Every time I use a credit card to buy a cheeseburger at In-N-Out Burger, Mint pledges $ 3.12 from my net worth. When I receive my weekly paycheck, the money handling platform automatically sends me a corresponding email message: "Chase Bank deposits." Mint gives me a comprehensive overview of my situation, and it reminds me when you need to tighten the purse strings – or loosen.
Via Mint, I can closely monitor my earnings and expenses. For example, I know I was $ 11 over budget on groceries last month, but $ 50 on my clothing budget. (Yes, I realize that this level of precision is not for everyone.) But I don't have to visit every credit card company's website to see my balances; they are tabulated together on Mint. The same applies to my pension account with Fidelity and Vanguard. Mint makes things simple, and it has helped me on the right track for financial freedom. Well, in the end.
This can go wrong when Mint is no longer knowledgeable – for example, when the app loses access to a connected account. This can happen because a user changes a password, a service goes down, or a platform does not support the other. Normally, this is a quick fix.
A few weeks ago, I noticed that Venmo-a popular payment service owned by PayPal no longer connects with Mint. This was because I use it to pay rent, my biggest recurring expense. My friends also use Venmo to split lease payments and other bills, such as Netflix subscriptions, Uber rides and bar tabs.
For many, Venmo is an integral part of their daily lives, and the sudden absence of Mint makes personal finances well, harder. It's not a complete picture anymore.
At the moment, it is not clear who is to blame. "We work closely with Venmo and their parent company, PayPal, to reconnect with our common customers," says Keri Danielski, a Mint spokesman. However, Mint has been aware of his Venmo error for almost two months, judging by a "known version" entry on his site, and Danielski has repeatedly declined to explain the actual hiccup.
Venmo declined to comment on this article. Strangely, Venmo's parents PayPal's own integration with Mint seems to work fine.
"Mint is an incredibly effective way of monitoring your financial life, and anything that takes away from its holistic nature would be a loss to users," said Monica Padineant, a certified financial planner in Seattle's Laird Norton Wealth Management. "It's still an incredibly useful tool, though some synchronized errors occur from time to time."
Neither Mint nor Venmo have actually explained the lapse in connection so we are left to speculate. Does any spilled coffee on a really laptop? Create PayPal's Own Money Management Service? Did Mint suffer from a data breach, and Venmo decided to withdraw?
"It could be a technical problem with how their APIs or processes are structured," said Uday Karmarkar, a professor of technology and strategy at the UCLA's Anderson School of Management. "Maybe one or the other company wants specific agreements with branding, or it can just be a hissy-fit on someone else's part."
The split is a reminder that digital financial management is not foolproof. "Online technologies are good at efficiency, but they do not replace the human element," Padineant prescribed. It is important to be aware of what is – and not work – to ensure that problems are not overlooked.
Regardless of the cause of the digital death, it is especially frustrating that Venmo sends it when friends pay each other for Chipotle (or even pays their therapists), but does not share payment data with a useful financial management tool.
Mint loyalists may consider switching from Venmo to another payment service such as Zelle. This must be profitable as long as your bank and your beneficiary's bank participate in the Zelle payment network. Money must be transferred directly to or from your bank account.
Mint users wishing to continue using Venmo can try refill transactions – manually entering them. (It undermines Mint's convenience factor itself.) Another option is to link a credit or debit card to Venmo, so the transaction will be visible in Mint. Make sure a credit card is charged at a 3% transaction fee from Venmo and money received at Venmo is not reflected on Mint before moving it to your bank account.
Of course, extrahaired penny-pinchers might consider losing Mine in favor of other financial management tools, such as Personal Capital and you need a budget. Or they could just learn to balance a checkbook.