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Old 01-13-2016, 11:09 AM   #41
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Even though I still use Quicken and Turbotax (and have for decades), I do not trust Intuit's corporate culture to do the right thing by customer security.
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Old 01-14-2016, 09:27 AM   #42
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I have been a very satisfied Mint user for many years. As a former computer security VP for a major bank i understand and am comfortable with the encryption technology they use to protect account passwords. Account passwords are encrypted using a technique that is one-way... You couldn't figure out what the password is even if you broke into the file of encrypted passwords. The encryption key is held in 5 pieces by 5 different senior executives of the company. This is an extreme form of dual custody, a time-honored security principle. I just toured the old Titan missile facility south of Tucson, Arizona and saw how a nuclear warhead could have been launched with just 2 people using their (physical) security keys at the same time. I'm not too worried that 5 executives of Intuit will decide to collude to steal my money, knowing the breach would be instantly traceable to them.

Mint is a nice little business and a security breach would shut it down, so Intuit is highly motivated to keep your data secure.

Mint saved my bacon a couple of months ago when it warned me of a big overdraft in my checking account -- I had mistakenly sent $12,000 to savings in another institution from the wrong checking account. Because of the timely warning from Mint I was able to cancel the transfer while it was still pending. My bank sure wouldn't warn me, they want the overdraft fees!

All in all, no risk in any real sense and a fabulous money tracking tool for free.


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Old 01-14-2016, 09:33 AM   #43
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Mint is free?

How do they make money?
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Old 01-14-2016, 09:44 AM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by explanade View Post
Mint is free?

How do they make money?
Here is their answer to that (from Help/Faq of the site):

Quote:
How is Mint.com free?
We make money when you save money with the Ways To Save feature on Mint.com. If you sign up for a checking, savings, credit card or brokerage account marked as sponsored, we earn a referral fee.
https://www.mint.com/help
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Old 01-14-2016, 10:08 AM   #45
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Hmm, Intuit is trying to sell Quicken. So will they keep Mint?
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Old 01-14-2016, 10:13 AM   #46
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Do any of these portfolio aggregators offer a monthly breakdown of estimated dividend income? This is a tool that I have a hard time finding.
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Old 01-14-2016, 08:05 PM   #47
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I spent the last 13 years of my career as a computer security architect writing software to both implement and break encryption solutions. So please understand the gravity of the situation when I tell you that I am terrified of Mint and its peers. I desperately want to use Personal Capital because it looks like a great product that meets a huge need that I have. However, I simply cannot bring myself to take the plunge. The risk of using such a service is both real and severe.

Handing out the usernames and passwords for your financial institutions is irresponsible. If someone steals your credit card, you aren't on the hook for the damages. However, if you give out your login credentials and someone ends up draining your bank account or retirement account, YOU may very well be on the hook for all of the damages. Two of my three banks have policies that specifically state that giving my password to a third party (e.g., Mint or Personal Capital) absolves them from any liability for losses in my account. Several investment firms and brokerages also have similar policies. If you want to use Mint or another similar site then you should definitely read the fine print for any accounts you link to that site to see who is liable if someone does get into your account.

Interestingly, the mechanism by which Mint encrypts and stores your login credentials is largely irrelevant to me. First of all, Mint doesn't even need to be compromised to cause you issues. If someone drains one of your accounts that is linked to Mint, then you could be liable for the loss even if Mint had nothing to do with how someone got into your account. The fact that you violated your financial institution's security policy potentially places the liability on you. Second, let's assume that Mint perfectly implements a state-of-the-art password manager that uses all known best practices in the industry. You are still at risk. The target is juicy enough that an adversary could justify spending millions of dollars on hardware to crack Mint's encryption and gain access to all of the financial accounts linked by Mint's customers. Third, the hypothetical "perfect" implementation I mentioned in the second point above is a myth. There will always be vulnerabilities in the end.

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Old 01-14-2016, 08:11 PM   #48
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Well said.

The only way I would even consider mint is if my financial institutions had read only password access explicitly for third parties like mint

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Old 01-14-2016, 09:15 PM   #49
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Agree, well said.
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Old 01-15-2016, 09:18 AM   #50
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Each of us makes our own decisions of course.

