A TechCrunch conference held in San Francisco is abuzz with tech experts, exhibitors, and speakers; and everyone has their opinions about the winners and newest innovations for the year. However, not all joined in the fun. Far left of San Francisco Design Center Concourse’s hall is a thirty-something tech geek, a cameraman, and a reporter. They are currently filming his testimonial about Mint.com.
"Hi, I'm Tammer from Zong Mobile Payments, and I am a Mint user...I've actually found it very easy to use, it's very clean, very easy to interface with. It's especially useful for younger people, because getting into managing your finances at a very young age can be very difficult. It's better if you can avoid the missteps with some kind of a service. I highly recommend it."
In case you're wondering what he was talking about, he’s talking about the most popular financial service on the Web today. Mint.com, in a nutshell, is a site that helps use rs manage and save their money online in an easy and secure way.
Time Magazine included it in the 50 Best Websites list in 2008, 2009, and 2010. It was the top pick of Money Magazine in 2008, a PC Magazine Editor's Choice in 2008, and PC World's Top Rated Online Finance Service in 2008. It won a Webby Award in 2009, and bagged other award categories from 2008, as well. TechCrunch 40 awarded it “Best Presenting Company” in 2007.
Mint currently has five million users, starting from its initial launch in September, 2007. It was acquired in September 2009 by Intuit, making it the biggest growing service of its kind. Aaron Patzer, the founder and visionary of the company. He started it when he was just 25 years old, after getting fed up with the time it took him to get all his personal finances in order.
“Mint was born out of a personal frustration of using personal finance tools which entailed way too much work. Maybe ther e was a problem when you have to go through 50 screens of setup.”
Mint reduced those long setups to two. Registering takes less than five minutes, and once you have an account, you can see how much you spend on all your transactions, such as your groceries, gas, electricity, and etc. It allows you to check on your credit card, bank, and other investment balances and get notifications and updates for every dollar added – or deducted from your accounts. It even calculates and advises you on how to budget your expenses, with graphs that give you visual representations of all your expenses. You can even use your mobile phone to stay up to date.
And the best thing about it is that it’s free.
Taking advantage of Mint.com's full features requires you to enter very sensitive and private information, such as your bank account usernames and passwords. This raises a lot of red flags, especially when it comes to security.
Patzer, h owever disagrees. “Mint uses bank-level security. If you’re comfortable with your banks’ online banking service, you should be comfortable with Mint. Also, users are anonymous on Mint. We never ask for your name, SIN number or other personally identifiable information, and all data is encrypted.”
Mint also has taken steps to add more fool-proof security. Users have read-only aggregates of their accounts, and they don’t display account numbers. They also cannot transfer money from the bank.
"I see no problem trusting mint.com. Like others have said, why would it even especially matter if someone did somehow crack their security and could see my transactions there? Someone could see the same by going through my trash for my bank statement, and if they want to go through the hassle of diving or hacking to see that I spent $2.50 on apples yesterday, then it's fine with me,” says JD Jackson a Mint user from Tennessee.