Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Mint.com to be acquired by Intuit



This is a pretty sad post for me to write. If you've never heard of Mint.com, let me give you a quick summary. Mint is a seriously awesome financial mangement website. You provide them with access to your online bank account information and they automatically pull data and create super useful transaction lists, spending graphs,etc. The information is unbelievably helpful and has really changed the way I manage our finances.

The thought of giving a third-party website access to sensitive financial information can scare some people, especially those who are just now getting used to buying online with a credit card. :-) But Mint is very secure, and I've been using it for over 2 years now.

Two years ago when Mint launched, I was very excited to try it out. It sounded like the ideal financial management product had finally been created. Think Quicken or MS Money, but web-based. It's available everywhere, and requires no information input on my part, since it auto-connects to bank websites and collects information all by itself. I signed up during the first week it was available and have been using it ever since.

Since then, the features have only gotten better and more useful, adding new tools like budget creation, investment management, loan management, etc. Mint is now the only financial management tool I use.

But all that changed on Monday. I got an email from Mint saying that they'd been acquired by Intuit, the makers of Quicken and TurboTax. If you've ever used an Intuit product, you'll understand why this news is unfortunate. Intuit's products, while useful, have a tendency to squeeze as much money out of customers as possible. TurboTax, for example, is constantly trying to convince users to upgrade features, literally nickle and dime-ing users out of their minds.

Intuit also has a terrible track record when it comes to customer service, something Mint has always been good at. In addition, their junk mail tactics are questionable at best. I can't tell you how many emails and letters I get from TurboTax urging me to use them next year.

All in all, Intuit has a tendency to sour the good experiences of products. Mint's management claims that the service will stay free and that the customer service will remain the same, but those of us that have used Intuit products before are understandably skepticle of that claim. I predict that within less than a year, Mint will split into two versions, paid and free, with the free version being so crippled that it's borderline unusable. Either that, or Mint will start adding exciting new features that are pay-only.

I have recommended Mint to quite a few people and I myself swear by it. This is very sad news, indeed. I'm not going to jump the gun and delete my account just yet. I'll hold out and see what happens. But I have very little hope that this will go any direction but down. :-(

RIP Mint.

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