A couple of days prior to their melt-down, um, I mean before their public beta started after Techcrunch, I received an email inviting me in to the private beta of mint.com. Lets face it, this was one site that almost everyone wanted in on and who could resist the pull of pain-free personal finance. They say “put your finances on autopilot”. How about starting with “put your finances on self-destruct” followed up with a dollop of “wow….this is what everyone was foaming at the mouth over?”.
First off let me say that the site itself is very nice looking. They have done a great job with the look. Green makes me feel calm. I feel calmer just looking at their front page. If looks were everything then they’ve hit a home run. However once I created an account the beauty contest winner started looking more like Miss South Carolina in the Miss Teen USA 2007 competition.
I Personally Believe…
The first time I logged in to Mint I couldn’t add any of my accounts. No Chase. No LaSalle. Nothing. Not one of the sites would connect to get my data. I realize that this type of system is highly dependent on the financial institutions not changing their sites but I never even received a notice that there were any problems. It’s a beta guys and you should be able to notify your customers a bit better than having to look in the forums to see what is going on. Beta? This felt like Alpha.
Some people out there in our nation don’t have maps…
After the site launch at Techcrunch the problems only became worse. Not only could I not get any financial data but I couldn’t even use the site. It was inundated with new people trying to get signed up and logged in. At the very least they finally, after a day or two, managed to get a note up on the front page letting us know that due to overwhelming demand they were having problems and were working on fixing them. Good. Maybe though with a known waiting list for the private beta they could have anticipated this? Awful job all around so far and I haven’t even talked yet about the actual site.
…the Iraq everywhere like such as and…
So I finally got in. I was able to get my accounts set up and had transactions downloaded. Now what? I can:
- See some nice graphs of spending trends
- Categorize transactions that haven’t been automatically categorized
- Label/tag transactions
- Find ways to save money
This feature is so underwhelming I really don’t have much to say. They show you nice graphs that are animated when you drill down into them but thats about all that happens. There really isn’t much more to that area of the site. Boooo!
Transactions and Categories
Great. I can view transactions from multiple bank accounts/credit cards. I can already do that in lots of other places. I can categorize but only with the categories Mint has chosen. You read that right. I can’t create my own categories in a “personal finance” application. And this is a “beta”?
I found out today in the forums that there is no way to cancel an account via the website. “We’re in beta” they tell us. “Email us and we will remove your account.” They’re keeping very sensitive personal financial data and the only way I can cancel an account is to email someone. Again this is a beta?
…so we can build up our future…for our children…
Mint has a long way to go and I simply can’t believe the fuss that was made over this site. I’ve been using Yodlee for awhile and their MoneyCenter site stomps Mint into a muddy pulp (and funny enough Mint is powered by Yodlee). I want to like Mint. I really do but it’s all looks. There is no depth there. Now just need to email them my cancellation….
Update: The only way to contact Mint is via the contact form on their website. No email address, phone numbers, or addresses seem to be located anywhere on their website. How shady is that?
Update 2: I was contacted via the comments by Anton Commissaris from Mint. He commented to correct my information and apparently Mint does have an email address and phone number on their site – on the Privacy and Security page. I was in error that there wasn’t a phone number/email address but to be honest when I want to find a phone number for a company I am dealing with I would expect it to be on the more conventional, Contact Us, page. If I want a mailing address I also expect to find it on the Contact Us page. Why would those bits of information be buried on a page about privacy and security? Come on Mint, get with the program.
Mr. Commissaris also states that Mint uses the email route of account cancellation for security purposes. I don’t buy it. Maybe I am incorrect here but a way to cancel my account online, where I have already authenticated, should be as secure as an email if not more-so. At the very least make it more obvious how to cancel an account and have a email address that makes more sense such as “firstname.lastname@example.org” for example. It would also be helpful if the guy running the Mint forums knew this information instead of giving information such as given here.