Personal Capital vs. Mint: Which Personal Finance App is King?

Money
Updated: 6th Aug 2020
Written by Kim Pinnelli
Share this article
100+ Best Small Business Ideas (for 2020)
15 Best Ways to Make an Extra $1,000 a Month
Money
June 29, 2020
Written by Kim Pinnelli

Disclaimer: This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation (at no cost to you) when you click on links to those products. Read our Disclaimer Policy for more information.

In this article we review, Personal Capital vs. Mint. When you say budgeting apps, two names come up consistently – Personal Capital and Mint. Which app offers what you need?

While they are both great apps, it comes down to what you are looking for – investment tracking and advice or day-to-day budgeting. Both apps dabble in both areas, but each has its own perks. Keep reading to find out why both apps made our coveted list of the Top Budgeting Apps.

Are you ready to learn more and choose the right app for you? Let’s dive in. 🙂

Personal Capital

Personal Capital offers two services – a free personal finance app, and a paid investment service (think robo-advisor). Personal Capital helps you plan for future financial goals, including retirement, saving for college, or even saving for a house.

In this review, we’ll focus on Personal Capital’s free service – the personal finance app. When we say personal finance regarding Personal Capital, we’re mostly talking investments. Personal Capital is an investment tracker, fee analyzer, and asset allocation tool. It focuses on cash flow a bit which is an excellent way to budget for some but don’t expect a step-by-step walk through.

Personal Capital provides all members a robust free personal financial dashboard.
Source: Personalcapital.com

If you’re looking for one place to bring together both your investments and your budgeting (personal finance), Personal Capital is it. If you want to dive deep into the nitty gritty details of this service, check out our in-depth Personal Capital Review.

Mint

Mint is an all-in-one financial app and is 100% free. Mint tracks all of your financial accounts, including bank accounts, credit cards, and investment accounts. Mint does not focus on investments nearly as much as Personal Capital. Instead, it focuses on budgeting, bill paying, saving, and credit score monitoring.

Mint gives plenty of recommendations to help you reach financial freedom, including savings accounts to open, credit cards to transfer to, or other personal finance advice (this is how they make their money). Mint offers some investment tracking too, but it’s more generic than Personal Capital. It helps catch hidden fees and tracks your portfolio against chosen benchmarks.

Comparing Personal Capital and Mint. Which one is better?
Source: Mint.com

Overall, Mint is great for anyone that needs budgeting help. If you just can’t get your act together, saving money and ensuring positive cash flow, Mint helps you see the big picture and the steps to achieve your goals.

Personal Capital vs. Mint: Side-by-Side Comparison

DetailsPersonal CapitalMint
Price:FREE. Also offers a Paid Plan.FREE
Financial Goal Setting:YesYes
Retirement Planning YesNo
401(k) Fee AnalyzerYesNo
Customer Service:24/7 by Phone & EmailEmail
Currency Support: USDUSD/Canada
Two Factor Authentication:YesYes
BudgetingYesYes
Ad Free:YesNo 🙁
Link External Accounts:YesYes
Track Property (Home) Value:YesYes
Tax ReportingNoYes

Signing Up: Is it easier to sign up for Personal Capital or Mint?

When it comes to signing up for Personal Capital and Mint – they are both easy. Let’s look at the steps.

Personal Capital:

  • Provide your email, password, and a phone number
  • Answer questions about your retirement goals including retirement age and the amount you have saved already

Personal Capital uses this information to help with your goal planning, whether for retirement, college savings, or any other financial goal.

Mint:

  • Provide your email address, phone number, and a password
  • Enter your zip code

Mint uses your location to provide you with tailored recommendations for certain accounts, whether bank accounts, credit cards, or other options that may better your financial situation based on the information provided.

Final Result: We are chalking this up to a tie. Both services make it wildly easy to sign-up and start utilizing their features.

Linking Accounts: Mint vs Personal Capital

Any reputable financial tool or app requires (or recommends) that you link your financial accounts. This is how the apps provide you with insight, which is likely the reason you signed up.

It also decreases the work you must do to keep your apps up-to-date. We’re all busy, and budgeting often goes on the back burner, but with automated updates, you may stay more consistent.

So which accounts can you link? Honestly, the sky is the limit. Both apps link with:

  • Checking and savings accounts
  • Credit card accounts
  • Student loans
  • 401Ks
  • Car loans
  • Personal loans
  • Investment accounts
  • Robo-advisors
  • Micro-investors

It’s easy (almost too easy) to link your accounts. Search for your bank or financial institution and enter your ID and password. Personal Capital or Mint does the rest.

Mint makes it a bit of a game of ‘hide and seek’ when you link your investment accounts. Once you enter one investment account, you may find yourself amid several advertisements for other accounts, which Mint makes a commission on if you sign up.

It is easy to link external financial accounts into personal Capital.
Source: Personalcapital.com

Final Result: Personal Capital makes it easier for consumers to link external finance accounts.

Synchronization

What’s the point of signing up for a financial app? You want to see everything in one place, right? It’s supposed to take the place of navigating to different websites and/or apps, streamlining the budgeting and/or investing process.

When it comes to synchronization, Mint has its struggles. That’s not to say it’s not accurate – it’s just not instant. When you’re talking about budgeting, you want instant. You need to know in the blink of an eye what your balances are, especially if you’re about to spend money.

Both Mint and Personal Capital have a dashboard, which provides a bird’s-eye view of your accounts, which is nice, but Personal Capital’s dashboard is a real-time view of all your financial accounts in one place, making it easy to track your net worth instantly.

Final Result: Personal Capital provides a robust, holistic view of your Finances in one central dashboard that is both intuitive and aesthetically pleasing.

