Mint.com: A review
For most of the early money blogging years, right around the time I started using credit cards in earnest for the rewards, Yodlee was my account aggregator of choice.
It was unsophisticated but did the job: kept me apprised of all my banking and credit card transactions in addition to the manual tracking I’d do and keep me honest and firmly atop bill paying. When it started running into all kinds of updating problems because of added security at the banking end, I had to give it up.
There were a few attempts to get into other software since but they were halfhearted at best, and I retreated into the relatively safe haven of spreadsheets. It just doesn’t work for us together, though, we maintain our own legacy spreadsheets and they don’t merge well, they don’t let us do aggregated reporting well, and it’s hugely time consuming. We won’t have the luxury of spending three hours at a time recording transactions soon.. heck, we don’t really have that time now!
Once, long ago, I’d started working with Mint in its early days but since Yodlee was still working for me, I quit. Now it’s time to venture back and see how it might work for us.
Our requirements: It has to be both dead simple and require very little time or brain power to set up and maintain. As much as I love spending time with my money, this has to be the low-maintenance solution.
We both need easy access to it.
It should automatically pull transactions for us.
We should be able to add manual (cash) transactions.
We need to be able to reconcile and categorize spending.
Early observations: the interface
We get weekly updates that might tell us we’re overspending in a particular category, versus how much we normally spend, or that we have upcoming bills.
Good: This is a great way to keep us both on the same page.
Bad: I wish that they’d send up both all the notes. Because we don’t have joint everything accounts, I’d have to sign in to see what’s been charged on his card, whilst he would get the email notifications, and vice versa. We recently had an incident where a merchant charged a purchase as a cash advance and were dinged with a $10 fee. Only he got the notification for that.
We can access the interface as long as we have an internet connection; we don’t have to share files manually.
Good: Being in one system is great, and so is not having manually shift files and cells and whatever else about.
Bad: If you don’t have internet, you’re out of luck.
Early observations: hiccups
I’ve had the worst trouble signing in, sometimes, it wouldn’t even let me past the log on page for a few days, once and their Help folks took about seven emails to understand that. They still didn’t fix anything, it just actually started working again. I do NOT like that.
Accounts are constantly requiring my attention – there’s always one or more banks that require me to re-enter the password or what have you, even though nothing has changed in the last five days. Occasionally, it’s for a legitimate reason like it’d like to confirm that I want to close an account.