Last week I mentioned a couple of my favorite free on-line resources: Mint.com and Wesabe.com. After I posted, several of you asked me about how these work and what is so cool about them. So I’ll tell you a little about my experience with Mint.
At it’s core, Mint.com is an account aggregator. Basically that means that the Mint site pulls in the information from all of your accounts, that you give it access to. But the coolness doesn’t stop there, some intelligence is built into the site that automatically categorizes your transactions. Let’s say that you go to Starbucks twice a week for a latte – Mint is smart enough to recognize when you swipe your debit card for the purchase and it will automatically categorize the transaction as a “Coffee Shop” expenditure. Obviously some transactions won’t be recognized by Mint and you have to manually categorize them but it is surprisingly accurate.
This categorizing feature is really cool for two reasons. First, you can input your monthly budget into the site and then compare your actual spending to your budget. Since Mint catches most of the transactions with the auto categorization there is really not much work for you. Second, the site automatically generates money saving tips based on your spending and saving habits. If you carry a credit card balance it will give you ideas for ways to pay down your balance and save some money.
So you are probably asking yourself: “This site sounds sweet! How do they offer such a cool product for free?” Well, Mint also offers information from for-profit financial institutions like banks about their products example: high yield savings accounts and investment services. So essentially Mint.com keeps the lights on by selling advertising.
Some of you may have tried to use Mint in the past but found that it did not pull in your information from Gallup FCU, I am pleased to announce that we are now compatible with Mint.com! So try it out and let me know what you think!