Beginner’s Guide to Mint: Complete Review

Mint Review

Mint is a free application that lets users stay on top of their finances and money management. Mint provides a range of features, including the ability to check your credit score, create and follow a budget, and pay bills.

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Mint is an application from Intuit, which is also the company behind QuickBooks and TurboTax. There are 46 million users and partners of Intuit around the world. The company was founded in 1983 and went public in 1993. It has 9,000 employees spread across 20 locations in nine different countries.

An All-in-One Experience

One of the strong points of Mint is its ability to display everything related to your finances in a single spot. You can see everything related to your financial life, including balances, bills, your credit score, budgets, and investments. You can link as much or as little as you want to Mint, but the more you connect to the application, the better it will be able to display your full financial situation. Mint connects with nearly all financial institutions within the United States that are linked to the internet, allowing for setup within minutes.



To keep you organized, all the information that goes into Mint gets automatically updated as well as categorized. This means that the application crunches the numbers for you, giving you a seamless snapshot of your savings, retirement accounts, and more.

How Does Mint Offer Personalization?

When you create a Mint account and download the application, you get access to plenty of customization features. You can create your own budget based on your goals and income. You can see all your money and bills in one place, making it clear when various things are due and what you have available to pay. Mint also includes alerts for unusual charges to your accounts, along with custom tips to save money and reduce fees. The personalization also extends to Mint’s ability to give you a credit score, as the application will help you improve it.

Due to Mint’s ability to manage and watch your money, the application can also deliver customized tips, including for savings. Mint analyzes thousands of savings, checking, brokerage, IRA, and CD offers, giving you recommendations based on its research and your financial situation. The suggestions include the banking categories of credit cards, checking, and savings. The investment categories include brokerage, rollover, IRAs, and new ways to invest. Finally, there are recommendations for insurance, credit scores, and loans.

How Does Mint Help with Bills?

The Mint application has multiple built-in functions that help users with tracking and paying their bills. Mint lets you track all types of bills, including rent, credit cards, utilities, and even babysitters. You can view all the bills in the same place as the rest of your finances, including information about when bills are due and how much you can afford to pay now. Keep in mind that while you could previously directly pay bills via Mint, this is no longer an option. However, the application does still give you reminders and alerts to pay bills and help you budget for them.



Bills

The bills section of Mint saves time since you do not have to log into multiple accounts to stay on top of multiple bills. Additionally, the application can be set up to give you alerts and reminders, so you do not miss a due date and end up paying late fees. Mint even lets you know about late fees, overage charges, and suspicious activity and if your accounts are low.

How Does Mint Categorize Transactions?

To make the process of paying bills and managing your finances easier, Mint automatically categorizes the information in your bank statements in plain English, such as “[store] for [quantity]” instead of a string of letters and numbers. There are hundreds of default categories within the application, but you can also change the categories for your transactions or rename the transactions. It is also possible to create a new category that Mint can then apply to charges in the future. If something fits in multiple categories, you can add tags to transactions, as well, such as if it is a gift or for school or work.

Instead of just categorizing transactions, Mint also breaks them up for you. This means that if you have an ATM withdrawal that included £100 of cash and a fee of £2, you will see it listed like that instead of as a single £102 withdrawal.

How Does Mint Help with Budgeting?

Mint also does an excellent job of helping users create and then stick to a budget. The application automatically calculates your average spending within a given category in a single click. This makes it possible to create a customized budget based on your actual spending patterns. It also lets you see whether a budget is necessary based on your spending patterns, either on a month-to-month or year-to-year basis. You can take advantage of an automatically suggested budget from Mint or create your own budget, adjusting it as you go along.

Budgeting

The budget feature also lets you plan to meet savings goals. This function lets you see how much money you can save just by reducing spending in a given category. This works for long-term goals, such as buying a house; recurring monthly expenses; and one-time expenses, such as a vacation. Within the budgeting feature, Mint also shows how spending decisions affect the amount that you have left, either at the end of the year or the month.

How Does Mint Help with Investments?

In addition to daily finances, Mint also incorporates your investment portfolio into the same account. You can compare a portfolio to the various market benchmarks. Mint also lets you view how your assets are allocated across your IRA, brokerage accounts, mutual funds, and 401(k). This part of Mint also includes tips depending on your investment style, whether you stay active or take a hands-off approach.

As with other types of accounts, Mint also helps users identify the unnecessary fees associated with 401(k) providers, brokerages, and investment providers, so you can eliminate them and save more.

What Does Mint Offer Related to Credit Scores?

Mint lets you get your credit card score for free via the application, without needing a credit card to do so. With your credit score, you will know exactly where you stand, so you can make improvements if necessary. Getting a free credit report only takes minutes.

