For most people, handing over the login credentials for their financial institutions would be a huge “no no.” Mint seems to defy that notion, offering the everyman the opportunity to improve his finances through consolidating his accounts. Log into Mint and one can view investments, mortgage loans, car loans, profit and loss for the month, and many other useful statistics.
Mint was founded in 2006, and it was always meant to be a free tool for users to track their financial goals. Its first round of funding saw Mint raise over $31 million in venture capital, with one of its earliest investors being Ram Shriram. Some might recognize that name as one of Google’s early investors.
The primary function of Mint is an account tracker. Users cannot initiate transfers using Mint, but they can monitor the state of accounts from over 16,000 separate financial institutions. The company also uses sophisticated behind-the-scenes tools to measure where a user is at financially, and offer some tips to improve. Users with risky credit portfolios, for instance, might see recommendations for new credit cards they qualify for.
Mint also offers a credit tracking service, and was purchased by Intuit in 2009.
Mint has been criticized for its service, and banks have had to respond due to the demand for the service. If Mint databases were ever hacked, critics say, financial information would be leaked for all of its supposed 10 million users. That presents a huge risk. In response, some banks have developed online access codes specifically for Mint users and other online access.