Two of the most popular free personal financial services available are Personal Capital and Mint. Each serves as a financial account aggregator, which means you can add all your financial accounts – banks, credit cards, loans, investment accounts and retirement plans – to the platform, giving you a complete picture of your entire financial life in one place.
That high altitude view puts you in a position to know exactly what’s happening with your finances at all times, but more importantly, to make changes that will improve it.
While both make the basic financial aggregator service available for free, each has certain services that require a fee.
But which is the better of the two, Personal Capital or Mint? The answer to that question will depend entirely on your own needs and preferences. We will offer upfront that Mint is the stronger platform for budgeting, while Personal Capital has a much stronger slant toward investing.
You’ll be able to make an informed decision which to choose after reading through this head-to-head comparison of the two services.
Personal Capital vs Mint: How Do They Compare?
Before getting into the details of the differences between Personal Capital vs. Mint, the table below provides a side-by-side comparison of the basic services offered by each. This is only an overview and the level of matching services can vary greatly between the two financial platforms.
|Feature / Platform||Personal Capital||Mint|
|Cost||Free Financial Dashboard||Free Service|
|Financial Account Aggregator||Yes||Yes|
|Cash Account Offered||Yes||No|
|Net Worth Monitoring||Yes||Yes|
|Financial Advice||Yes||Financial Coaching – Premium Service|
|Customer Support||24/7 Online||Online – 24-hour response|
|Mobile App Access||Yes||Yes|
|Wealth Management||Premium Service||No|
Personal Capital: Pros and Cons
- Basic financial dashboard is available free of charge.
- Comprehensive financial planning available with Wealth Management.
- Limited live financial advice on the free version.
- Unlimited live financial advice with Wealth Management.
- Wealth Management fees are lower than those charged by traditional financial advisors.
- The budgeting feature is fairly basic and not as robust as the one offered by Mint.
- Wealth Management requires a minimum of $100,000 to participate.
- Fees for the Wealth Management service are higher than those charged by robo advisors, largely due to the fact that Personal Capital offers access to financial advisors for comprehensive wealth management.
- Personal Capital regularly solicits users of the free financial dashboard to trade up to the Wealth Management service.
- No credit score monitoring offered.
Mint: Pros and Cons
- One of the best free budgeting services available.
- Automatic updating of all accounts included on the platform.
- Service is easy to use, and financial reports can be customized to your preferences.
- Provides helpful tools so you can better manage your investments.
- Free credit score monitoring.
- Account alerts for upcoming bill due dates, credit events, or when you may be in danger of exceeding your budget.
- No wealth management capability.
- As an otherwise comprehensive budgeting platform, Mint lacks a bill paying feature that would allow you to pay your bills directly from the dashboard.
- Though Mint does offer a free financial consultation, there are fees for subsequent meetings and information.
- The “cost” of Mint being a free service is that you will be subject to ads when you’re on the platform.
The Biggest Differences Between Personal Capital and Mint
On the surface, Mint and the free Personal Capital Financial Dashboard have much in common. Not only is each service free, but both provide financial account aggregation, enabling you to track all your diverse accounts on one platform, as well as net worth monitoring, which is arguably the single most important calculation in personal finance.
But apart from the features mentioned above, there are more differences than similarities between the two services. Even where each offers a competing service, there are substantial differences in the levels provided.
Mint takes the crown with budgeting, which is Mint’s signature service.
Personal Capital provides basic budgeting that tracks your spending and wealth across multiple accounts. But there’s little doubt Personal Capital functions primarily as an investment tracking service, with only minimal budgeting features.
Mint’s budgeting features also track spending from various accounts but go quite a bit deeper. For example, the service allows you to create custom budgets and custom savings goals. Mint also offers an opportunity to get greater control over your budget through its Personal Mindsights tool, which will analyze your budget and automatically find savings. That will make it easier for you to reach savings goals and to pay down debt.
Most accounts included on the platform will automatically update each time you sign in. However, there are some banks that permit updating only once or twice each day.
Mint provides budget alerts. For example, you’ll get warnings when you’re exceeding your budget, or if there is a large or suspicious transaction. Mint also tracks ATM fees, so you can know exactly what you’re paying in these often unnecessary bank fees.
Bill Tracker is unique to Mint, as it is not offered by Personal Capital. Mint tracks the due dates of your bills and notifies you of upcoming payments. That will help you to avoid late fees from missed payment dates.
