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Something I heard about recently... - cellophane
the story of an invisible girl
renniekins
renniekins
Something I heard about recently...
Who uses Mint.com? Do you like it? Who knows anything about it?

In other news, five people will look at my house this week. So far nobody's wanted to buy it, but I'm very pleased with the number of people looking!

In still other news, I am now the tech lead on my project at work, so that's pretty cool.

And I think I'm popping over to Chicago this weekend. Wish the weather would be better; it'd be fun to go to the beach.
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Comments
the_leewit From: the_leewit Date: August 28th, 2009 11:21 am (UTC) (Link)
You shold take advantage of my Art Institute membership; they have really neat exhibit on the art of classic children's books.
atdt1991 From: atdt1991 Date: August 28th, 2009 11:26 am (UTC) (Link)
I've got a login there, and they send me emails once in awhile categorizing my purchases. I don't use them as well as I should.
c0nsumer From: c0nsumer Date: August 28th, 2009 01:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think that financial tracking stuff (Quicken, Mint, etc) is something that you have to either use, or not use. Only partially using it is worse than useless because it paints an incomplete (and thus incorrect) financial picture.
atdt1991 From: atdt1991 Date: August 28th, 2009 02:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
I would not say an incomplete picture is entirely useless. I would say that is quite an improvement over "absolutely no idea what, financially, is going on."
c0nsumer From: c0nsumer Date: August 28th, 2009 02:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
Perhaps I should clarify and say that within a particular account, partial data isn't useful. I don't see anything wrong with, say, not tracking a savings account. However, if you only track some of the transactions on your checking or credit card account you've then got a wildly wrong picture of where things stand, which can get dangerous.
the_leewit From: the_leewit Date: August 28th, 2009 11:33 am (UTC) (Link)
I love Mint.com, parenthetically; I've been using it for about a year now, ever since one of the big frugality blogs did an analysis of its security features. (Uh, the Simple Dollar, I think, or Getrichslowly.)

I haven't started with the new "planning feature," but a notable anecdote: because of the way my bank's statement was set up, ATM fees charged as a lump and labelled ambiguously, I did not realize that they had changed their policy on in-store PIN pad transactions. I shop daily on my way home from work, and do not carry cash (I lose it too easily, and although the most trouble I have in my not-great neighborhood is being stopped by cops who believe I am a drug dealer, my workplace can still be a little bit of a scary neighborhood). That added up to about $1000 a year, which I discovered while categorizing expenses. Good to know!

What are you wanting to know, specifically?
c0nsumer From: c0nsumer Date: August 28th, 2009 01:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is why you should always use your bank's "debit card" as a credit card. Never enter a PIN. The big difference is that when as a credit card the store pays the swipe and transaction charges, whereas when used as a debit card you (and/or your bank) pay the charges.

This is exactly why debit is always offered as a first or default option on POS terminals; it's cheaper for the store and most people use it without thinking.
djinnthespazz From: djinnthespazz Date: August 30th, 2009 11:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Do they offer a fail-safe on those yet? Or if somebody steals it can they clean out your account and you have no recourse?
djinnthespazz From: djinnthespazz Date: August 30th, 2009 11:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
With a credit card, you only have to pay $50 if it's stolen
c0nsumer From: c0nsumer Date: August 31st, 2009 12:06 am (UTC) (Link)
On which? Debit? Credit card as debit? Etc?

As far as I'm aware there's little up-front legal protection for bank accounts as a whole.
djinnthespazz From: djinnthespazz Date: August 31st, 2009 12:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Debit. Just as easy to steal as a credit card - and no hoops to jump with signature, pin number, etc.

My bank gave me one. I don't carry it.
aiela From: aiela Date: August 28th, 2009 12:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
Dave does, or at least did.
jer_ From: jer_ Date: August 28th, 2009 12:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Having heard about it roughly when you did... I spent some time this week researching its security (it seems rather impeccable) and creating an account to play with. I have been impressed enough with how easy it makes tracking that I am moving to using debit card/credit cards instead of cash so that tracking happens automatically.

Of course, I just like techie stuff, so that could be it. :)
c0nsumer From: c0nsumer Date: August 28th, 2009 01:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
May I ask how you researched their security and what was found?
(Deleted comment)
From: nicegeek Date: August 28th, 2009 01:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
I wouldn't feel comfortable using something like this, but then, I place a very high value on privacy.

The company has investors, who are going to expect to make money on their investments. Right now, the ways that they're talking about doing that are building up marketing profiles on their users and showing them targeted ads, and possibly selling some information to other marketers.

I'd have two main worries. First, even if the current managers of the company are highly ethical, their investors are going to want to make money, and management can change. If it comes down to a choice between their users' privacy and shutting the company down, would they really choose the former?

My second worry is security related. Even if we assume that the company is following the best of practices, accidents happen. Employees can go bad, and hackers can sometimes get in. Reports of data breaches at major companies are a regular event in the news. Despite the company's claims that they can only read your account info and not move money, they've got all of your bank account IDs and passwords, so they have the keys to clean all your accounts out, even if they don't expose the means to do so. If they were to get hacked, the potential damage would be immense.
c0nsumer From: c0nsumer Date: August 28th, 2009 01:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
First, I've been using Quicken about eight years now, tracking every single transaction. To start, I feel that unless you use a tool like Quicken or Mint to track every single transaction made, it's useless. There's really little point in tracking only some things but not others, since it then provides an incomplete picture.

Second, here's the few problems I had with Mint:
- While their security looks good, I have no way to verify that their security is as good as they say. While I don't mind putting some financial information out there, putting everything in one centralized place is a bit troubling.

- Mint's UI is terrible if one does a bunch of manual entry / editing, as it (and the web itself) tends to not be very keyboard-only friendly.

- This may have changed, but I didn't like the reporting options available nor the ability to get lots of information out en masse. One must, must, must have a way to get data out for archiving.

- Web-only is often not a good option. What if you need to be without network access for a while but still have access to your finances? Maybe they've done it already, but incorporating something like Gears would go really far towards this.

- I don't believe it was possible to upload QIF files. Some older/smaller banks, 401(k)s, etc don't use Quicken Web Connect stuff yet, and thus only spit out QIFs. I like being able to import these instead of manually verifying a whole register.
geekjul From: geekjul Date: August 28th, 2009 02:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've used Mint.com for about a year now and I like it pretty well, it has helped me get a better idea of where my money is going by categorizing all my transactions. I'm pretty sure I can thank Mint for helping me reduce my impulse spending.

My bank has just recently started offering an online quicken product as a tangent to their online banking and I'm finding I like it as well, so you might check out Quicken Online for comparison purposes.
lintra From: lintra Date: August 28th, 2009 02:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think it's really neat, but it doesn't meet my needs. I'm an accountant, and I track our spending at a more detailed level than Mint allows, so I just keep it all in spreadsheets, merge them up and use pivot tables to analyze my data in various ways.

(This is what it is to be an excel geek, I suppose.)

I suspect if you are not as anal as I am about knowing where every penny goes, it works great.
pi3832 From: pi3832 Date: August 29th, 2009 02:22 am (UTC) (Link)
I used Mint and find it mostly useful for combining financial transactions in one place. I can see my checking, savings and credit card activities all as one chronological list.

And, when I take the time to categorize everything, it gives a nice graphic breakdown of where I waste my money.

It won't replace Quicken or the like, but if you just want to check activity in your accounts efficiently, it'll serve you well.
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