New financial website Mint.com makes monitoring your bank and credit card accounts against identity theft extremely easy. You can also keep a close watch on your spending by category. With today's economic woes, it can be very helpful to see how much could be saved by switching from one type of credit card to another. And Mint.com gives you those suggestions!
That's a big part of their business model. By allowing vendors to promote their more cost-effective credit cards or loans, Mint.com can provide their website to the consumer for free. Here's how it works: you set up your account with just email and a password, but no identifying information like your name or address. Then you provide your account numbers for your banks and credit cards as well as online passwords. This information is stored in a very secure fashion at Mint.com, away from the eyes of their employees. They've gone to the effort to make this not only an easy process by a safe and secure one. At least they've done a sufficient job to convince not only me (and what do I know?) but PC Magazine and the Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg.
Now that I've been playing with it for a few weeks, I have found it highly addictive. I can see how much we're spending on the kids' education or clothing in a click of a pie chart. Some unusual bank charges came in and I was informed by email and was able to take action without delay. Mint.com informs me of credit card bills coming up and shows how much cash is in my checking account. And it was very easy and user-friendly to get set up. Only one glitch so far. I have a loan with a bank that has a complicated login system and so far, Mint.com's programming can't make it work. I've informed their Customer Service group and they've replied with a sort of "we're working on it" kind of message. I can also visit the user forum and see I'm not the only customer of this particular bank who is stuck. Other than that, all my credit cards, other loans, checking and investments are now in one place so I can quickly see if anything strange is going on.
And I think Mint.com has convinced me it's time to switch from a frequent flier credit card to one that provides cash back. My husband has been telling me the same thing but what Mint.com did is show me how much money I'm missing out on. Wow!