Mint QuickView: Mint.com Goodness On Your Mac

Many of us have been using Mint’s web app to manage our finances online for years now. It even makes it easy to keep up with our spending on the go with full-featured mobile apps. But until recently, Mint hasn’t had a presence on the Mac.

All that’s changed with Mint QuickView, Mint’s first time out on the Mac App Store. A lot of what’s inside is going to look familiar, but there’s enough that’s new here to really make it a useful addition to the Mint family of financial tools.

A Fresh Start

You’ll need to login to Mint or signup when you open the application for the first time. Logging in is simple, but if you’re signing up for the first time, the process is going to be a bit complicated. To get the full benefit of Mint, you’ll want to connect all of your bank accounts, your credit cards, and any other financial accounts. It’s also helpful to set up a budget. Go ahead, we’ll wait. (You can also finish this stuff up later.)

The Spending view, with its multicolored pie chart.

The Spending view, with its multicolored pie chart.

All done? Once logged in, Mint QuickView will load your most recent transactions and a pie chart of your spending. Your spending is broken down into major categories, like automotive or bills & utilities. If any of your spending is miscategorized, you can fix it either on the Mint website or right in the app. Clicking the icon for the menu, right next to the preferences gear in the lower right, will allow you to edit and recategorize transactions, or even add cash transactions.

Where Does the Money Go?

If you want to get a breakdown on any one spending category, click that section of the pie chart or select it from the Spending drop-down list. That category will be highlighted in the chart, and only transactions in that category will be displayed beneath. To view all transactions, click See More, and the transaction list will expand to fill the entire window.

Click the arrow to the right of the pie chart to see the Net Income view. Here, Mint QuickView compares your income to your spending and lets you know how you’re doing over all. Everything is laid out in a bar graph, and you can compare month to month.

Net Income view lets you know if you're getting your spending under control.

Net Income view lets you know if you’re getting your spending under control.

To see the change over time, select a month by click in the graph or selecting it from the drop-down. The transactions from that month will be listed below the graph. Click Go to Trends beneath the graph, and Mint QuickView will take you to a new window where you can generate reports on your spending habits and income.

Finance Check-Up

Click to the left again to see how all of your accounts are doing. Lots of green is good, because that means you have more money than you owe. It can be disheartening to see a huge red bar, and I took my mortgage off for a while, because I’m never going to have as much cash on hand as I owe the bank for my house, and it was just a bit overwhelming to see it spelled out for me in mini-inforgraph style.

The Accounts view lets you compare your cash on hand to how much you owe.

The Accounts view lets you compare your cash on hand to how much you owe.

To avoid loan anxiety, though, you can choose to see only your cash, credit cards, or loan accounts, and Mint QuickView will break down how much is in each account or owed to each lender. In your transactions list, you’ll see a breakdown of exactly where that money’s going, too.

Beneath all of this, Mint QuickView gives you advice on how to save money, like moving to a lower interest credit card or using a rewards card if you buy a lot of groceries or gas. Mint’s keeping this great service free by offering “deals” to its users, but really they’re just ads for credit, so keep that in mind.

Preferences and Features

Clicking the gear icon in the lower right gets you the preferences, but there’s not a lot to see here. You can change how the window acts and unpin it from the menubar icon, or choose to hide either the menubar icon or dock icon. The passcode options allow you to create a passcode to use Mint QuickView and set a timer, so that after a few minutes of inactivity, you’ll have to enter your passcode again to keep using the application. While I don’t really see a way of getting your bank account information out of Mint and stealing all your money, an underhanded or careless person could at least get a pretty good peek at your finances, so allowing a passcode isn’t a bad move for Mint.

Some basic but useful preferences.

Some basic but useful preferences.

The menu icon next to preferences allows you to launch pretty much any of the other Mint web features, but in the application. Rather than running the website in the app, which I can do in a browser and don’t need to download a separate application for, I wish they had given us a way to use all of Mint offline. Just to be sure, I turned off my WiFi, and it was a no go.

Conclusion

The utility in Mint QuickView comes from, well, giving a quick view of your Mint account. For actually working with your Mint budget, editing your transactions, or updating your financial accounts, Mint QuickView is really no better or worse than the webapp. In fact, it is essentially the webapp in a different package. It’s just that now that package is directly on your Mac, and that’s nice, I guess.

What’s missing is offline access. I had expected to be able to sync my accounts and view and edit my transactions offline, but this just isn’t the case. The QuickView account snapshot window does work more or less offline, and that’s what I liked best. I can just leave it running, and when it syncs every couple of hours, I’ll get account status updates. In between, I can get a good look at how my finances are doing. The rest of it, though useful, is nothing new.

Would I still recommend Mint QuickView? Sure, without reservations. There’s absolutely nothing bad here, and I hope in future we’ll get more offline features. Even without offline, Mint QuickView is still a really good, useful finances app. It’s just not as much as it could have been.


Summary

Great for a financial summary, but would be better with offline access.

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  • Scott

    I used Mint for a while. But I’ve found YNAB to be 1000% times better. It actually has a strategy/method behind it to help you.
    The 4 principals are (I think this is how they’re worded):
    -Give Every Dollar a Job
    -Save for a Rainy Day
    -Roll With the Punches
    -Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck

    I highly recommend it:

    http://www.youneedabudget.com/

    -Scott.

  • http://www.sourcedrop.net/mac Michael

    I am very open for new apps, but with financial stuff I am a bit uncertain. At the moment I only use the application provided by my bank.

    I am afraid of data leaks in such applications. Am I so wrong?

    • http://pauladupont.com Paula DuPont

      Mint is powered by Intuit, the makers of Quicken, so they know what they’re doing when it comes to financial software. Mint.com’s security info is here: https://www.mint.com/how-it-works/security/ They say they have bank-level security, so if a hacker can crack Mint, I suppose they could crack my bank’s security.

      I 100% understand your concerns, though, and you need to use what makes you feel comfortable.

  • FubaryGuy

    Not having used Mint before, is it effective for multi-income households? My wife & I have individual accounts, from which we pay different monthly bills. So I cover the mortgage, she pays her own car payment, etc. (We mainly keep separate accounts so if one is compromised-and that has happened-we won’t have to worry about not being able to cover the major expenses.) We could both run our own instances of Mint I suppose, but it would be nice to see everything in one place.

    • Bit

      Works just fine. You can have any number of accounts all in one place. I have my savings with a different bank then my checking and my car loan was with a third.

  • http://www.suggestivetongue.com ST

    I’ve used mint for a while now on my phone and the computer. I stopped using it because, well, I got frustrated looking at how broke I was. That said, this small little app is completely unobtrusive. It allows me to quickly see how much money I have and what I’ve been spending my money on. I would recommend it.

  • Sumflow

    Mint makes it easy to pay down credit cards and keep track of cash flows through many accounts and thousands of transactions, across many years. Being able to load in accounts from different sources makes Mint to Banks and credit cards what Wikinvest is to brokerage accounts.

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