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It’s an app world, and so it should come as no surprise that the apps which once played a central role in connecting companies and consumers have filtered into the financial sector.
It is easier than ever before to review, rearrange, invest, and take charge of your financial health. And, that’s due in large part to apps like Mint and Personal Capital.
These apps go the extra mile in providing an in-depth analysis of your finances. For example, Investorjunkie.com lauds how portfolio values, retirement forecasting, and other goals are presented in an accessible manner in the Personal Capital interface.
Two apps, in particular, are revolutionizing the financial planning and investment game, but in the battle between Personal Capital vs. Mint, you might be having trouble deciding which is right for you. We’ve got all the information you need to make a decision.
What Do They Have in Common?
Before we get into the differences between the two apps, let’s quickly review what they have in common.
Both are financial planning and management apps that seek to help users manage their financial accounts in a simpler, easier to understand way.
One of the biggest obstacles for beginners in the realm of financial planning is simply figuring how to access and observe their bank and investment accounts.
With both apps, you’ll be able to review your credit cards, bank data like loans and statements, and monitor daily spending habits.
Both apps work to educate users about relevant financial products and help promote financial literacy.
Users can easily see where and to whom their money is going with monthly expense reports.
How Does Mint Stand Out?
Mint was founded in 2006, acquired by Intuit in 2009, and since their sale to Quicken in 2016 has been solely focused on personal financial management.
One nice thing about Mint is that, unlike other products, there is no software to install. You can access Mint from any browser or device, and the platform is optimized for mobile devices. Once you set up an account and log in, you’ll be able to review your bank information as well as investment accounts, credit cards, loans, and even some insurance data.
What Makes Personal Capital Shine?
Compared to Mint, the biggest distinguishing feature of Personal Capital its focus on investing. This app comes with a wide range of tools for retirement, college savings, buying a home, and other long-term goals.
Personal Capital’s emphasis on investment can help users set goals and stay on track with tools and metrics designed to measure the progress of individual investments.
How Does Personal Capital Stack Up Against Mint?
Let’s put Personal Capital and Mint to the test by comparing their key features. Each app has its own set of strengths, and both are incredibly powerful tools for financial management. The details, however, will determine which is right for you.
1. Signing Up
Let’s start at the very beginning—the sign-up process.
When you sign up with these apps, you’ll be asked for your cell number for security purposes. Providing a phone number is optional with Mint, but required for Personal Capital.
If you use any of the other products associated with Mint—like Quicken—you can use that same account to access the app.
Both apps work to build a custom portfolio for you, albeit in different ways.
With Mint, you’ll be asked for your zip code. Armed with that information, the app will try to locate deals and financial opportunities in your area. By contrast, Personal Capital makes use of a more in-depth questionnaire to build a profile and suggest financial products.
2. Budgeting and Bill Alerts
Bill alerts are essential to staying on top of your cash flow. You need to know what’s due and when so that you can plan your spending and avoid over-drafting your accounts.
Both apps feature email alerts and push notifications that can alert you when bills are due. According to Investor Junkie, however, Mint’s functionality can catch more bill alerts.
When it comes to budgeting for the future, Mint offers quite a bit more than its competitors. While both can technically be used to “budget,” Mint makes these options explicit.
Is Personal Capital Good for Budgeting?
Personal Capital “only” monitors your cash flow and does not feature any special options for setting budgets. That said, if you’re content to observe your cash flow and budget on your own, Personal Capital can support your efforts.
Personal Capital has other strengths and can even best Mint in budgeting for things like retirement.
The budget-setting options the app does offer can be quite useful for those looking to plan for college, retirement, a new car or home, or any number of sizable, long-term investments.
3. Mobile App Accessibility
No amount of budgeting features and bill alerts can overcome poor app design. Thankfully, both Mint and Personal Capital feature crisp, clean, well laid out user interfaces, and both are easy to navigate.
All of your data is laid out in a visual representation, easily identifiable, and ready to be put to work.
