the tax preparation software TurboTax, so it knows a thing or two about data security.
The company uses various security measures, including multifactor authentication, security scanning with VeriSign, biometric authentication, security notices and more.
If you happen to lose your device, you can delete your data from the app remotely. And if you decide to close your account, your information will be deleted.
Pros and Cons
Even the best budgeting apps have both benefits and drawbacks to consider before you get started. Here's our evaluation of what Mint does well and where it can improve.
|Most of the app's features are free to use.||Ads can feel intrusive.|
|Offers direct import and automatic categorizing to save you some time.||You can't get all of the app's features without paying a monthly fee.|
|Offers customized alerts and reminders to keep you on track with bill payments and more.||No joint accounts.|
|Provides resources to help you make better financial decisions.|
Availability and Ratings
The Mint app is currently available on your web browser, as well as on iOS and Android devices. Note, however, that the premium version of Mint is not currently available on Android devices, but the company says it will be soon.
In the Apple App Store, the Mint mobile app has 4.8 stars across more than 733,000 reviews. In the Google Play Store, more than 200,000 users give the app an average rating of 4.5 stars.
Is Mint Right for You?
Mint offers a lot of value without a monthly cost, making it a solid option for both beginners and seasoned budgeters alike. For the most part, though, Mint's offering is relatively basic, so if you want more out of your budget, consider other options as well.
The good news is that because most of Mint's features are free, you can try it out without a commitment.
However, if the idea of getting bombarded with advertising in the Mint mobile app is a turn-off, you can either pay the $0.99 monthly fee for an ad-free experience or opt for another budgeting app that doesn't use in-app advertisements.
The Bottom Line
Mint and other budgeting apps can help you better manage your spending and work toward other financial goals. But budgeting is only one element of a strong financial foundation. It's also important to focus on your credit history.
While Mint offers free access to your VantageScore, it's also a good idea to take advantage of Experian's free credit monitoring service, which offers access to your FICO® Score and Experian credit report.
The service also provides real-time alerts when changes occur in your Experian credit report. With these resources, you'll have the information you need to build and maintain a good credit history and protect yourself from identity thieves.