May 18, 2008

Mint's Latest Additions Make It My One Stop Financial Hub

For years, I've manually edited a custom portfolio in Yahoo! Finance in an attempt to track all my financial details in a single place. That meant copying and pasting trade details from eTrade and checking in with Fidelity every two weeks to get an update from my 401k. But even then, it wouldn't have bank data from Wells Fargo, or credit card debts, so I haven't had a perfect picture on a single page - until now. With the addition of investment tracking capabilities at the end of April, Mint has now morphed from a simple curiosity to becoming my long sought after single point for financial details.

Mint came to my attention last year, like it did for many people, when it won the best presenting company award at the inaugural TechCrunch40 event.

While some have said storing financial login data on a 3rd party site makes them nervous, I've always erred on the side of trusting the Web, and I registered right away. But site slowness, and Mint's initially not offering support for my investment accounts at eTrade and Fidelity meant it wasn't all that useful for me. I wasn't interested in following their little tips on how to save a few bucks here and there by switching my bank or credit cards, so I largely left my account dormant.

But now, Mint shows me everything in one place. After synchronizing my Checking and Savings accounts, my investments and my credit cards, I now get a perfect picture of available funds. And Mint, having more than 200 days history of my activity since I first signed up, also has some educated guesses on where I spend my money most frequently, trends on whether I'm spending more than others in my geographic area, and even records of which vendors.

Now, according to Mint, I can see I've spent $155 on iTunes since October 1st of last year, in 16 different purchases, I've spent $798 at Safeway in 9 tracked purchases, and $332 at Chevron in the same number of visits. Of course, with more than 1/3 of my spending being marked as "No Category", I have some work to do to get the data even better, and there are some amusing bugs, like the one showing I've spent $6,891 at "Louis Shoe Shop", in four transactions. My guess is that's supposed to be where I've made credit card payments, and I have no idea why it's called "Louis Shoe Shop". Are they confusing me with Imelda Marcos?

One month's financial tracking within Mint.

Regardless of those rare oddities, the simple fact that Mint shows me all my activity in one place means that I don't have to go to each of the individual financial sites to get my data. On occasion in the past, I've gotten hit with late fees on my credit card just because I had forgotten to log in before the bills were due. Now, if I can just log in to Mint instead, I can not only see when money comes in, but when money needs to go out. And I'm done messing around with Yahoo! Finance, manually entering owned shares data and estimated per share costs. Now, Mint does all the hard work for me. It's the way Web finance tracking was supposed to be.