Personal Capital Vs. Mint – Which Should You Pick?
Do a quick Google search of “personal finance apps 2019” and you’ll be assaulted with hundreds of options, all covering different areas of personal finance.
While there are always new entrants to the space attempting to improve the digital personal finance experience, there are two veterans of the personal financial management app space the continue to provide great experiences in their areas of expertise.
One of them is Personal Capital, a comprehensive investment app.
The other is the legendary Mint, a catch-all app that tells you almost anything you want to know about your current financial situation.
Both of them are free, yet somehow manage to offer some of the most amazing experiences in their respective personal finance sub-niches.
You’ve probably heard of both apps at some point; maybe you’ve even considered signing up but you just weren’t sure if they were right for you.
In this article, we’re going to give you an overview of Personal Capital vs Mint.
After the overview, we’ll discuss the biggest similarities and differences between these two champions of the personal finance app market.
By the end, you’ll hopefully know which one you should get based on your needs (and why you might actually want to sign up for both apps).
So without further ado, let’s talk about Personal Capital.
Personal Capital Overview
Founded in 2009, Personal Capital is a personal finance app with an investing focus.
It has tons of great investing-oriented personal finance features.
They have both a free and paid version; the paid version requires a minimum $25,000 per regulations, so only consider the paid version if you’ve got the funds.
Don’t worry about the differences; the only thing the free version lacks is personalized portfolio management (which is more useful for serious investors with serious money anyways).
Time to dive in to Personal Capital’s free version’s tools!
401(k) Fund Allocation
Curious about your 401(k) performance?
Link it to Personal Capital to see just how it’s doing.
In addition to looking at your 401(k)’s performance, Personal Capital will give you guidance for how to maximize return on your 401(k) investments.
Investment Checkup lets you analyze your portfolio’s risk levels so you can allocate your assets in the most efficient way possible.
Net Worth Calculator
Net worth is an extremely useful metric to know; when you have a grasp on it, you know exactly where you stand financially and can then make plans to improve your financial standing.
Personal Capital constantly monitors and updates your net worth as your investments grow.
That way, you always know where you stand.
Another useful calculator that Personal Capital provides is a retirement calculator.
After all, retirement’s the big end goal for most of your investment activities.
This calculator is fantastic because you don’t need to gather your accounts from all over the place and make estimates in some random internet calculator.
Since everything’s in one place, you get an accurate picture of your retirement progress.
Oh, you can also factor big life events in if they affect your retirement investments.
Cash Flow Analysis
The one true budgeting feature that Personal Capital has is cash flow analysis.
It’s not as comprehensive as Mint (as you’ll see in our overview of Mint in a second), but it does the job in a pinch if you’re already logged in to your Personal Capital account.
Personal Capital’s sign up doesn’t take longer than a few minutes.
Just give them your email and phone number, then enter a password.
You’ll then be taken to some questions; Personal Capital asks you these to help you determine your financial goals and evaluate your progress towards them.
This information is critical to helping you allocate your assets as efficiently as possible.
Once you’ve given them this basic info, it’s time to sync your existing accounts.
You don’t just link investment accounts, either; you can also link your bank accounts for cash flow analysis purposes.
And that’s all it takes to sign up for the free version of Personal Capital!
Make sure to download the app as well for on-the-go investment management.
The paid version of Personal Capital is easy to upgrade to if you want it; just find it in their app
Speaking of the Personal Capital’s premium service…
The Paid Personal Capital Version
The paid version gives you personalized portfolio management; to earn money off this, Personal Capital charge portfolio management fees as follows:
- 89% up to $1 million
- 79% up to $3 million
- 69% for the first $2 million after the first $3 million
- 59% for the next $5 million
- 49% once you reach $10 million+
Also, Personal Capital knows their premium customer; investors using the paid version will be dealing with more of their own money and their investing activities might have significant tax implications.