This is another service offered by Mint, but not by Personal Capital. The service is offered free of charge, and you won’t even be required to put a credit card on file for the privilege. The credit monitoring is provided by TransUnion, one of the three major credit bureaus.
Not only will you get your credit score, but also a free credit report summary. You can access your score and your summary as often as you like without negatively impacting your credit score. Mint also provides credit score education, giving you an opportunity to increase your score by learning how credit scoring works.
The service also comes with credit monitoring alerts. You’ll get an alert whenever TransUnion receives new information from creditors.
Is your credit score low? You can raise it with the fastest ways to boost your credit score tips.
This is a feature offered by Personal Capital that Mint doesn’t provide. It’s offered as Personal Capital Cash, a combination checking and savings account currently paying 0.05% APY on balances up to $1.5 million. Equally important, there are no fees for using the Cash account.
The account is held through UMB Bank, which also provides FDIC insurance coverage. But since FDIC insurance coverage is limited to $250,000 per depositor per bank, account balances in excess of the single bank limit will be held with multiple program banks. For example, if you have $1 million in the Cash account, the balance will be evenly distributed among four program banks to ensure full FDIC coverage on the entire amount.
Personal Capital Cash can be set up as either an individual or joint account, and there is no minimum balance requirement. It offers an unlimited number of monthly transactions, the ability to link your checking account to pay monthly bills and set up direct deposits for your paychecks. You can withdraw up to $100,000 per day and even wire up to $1 million with no fees.
Mint does offer investment tracking, though it’s generally more limited than what’s offered by Personal Capital. You can compare your portfolio performance to popular market benchmarks. It also enables you to see your asset allocations across various investment accounts. That can include brokerage accounts, mutual funds, and retirement accounts, like IRAs and your 401(k).
Personal Capital’s free Financial Dashboard offers the Investment Checkup tool. With it, you can compare your portfolio’s allocation to recommended target allocations to help minimize risk and maximize your returns.
The Checkup reviews your portfolio to assess the risk involved. If that risk is considered excessive, you’ll get suggestions on how to reduce it without hurting your returns. You’ll also be provided with an investment strategy that provides an optimal blend of investment classes for a risk level that can be set at most conservative, most aggressive, or somewhere in between.
Mint offers its fee analyzer as part of their investment tracking service. The service will help you identify unnecessary fees so you can choose alternative investments with lower fees or no fees at all.
Personal Capital’s Fee Analyzer analyzes the fees you are paying in investment accounts, mutual funds, and retirement accounts – particularly employer-sponsored retirement plans, like 401(k) plans.
For example, you can link your 401(k) plan to the Personal Capital Dashboard, and the analysis will provide the fees paid within the account. You can then research alternative funds to replace your higher cost funds with less expensive ones. Personal Capital recommends low-cost index funds, typically ETFs, over high-cost, actively managed mutual funds.
Personal Capital offers this feature, but Mint does not. The Personal Capital Retirement Planner will help you to see if your current retirement plans are on track.
You can use the tool to run different scenarios, like retiring earlier or saving more or less money. The planner can also accommodate important changes, like additional income sources or preparing for a major expense, and the impact it will have on your retirement planning. It even enables you to project how much you’ll spend in retirement, which will help you to understand how much you need to save.
Both services offer free, but limited, financial advice (though Personal Capital provides unlimited financial advice with its Wealth Management program, which we’ll cover next).
Once you enter all your financial accounts on the financial dashboard, you’ll have a free consultation with a financial advisor. It’s a one-time consultation, where the advisor will review your finances, and discuss financial goals and investment options. If you qualify, Personal Capital will also recommend signing up for the Wealth Management service.
Mint offers financial coaching. You’re entitled to one free session of 15 to 20 minutes. The coach will help you to develop financial goals, and then detect any issues in your budget or your financial profile that may represent obstacles.
The process will start with a financial health analysis, where your coach will identify what you’re doing right, and what you need to improve. If you continue with the coaching service, you’ll get a personalized financial plan, which will be prepared with the help of certified financial planners.
Only the first session of financial coaching is free. There will be a fee for subsequent sessions, but the website does not disclose the cost.
Mint offers only its free financial account aggregator and budgeting service but provides no direct investment management.
