Two of the powerhouses in the money management software arena are Mint and Personal Capital. Both programs are free to use, track spending, and can help you plan for the future. If you were only going to use one program, Mint or Personal Capital, which one is better for you?
Mint is a free money management app operated by Intuit. The company that runs Quicken, which is essentially a paid version of Mint. By automatically linking to your bank, credit cards, and investment accounts. Each time you log in, Mint will automatically download the newest transactions to accurately show your income and spending. One downside to Mint is that you can’t manually input information. If you don’t link your financial account, Mint cannot track the activity.
In addition to tracking your spending, you will like Mint for a few other features.
Mint offers a budget tool that can help you create a monthly budget. Now you can break down your monthly paycheck into spending categories like food, transportation, housing, student loan payments, etc. If you are looking for budgeting app that allows you to create a monthly budget, you will like Mint. This is because Personal Capital doesn’t have a budgeting app.
Another tool that you might like about Mint is free access to your credit score. There are several other sites, maybe even your bank, that allow you complimentary access to your credit score. But, this feature allows you to have all your information in one place instead of creating an account at a free credit monitoring site just to view your credit score on a monthly basis.
Mint is Best For…
These are some reasons you might decide to use Mint instead of Personal Capital:
- Want a free budget app to create a monthly budget
- Create savings goals
- Mint automatically downloads account activity (no transaction gets overlooked)
- Complimentary Credit Score
Downsides of Mint
These are a few reasons you might not like Mint
- Cannot manually input account activity
- Problems linking to some financial accounts (Personal Capital has similar issues)
- “Clunky” interface compared to Personal Capital
- Not the best for tracking investments or net worth
Is Mint Free?
Mint is completely free to use. But, they do make money when you sign up for credit cards, bank accounts, or investment accounts from the advertisements displayed on the site. These advertisements might seem like an eyesore to some but it’s a small price to pay for a free program. If you don’t want to look at these advertisements, you might consider using Personal Capital or paid budgeting app like You Need A Budget or Quicken.
Another very popular budgeting app is Personal Capital. It is more focused on tracking your spending, net worth, and investment performance. Personal Capital is the better option if you already have a monthly budget or some money management experience. While anybody can benefit from Personal Capital, it is more focused on building wealth if you are already in the habit of saving money.
If you simply want to track spending, Personal Capital can be a better option because it allows you to enter manual account information. Personal Capital also automatically links to your financial accounts and will e-mail you a weekly tracking summary to compare your spending and net worth on a weekly basis.
Some people even prefer Personal Capital to Mint because it has a smoother interface, allows you to manually input information, and has more tools (minus the monthly budget).
Personal Capital doesn’t allow you to create a monthly budget. But, by using their retirement planner tools, you can project if you are saving enough for to afford your retirement goals. If you only need a basic number such as save $500 per month so you can retire at age 65, their tool is sufficient. If you need to help knowing how much to spend each month on dining out or travel, go with Mint.
If you like graphs and charts, the first thing you see when you log in with Personal Capital is your net worth in a line graph. If you just paid your monthly bills, there will be a dip because there is less money in your bank accounts. If you just got paid or your stocks appreciated, the chart will tick upwards. You can also add the value of non-financial account assets like your house, automobiles, and jewelry to accurately calculate your net worth.
Personal Capital’s strengths are calculating net worth and investments. In fact, they make their money by managing investments. In addition to using the free retirement analyzer tools, you can also use Personal Capital to track the performance of all your investments and analyze the fund fees to see if you are paying too much. This can be helpful if your 401k and personal investment accounts are with different brokerages( i.e. Vanguard 401k and Fidelity Roth IRA).
See our Personal Capital review for more information.
You Might Like Personal Capital If…
- You simply want to track spending & assets (net worth) and don’t need to create a monthly budget
- Want to track your investment performance across multiple brokerages
- Want the ability to manually input financial information for accounts that don’t link automatically
- Like graphs & charts to track performance or project future net worth
Downsides of Personal Capital
- No budgeting tool
- Can’t link to every account (better linking success rate than Mint)
Is Personal Capital Free?
Just like Mint, Personal Capital is free. They make their money by monitoring investments. You won’t see banner ads to sign-up for their advisory services but you will most likely get phone calls and e-mails asking to schedule a conversation with one of their financial advisors. Depending on what “advertisements” you want to receive might also determine whether you choose Mint or Personal Capital.
Mint or Personal Capital?
You can’t go wrong by choosing either app as they both track your spending, but, they do cater to different financial needs.
Mint is the better option if you need to make a budget and might just be getting a grasp on managing money.
Personal Capital is better if you want the ability to manually enter financial information, want to track your investment performance and total net worth, or financially plan for retirement. Personal Capital also has an easier and more feature-rich interface than Mint.
Also, your decision might be made by which program can or cannot link to your financial accounts. If one links and the other app can’t, that might make your decision as well.