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Mint on the iPad: A Terrific Personal Finance App

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I’ve been a user of Mint, a personal finance website, for several years, and it has become an essential tool for keeping track of my expenses and organizing information that my accountant needs to prepare my income taxes. The great thing about Mint is the way it pulls data from my checking account, savings accounts, stock brokerages, and credit cards and creates attractive and easy to understand reports and graphs. It’s so much easier to use than Quicken, which I struggled with for over 15 years. As soon as I started using Mint, I zapped Quicken from my hard drive, vowing never to use it again. (I got nervous when I learned that Intuit, the company that publishes Quicken, purchased Mint, but so far Intuit has not mucked with the elegance of Mint.)

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Shortly after the iPhone was introduced, Mint created an app for it. And like the Web version, the iPhone app was very useful at providing a snapshot of my income, expenses, and financial status. I didn’t think Mint could get much better, but in October the company created an iPad version (which is free, like all versions of Mint) and it is the best way yet to take stock of your personal finances.

When you launch the iPad app you are presented with a screen that displays the following:

1. A pie chart that shows your spending by category;

2. Alerts about upcoming bills and other important information;

3. A progress bar that shows how much under or over budget you are for the month;

4. A list of your top spending categories for the month.

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If you click on any of these items, Mint will drill down to display detailed information about it. If you need to edit a transaction, or change the spending category that Mint has incorrectly assigned to a transaction, you can do that on the iPad app, but I find it easier to make those kinds of changes on the web-based version.

If you haven’t tried out Mint yet, I highly recommend that you do. And if you have an iPad, I’m betting you’ll find the Mint app to be as useful as I do.

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  • http://practicalheart.com Marsha Keeffer

    OK for personal, but what do you use for biz?

  • ron

    How private is your financial data in mint? What information is mint collecting about you?

  • jason swan

    I have found Mint to be thoroughly useless as they refuse to add my main credit card, Coast Capital Visa. Their tech support’s responses have invariably been to regurgitate the same set of flawed instructions despite multiple and many customer complaints that make it clear the problem is not on the customer’s end.

    • Imaginary

      You think that is bad. Bank of America has been broken for a large fraction of users for months and they have not fixed it. I idly check every month or so to see if it has been resolved but I have given up hope. Mint has always been characterized by pretty but not quite working features.

      As to Quicken, well buying Mint seems to have introduced the ship first test later mentality to Quicken as well. Quicken 2012 is a nightmare and is resoundingly slammed on by most reviewers at Amazon etc.

  • Bartman

    What can you do when Mint incorrectly catagorizes an account, let’s say a mortgage, as a credit card making it seem like you have $100,000 in credit card debt?
    That’s what I thought, NOTHING!

  • http://www.personalfinancialplan.org Casey K

    This sounds like a great application. Security is always an issue wether it’s on a i-pad or on a PC so that doesn’t bother me much since my finances are laid out on my PC. This app can be very useful, especially for someone who leaves their finances on paper or in a note book. I’m looking at getting an i-pad here soon because I’m always on the go so I will have to try this app out. Thanks for the post.

  • Marc

    I think this is a security problem waiting to happen. The last time I asked them about this, they were very unclear about storing your passwords. Best practice for any login system is to never store a user’s password; you store a computed hash of it, so the bank itself never stores or knows the password, it just compares the hashes when you login to see if you entered the same thing. Because if the bank can decrypt your password, so can a successful hacker. But what is Mint storing? Unless they’ve cut a special deal to make compatible systems with every bank, the likely answer is that they are storing the actual passwords. Probably encrypted, but encrypted passwords have been a vulnerability since the dawn of computing, and are less safe.
    Now combine this with the fact that many many users are storing the passwords for -all- of their finances with one website, and that site is a tremendous target for attackers.

  • http://smokebubbles.wordpress.com Joel

    My wife is a business major and has always used Excel to track our finances. Neither Quicken or any other consumer software allows for the granular tracking necessary to satisfy her needs. I’m a money moron and have often found it difficult to follow her methods.

    So when we looked at Mint, I thought we’d found a good solution. But I was wrong.

    This is not money management. This is pure monthly budgeting. There’s no capability to carry over surplusses from budgets. no way to maintain separate internal accounts other than professional accounts (we like to segregate our money into buckets for different purposes). There have been open feature requests for YEARS to include carryover amounts. Surprisingly, it carries over defecits, but not surpluis. DUH.

    It’s slick and easy to use, if only want to track where you money goes. but it’s pretty worthless if you want to actually maintain your finances.

    We will still use it because it’s easy for me to access on iPad and Android, but she’s still maintaining separate Excel files.

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  • Dwayne

    Pen paper and a calculator cause this a security breach waiting to happen! Love the concept but don’t be lazy just to turn around and get your accounts wiped out. Just saying

  • Heather

    I use Mint on my Apple products but sometimes it is easier to just use a simple interactive online tool that can help manipulate your expenses by making adjustments in categories to see how much you can save in order to apply more in another. Here is hwat i use since it is free and you dont have to sign up.

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