4. Security Features
When it comes to your personal finances, nothing is more important than security. As valuable as a great app design is, fraud is a way bigger concern. You can’t allow your sensitive financial data to be too accessible by hackers.
Thankfully, both apps feature good security systems as well as two-factor identification systems. This helps ensure that you and only you have access to your money.
Is Mint Safer?
Technically, yes, given the robustness of its two-factor verification system and sophisticated security features.
Is it Safe to Link Accounts to Personal Capital?
Yes. Personal Capital also makes use of a two-factor verification system, just not one that is quite as robust as Mint’s.
That said, Personal Capital is safe enough for most people’s needs.
5. Investment Analysis
This is where Personal Capital really shines.
Many of the most important and identifiable features for Personal Capital are devoted to making investing easier and more accessible.
This is where Personal Capital’s questionnaire comes into play. Your choices while using the app help Personal Capital determine your ability and willingness to tolerate risk in your personal investment strategy.
Your profile acts as the foundation of your personalized investment portfolio.
The custom portfolio is the kind of service one might expect from a financial adviser. The fact that Personal Capital is able to offer this level of advice in app form is both very impressive, technologically-speaking, and a valuable opportunity for users, financially-speaking.
This functionality can help new investors learn the principles of smart investing and track their progress.
Personal Capital organizes index funds into US stocks, international stocks, US bonds, international bonds, alternative investment opportunities, and cash. However, it doesn’t stop there. As Good Financial Cents notes, they also offer 70 to 100 other US stocks for diversification and tax efficiency.
In addition to the automated profile-building features, Personal Capital also puts you in contact with a personal financial advisor who can help manage your portfolio.
While Mint displays the values of your investments, it lacks the array of financial advice and investment opportunities that Personal Capital boasts.
6. Retirement Planning
This is another area where Personal Capital distinguishes itself. Millennial Moneyman notes the app offers “some really robust tracking and analysis tools” for charting the progress of your retirement funds.
Among the type of retirement planning it offers, the app includes:
- A 401K analyzer
- An asset allocation tool
- A dedicated retirement planner
- The ability to check retirement-related and other investments at will
The Value of an On-Demand Status Update on Retirement Investments
This category is huge. If you are saving for the future in part by building a financial portfolio that will help support you through retirement, you need to make sure your investments remain relevant.
Many traditional retirement planning accounts offer annual statements and no further information. The difficulty in accessing your account data makes effective and opportunistic management difficult, if not impossible.
The tools offered by Personal Capital can go a long way toward making sure you have the tools and insights necessary to track your accounts as they grow and react to a changing market.
Mint can help you set up and maintain detailed retirement budgets but doesn’t have the kind of retirement-specific commitment as Personal Capital does.
The Final Score
Here is the TL:DR version of our comparison of Personal Capital vs. Mint.
- Sign Up: Both are easy, but PC’s questionnaire helps to build better long-term personalization.
- Budget: Both have good options, but Mint’s dedicated focus on budgeting gives it an edge in this category.
- Bill Alerts: Both apps alert users when a bill comes up, though anecdotal evidence suggests Mint’s system is more comprehensive.
- Mobile Accessibility: Both apps are beautiful and well-designed on mobile devices.
- Security Features: Both apps offer an impressive system of security, though Mint’s is slightly stronger.
- Investment Analysis: No contest here—PC blows away Mint and the rest of the competition here.
- Retirement Planning: PC offers more, in-depth options than Mint in this category.
So, Which App Walks Away A Winner?
We’ve done the investigation and all the information leads us to the final question: “should I use Personal Capital or Mint?”
The answer will ultimately depend on whether you’re more concerned with your day-to-day spending or saving for the future.
If budgeting is a priority for you, Mint is an ideal choice.
If saving is your chief mission, there is no denying that Personal Capital offers a robust set of features that Mint simply cannot match, especially when it comes to investing.
Personal Capital allows you to take greater control of your investment strategies, review stocks and bonds on the go, and plan for the future.
Both are winning options, but in this head to head battle, Personal Capital is our overall winner for the best financial app. While the abbreviated version is available for free, it is certainly worth the fee required for the full package.