Personal Capital vs Mint
I’m constantly amazed at how today’s financial tracking technology is used to help millions of people track and manage their finances effectively on a daily basis. I take it for granted more often than I should, but it’s truly amazing that free apps exist to keep our finances healthy both on a daily basis and for years to come.
It should come as no surprise that Personal Capital and Mint are at the top of the list when it comes to personal finance management programs. Both are sleek programs that give users loads of flexibility and control over their finances.
If I could have a penny for each time someone asks me “Mint or Personal Capital?”, well, I probably would have achieved financial independence way before age 30!
Both Mint and Personal Capital are incredibly popular online tools for money management.
They make your life easier by syncing your financial accounts in one location – and are totally free to use, which is fantastic.
Mint vs. Personal Capital – Which is Better?
Despite seeing tons of articles comparing the two, Personal Capital and Mint are actually very different programs.
Personal Capital lets users plan for future financial goals like retirement, buying a house in addition to keeping tabs on your investments.
Mint is geared more towards tracking your expenses and income, helping keep you on track on a day-to-day basis.
But if you’re struggling to decide which one is the most valuable tool, and can help you manage your finances most efficiently, this post is for you.
In this Personal Capital vs. Mint post, I’ll be drilling down to look at their distinctive features – because even though they look similar on the surface, they are very different tools.
After all, you want to make sure that the way you manage your finances is the most efficient and effortless there could be, right? That’s what I thought.
What is Mint?
Mint.com is a free online tool which helps you manage your finances all in one place and stay on top of your money.
It incorporates your financial accounts – bank accounts, credit cards, investment accounts, and loans – so that you can get a good, clear picture of your financial situation without having it scattered across several platforms.
Founded in 2006, Mint is free to use and accessible to everyone. What I like about it is that there is no software to install – and you can easily access Mint with any web browser or mobile device.
Mint offers you an overview of your finances as well as several personal finance tools, such as:
- Spending Analysis and Budgeting
- Credit Monitoring
- Bill Pay Reminders and Tracking
Bonus: Credit monitoring with Mint is a completely free service, meaning you don’t need a credit card on file for it.
What is Personal Capital?
I’ve talked about Personal Capital before – perhaps more than once. In fact, if you have been reading this blog for a while, you’ll probably know that I’m a massive fan of the tool, and use it to review my finances every day.
Founded in 2009, Personal Capital is similar to Mint because it is also a financial management tool – and is one of the most popular Mint alternatives. However, with Personal Capital, there’s a focus on growing your finances (something I’m deeply passionate about, as you know!), and by that, I mean investing.
With Personal Capital, you can see your net worth, analyze investments, and discover any hidden fees you weren’t aware of before – as well as set spending and saving goals.
Personal Capital is essentially a hybrid of two services – a free wealth management tool and a paid financial robo-advisor service – but in this review, we’re going to focus on the free app.
That said, both versions come with some impressive tracking and analysis tools, such as:
- Asset Allocation Tool
- 401(k) Fee Analyzer
- Retirement Planner
- Investment Checkup
Comparing Personal Capital & Mint by Category
Let’s take a closer look at each of these apps and their functionalities. I’m going to break it down and look at the most essential components to help you understand which performs better in each of the categories – and is worth investing your time and energy in.
Let’s start with how easy it actually is to link your accounts on the tools.
If you want to be able to review all your financial information in all place, the ease with which you can link your financial accounts is key. You’ll be linking things like:
- Checking and savings accounts
- Credit card accounts
- Student loans
- IRA & other retirement accounts
- Even property
With both apps, you can pretty easily link up the most used financial institutions, which you can find by using the search function.
However, if you happen to need a coffee break during the linking up process (it can be quite a handful), picking up where you left off is easier with Personal Capital.
The process is pretty similar for both tools – but Personal Capital does have fewer reported issues from users.
Mint uses an in-house system to sync with financial institutions, while Personal Capital uses Yodlee to perform the syncing – a much more reliable and stable service.
You can sync up a similar number of institutions and financial services – but from experience, if you run into any issues, Personal Capital does appear to be quicker at sorting it out.
Dashboards and User Experience
Both tools are user-friendly and strive to display complex financial information in an easy-to-understand, straightforward dashboard.
What I like about Mint’s dashboard is that it’s customizable – you can choose the order in which the features show to best suit your needs.
