Mint vs Personal Capital vs YNAB
Whether you’re a Millennial who’s just getting started or a retiree who’s seasoned in money management, using budgeting software can make setting up and following a budget so much easier. The only problem? There are hundreds of budgeting apps out there to choose from.
Basic budgeting apps allow users to link their bank accounts and track their spending, while others offer additional features such as investment tracking, free credit score monitoring, data export options, and flexible budget categories. To help you find the right budgeting app, here are three mini-reviews for Mint, Personal Capital, and YNAB.
- Summary of Mint, Personal Capital, and YNAB
- The bottom line
About each brand
Mint is an online budget tracker and financial planner that helps make budgeting easier. Both the Mint website and its corresponding mobile app, which is backed by Intuit (i.e. the company that created TurboTax and QuickBooks) allows users to see their financial position across multiple accounts, including credit cards, loans, and investment accounts. It also sends users an alert whenever there’s a bill increase or an upcoming due date.
Mint also helps users save money by auto-categorizing transactions and offering personalized MintSights on how to spend smarter and reach their financial goals. The best part? Mint is totally free.
Personal Capital, an Empower Company, is a digital platform that gives users the opportunity to see the bigger picture of their finances and set goals for a better financial future. Personal Capital offers a free and a paid version that is browser and app compatible. The free version provides users with a variety of financial tools, including a savings planner, retirement planner, cash flow charts, and a free hidden fee analyzer tool.
Similar to Mint, Personal Capital displays users’ financial information on one convenient dashboard. It then creates a personalized summary of the user’s spending habits, net worth, and investment portfolio. For users who’d like to work with a human advisor, Personal Capital offers three tiers for management services: Investment Services for $100,000 to $200,000 in assets, Wealth Management for $200,000 to $1 million in assets, and Private Client Services for users with more than $1 million in assets.
YNAB (which stands for “You Need a Budget”) is a paid, personal budgeting software. Potential users or new customers can choose to start a free trial with YNAB for 34 days, according to the YNAB website. The paid plan is $11.99 per month or $84 per year. Unlike most “leave it and forget it” personal finance apps, YNAB is a hands-on budgeting software that teaches users how to spend and save. Users can take advantage of YNAB’s features, budgeting tools, videos, and more online or via a mobile app.
In addition to working with you, the YNAB website has more than 100 free, live online workshops, all of which teach users how to master the art of budgeting in 20-minute intervals.
Mint offers a variety of features, including auto-syncing, a free credit score page, a portfolio snapshot, and more. Here are a few of Mint’s key features:
- Mint dashboard. The Mint dashboard gives users the power to manage everything from one convenient dashboard, including their current cash flow, credit cards, investments, loans, and more. Members can also view their home and land value via Mint’s dashboard. This information is provided by Zillow, a partner of Mint.
- Automatic syncing. Mint allows users to add multiple financial accounts to their dashboard via a secured and encrypted sign-in service. Once added, Mint provides users with a quick overview of their account balances, transactions, and due dates.
- Free credit score. To help members get a better understanding of where their credit stands, Mint displays a free credit score (powered by Equifax) at login. Unlike typical credit reports, Mint provides each user’s info, including the user’s age of credit, number of inquiries, and total accounts, in an easy-to-read format.
Personal Capital’s features
Personal Capital offers users a free and a paid version of its site and accompanying app. Here are a few key features of Personal Capital’s free app:
- 401(k) analyzer. Personal Capital’s 401(k) Analyzer is designed to unearth hidden fees. To make things simple, the analyzer displays exactly what each user’s fund is costing them. It also suggests alternative allocations into lower-cost funds so members can save even more.
- Net worth calculator. Net worth isn’t exclusively for celebrities. Personal Capital’s Net Worth Calculator provides its users with their net worth based on their assets and liabilities, or what they have minus what they owe.
- Budgeting tools. Personal Capital’s free financial dashboard also offers users a way to track spending, analyze their spending categories and individual transactions, and monitor their current cash flow.
YNAB is free for new customers for 34 days. After that, YNAB charges $11.99 per month or $84 per year. Here are some key features of YNAB’s hands-on money management software:
- Goal tracking. YNAB is all about helping users reach their savings goals (whether they’re weekly, monthly, or by date). With YNAB’s goal tracking tools, members can set and achieve their goals.
- Joint budgeting. YNAB makes it easy to budget with a partner via its sharing settings. YNAB also gives users 24/7 access to real-time information, making it easier to figure out how financial planning works when there’s a joint account involved.
- Support. If there’s one thing that’s evident from YNAB’s website it’s that they’re there to help. With more than 100 free, live, web-based financial advice workshops, users can rest assured knowing that their money is in good hands.
Summary of Mint, Personal Capital, and YNAB
|Money Management Service||Best For||Monthly Fee||Budgeting|
|Mint||Tracking income and expenses||$0/month||Yes|
|Personal Capital||Big-picture savings and investment insights||$0/month*||Yes|
|YNAB||Hands-on budgeters||$11.99/month or $84/year||Yes|
Personal Capital offers three tiers for paid money management services: Investment Services for $100,000 to $200,000 in assets, Wealth Management for $200,000 to $1 million in assets, and Private Client Services for users with more than $1 million in assets.
