Plus it’s free, and Web-based.
Mint allows users to automatically track and analyze their financial transactions, set budgets, and even send balance updates in text messages to cell phones.
From the Forbes interview with its 26-year old founder, Aaron Patzer:
“The average user, when they log in, can find $1,000 worth of savings within five minutes.”
They plan to make money from referral fees.
The brand promise of Mint is that the ads or offers you see are individually calculated to save or make you money. On Mint, ads are features. On our "Ways to Save" page, where we offer these savings features, we’ve found that the click-through rate [the number of times a link is clicked for every time it appears] is between 8% and 10%. That’s much higher than the industry standard for online ads.
One thing that’s unique about our model is that we’re not trying to make users spend more time on the site. In fact, because of the text message and e-mail features, users don’t have to log in for more than five or 10 minutes a week.
Patzer is on to the fact that most users of personal financial software don’t want to use up a lot of their all too limited free time filling in information — Mint uses Yodlee for that. I have tried Quicken once, and Money a couple of times, but they assume I am far more dedicated — and rational — about my financial planning than is the case. Like so much software, the design doesn’t take much notice of the way users live and work. Patzer says his realization came when a new job made updating his information impossible because it required so much time.
Automatic deduction savings plans are one way around this — Bank of America’s Keep the Change, which rounds debit card purchases up a dollar and then deposits the change in a savings account, is the best example I have seen of a program that has a sense of how people save in real life. They could make it even better by letter you set the amount to sweep to savings to change plus $1 or $5 — so heavy spenders would save even more. They probably need to.