Personal Capital vs Mint: Which Will Help You Not Go Broke
Both tools are free to use, but which one is your best bet?
Personal Capital and Mint are both personal finance-related apps that can help you manage your money. Both are free to use and both have similar features, so which one should you use?
Based on our review, the answer is: probably Mint. Read on to see why.
Why People Need Budget Tools
One of the biggest problems that we see people encounter when it comes to budgeting and managing their finances is a failure to think consciously about where their money is going and why. This is the biggest need that budget tools address head-on: They make users more conscious of how much they’re spending and where their money is going.
Once users know where their money is going and how much of it is going to those things, budgeting becomes much easier. For many users, committing time to apps like Mint becomes largely unnecessary after an initial review of their finances, which helps them finally understand their own spending habits. Often, areas for cutting spending or other steps they can take to save money become readily apparent, once they have the information in front of them.
What is Personal Capital?
Personal Capital is a personal finance site that is focused on helping users manage their investments and track their net worth. In addition to offering managed services for brokerage and retirement accounts, the company also offers FDIC-insured cash accounts, as well as numerous calculators and other resources to help you learn more about your finances and determine when you’re ready for major life events (like retirement).
Personal Capital vs Mint: At a Glance
Net Worth Tracking
Financial Literacy Tools
Calculators and Tools
|Cost||Free to Sign Up
Tiered Investment Management Fees
Fund Expense Ratios
No Trading Commissions
|Free to Sign Up
No Hidden Fees
|Available Support||Online Request
|Automated Help Center
|More Info||Visit Personal Capital||Visit Mint|
*If you invest at least $100,000 and opt-in for the service.
Key Features of Each Finance App
Personal Capital is a web-based platform that’s focused primarily on helping you manage your investments. Using the company’s app or website, you can manage your retirement or brokerage accounts, manage cash using an online account that’s similar to a checking account and insured by FDIC up to $1.5 million. You can also track your net worth, get help with budgeting, and get access to all kinds of articles and financial literacy tools to help you improve your finances.
But, the site is centered mostly around investment management—a service which does involve annual fees paid to Personal Capital.
Mint, on the other hand, is focused almost exclusively on budgeting and cash management. The app (it also has a website, but most people use the mobile application) allows users to link accounts and track their spending and current cash. The app then helps you stay on top of bills and makes suggestions for how you can save money by cutting spending.
Mint also lets you track your credit score and move money between accounts as needed.
Both Mint and Personal Capital have websites that users can use to manage their finances. Both platforms also have mobile apps that can be downloaded on most smartphones. And, both platforms allow users to link accounts so you can get a comprehensive view of your finances.
One thing to note about Personal Capital is that the platform has an increased focus on investing, which can require users to process a lot more information. As a result, many users will need to access the platform using the desktop dashboard.
Mint, however, can typically be used quickly and easily with just the mobile app.
Personal Capital is an independent company that’s offerings are fairly confined to wealth management. The firm’s big add-on is the option for users to invest in managed accounts and get personal investment advice, but those are only for investors who invest at least $100,000 through the platform and choose to pay for the service.
Mint, however, is owned by accounting software giant Intuit. The company not only offers account software but also tax software TurboTax (it can be integrated easily when tax time rolls around to make filing your returns easier).
Mint also has affiliate relationships to help users find and secure loans; plus, it has credit card offers available through its website that are tailored to fit users’ individual spending habits.
Personal Capital and Mint are both free to set up. Mint is completely free to use and specifically advertises “no hidden fees.”
However, Mint doesn’t do everything. For users who want investment management, for example, Mint offers the option of setting up accounts with third-party investment managers, and users typically have to pay fees to those managers.
Personal Capital is also free to set up and some of its features are totally free. But, users pay for investment management services, if they opt-in, and can also pay for additional services if they choose.
One key difference that we found in reviews written by customers is that, while both are advertised as being free to use, Mint is generally viewed as less costly for users. Personal Capital, though far from expensive, is still a wealth management firm focused on helping users manage their investments in exchange for a fee, and is generally more focused on upselling customers on new tiers and features.
Both Personal Capital and Mint are web-based platforms that shouldn’t require much in the way of customer support, but it’s still nice to know what’s available.
For users who need help using Personal Capital, there are loads of online articles available to help you get started and make the most of the features. Users can also submit support requests with questions or issues through the website and someone on their support team will respond via email. The website also has a chatbot that can answer many questions and direct users to relevant resources, plus tons of video resources on the company’s YouTube channel.
Mint is similarly hands-off when it comes to customer service; but, with the resources of Intuit behind it, has built far more impressive self-help resources to help users get the support they need.
For anyone who has ever used TurboTax to file their tax returns, Mint has a similar self-help resource where users can ask questions and be guided to the most relevant resources—and the system is comprehensive, with what seems like hundreds of responses designed to help users handle most issues.
Mint also publishes a phone number directly on its website for users who need one-on-one support, which is definitely nice to have.
What are Mint’s Biggest Drawbacks?
One of the biggest things that we found in our research for this review is that readers want to know “what’s wrong with Mint.” While we tend to think the answer is “not much,” here are a few items that have been identified by users:
- Mint’s goal suggestions don’t fit your spending habits
- Goals themselves aren’t always clear
- Mint sometimes misclassifies spending or duplicates items randomly
- Users report trouble budgeting or planning beyond the current month
- The number of details can be overwhelming
- Having so much information can make it time-consuming to use the app
- Technical errors are routine, with accounts failing to link to items not being imported
So, which one should you use? Based on our review, we think Mint is the better system for most users to get started with. Not only is the system totally free to use, but it’s also owned by Intuit, which is a huge plus.
If, after trying Mint, you decide that what you really need is help managing your investments (as opposed to budgeting and tracking spending, which are Mint’s strong suits), then you might give Personal Capital a try. However, there are plenty of online investing platforms you can use instead of Personal Capital—platforms that aren’t necessarily as focused on upselling customers on new options and features.
But, if you want personal advice and are willing to pay for it, or if you want to integrate banking and investments with a single provider (rather than using third-party providers, like Mint does), then you might give Personal Capital a try and see if you like it more than ETrade, TD Ameritrade, or others.
Were you surprised by our pick? Do you look for different features as your search criteria? Sound off in the comments on which platform you prefer!