by CI Staff
Mint.com Personal Finance for iOS keeps track of your financial status on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.
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Mint.com is a popular personal finance site that allows users to link their various financial accounts to track their cash inflows and outflows in one place. Mint.com’s free iOS app allows you to track your finances on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.
Mint.com’s iOS app is intended to complement the website. In order to get started with the service, you must set up a free account at Mint.com. After setting up your account, you link Mint.com to your various financial accounts—banking, credit cards, mortgage, investment, etc. The service connects to almost every U.S. banking and financial institution with online capabilities. Mint will then automatically categorize your transactions, or you can also create custom categories. The service is even “smart” enough to break out an ATM fee associated with a withdrawal and categorize it as a fee. You can also divide a single transaction into different categories.
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While Mint allows you to stay on top of your financial situation, its true benefit lies in the ability to set up budgets to help you meet financial goals. Based on your historical spending, Mint calculates your average spending in any category. From there, you can compare your spending year-to-year, month-to-month, etc. You can also create a custom budget and specify how much you want to spend on a given category each month.
Once you have done the heavy lifting on the website, you can look to your iOS app (there is also an Android version) for a snapshot of your financial situation. The Overview screen of the app gives you an immediate picture of where you stand—cash balance, credit card debt, budget status, etc. On an iPad, the main screen features Mint’s spending “wheel,” which shows you the proportion of the total budget that you are spending on a given category. There is also a bar graph that shows your spending over time.
The app’s budget bar shows how much you’ve already spent in a category during the given month. This is a not-so-subtle reminder if you need to pace yourself in a given category.
There is also a “news feed” that warns you of any bills coming due, suspicious activity on any of your linked accounts and low account balances.
A common concern among our readers is security, and rightly so. When dealing with issues of financial records and identity theft, you can’t take security too lightly. Mint uses bank-level 128-bit encryption to protect your data. Furthermore, it is a “read-only” service, meaning that even if someone were to gain access to your Mint account, they would not be able to move funds out of your linked bank accounts. The service also sends out email and text alerts when it detects suspicious activity such as large purchases made with a large credit card or unusual changes in your accounts.
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Just like in investing, discipline is the key when trying to stay on budget to meet your financial goals. Apps such as Mint are intended to do just that. With its easy-to-use interface and its ability to bring all your financial accounts together under one umbrella, the Mint iOS app is definitely worth looking at if you are serious about getting your finances under control. And, as an added bonus, it’s free!