Mint App for iOS, Android Puts Finances at Your Fingertips
Youve done your taxes, right? Now that youve got all your financial records together, this is an optimal time to create a budget, and Mint.coms iPad and Android apps are ideal for the job, according to CIO.com blogger James A. Martin.
The 2012 Easter-egg hunts are history, and most of us are now wrapping up the hunt for tax deductions.
You gathered all your 2011 financial records and diligently dug through them, looking for receipts and records that could soften your tax blow. Now that your tax return is sent off, you could relax until next year. But I have a better idea.
With all your financial records still close at hand and the numbers fresh in your mind, now is a perfect time to improve your personal-finance record keeping. And the free Mint iPad app (current version: 2.3), coupled with a free Mint account, makes keeping tabs on your personal finance easy and, dare I say, almost fun.
The iOS Mint app is optimized for iPad displays and iPhone/iPod screens. The Android version of the app is also designed for both smartphone and tablet displays. I tested Mint on my iPad but also gave it a quick look on my iPhone and Samsung Galaxy Note.
Some setup is required to use the Mint app, but it’s relatively painless You just go to the Mint website, set up an account and feed it your banking, credit card, property holdings and other financial information. Once you’ve done that, Mint automatically logs into your online accounts, downloads the latest data and provides a snapshot of your money usage, past and present. The more you use the service, the more Mint can help you track spending habits and create budgets.
Mint is a pleasure to use on the iPad. You can view pie charts based on spending by category. Touching a color-coded chart sections brings up boxes for categories. Touch a box and you can view spending details for the corresponding category. And a cool slider bar at the bottom of the screen can be dragged to the left to view transactions over a greater period of time.
At first, I was a bit nervous using Mint on mobile devices for security reasons. But I’m over it. You can set a four-digit passcode to lock open the app. And if you lose your device you can log in to your Mint.com account on a computer and deactivate your account’s mobile access. Mint also uses 128-bit SSL encryption, and the company says all data is protected and validated by VeriSign and TRUSTe.
The Mint app is missing some features of the full website. For example, if one of your financial accounts doesn’t update for a while, Mint is most likely having a problem connecting. Currently, to fix that issue, you have to log in to Mint.com.
Mint isn’t a replacement for QuickBooks or other business accounting systems. It’s simply meant to make an unpleasant task—personal financial accounting—easier and, on the iPad it succeeds admirably.
James A. Martin is a seasoned tech journalist and blogger based in San Francisco and winner of the 2014 ASBPE National Gold award for his CIO.com blog. He writes CIO.com's Living the Tech Life blog and is also a content marketing consultant.