Personal Capital stuck a tax optimization tool into their premium service so you can make the best investments while minimizing Uncle Sam’s cut of your gains.
Mint is one of the most well-renowned personal finance apps on the market.
It was created a few years earlier than Personal Capital (2006), but Intuit (the company known for Quickbooks, TurboTax, and a suite of other accounting/finance software) acquired it in 2009.
Just like personal capital, it is free to use.
Mint divides everything into different tabs; let’s go over each one.
Mint’s Overview tab serves as a dashboard for your entire Mint account.
Along the left side, Mint provides you a glimpse of all your linked accounts and their balances:
- Credit cards
Below that is a small graphs showing trends in your personal finances.
In the main area of this tab resides snapshots of every other Mint tab, like your upcoming bills and monthly budgets.
This screen is excellent for analyzing your financial health in just a few minutes (provided you wait for the information to refresh).
The Transactions tab is where all transactions from your linked accounts flow through to.
Mint has a huge array of expense categories and attempts to correctly label transactions for you so your budget is accurate.
However, it doesn’t always get the category right and Intuit knows this; they let you reclassify expenses to more accurately reflect your spending habits.
Don’t see the appropriate category for an in ordinary expense? Mint even lets you make new categories with all the functions of their preset categories!
Other things you can include in Transactions include:
- Add notes to transactions
- Tag transactions for tax purposes
- Create transaction rules for further budget streamlining
- Remove duplicate transactions
Mint’s most self-explanatory tab; the Credit Score tab shows your Vantage credit score.
Below your credit score, Mint tells you how you’re doing in each of the 6 areas that impact your score (and what to do if you’re lacking in one area) so you can work on improving it.
If you’re a forgetful person, Mint gives you a Bills tab to house all your upcoming bills in.
They’ll send you email reminders if you enable them so you never forget to pay another bill.
This screen isn’t extremely useful if you set everything to autopay and just glance at the Budgets tab, but it’s there if you like the ability to see your bills.
Budgets is arguable Mint’s most important screen; it’s where the magic happens.
Not only can you set overall income and spending budgets, but Mint lets you set a budget for each category!
This is an extremely useful features for identifying precise ways to cut spending and boost income.
Just like with Transactions, you can create entirely new categories and set budgets for them.
When you spend money on something within a certain budget, you’ll see a green line in that budget with “$X of $Y” at the top right of the line. As you approach your limit, the line turns yellow.
If you go over your budget, it turns red to warn you.
But if you don’t, Mint also gives you the option to “carry over” unspent budget amounts.
For example, if you have $200 in your grocery budget and only spend $150 in a month, Mint will factor in the remaining $50 into next month’s budget if you tell it to.
Towards the bottom, Mint lists any goals you set in the Goals tab (next) and compares your progress towards them against your budgets.
Saving for college?
Graduated and want to pay off those loans?
The Goals tab will help you with that.
Mint gives you multiple goals to choose from (such as the two we just listed), but you can also create your own!
You goal transfers over to the budget screen for your analysis convenience.
There’s a mini version of this tab on the Overview tab, but this screen goes a lot more in-depth.
You’re provided a customizable graph so you can analyze any part of your finances, such as
- Net Income
- Net Worth
Mint let’s you customize the time frame, too.
The level of customization Mint offers you is truly incredible.
The Investments screen is pretty simple.
Here, you can view the performance of each of your investment accounts within a variety of time frames.
There isn’t much else on this screen, though.
After all, this app’s focus is on budgeting rather than investing.
Ways To Save
Rounding out Mint’s offerings is Ways To Save.
Here, Mint helps you find all sorts of financial products that might suit your needs:
- Credit cards
- Bank accounts
This screen is worth exploring once you’ve got everything else figured out.
Making a Mint account is almost effortless.
Navigate to their website and find their signup link.
Once you’re there, you’ll give them some personal information and create your login information.
Next is the most time-consuming part: link your accounts!
