Tagged: finance

on web-based personal finance redux

Finally convinced myself that using Mint wasn’t going to kill me or my banking security and signed up only to find out that while it supports monitoring my bank’s checking and savings accounts, it does not support their credit card.

Since about 90% of my transactions happen on that credit card, it makes the service basically useless to me at the moment. I’m not really sure what you can do about it. I’m thinking about calling my bank to complain, but chances are they won’t be able to fix it and I already filed a request for Mint to support it.

Oh well, the service seems really cool and I think it would be immensely helpful, though I wish I could do it with a program running on my computer rather than a web application where I worry about my data. Also, they could use to support https for their basic site just so I knew my session couldn’t be hijacked and I wish they had a legitimate mobile solution rather than relying either SMS or an iPhone app.

Hopefully I can work something out so I can use it, because I think it would really help me look at things and figure out beyond a gut level how I’m spending my money, but as it is, it is missing several critical features to make it useful for my life.

on web-based personal finance

I was chatting with friends and some of them mentioned that they were using sites to keep track of their various information from their banks, frequent flier programs, what they owed the gas company, the electric company and their ISPs. Three people were using mint and one was using yodlee It seemed like a good idea for about a quart of a second until I realized what that meant.

They are centralizing all of their information about accounts, money, credit cards and precisely the things you most fear being stolen while you’re online.

So, on the one hand I think that these services are providing an invaluable tool for me to use in order to figure out how I am spending my money and how I might spend it better and/or differently, but I find that I am unable to partake in what they have to offer.

I’ve been asking myself what would have to be different for me to trust them. There’s the obvious single idea that my bank could just provide the service which wouldn’t require that I trust anyone I don’t already have to, but that’s kind of a cop out. I have a whole other post about the management of personal information in the connected, cloud computing world, though it’s still in an amorphous blob in my head.

As it stands I may still go use one of the two services even though I have all kinds of qualms with them because I really would like to get some more detailed information on where my money is going. Even if I do though, these services can’t automatically figure everything out, like when I go to the grocery store, I’d really like to break my purchase down into food, prepared/frozen food, alcohol, toiletries and the like, which would involve having the itemized receipt which they can’t automatically get at. At least not yet.

Maybe I will just wind up rolling my own based on the Excel spreadsheet I already use to balance my checkbook.