Costs and fees
No hidden fees here! Mint is completely free to use. If you’re wondering how that’s possible, here are a few ways Mint makes money:
- Targeted advertising. Mint may be free to use, but its site and parts of its app include targeted advertisements. This means that users may find that the ads are relevant to their interests and search history. Through advertising, Mint is able to generate revenue.
- Credit report monitoring. While Mint does give users the option to monitor their credit for free, the company also offers members the chance to upgrade to Mint Credit Monitor. The Mint Credit Monitor is a monthly subscription that sends users multiple credit reports from all three credit reporting agencies and identity theft monitoring for $16.99 per month.
- Referrals. Whenever a Mint member decides to take advantage of a Mint recommendation (i.e. a credit card recommendation), Mint receives revenue. So, in other words: when users sign up for a referral product, the company gets a percentage of the revenue.
Personal Capital offers a number of free tools, but their premium financial planning services require an annual fee based on the size of the user’s investment portfolio. Personal Capital provides three tiers for management: Investment Services for $100,000 to $200,000 in assets, Wealth Management for $200,000 to $1 million in assets, and Private Client Services for users with more than $1 million in assets.
According to the company website, Personal Capital charges an all-inclusive annual management fee “at a fraction of the cost of traditional financial institutions” for Investment Services and Wealth Management Clients. For the first million dollars, fees are 0.89%.
For Private Clients who invest $1 million or more:
- 0.79% on the first $3 million
- 0.69% on the next $2 million
- 0.59% on the next $5 million
- 0.49% over $10 million
New users can try YNAB’s services for free for 34 days. Once the free trial is up, YNAB is $11.99 per month or $84 per year. The good news? For users who decide that YNAB’s money management software isn’t their cup of tea, YNAB offers a No-Risk,100% Money-Back Guarantee in which they’ll provide a full refund, no questions asked.
According to the YNAB website, new budgeters save up to $600 in their first two months of using their service and more than $6,000 after one year.
Pros and cons
Mint pros and cons
- Mint provides members with weekly summaries via email.
- Users can opt-in to receive alerts via email or text message whenever they have an upcoming or pending bill.
- Mint auto-syncs your financial data into one, easy-to-read dashboard.
- Mint also allows users to view and monitor their credit scores for free.
- Mint has limited investing features.
- Some users may experience issues when trying to sync their bank account. It seems the syncing option breaks often.
- Mint does not allow users to import data from Quicken.
- There’s no longer a Bill Pay feature.
Personal Capital pros and cons
- Personal Capital provides users with free, comprehensive investment management and financial planning tools.
- Personal Capital also offers auto-syncing so that users can easily see all of their financial accounts in one place.
- The mobile app and Personal Capital website are user-friendly.
- The paid version of Personal Capital includes a personal (human) advisor.
- The paid version requires a $100,000 minimum deposit.
- Personal Capital’s annual fees are higher than most of its competitors.
YNAB pros and cons
- YNAB is free for 34 days.
- For those who decide that they don’t like the service, YNAB will send a full refund.
- YNAB is available on multiple devices, including smartphones and tablets.
- YNAB syncs with more than 12,000 banks.
- Once the trial period has ended, users are required to pay $11.99 per month or $84 per year.
- YNAB does not offer bill tracking or bill pay features.
- There’s no investment tracking feature, either.
Is Mint.com safe to use?
Yes, Mint.com is safe to use. Mint uses a number of security measures, such as 128-bit SSL encryption, in addition to monitoring through third-party sites like TRUSTe and VeriSign, to ensure its users’ info is kept under lock and key.
How much does Mint cost monthly?
Mint doesn’t cost anything to use. However, members who wish to upgrade to a premium version of Mint’s credit monitoring service can pay $16.99 per month to subscribe to Mint’s monthly Mint Credit Monitor service.
Can I pay bills with Mint?
Mint ended its Bill Pay feature on June 30, 2018.
Is Personal Capital really free?
The Personal Capital app is free to use. For users who’d like to take advantage of the site’s investment management services, there’s an annual fee that starts at 0.89% and a minimum account balance of $100,000.
Does Personal Capital sell your data?
Although Personal Capital does collect data, it does not sell or allow users’ information to be used for any purpose other than to market their products and services to said users.
Who owns Personal Capital?
Empower Retirement owns Personal Capital.
Is there a free version of YNAB?
While YNAB isn’t free, new customers can sign up for a 34-day free trial. After the trial period has ended, YNAB is $11.99 per month or $84 per year.
What does ‘Age of Money’ mean in YNAB?
YNAB is built on a four-rule system: give every dollar a job, embrace your true expenses, roll with the punches, and age your money. According to the YNAB site, the age of money literally equates to the amount of time it's been sitting in your bank account. For example, if you have $50 in your bank account and it sits there for 30 days (because you’ve yet to spend it), your money is 30 days old. Which, according to YNAB, is an “excellent age of money.”
Is YNAB worth paying for?
The answer to this question is subjective, of course. But according to customer reviews and the YNAB website, this service really works. On average, new budgeters save $600 in their first two months and more than $6,000 in their first year of using the app.
The bottom line
No matter your financial situation, implementing budgeting software into your money management system couldn’t hurt. While you’re browsing, keep the following features in mind: account linking, spending categories and reporting. Remember, learning to budget effectively will not only keep you from living from paycheck to paycheck but will allow you to save for an emergency fund, too.