Luckily, Mint’s interface for this part is quite intuitive and they offer tons of common accounts. If you don’t see your’s, just search for it.
When you’ve linked your desired accounts, you’re done!
You can always add new ones later.
Just like with Personal Capital, download the app as soon as you’ve signed up for the best Mint experience.
Now that you know that basics of each app, let’s see how they compare!
Mint Vs. Personal Capital: Similarities & Differences
Similarity: Link Your Accounts
The most obvious trait both apps share is the ability to link your financial accounts to your profile on each app.
Now, the way this information is presented to your differs between the apps due to each apps distinct purpose; we’ll get into that more in a minute.
Similarity: Cash Flows
Another trait both apps share is cash flow reporting.
Mint takes all your revenue and expense data from every linked account and provides you with basic cash flow reports so you can see if you’re in the red or in the black.
You can analyze revenues and expenses by category to look for in-depth budget analysis; that way, you know exactly what habits you need to break/build to come closer to your financial goals.
Without the full budgeting features that Mint has, Personal Capital’s cash flow monitoring isn’t as detailed; however, it’s there and it’s not too bad.
You can set spending goals each month, but you can only monitor total spending instead of spending by category.
Mint takes the cake in this regard.
Similarity: Mobile App
Both Mint and Personal Capital have relatively comprehensive mobile apps to complement the website experience and to make on-the-go personal financial management more realistic.
Each service’s respective mobile app and website offer slightly different capabilities. You’ll find that you can only do some things on the website, while you can only perform other tasks on your phone.
Still, the massive convenience of on-the-go personal finance overrides the small inconvenience in capabilities for both Mint and Personal Capital.
Difference: Synchronization of Financial Data
Many Mint users report some syncing issues with their bank accounts; one of the big ones is Ally Bank.
This is because Intuit uses their own internal methods for syncing your data.
Personal Capital uses an outside service. This allows for much fewer syncing issues since that outside service can dedicate all its resources to syncing up your data with your account.
Despite both being personal finance apps, each app has a different focus.
Personal Capital’s focus is on investing. Because of this, you won’t see as great of a focus on things like savings and budgeting.
On the other hand, Mint is a jack-of-all-trades app. You can link your bank accounts, credit cards, and other financial information so you can consolidate that information into one intuitive dashboard.
Not to mention budgeting: Mint can budget, while Personal Capital can only monitor cash flows.
Mint has that Investments screen, but all you can do is look at your investments and link more accounts.
Difference: Customer Support
The bigger the company, the harder it seems to be to get your problems solved.
Nowhere is this more apparent than the customer service experiences of Personal Capital and Mint.
Personal Capital has excellent customer service because it is one company with one app.
They are dedicated to serving their customers to the very best of their ability because Personal Capital is the only service they provide.
And so, they have a customer service phone number if none of their resources solved your problem.
On the other hand, Mint isn’t Intuit’s only product. After all, they have a catalog of paid products to tend to (All versions of TurboTax and Quickbooks, among other programs).
Since Mint is a free app, they don’t earn as much revenue and therefore most likely made it a lower priority.
In fact, Mint doesn’t have a dedicated customer service phone number; they only offer live-chat (although their live-chat has some pretty good hours).
If you want to phone them, your best bet is to reach out directly to Intuit and fight your way through their IVR bots to speak to a human rep.
No guarantees that’ll work, though.
The Fundamental Difference
At it’s core, Personal Capital is an investment app; Mint is a budgeting app.
They both serve two slightly similar but overall separate purposes.
However, financial illiteracy and paycheck-to-paycheck living is on the rise.
Not to mention everyone seems to be increasingly busy and letting their personal financial management fall by the wayside.
Due to this, we’d recommend you try both apps to get your finances on track; Mint for the present, and Personal Capital to plan for the future.
Both apps have some overlap with each other, but there are enough differences to benefit a lot from using both.