I’ve been searching for an online money management solution for about 2 months now. I started with Mint and have since tried each of the other main competitors: Yodlee Money Center, Wesabe, and Quicken Online. All of these services are free, but I thought I’d outline some of the pros and cons of each as it relates to my own experience. Feel free to chime in with your own experiences. I encourage everyone to try one of these and see which works best for you…it really puts your finances in perspective.
Shortened bullet-list at the end of the article for those that don’t want to read all the way through
At first glance, Mint is probably the prettiest of the four. It has a very clean and easy to use interface and really helps the beginning user with getting everything setup. I found Mint and Quicken to be the easiest to get started with right out of the box. However, I stopped using Mint immediately because, although it listed my financial institution, it could not connect to my bank account because my login credentials were incorrect (which they were not). I sent in a support request and received prompt responses that their engineering team was aware of the problem and I would receive correspondence when they got it working. On the plus side, however, I was able to add my student loans to Mint, which was great.
Needless to say I haven’t been able to use the other features, but they look great and I’ve heard good things about them. Mint will categorize your spending and help you see where your money is going. They make money by suggesting ways you can “save” which are actually special offers from affiliates.
Yodlee Money Center
Yodlee is similar to Mint in which financial institutions are supported. I had the exact same problem with Yodlee that I did with Mint – my bank was listed, but Yodlee wasn’t connecting right. However, Yodlee adds one small feature that showed hope: the ability to add a custom account which I can update myself to show my bank balances. So technically, I could get everything on Yodlee if I wanted to manually update my bank information (which I don’t) because I was able to add my student loans as well (just like Mint).
In general, I found Yodlee’s user interface to be the most confusing of the four. Its not really bad, but the others are all so good that it LOOKS bad in comparison. I’ve heard other opinions about this so I’ll just let you try it for yourself and see what you think.
Wesabe seemed like it was going to work for me. They offer this incredible addon for Firefox that essentially allows you to upload any bank’s information that has exportable data (most do). So I got that working with my bank accounts and was ready to go! But wait….they don’t support loan accounts so I couldn’t add my student loans like I could with Mint and Yodlee. There are several requests for this on their site and I’ve seen the CEO mention that they will be adding this in the future, but for now Wesabe simply isn’t as valuable to me because I can’t see all my finances.
The interface is well done and easy to use. The Firefox addon is also easy to use. One of the main draws to Wesabe, however, is the fact that it has a community of people that are actively talking about finances. It seems to strive very hard to create and bolster this community by allowing you to take part in discussions very easily.
I must admit I was skeptical going into Quicken software. I tend to hate enterprise-y software and I’ve heard the horror stories about Quicken in the past. But with no luck in the other 3 areas, I decided to give it a try. To my utter amazement Quicken Online was the ONLY software out of the four that actually supported my bank and got all my account info. I couldn’t believe it. Unfortunately, I couldn’t add my student loans, so I was in the same boat as I was with Wesabe.
Quicken was easy to set up and has a nice, clean interface with simply design. They offer budgeting tools and categorization as well. From what I’ve heard, they aren’t as good as Mint in automatically categorizing your transactions, but that might not be the case for everyone.
- The best interface
- Good categorization of transactions
- Supports FSA Direct loans
- Beginner friendly
- Doesn’t support some banks correctly
- No method to add accounts manually if they don’t support it
- Supports manual account creation if they don’t support your bank
- Supports FSA Direct loans
- Interface not as pleasing and clean as the others
- Has same bank support issues as Mint (unless you want to manually update your balances)
- Firefox addon imports from almost any bank account
- Great interface
- Great community
- Does not support loans
- Not as much focus on budgeting
- In my experience, the only one that supported my bank without extra work
- Good interface
- Good budgeting tools
- Doesn’t give an option to add accounts that they don’t support
- Doesn’t support FSA Direct loans
So basically, if Mint started supporting my bank, I’d use it immediately. If Wesabe or Quicken started supporting my student loans, I’d use them immediately. We’ll see which happens first.