That said, I personally think Personal Capital still offers a smoother user experience. The graphs and charts are easier to digest – and the whole experience is just less bumpy.
Ensuring complete security is a crucial element in using wealth management tools, since aggregating all your financial information in one place can seem daunting.
Both Mint and Personal Capital give priority to ensuring the highest security, but there are some differences I’d like to point out.
While both Personal Capital and Mint use AES-256 bit encryption (same encryption used by the US government), Mint uses two-factor authentication.
Personal Capital, on the other hand, doesn’t. It asks you to register your computer before using – and you can’t log in unless your computer is registered via a PIN which is sent to you via phone or email.
Mint was born as a budgeting app – so it isn’t surprising that it has an edge here. With Mint, you can build a budget category by category, as well as track spending across each group.
This is a nice feature for someone looking to curb their spending as know exactly where your money is going.
Mint will also automatically notify you if you have an upcoming bill, allowing you even to link recurring online and offline bills.
With Personal Capital, budgeting is more cash flow based. This means that the focus is on overall income versus your expenses each month.
That said, Personal Capital does allow you to set a budget by total dollar amount – and the program will report on your spending by category.
The difference is that it won’t allow you to compare category-wide spending vs. a breakdown of the budget. You could say that this feature is more of a “spending overview” than actual budgeting.
You can link your investment accounts with both Personal Capital and Mint, which is awesome. You can access your performance, allocation of your assets, and value easily on the app.
But the difference between the two is that Personal Capital allows you to interact with your investments. By that, I mean access to detailed breakdowns of your investments – as well as clear visual representation with actual numbers. In other words, you can really delve deep into your investments and understand how your money is growing.
And, if you’re not someone who likes to analyze investments and would rather do something else, Personal Capital does have an Investment Checkup tool, which does all of that for you.
The checkup will give you information about your target allocation, risk and return, assets, sectors you’ve invested in, the fees you’re paying – and more. It’s incredibly useful – and, again, free.
I’ve always said that planning for your retirement is crucial for any Millennial – and that early retirement is really what you should be aiming for. I was able to retire at the age of 30 which using my retirement strategies – and I feel that the main app you use for wealth management should definitely include retirement planning for it to allow you to manage your finances thoroughly.
That’s where I feel that Personal Capital completely outperforms Mint – because Mint doesn’t offer retirement planning overview – nor other investment related features.
Personal Capital has a super valuable Retirement Planning Feature, which allows you to determine how much you need to be saving for retirement quickly and easily.
You can see all the information from your accounts, contributions you’re making to your retirement accounts and even your planned age of retirement. And you won’t have to pay a penny!
Both tools come with mobile apps, making it easy to manage your finances on the go. Both Mint and Personal Capital have apps available to Apple iOS and Google Android users, which makes things easy.
Customer service (err, more like the lack of it!) has been what Mint customers have pretty much always had a problem with – while Personal Capital is known for offering excellent customer service.
Getting help is easy – just hit the “Help” button in the button right corner of the page, and then “Contact us,” if you want to get in touch with the Customer Service team. If you email about anything financial, from my experience, you can expect to receive a reply from Personal Capital within less than 24 hours.
Some reviews online also mention that when problems with synchronization arise on Mint, getting help is challenging. I’ve only had good experience with Personal Capital’s customer service.
And The Winner Is… Personal Capital!
I think both of these tools are great – but, personally, Personal Capital is the one I value the most.
While Mint is in the lead for budgeting, Personal Capital is more reliable and offers excellent customer service – which is so important if you choose to allow a platform online to help you with your financial management, and share with them your most sensitive financial data.
After all, you don’t want to be left hanging when you have questions about your money.
Manage Your Finances with Personal Capital or Mint
As you know, I have been using Personal Capital for years to manage my finances.
Mint has fantastic features and is also very useful in financial management – but personally, I think its functionality still needs to improve.
You may well choose to use Mint instead of Personal Capital – and that’s entirely up to you. We could even say that Mint and Personal Capital could both be used simultaneously – because Personal Capital is designed to be an investment platform with limited billing and budgeting capacity, while Mint is a budgeting platform with limited investment capacity. The best thing about them both is that they are entirely free.
Whatever you choose, the most important thing is that it works for you – and allows you to get your finances under control.