Like many people, I have various bank accounts, mutual funds, credit cards, and brokerage accounts. It's a hassle to keep track of things, and sometimes I goof up. But now there's a new Web 2.0 service that does a pretty good -- though not perfect -- job of managing the mess: Mint.com.
Setting up a Mint account is easy and takes just a few minutes. While Microsoft's
What it does for you
From there, Mint's algorithms crunch your financial information and provide some useful services. For example, if you're nearing the limit on your credit card or are about to incur bank fees, you will get an alert via email and text message.
Another neat feature is that you can analyze your spending habits. What are your expenses for meals? How about your coffee habit? Is there any unusual transaction activity?
However, the coolest thing about Mint is that it can save you money. Let's suppose your broadband bill is $90 per month. Mint will present you with alternative providers and even calculate the estimated cost savings.
The price is nice, but ...
The cost for Mint? There are no out-of-pocket charges for users. The firm collects fees from the sponsors of its various offers.
Of course, the service isn't without a few faults. So far, there is no access for things like mutual funds or brokerage accounts. And in light of security breaches at major companies lately, I can certainly understand the caution in dealing with a small company, even though Mint has raised about $5.5 million in venture capital.
So this service is definitely not for everyone, but I still like the approach and the features. And if I were at Intuit or Microsoft, I would certainly pay attention.
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Fool contributor Tom Taulli, author of The Complete M&A Handbook, does not own shares of companies mentioned in this article. Microsoft is an Inside Value recommendation. Tom is currently ranked 5,691 out of more than 65,000 participants in CAPS. The Fool has a disclosure policy.