For anyone who has been following this blog for the past two years or more, everyone and their kitchen sink and uncle's cousin knows what a huge fan of automated online solutions I am. For example, I have recently switched over most of my accounts to Tangerine, and as of 2017 I'm able to automatically invest each month quickly and efficiently through my robo advisor account. This way, when my paycheque comes in, all of my necessary transactions occur automatically and the information could get downloaded into my Mint app right away. I could see where I was at with a quick glance whenever I wanted. No actual time or energy required!
All of the recent research on decision making and willpower is pointing to one truth: that the fewer active decisions we have to make every hour, day, and month, the better our will power is and the higher the probability we will make better decisions. That's why using automated online solutions is such a massive advantage – it makes good decisions automatically, and it takes none of your finite willpower reserves. Paying yourself first used to be a mumbled truism that folks struggled with as they had to make active choices each month. Now my cheque comes into my Tangerine account (which costs me $0 per month) and then on the first of each month a pre-authorized amounts get transferred to Wealthsimple on my behalf.
When it comes to great online tools and keeping my budget and various accounts in order, there is no other app in Canada that does quite the same thing as the Mint app (Mint.com).
I use mint to access my information when I do my net worth updates, to check how I'm doing on my credit card bill so far, (and usually it quickly helps me to go “woah! that's a lot of spending this month, I better tone it down”), and to see how I'm doing toward my mini-financial goals of getting a new car (no don't worry, not a new-new car, an old-new car, do you know what I mean?) and funding my trip to Africa (2017 update: Used a small loan from Borrowell to fund this trip – and paid it off a couple months after).
I loved the design of it, the functionality of it, and the ease of it.
However, there is one thing that I didn't like.
And unfortunately this is a big thing. A big big thing: My personal information!
To find out whether you should stick with Mint or maybe try another popular budgeting app such as YNAB (You Need a Budget) click here to take our quiz and determine which one is right for you.
Why I Broke Up with Mint.com
Don't get me wrong. Mint.com was fantastic. We had a great relationship.
He was dependable. Always delivered. Was considerate of my need for organization and time management. Was considerate of my laziness when I was too lazy to check each account individually. He was damn good looking.
The problem was, I just couldn't see a long-term future with him.
He was like a ticking time bomb.
Sure, he offered commitment… but there's always the what if…
What if unbeknownst to me, he cheated on me with a suave cyber hacker? I wouldn't be protected and that cyber hacker would run away with all my money. The dependability and the protection that mint.com offered would be gone. That reality was just too scary to contemplate.
My mint.com would just shrug his strong chiseled shoulders, avert his eye contact, and say “uhh I don't know what happened. I'm sorry it happened. I didn't know it was coming.” Meanwhile, the banks would say that the breach happened with a third-party provider (mint.com) and they would say that can't do anything about it.
Well, an apology isn't good enough! My bank account could be wiped out from super computer geniuses I wouldn't be protected. I always practice safe banking – I need to have protection!
Yes, I've Joined the other Wary Financially Savvy PF Bloggers
I know there are a lot of PF bloggers who are wary of Mint.com. Many have either not signed up ever with mint.com because they have enough financial diligence to track their expenses through Quicken or YNAB or something similar.
MoneySense magazine (you know I love them) contacted the big five banks in Canada and asked about this issue and they confirmed that “You are responsible for any losses from any use by a third party that provides an online account aggregation service.”
When you give your banking account numbers and passwords to a third party.. if any sort of fraud happens, you wouldn't be protected because essentially you are breaching the contract with your big bank.
Intuit owns Mint.com. It's safe. But if something WERE to happen, you wouldn't be protected.
The Vancouver Sun did a great series on Mint.com including one on the safety of Mint.com. The servers are heavily protected in the Intuit facility and you need a hand print on a fancy door in order to get into the room (yeah just like the movies). He said that the benefits of mint.com probably outweighs the risks.
However, the possibility of your own mint.com account getting hacked into is easier (people just need to find your password). However, once they get in, they won't be able to do anything with your money since mint.com is essentially a read-only aggregator of your accounts.
If you have a few hours to spare you can go into detail on the safety of mint.com on the website by Jason Owens. He also details how he would go about hacking into your mint.com account as well. It's all way over my head, but it's very scary nonetheless.
I'll Miss mint.com
I won't lie. There are some days that I really miss mint.com. The break up was tough on me. I really loved him. It had to be done though…
Readers, do you use mint.com?