I did a phone demo this morning with the nice folks at Mint. I have personally had trouble getting set up with this free service because of something wonky my bank did to make the registration process impossible. But Stephen â€“ Mint’s director of consumer advocacy — tells me they got that all fixed today and I should be good to go.
I am absolutely going to sign up and take the service for a whirl. There were several features in the demo that had me thinking, “I need that!”
I’ve been hearing a lot lately about the benefits (and risks) of these insanely confusing but mighty tempting cash-back reward credit cards. Some offer a small percent (typically 1%) back on most purchases and more (maybe 5%) back on something specific â€“ usually related to a brand. But some, such as the Discover More card, offer cash back on a wide range of purchases. Discover sent me the schedule of how the cash back system works with their card. Depending on the following schedule you might get rewards on groceries or home repairs.
Discover tells me that those cash-back rewards can be put into savings, dropped onto a gift card from one of their partner merchants, or even used to pay down my Discover card balance. That sounds mighty tempting to me. But is that the right cash-back card for me?
Once I get all my accounts linked to my Mint account, I can find out. It will look at my spending habits and all manner of financial details about me, compare that to the details of all these rewards cards, and recommend the best card for me. (This is in the “Ways to Save” section under “Credit Cards.”) I need that! It will also make recommendation on other financial institution choices. This is just the one that grabbed me because I want one of these rewards cards and have been way confused about which one.
The other thing in the demo that made me sit up and say, “Whoa, gimme that!” was the new â€“ actually still in Beta â€“ Financial Fitness section. This section looks at your debt, investments, spending, credit cards, bank fees, and spending habits and recommends fixes, strategies, financial advice, and action items to improve your financial fitness. It provides a financial to-do list based on five basic concepts of financial management:
- Know your Money
- Spend Less than you Earn
- Use Debt Wisely
- Invest Your Savings
- Prepare for the Unexpected
It looks like this:
When you click the “Do It Now” button to the right of a to-do item, it helps you find the right saving account or reward card, or whatever it is you need so you can take action right away. I love the “Nice Job!” button on items you are doing well on.
If you want to try the beta before it goes live, here’s what you do. Sign up at Mint.com. Then send an email to
from the email address you used to sign up and allow Mint a couple of days to set you up.