App Aims: Making Personal Financial Stability a Reality
We have been very impressed with Mint.com for free personal finance management, and expected the accompanying app to be just as good, if not better. Unfortunately, the personal finance app is merely a limited read-only version of the web site, lacking the tools to do more than review your finances.
The actual service at Mint.com has great utility, with all the right features to help you track and manage your finances for free. The online financial management tool is a great option for gaining insight into how you spend your money, setting goals to save money and finding the best way to actually save. The service is extremely flexible, and can accommodate just about any budgeting style.
The Mint.com iPhone app however, isn’t nearly as accommodating or useful, primarily because it is solely designed for passive budget checking. You can’t set your budget or goals, or find savings like you can on the website. The main thing you can do is look over the current month’s budget and see how you’re doing. You can also review past transactions and see specific instances of spending (or deposits). You can also get warning alerts on your bills, low funds or unusual spending (but for the record, you can get these messages via text on just about any cell phone).
One thing that has changed since we last reviewed this app is that security has been boosted. You’ve always had to login to their secure app with your email address and password, and when you logout everything is deleted from your iPhone. But it used to be that if you simply closed the app or left it unattended, you (or more importantly, someone else) could easily get back into the app. Now, you can configure Mint to ask for a 4-digit passcode to resume.
The other issue we complained about last time was the slow update schedule. And while things have improved, the updates still seem sluggish, and don’t happen as often as we’d like.
For now, the Mint.com app isn’t really compelling. If you’re using Mint.com (which we highly recommend) and have an iPhone, it’s worth checking out. If you’re looking for a standalone personal finance app, you’ll be disappointed. For now the Mint.com iPhone app is a decent supplement, but not nearly as refined or beneficial as the full web version. It’s portable and professional, but needs a bit of polish to be practical.