I’ve recently been playing with my account on Mint.com and although it has its limits, it is very impressive. For those of you who are unfamiliar, Mint is a web-based application that tracks your finances – everything from your mortgage, credit cards, and spending habits – for free.
I still think that everyone should have a copy of Quicken or Microsoft Money, but in a pinch Mint can do a lot for you as well.
Wondering how Mint can possibly be safe? Check this out…
Mint.com’s Seven Layers of Security
- You register anonymously.
- We do not need any personally identifiable information from you to set up your account. We only ask for a valid email address, password and zip code.
- We ask for your online banking user name and passwords, but we do not see or store that information.
- That means no one at Mint, and no potential hackers of Mint.com, can access your banking credentials.
- We connect securely to your financial institutions using one or more online financial service providers.
- Your online banking credentials are stored only with these institutions enabling Mint to automatically and securely update your transactions and saving you from updating, syncing or uploading financial information manually.
All communication between Mint and its online financial service providers is encrypted using 128–bit SSL encryption, the financial industry standard for data protection
- Mint provides bank-level data security for the transaction information we store.
- Mint uses 128-bit SSL encryption to ensure that all communications between your browser and our Web site are secure.
- We store transaction information in a secure facility, on our own servers, protected by 24/7 security guards and biometric scanners.
- All Mint employees pass financial and criminal background checks as a condition of employment.
- Mint.com has received the VeriSign security seal and is tested daily by Hackersafe.
- Mint’s privacy protection standards are certified by TRUSTe.
- Mint’s anti-phishing protection is provided by RSA Security, Inc.
- Mint does not know your bank account numbers or credit card numbers.
- Mint uses only your account login credentials for access to your account information and Mint does not store these credentials.
- You cannot move money with Mint.
- Mint offers valuable insights and analytic tools to help you better understand your money…but Mint is a “read only” service. Meaning: you can view and organize your money with Mint, but you cannot move money between—or out of—your bank, credit union or credit card accounts.
As I mention in my classes – knowing how much money is coming in, going out, and your overall financial bill of health is incredibly important. Every day I meet individuals who have no idea how much the spend on eating out each month, on utilities, clothing, et cetera. I also meet business owners who think it is too much of a bother to log how many miles they drive for business. When I showed one business owner how she could write off over $2,000 in business income just by tracking her miles, she became an instant convert.
It talks loud.
So…are you listening?
Here are a few ways to organize your financial health:
- Examine your utility bills and consider using compact fluorescent light bulbs instead of standard bulbs – also consider shutting your computer(s) off at night. Potential savings: $25 + per month or $300 per year
- If you don’t have one, create a simple budget in a spreadsheet program like Excel. List your potential expenses and take a long look at each of them, where can you save some money?
- If you don’t use your cell phone much, consider switching to a pay-as-you-go service. We recently switched to T-Mobile and for $260 have two phones and enough minutes to last us for up to a year! That’s a savings of almost $60 per month from our previous service!
- Have credit cards? Do you know what the interest rates on each of them are? Make a list (again, Excel works well for this) of the cards, balances, and interest rates. Pay off the higher interest cards first. Watch for better deals or even consider calling your credit card company and negotiating a better interest rate!
- Keep an ongoing grocery list in a convenient location where all members of the family have access to it. Before you go shopping, plan your meals for the week – what are you going to want to eat and what ingredients do you need to make it?