Price Structure: Mint vs. Personal Capital

As we stated earlier, both Mint and Personal Capital are free, but Personal Capital has its paid version too. Here are the differences:

  • Personal Capital Free Version – If you don’t want advisory services, Personal Capital offers investment checkups, spending trackers, and net worth analyses for free. You only need to pay for it if you want to use their advisory services (similar to a robo-advisor).
  • Personal Capital Paid Version – You need a minimum of $100,000 invested. All investors pay 0.89% of assets under management up to $1 million. If you have more than $1 million invested, it drops to 0.49% of assets under management. If you have between $100,000 and $200,000 invested, you have access to a team of financial advisors (you may not talk to the same advisor each time). If you have more than $200,000 invested, they assign you, two dedicated financial advisors.

Final Result: Another tie! Both services are free; however, Personal Capital does offer a paid service. But, their paid service is entirely voluntary and not required to use the platform.

Bill Alerts

Do not rely on either Personal Capital or Mint to help you track your bills. While they both offer bill alerts, they are not superb by any means, and you may even miss due dates with Personal Capital.

  • Mint lets you set up bill alerts, and they also email you before the due date. They don’t have a bill pay service though; you must pay your bills manually or through your bank’s bill pay service.
  • Personal Capital provides bill alerts for linked accounts, but since you can’t link every bill, it’s not 100% accurate. You may get some bill alerts, but still have to remember others, like utilities, which defeats the purpose of using a budgeting app.

Final Result: Mint wins this round. They are focused more extensively on budgeting, whereas Personal Capital is geared towards investors.

Personal Capital vs. Mint: Security

Security breach risks are high no matter what program you use and what level of security they implement. It’s a part of life in a technological world.

However, Mint and Personal Capital take certain precautions to help protect your security. They both use bank-level encryption, but Mint takes it one step further with two-factor authentication, which I like. Personal Capital authenticates your device as well, which helps prevent unauthorized access.

Both Mint and Personal Capital have read-only access to your accounts. They can’t make changes or transfer funds. They can only upload transactions for their reporting purposes.

Customer Experience

According to the Better Business Bureau, both Mint and Personal Capital have A+ rating with very few customer complaints. Trust Pilot users seem to prefer Personal Capital over Mint, with most reviewers complaining about the routine ads they faced on Mint, which made it less of an advisor and more of a sales agent.

As far as customer service, Personal Capital far surpasses Mint. They offer superior customer service via email, which they respond to in 24 hours or less. Mint doesn’t have phone support either, but users think its response time lags.

Final Result: Personal Capital wins this close round. Again, Mint’s ads get in the way and are annoying. Let’s be real, who enjoys seeing popup ads?

Mobile App

Is your mobile phone your only device or the one you rely on the most? Both Mint and Personal Capital have mobile apps you can download on your iOS or Android phone. I like this especially for cash transactions, as you have your budgeting app at your fingertips and can enter the information right away, rather than forgetting.

Some processes are exclusive to the web app or the mobile app, so you’ll have to play with both to see how they both work out given what you need. Just knowing you can have your budgeting information at your fingertips is helpful, though.

Personal Capital Retirement Planner

What most people love about Personal Capital is its retirement planner. It’s free, and you don’t have to use their advisory services to take advantage.

Once you answer the questions about your retirement goals, including your desired retirement age, Personal Capital analyzes the information from all of your linked accounts. It then creates a retirement plan based on what you can contribute and how often. You’ll see how on track (or not) you are to reaching your retirement goals.

Personal Capital also analyzes the fees you pay for your retirement accounts. You may be paying more than you realize, which leads to lower retirement account balances than you thought. Every dollar matters here, so why not take advantage?

Mint Credit Monitoring Tools

Do you know where your credit stands? Most people do not, and that’s a problem. Even if you think you will live a ‘cash lifestyle,’ you still need credit.

Mint provides credit score updates every quarter. It’s not overwhelming, and it gives just enough information for you to take action should something be ‘off.’ Did someone steal your identity? Did you miss a payment and not realize it? Little things like this can drag your credit score down quickly. Mint helps you see the problems early before they get out of hand.

Most people use Mint just for this service. It’s free, and it could save you from potential disaster – what’s not to love?

How Does Mint Make Money?

We talked before about Mint’s ads. This is their money maker. Every time you click on an ad and sign up for a service, Mint makes a cut of the profits. Fortunately, you are not obligated to click on any of the ads if you aren’t interested.

How Does Personal Capital Make Money?

Personal Capital doesn’t run ads, which is excellent news. Personal Capital makes its money from the investors paying for advisory services. Personal Capital offers the free services in the hopes that they’ll earn your trust and entice you to sign up for the investment services.

Wrapping Up: Personal Capital vs. Mint

So which is right for you – Personal Capital or Mint? As with anything personal finance, it’s a personal decision.

But you can ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you looking for a retirement planner more than a day-to-day budgeting app?
  • Do you want to see your big picture (net worth) and focus on your investments?
  • Do you want top-notch customer service?

If you answered ‘yes’ to the above questions, Personal Capital is for you.

If you are looking for more of a day-to-day budgeting app that focuses on bank accounts and credit cards and less on investments, Mint is a rock-solid choice. But, you can even use both and get the best of both worlds, as they are both free, which is what we recommend! However, if you are dead set on choosing one budgeting app to use, then Personal Capital is the best option.

Kim Pinnelli
Kim Pinnelli
Kim is a personal finance expert with a Bachelor’s degree in Finance from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has been freelance writing for 13 years for a number of large publications. Kim thoroughly enjoys helping people take charge of their personal finances.