Intuit’s Mint Stakes Out Claim as Benchmark PFM Apps
Mint, wholly owned by financial technology leader Intuit, has announced a new iPad app that it claims will set a new benchmark for mobile personal financial management.
Key to the tool–a free download from Apple’s App Store–is that it is designed to take advantage of the large iPad screen size. But the app also allows syncing and real-time updating of key financial data across a range of devices such as an Android phone or iPhone and a laptop or desktop computer.
Introduced this week, the iPad app is proving to be by far Mint’s most successful mobile app by number of downloads, said Ken Sun, mobile manager for Mint.
“Mint gives the user a 360-degree view of his or her finances,” said Sun. He elaborated that when visiting a credit union or a credit card company’s app, a user would get a view just of that institution. With Mint, the totality of a user’s finances is visible immediately.
To ease user set up, Mint is populated with account information from 18,000 institutions, ranging from credit unions to PayPal, said Sun. In most cases, a user has only to enter his online sign-in name and password to gain access to his data.
Interesting, too, is that early usage patterns suggest different use for the iPad app versus the smartphone apps, said Sun. The latter typically are used throughout the day in 30 to 60 second bursts, where the user wants a particular chunk of information (“did the rent check clear?”). With the iPad app, said Sun, Mint is seeing much longer sessions, often at night, as users “surf through their finances.”
Sun elaborated that Mint’s monetization model for the free app is to earn revenues by delivering targeted suggestions to users (“You may be overpaying for auto insurance. Would you like suggestions about how to lower costs?”). “We will earn referral fees when Mint users buy,” said Sun, who insisted Mint intended to deliver only “relevant” suggestions drawn from an intimate understanding of the user’s spending.