In a day and age where technology is king and personal financial advice from actual humans is becoming a thing of the past, our world of finance is becoming more and more competitive between software providers in giving you a new ease in organising and accounting your personal financing.
Having a piece of tech to organise your budget now is able to take practically all the stresses of the decision making process away from you and making it as simple as following a pre-set plan mapped out specifically for you by the robot in your pocket. Budgeting for this weeks wages, this months salary, your yearly life plan or indeed, for when you finally plan to retire and spend your spare time on the golf course or brunching – if of course you’ve made the right accommodations to be able to afford it.
Two of the leading options in the market are Mint and Quicken. Originally both projects were developed by the finance company Intuit but in 2016 Quicken was sold to H.I.G. Capital who took over the reigns and developed it into the product it stands as today.
Quicken, having been on the market since 1983, and being one of the first pieces of software to capture this market, has the reputation of a tried and trusted brand. Mint on the other hand has very much the feel of the new kid on the block, often described as ‘designed for millennials’ but that doesn’t necessarily make it bad for the rest of us, just that it’s modern, forward thinking and will slip in and out of your pocket as fast as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
What do they do? And what do they do different?
Looking at their features they both handle your budget incredibly well. Both options allow you to link all of your bank accounts, credit cards, loans and more into your account and from there each of the software packages automatically imports, stores and organises all of your transactions to give you a clear overview of your financial health.
Both present this information in a way is simple to understand, they’re clear, simple and up front with graphical representations that are just fine for any user.
You can see, track and pay all your bills from within these apps that organise your spending into categories, and then alerts you to how these will affect your budget offering ways to stay in charge and in the black.
Mint will offer suggestions on how to save money too, and this advertisement of financial products, from insurance to credit cards and more, is one of the key ways it makes its money.
Technology and security
They both offer their users mobile apps as well as browser access, all of which will sync with each other to keep you up to date with where you stand right now whenever and wherever you log in.
Quicken however, is generally considered a desktop-based option so your data is stored locally on your own computer. In many cases this is seen as the most secure option away from the probing fingers of hackers and data-thieves. Yet just how safe is your data on your desktop?
Unless you’re making cloud-based backups then it’s in a different danger of becoming lost in the event of a burglary, a fire, a computer breakdown – there’s a reason we put so much of our treasured information in the cloud. Maybe this is one of them?
Mint, being cloud based, offers the additional security measures you would expect it to take with your security needs; a two-factor authentication system and also utilising Apple’s touch ID fingerprint sensor for further secured access. An added feature is that Mint uses text messaging and email to let you know when a bill is due and suggests ways to save on any transactions you may be about to make.
Retirement and investments
Quicken, seemingly based at a more mature generation of user incorporates a retirement plan into its package. It offers many options for investment tools considering the performance of the market and assistance with buying and selling decisions from your investments, where Mint just doesn’t. Quicken will also advice ways to minimise the tax you pay on those investments too. Mint will only track your portfolio value without offering any tools or ways to save or profit from them.
It isn’t just your retirement that Quicken considers as a long-term investment tool though; you can prepare for college, weddings, holidays, and property purchases – in fact anything you need to consider in your future. Unfortunately Mint touches on none of these things and concentrates on being purely a budgeting tool for the now.
What do they cost?
Here’s a deal breaker for the age-gap in users. Quicken which has been around since the very beginning and has always come with a price tag for its services currently hits the market from £45.00 to £125.00 in the UK depending on what level of service you need from it and which of its applications are relevant to you. It offers simple personal budgeting to a business edition. The cost in the US reflects the same from around $40.00 to $120.00.
Mint though, is completely free of charge with no hidden costs. For the millennial who wants instant access from the app or play store can be up and running in no time with no hit to their wallet. This should be a huge plus to anyone really, but where once upon a time we believed in the adage ‘you get what you pay for’ we now live in a world where we can get so much without spending a penny.
This is the case with Mint. It offers an excellent service and product, and isn’t funded by you but by its advertisers and also by financial data providers who buy aggregate information (the averages of Mint’s total learning; they never give away any individual’s information or data) regarding consumer spending, saving, debt, what type of accounts, how many and then selling their analysis on to the companies who use this new data to fine tune their own products and services.
So who comes out on top?
It’s a tough call but the overwhelming decision is that it depends on who you are and what you want. It seems fairly obvious through this discussion that both apps are more than capable of handling what you need them to do, it’s in the details where you’ll be better off with one over the other.
Quicken seems to offer more functionality and security to who we might consider a more settled and mature user with its investment and long-term budgeting planning and tracking.
Mint, with its completely free service and product design appears to be based at a younger more in tune with the technology trends market; and for them it would seem the obvious and tailor made decision.
And for anybody stuck in the middle? Well, you’ll probably have to dig a little further into what your specific needs are, but why stop at these two? There are a whole host of free and paid finance management packages out there, all offering their own take – you just need to find the right one to manage your own personal needs that little bit better than all the others.