Intuit Mint provides a robust set of automated tools to keep track of your personal finances. Among those tools is the one that makes this one of the best budgeting apps we tested: the ability to create multiple budgets to view your spending in different categories.
Part of Intuit’s stable of financial products, which includes TurboTax and QuickBooks: Mint has been around since 2006. Mint’s services are free, but at least one feature (invoice trading) has an additional fee and you’ll have to put up with a steady diet of financial offers.
Mint tracks your spending, provides financial alerts, and includes free credit monitoring from TransUnion. Once you link your financial accounts, you can set up a budget based on that information and track your transactions and financial status from a single dashboard. (For this Intuit Mint review, we’re focusing on general usability and budget capabilities.)
Intuit Mint review: Cost
Intuit Mint is free to use, but in exchange for its services, Intuit offers a barrage of financial offers on services tailored to you. These offers range from ads for other Intuit products (like TurboTax) to credit cards, loans, and more. On mobile, those ads can be removed if you pay $0.99 per month; and on iOS you can subscribe to Mint Premium for additional features for $4.99 per month. Ad-free or Premium subscribers won’t see ads beyond the Mint Marketplace via the web-based service (but interestingly, you can’t launch the ad-free experience from the web).
Mint is the only service we reviewed that has an individualized financial advice package available at an additional cost. The Mint suggests paying $125 for those two sessions, but also states that you pay “what you think it’s worth” when you schedule the second session.
Intuit Mint Review: Features
Mint is a full spectrum personal finance app that uses machine learning to make financial recommendations. Provide data to the Mint, either manually or by linking bank, credit card and investment accounts, and the service provides an up-to-date view of your health and financial habits. As with Intuit’s TurboTax service, the Mint connects to more than 20,000 local and international financial institutions.
The service breaks down the data you’ve provided into actionable and useful categories, providing a picture of your bills, transactions, credit score, budgets, goals, trends, and investments all under one roof. You can also track your bulk editing subscriptions and transactions. And it provides helpful images for viewing and analyzing trends in spending, income, assets, debt, and net worth. Mint also supports cryptocurrency investment tracking.
Intuit Mint Review: Help Available
From Mint, you will get very little financial guidance or education. the mint life online blog has many articles and information, but you have to search for them separately, outside of the service itself. The mobile app has links to Mint life and an instructions for use tile that links to Mint life, but that’s about it. Intuit offers Mint Financial Coaching to talk to a certified financial expert about your financial health, spending habits, and more. The first 15-minute session is free; after that, the service has a two-session training package (each session up to an hour) and additional sessions can be added as needed.
Intuit Mint Review: Ease of Use
After you set up an Intuit account (if you already have one to use one of Intuit’s other services, including TurboTax and QuickBooks, you’ll use that login). Mint gets down to business by asking her to connect his financial accounts. Connecting accounts is a key part of how to use the service, but we encountered bumps and kinks in the interface early on. The linking process depends on the institution: some will ask you to enter account information within the Mint interface, and others will require you to first authorize access to the account at the financial institution.
The interface for connecting accounts lacks clarity and finesse (even in the beta version discussed below). For example, to connect a Citibank credit card, Mint first sends you to a popup window to log into your Citibank account and choose accounts to connect, and then returns you to Mint to import transactions. If you have multiple accounts, all the boxes are checked by default, but you can uncheck the boxes if you want to only import specific accounts.
The summary screen is the focal point of Mint’s data presentation. And to be frank, the first interface we walked into seemed dated with its small, hard-to-read text and inconsistent visual design.
Then we realized that a beta version of most views was available and we selected that option. The beta version of Mint dramatically transformed the usability and visual aesthetic of the service.
According to Intuit, the redesign was temporarily rolled out to a “small percentage” of users, then paused to make additional changes based on user feedback. Once those issues are resolved at an unspecified time, Intuit says it will “begin implementation.” Since the redesign is so significant, we will review this review when the launch starts again to see if it changed anything in our experience.
