Quicken, the long-respected financial software company, has recently released a free Quicken Online service. It’s essentially Mint competitor. Mint, of course, is a free Quicken competitor. I decided to do a review/comparison of the two.
What kind of services do Quicken and Mint provide? They allow you to monitor all your banking (and investment, if you choose) information in one place. You can see how much money you have in your checking & savings, the balance on your credit card, etc.
Now that my Roth IRA is being so badly battered even though I think I’m taking the right long-term course, I like not having to see it in my ING account (which is liked to my ShareBuilder). And both Mint and Quicken are much less cluttered-looking that Wachovia.com. It’s just a more pleasurable experience to check my accounts with them.
Advantages of Quicken over Mint
1. Quicken has less advertising. Obviously being on Quicken’s website is a continual advertisement for their other products. They hope hook you into sticking with their brand. But there’s no actual advertising I’ve seen.
Mint, on the other hand, has some very subtle advertising in the forms of its “Ways to Save” which are present in a tab at the top of the page and as a box near the bottom of your homepage. These are advertisements for things like better banks and credit cards. Not a huge deal, but Quicken wins for having essentially nothing.
2. If you’re setting up an ING Direct account at Quicken, it only asks you for the security questions that it gets asked. Mint, on the other hand, asks you for all 5 up front. This can be difficult as it’s hard to remember which options you selected. ING doesn’t allow you to view the questions & answers on its site, but you can always reset them.
3. When I re-signed up for Mint, it immediately sent me a bunch of e-mails saying that I was over my budget. I then went in and managed my alerts here. There are actually some handy ones, like alerts for bank fees, for credit card bills (though I already get alerts straight from them), for low balances, large purchases, etc. I set up bank fees and low balances.
Quicken Online, on the other hand, only automatically registers you for a weekly summary. You can select a number of other alerts similar to the ones at Mint.
Disadvantages of Quicken compared to Mint
1. Apparently, Quicken Online is unable to access ING Direct accounts between 9am and 6pm Eastern time. That’s not a huge problem for me because they automatically update the information at the end of the day.
For some people, that could be a make-or-break point, but what I need is a general idea of the money we have in our accounts. I remember at least a day’s worth of spending on my part and Micah always discusses any irregular spending with me. Our accounts are never so low that 9 hours should make a difference.
They’re also aware of the problem, so it may be fixed soon.
Both are good sites. As you see, they both have advantages and disadvantages. You also might prefer the look and feel of one over another. If you use Quicken offline (but want a simpler version too), you’ll like the similar look. But Mint has a cool—minty—green, much fresher than the old dark look.