We talked about Mint briefly in our Best Windows Apps blog piece, but we feel that Mint is such a great app that it is worthy of expanded coverage. Mint is a free app that is available for Apple iOS tablets and smartphones, Android tablets and smartphones, and all Windows 8 devices: phones, tablets, laptops and desktops.
Many, including us, feel that Mint is the best free personal finance app in the marketplace today.
Mint handles all aspects of personal finance from assets to budgeting to tracking spending. It provides you with access to your transactions and account balances in real-time. While many just put this on their Windows computers, it is even more powerful when on a mobile device because you can obtain real-time information anywhere you can get a signal.
You can find much of this information through individual credit card apps and bank apps, but Mint puts it all in the same place and then acts like an accountant or bookkeeper to help it all make sense. For better or worse, it will even calculate your individual net worth. Most of all, though, it helps you track your money and even suggests how you could save more and spend less.
If there is one drawback to Mint, it is that the online version offers more features than the app. Consequently, you should use mint.com for your account setup. This is much easier on a home computer with a full keyboard, but veteran texters have no problem using their smartphones to enter their set-up information.
It will ask you for information such as bank account numbers, credit card numbers, loans and assets. After set-up, we recommend immediately going into the mobile app and establishing a four-digit PIN to keep your information safe. Although you can’t actually use Mint to move any money, it’s wise to keep your financial details away from prying eyes.
Once you are set up, Mint will load all of your transactions for the last six months into your account. This tells Mint your spending patterns, and allows it to alert you if spending that seems “unusual” shows up in any of your accounts. This can keep damage from stolen credit cards or identity theft to a minimum.
Using the App
Mint has a simple, no-frills appearance, with a green and white colour scheme and easily readable letters and numbers. The main overview screen gives a great snapshot of your current financial situation, listing assets such as cash and various financial accounts, your budget and your expenditures for the month. This is reflected in both the budget and cashflow categories.
Mint will also give you alerts and advice, requiring you to click through both. There are plenty of graphs and charts for various aspects of your budget, going back six months.
Clicking through, you can find more details for any chart or function.
As we mentioned, any deviation from your “normal” spending pattern will generate an alert through Mint. If an account balance dips too low, an expenditure appears too high or a bill is close to being overdue, an alert will be generated.
If you tap through accounts, you can view every account you have entered. The first tap gives individual balances and you can tap through to more detailed information such as individual transactions for each account.
Expenditures and Other Transactions
Expenditures are automatically sorted into categories such as “taxes” or “coffee.” You have the option to change the category for any item manually. There is also a “hide from budget and trends” function for unique, one-time expenditures. You can even divide an expenditure into split categories, such as buying lunch for yourself (personal consumption) and a client (promotion).
All in all, Mint is the consensus pick for best of personal finance apps.
What Mobile App Developers can Learn from Mint
We love apps that solve problems or make people’s lives easier. Mint is a great example of an app that does both. Mint makes their money from in-app advertising, recommending various financial services. Their recommendations are all ethical and helpful to the user.
Mint developer Intuit is pretty much doing everything right with this app. It can be used to upgrade users to their other products such as TurboTax (US), QuickBooks or Quicken.
The main takeaway here is that Mint provides a service that a lot of people need. In addition, it attracts people who have plenty of use for upgraded products and the resources to purchase them.
Great app, great market, great profit potential: call 1300 650 253 to learn more.