The redesigned web interface represents a much-needed upgrade, and the updated look and feel mimics TurboTax’s current interface. The service uses larger and heavier font sizes for text, two changes that together improve readability. Even the graphics are bigger and easier to read. Interestingly, the options here don’t reflect the organization and presentation of the recently updated mobile app (more on that later), but perhaps that’s part of the beta version which is still a work in progress.
We noticed a smoother experience when reviewing our credit card transactions. The data was presented clearly and it was easier to sort by category using a drop-down filter (previously it was a hypertext link on the side of the page, in tiny text).
As with the previous version of Mint, the Mint beta site lacks any specific guidance on how to budget. But setting budgets for specific categories is easy, and the service works well to show you your income, expenses, and goals, all in one place so you can see if you’re on track at any given time.
By adding a budget category, you can choose the frequency, set the budget amount, and choose to start a new month with the amount left over from the previous month, effectively reinvesting any surplus or savings. Categories will automatically populate with matching expenses found in your linked accounts. We liked how we could sort by which categories are over or under budget, which is useful for looking at areas that need to be cut. Your goals appear at the bottom of the page.
Intuit Mint Review: Mobile
Intuit offers dedicated apps for iOS and Android. We tested the early March update on Android which implemented a mint green visual redesign that’s big on using the data you’ve connected to produce compelling graphs. Only the mobile versions offer the option to remove ads, for $0.99 per month or $4.99 for Mint Premium on iOS. Security seems solid: we had two checks before signing in.
Each section of the service has a button at the top of the screen. Beneath that is a visualization of your habits, a context-sensitive graph that changes depending on which section you’re in. Spending is the first thing you’ll see when you open the app, useful if you’re trying to keep track of how much you spend. I have passed at a certain moment.
For more details, scroll down to select from the buttons below. The main navigation (home, monthly, market and notifications) is a panel at the bottom of the screen and is only visible when you are at the top of a page.
Budgets are no longer broken out on mobile as a separate label. Instead, you can access your budget information on the aforementioned monthly new tab, along with your spending, bills and subscriptions, goals, and bill negotiation. The latter is aimed at lowering your costs and looks like a feature, but it’s an extra cost service powered by BillShark (you only pay if they’re successful). You can click on your own to set a budget – the app lacks guidance on how to get started and arbitrarily sets the budget for you when you add a category (you selected $100 as your budget, but we could change it by adjusting a slider).
You can also manually add a transaction as a budget line and select whether it is income or expense and the payment type. Overall, setting a budget via mobile lacks clarity (for example, you’re adding a transaction to one month, not every month, as you can clearly do via web browser) and less detailed than we expected . However, we did like the visuals for the monthly cash flow and expense categories.
At the time of our review, Mint Premium was only available for iOS (the Android version is coming, but Intuit didn’t provide an expected release date). Mint Premium adds monitoring and cancellation; spending projections based on your data and trends; a growth estimator to visualize the impact of a decision today on your monetary future tomorrow; and money spotlights that provide visualizations based on your spending habits and trends compared to those of your fellow minters.
Intuit Mint Review: Verdict
Mint is a free, comprehensive personal finance service to get a picture of your fiscal health. The beta interface is light years ahead of where the service has been, but for now Mint still has room to improve clarity and guidance within the service.
Still, Mint is the only one to offer a 15-minute live consultation with a coach and the option to expand into multiple sessions (Simplifi by Quicken offers 15 minutes that focus on personalized app navigation rather than financial coaching). . The closest any other service came was YNAB, which has free live Zoom educational sessions that teach you how to use the service and provide an opportunity to ask the instructor questions.
We feel that Quicken’s Simplifi does a better job of helping you think about your cash flow in the context of your bigger financial picture, and manage budgets in a more intuitive way, with better documentation. However, it costs $5.99 per month, which makes it $4 more than Mint’s ad-free version. Mint’s mix of features and functionality makes it stand out for both monitoring your net worth and setting budgets, but we really hope that Mint launches its new interface soon.