Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I've Given Up On Mint.com

If I were writing about Mint.com a year or so ago, I would be singing its praises and evangelizing to all of you that you should be getting signed up with the service, post-haste!  It was (and I stress the verb tense was) an amazing tool that allowed you to consolidate all of your financials into one place so that you could get an accurate overview of your complete financial picture. I had it pulling in information about my mortgages, college loans, credit card transactions, checking accounts, brokerage accounts, retirement accounts, 401(k), business accounts, and more. At any time I had an accurate picture of my net worth, debt to asset ratio, trends, and more statistics that I could use to budget, forecast, and evaluate how I was managing my money. For a finances and numbers nerd, it was a hell of a tool.

Then Intuit bought them. Not much changed initially other than the occasional advertisement or plug here and there, but as I had to make changes to accounts and have Mint pull in new account information, it became more and more of a pain than a tool. Certain accounts wouldn't load correctly. My brokerage accounts weren't having their historical data populated correctly. Some accounts I had to continually re-enter my passwords even though they were supposed to be stored.  And some of the rules I had set up for classifying certain transactions (such as every payment to Xcel being tagged as utilities) refused to work. I ended up having to put in so much time manually maintaining my Mint account that it has no longer made sense to use it.

I'm apparently not the only one with frustrations, as I noticed in a recent Consumerist article. The back end change that they mention (going from Mint.com's back end to Intuit's), I'm assuming, caused a good deal of the issues that everyone is experiencing. The GUI of the website hasn't changed. The reporting hasn't changed. The account management hasn't really changed. From the looks of the site, it would appear nothing has changed, but it definitely has.

At the current time, I've actually stopped using Mint.com and have gone back to spreadsheets and looking at my individual financial components at their own websites. It's disheartening, to say the least, to see such an amazing tool completely fall apart, but it provides yet another example that justifies the complaining, bitching, and moaning that arises when a small company or service gets bought out by a big corporation--the tools or services never end up improved and, if you're extremely lucky, they simply continue to exist as they are. In most cases, Mint.com being a perfect example, the buyout destroys the product or service being bought.

So here's to looking for the next Mint.com. I'm keeping my eyes open...

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