Credit Score

In addition to providing your credit score, Mint explains how companies calculate it. It also works with you to make smarter credit decisions, although there is no official credit repair service from Mint. You can also opt for daily monitoring of your credit score via Mint and get alerts when TransUnion gets new credit information that will impact your score.



What Kind of Alerts Does Mint Offer?

As mentioned, Mint gives you a range of alerts, including when you go over your budget, if there is suspicious activity on one of your accounts, or if you get charged a fee. The application will give you alerts for low balances or due bill payments, letting you avoid late fees or penalties associated with low funding. You can even see how much you spend on ATM fees. You also get a weekly summary that lets you know how you are doing in terms of spending and saving. With Mint, you get to choose which alerts and reminders you want to receive.

How to Start Using Mint

Setting up an account with Mint is incredibly easy and only takes a few minutes. Once you set up a username and password, you can start adding various accounts to your Mint account, so you get a full picture of your financial situation.

Recently, Mint started changing the way it connects to banks, offering more reliable and quicker connections to reduce the risk of sync errors. Mint is moving to this method for individual banks, so you may have a combination of connection methods within your Mint account. If you already have a Mint account and your bank is switching to the new and improved connection, you will need to log into your bank account to give it permission to change the connection.

Mint Signup

You can also manually add accounts to Mint if they cannot be directly linked. Do this via the Settings tab, then go to “Property” and “+ Add Property.” From there, you can choose to add “real estate,” “cash or debt,” “vehicle,” or “other.” Just remember that if you manually add an account, you will need to update the information when the balance or value changes. You can also link transactions to this property via tags.

If you already connected an account to Mint but want to exclude it, you can do so in one of two ways. Hiding an account will keep you linked to it and continue tracking transactions, but those transactions and other information will not appear on your account. If you choose this option, you can select how much you want to see, including hiding information from “Everywhere” or just “Budgets and Trends.” Alternatively, you can close an account, which will get rid of the connection between that account and your Mint profile, show the balance as zero, and keep the history.

How Does Mint Provide Security?

As mentioned, Mint is an application from Intuit, the company behind QuickBooks and TurboTax. As such, the company has a strong reputation and millions trust it with their sensitive data.

Mint takes security very seriously, encrypting all data using a 256-bit encryption level. Additionally, all data exchanged with the Mint platform get encrypted using 128-bit SSL. Mint also uses security scanning with VeriSign to ensure there is security for any sensitive data that gets transferred.

There are also several dedicated security features in place, such as multifactor authentication, to limit unauthorized access to accounts. Mint also notifies users right away if there is any account change using data. This type of verification is done via information that only you could have or data from an additional source, such as a code you get via email or text message or special security questions.

Mint Security

The mobile application also offers Touch ID for controlled access. Alternatively, you can use the standard option of a four-digit code that ensures only you are able to view your account. If you ever lose your mobile device or it gets stolen, not only will an unscrupulous person have a hard time accessing your account without your passcode, but you can also remotely delete all account information to ensure they do not gain that access.

Keep in mind that because Mint manages your various bank and other accounts, the application does need to know your username and password for each account you plan to link. This information is crucial for establishing secure connections with credit card companies and financial institutions, so Mint can automatically and securely download and organize transaction information. Because Mint recognizes the extremely sensitive nature of this information, the application stores all usernames and passwords in a separate and secure database with multilayered encryption of software and hardware. Additionally, it only saves the minimum amount of information required.

Mint also offers security tips to protect your account. These include:

  • Never sharing your password.
  • Creating a password with capital letters, lowercase letters, and numbers.
  • Using a firewall and virus protection.
  • Learning about phishing attempts, so you can avoid them.

Mint Customer Support

Mint has a reasonably sized FAQ section, although only a few questions are displayed on the homepage of this section; you must use the search bar to find more. There is a chat button available via the Mint website with help available 24/7.

Conclusion

Mint is an all-inclusive budgeting and financial planning application. It combines the information from various accounts you input and then categorizes it. Mint can help users track spending or stick to a budget. The application can help users budget, save up for a specific goal, and monitor their credit score. Mint also provides suggestions for users of new types of accounts they may be interested in, including credit cards, savings accounts, and investment accounts. Overall, Mint is a simple-to-use and a helpful tool for those who want to better manage their finances.

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Oliver Dale is Editor-in-Chief of MoneyCheck and founder of Kooc Media Ltd, A UK-Based Online Publishing company. A Technology Entrepreneur with over 15 years of professional experience in Investing and UK Business. He built Money Check to bring the highest level of education about personal finance to the general public with clear and unbiased reporting.


oliver@moneycheck.com
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