I view my (and my DWs) ability to consolidate and view our entire financial life in one place as worth it. Situational awareness is key. I probably check it daily on average. It makes it easy to keep an eye on everything. It's also very useful historically to be able to look back and see activity from 5 years ago or whenever.

My folks each use this too and share the info with me. It's an excellent way for me to keep on eye on their finances to make sure nothing weird is going on. As they get older, this becomes more important.

And everyone should certainly make use of all the helpful tripwires that Mint and the various banks and investment companies provide. I turn most of these on. I know when there's a credit card transaction in real time (on my watch even). I know when there is a transaction in one of our investment accounts. "Oh look, another dividend today"

And that fact that Capital One and Mint are using a readonly access mechanism now is reassuring. That's a move in the right direction. And I expect other companies to adopt it. Good for them.
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Old 01-15-2016, 09:36 AM   #51
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If people are worried about security I guess they can't use Quicken either? This would be even more vulnerable as any good hacker can get to your personal computer.
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Old 01-15-2016, 10:00 AM   #52
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A lot of these institutions explicitly allow Quicken/Intuit Direct Connect.

That means they implicitly allow you to access your accounts through Quicken/Intuit.

If there's language disclaiming liability by the institutions when you access your account through Quicken/Intuit, I'd like to see it. Would be odd that they provide Direct Connect access but deny liability.

Doesn't Intuit own Mint? Is it not using the same service?
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Old 01-15-2016, 12:07 PM   #53
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Yes, Intuit bought Mint. However, some (but not all!) financial institutions make a big distinction between Quicken and Mint with regard to liability for unauthorized access to your account. These institutions specifically prohibit you from distributing your passwords to a third party. Mint is a third party. Quicken running locally on a computer you theoretically control is not a third party.

You can certainly debate whether or not such a distinction is valid in today's environment. In my opinion, the magnitude of the technical risks for Mint and Quicken are roughly comparable. Nevertheless, the issue isn't about pure technical risks. It's about liability. If you violate a security policy for your financial institution by giving your login credentials to a third party, then you are on very shaky ground if something would ever happen to your account -- even if in reality the third party wasn't responsible for the unauthorized access.

I agree that financial aggregators are invaluable. I truly hope that more institutions recognize this and move to a read-only protocol that supports third party aggregators such as Mint and Personal Capital. Until that happens, it is prudent to read the fine print for any account you link to a third party site. Based on what you find for your particular situation, it may be safer from a liability standpoint to stick with something like Quicken until your financial institutions change their policies.

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Excellent food for thought
Old 01-17-2016, 09:16 AM   #54
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Excellent food for thought

In this thread regarding risks. I won't try to add anything as it would only be opinion based not fact driven. In terms of Mint's usability, I have a strong positive opinion formed through focused use over the last 8 months.

I'm finding it invaluable as a budget tracker/spend tracking tool that is showing me where the money is really going with a minimum of effort. I am using it exclusively for this purpose and have no interest in investment or debt tracking in there, nor am I tracking separate small business expenses in here although that would be simple to do as well. So, personal tracking of our family spending is the focus. I'm actually finding it enjoyable to see where the admittedly very large amount of money we spend is going in relevant and detailed categories. For us, this is for FIRE planning and I would offer that this or a similar routine is mandatory preparation to understand and tune spending before you make decisions.

In our case we live significantly below means so I'm not trying to "budget" using the tool. I'm trying to really see where the money is going and fix problems. We have made and acted on several revelations already.

The orientation is towards the future when our income will be investment return driven and not nearly so large (but still large by any standard). We will have fixed problems and be in a good position to have the diligence to not overspend and if we do, fix it quickly. Mint does the classification work for you quite effortlessly and learns, and gets it right on its own the next time it sees the same or a similar transaction. Minor manual intervention gets the fixes in when needed and then you are 95+% on automatic. The trend graphics, computations and transaction registers are powerful and drill right down to transaction level to make changes, manual additions or fix mistakes.

Mint is really ideal for my application. The fact that it is free is almost unreal but a direct function of the Internet economy. I would certainly pay for it.
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