By contrast, Personal Capital offers its Wealth Management service, which is the single biggest difference from Mint. It’s a premium service, requiring a minimum of $100,000 to participate. Not only will Personal Capital manage your investments, but you’ll have unlimited access to a team of licensed financial advisors. And with a minimum account balance of $200,000, you’ll have two dedicated financial advisors.
Personal Capital’s Wealth Management is sometimes classified as a robo advisor, but it’s more of a hybrid since it involves input from live financial advisors. However, Wealth Management does employ a similar investment strategy to robo advisors.
For example, your portfolio will be created using modern portfolio theory (MPT), which is commonly used by robo advisors. Your portfolio is constructed using low-cost, index-based ETFs. But this departs from the robo approach as your account can also include individual stocks. Investments will include both equities and fixed income instruments, like bonds.
You can choose from several preconstructed portfolios, but you’ll also have an opportunity to customize your investments, which is another difference from typical robo advisors. Your portfolio will be periodically rebalanced, and dividends reinvested. Wealth Management also makes use of tax loss harvesting to minimize capital gains taxes from taxable investment accounts.
Wealth Management can only manage taxable investment accounts and IRAs, which are the accounts that will count toward the $100,000 or $200,000 minimum threshold. However, Wealth Management also provides advice on managing your 401(k) or 403(b) plan. They’ll recommend strategies to optimize your retirement plan to make sure allocations match your personal investment targets across both your investment accounts and your employer-sponsored plan.
Wealth Management is a premium service, with a sliding all-inclusive annual management fee of 0.89% of the first $1 million managed, stair-stepping down to 0.49% for balances over $10 million.
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Is It Safe to Use Personal Capital and Mint?
With the caveat that no online or financial service is ever 100% safe, Personal Capital and Mint each make every effort to make sure that your personal information is fully protected.
Personal Capital employs numerous strategies to keep your information safe. First, it uses multifactor authentication during the sign-in process. That typically involves scanning your fingerprint or entering a text delivered code when you access your account. Next, data is encrypted with AES-256 with multilayer key management.
Meanwhile, Personal Capital does not sell your data, which reduces the likelihood of it ending up in the wrong hands. For data transmission purposes, Personal Capital partners with VeriSign, Norton, and Envestnet Yodlee to use state-of-the-art technology to add additional protection of your data from potential thieves.
As mentioned earlier, cash held on deposit with Personal Capital is fully insured by FDIC coverage. Meanwhile, funds managed through the Wealth Management program are covered by the Securities Investors Protection Corporation (SIPC) through Pershing Advisory Solutions, the account custodian. SIPC insurance protects investors from broker failure (but not from market losses) for up to $500,000 in cash and securities per investor, including up to $250,000 in cash.
Mint uses a two-step verification process. When you sign in, you’ll be required to provide additional verification. This will usually be a verification code sent through a text message or automated phone call to the phone number you designate upon sign-up. You’ll always be asked to verify your identity before signing into your Mint account on an unrecognized computer or mobile device.
When you sign into your account from your mobile account, you’ll need to use a four-digit code so only you can view your account. But you’ll have the option to enable Touch ID. If your mobile device is ever lost or stolen, you can immediately and remotely delete all your account information.
Mint also uses VeriSign to provide for safer transfer of sensitive data. Meanwhile, your login username and passwords are stored securely in a separate database that takes advantage of multilayered hardware and software encryption. Mint only stores the information provided by the accounts you include on the platform, but it doesn’t have direct access to it.
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Who Owns Personal Capital and Mint?
Though it started as an independent entity, Personal Capital became a subsidiary of Denver-based Empower Retirement. Empower is a financial services company, founded in 1891. The company had more than $60 billion in revenue in 2020, more than $1 trillion in assets under management, and nearly a quarter million employees in 40 locations worldwide.
Mint has been a subsidiary of Intuit since 2009. Intuit specializes in financial software, and is based in Mountain View, California. The company was launched in 1983, has more than 10,000 employees, nearly $10 billion in revenue, and assets of more than $15 billion. The company is perhaps best known for its popular tax software, TurboTax.
Want More? Check out our complete Personal Capital review.
Personal Capital and Mint both provide helpful financial tools that can change people’s finances for the better. Which one is best will depend on your own needs, but it’s safe to say Personal Capital leans more toward investing, while Mint leans more toward budgeting. Both services are free and provide net worth tracking and several other key features. Personal Capital and Mint are also both established companies that take security seriously.
Want to learn more? Check out Personal Capital's helpful comparison.