Mint.com launched, they were taking a big risk - would people trust a web app to manage their finances online? Web 2.0 apps don't necessarily have a reputation as offering hardened security. However, Mint's efforts to prove they were safe and trustworthy won people over as did their easy-to-use personal finance tools. Today, Mint.com serves nearly 400,000 users, manages over $12 billion in transactions, and has saved $100 million+ for its users. However, one problem the site has struggled with was keeping its users informed as to all the new features of its product. Today, the Mint.com site gets an overhaul to specifically address this issue.When
The New Mint.com
One of the best things about using web apps is that you don't need to download updates, install new versions, or go buy a new boxed product every year or so. However, in Mint's case, the speed with which they innovate - they claim to implement customer-driven improvements every six weeks - meant their new features were being overlooked by their users. People who signed up to manage their bank accounts were often not aware that the site could help them manage their other accounts, too, since those features weren't offered at the time of initial registration. Calling attention to these features was the main goal of the site's redesign.
Today, the site launches with a new look and feel which brings the focus back to the major new features added to Mint since their launch: enhanced budgeting tools, the addition of brokerage and investment accounts, mortgage accounts, student loans, and auto loans. In addition, they've added six new "how to" guides that can help you with your major financial decisions. These include things like saving for retirement, paying off your student loans, buying a car, creating a personal budget, and more. The guides are the start of a new educational series for the site.
What It Looks Like
Below we have both the old version of Mint.com and the new version. Do you think the redesign is an improvement?
The New Mint: All Flash, No Substance?
For the happy U.S. customers who are able to use Mint.com, the redesign is sure to be appreciated as it really does give the site a fresh, new look and makes finding out about new features easier than before. However, Mint is still ignoring the needs of those customers who don't bank with large, national banking institutions. One of the most requested features is for Mint to allow for data uploads - that is, the importation of downloaded files be them in .QIF, .QFX, .QBO, or even .CSV or .TXT format. For those who chose to bank with smaller community banks or credit unions - a choice often made because of the typically lower fees that those institutions provide - Mint.com is not an option. That's a shame because if anyone is interested in using a service to save money, it could very well be these folks.
By keeping their niche so narrow so as to not include a good portion of the U.S. banking population, Mint.com is allowing its competitors, sites like Wesabe.com and Geezeo a big advantage. Today, both of those sites have FAQs that state "if your bank isn't available, let us know and we'll add it!" They also both support data upload. Meanwhile, Mint's FAQ, hidden away on their forums, reads "...we are adding new banks as quickly as we can," and "Mint currently doesn't support features that would allow customers to import data from another source (Quicken, Excel, etc.). We're looking to see if we can provide support for these down the road."
We hope that since Mint.com has a fresh new look now, they will focus on offering their Webby-award winning services to more people now, too.