Review of Yodlee vs. Mint

It's been several years since I first reviewed Yodlee, Mint, and the other personal finance aggregator sites. Since that time much has changed. Two big events: Wesabe was shut down and Mint was bought by Intuit. I know Geezeo and Mvelopes are still out there, but in my eyes there are only 2 real players, and Yodlee Moneycenter. I've been an active user of both Mint and Yodlee for over 2 years now. In that time I've seen a lot of upgrades. I've also seen a lot of the same problems. So, which one is best? It's more about which one is best for you. It's called "personal" finance for a reason. Note, this article assumes you already know what Mint and Yodlee do. I won't rehash that here – if you need a refresher, jump in the wayback machine. Here's where I land on the key variables that matter to me.

Ability to Load my Information – Once you go through the trouble of adding all your personal finance logins and passwords, there is nothing more disheartening than logging in the next week and have multiple sites fail to load. Having done this for years with over 20 accounts, I can confidently say that Yodlee performs MUCH better on this variable than Mint. Winner: Yodlee

Ease of Accessing Linked Sites – Say you're on looking at your transactions on Mint or Yodlee and notice a strange charge. With Yodlee, you click the little triangle by the account in question and choose "Go to Site". It immediately opens a new window and let's you get reminded of your username and password along the way if you need it (it's even easier if you download their Login Helper). With either approach, it's pretty painless. With Mint, you're just out of luck. You have to go to the site and remember your login and password. I personally don't have time or brain space for this. Winner: Yodlee

Transactions – Tracking transactions was the primary reason I started using a personal finance aggregator. Both do this relatively. Both, however, have problems with categorization. Neither learn from changes you make unless you create rules and sometimes the rules don't work either. There is room for improvement from both. Winner: Both

Investments – Both sites let you track your investments online. However, Mint goes much further by charting your returns and allowing you to compare to the Dow or S&P 500. You can also visually look at the growth of each account. It's a nice feature. Yodlee has its Portfolio Manager which is fine, but is lacking the graphs in an area where such visualization is important. Winner: Mint

Budget – I don't really use the budgeting of either to be honest. This is mainly because Yodlee doesn't categorize well, and Mint can't load enough of my credit card accounts for it to be accurate. If they both worked though, I think Mint offers a superior interface. Winner: Mint

Rewards – Anyone who reads this blog knows that I'm a big rewards chaser so keeping up with my frequent flier miles, hotel points, and similar programs is really important to me. Yodlee offers a very simple area on its dashboard that shows me where I stand on all of them. Mint doesn't even let you link them. That's a big disappointment, and one of the main reasons I can never truly switch to Mint since I have to rely on Yodlee for the information. Winner: Yodlee

So, when the rubber hits the road, I log in to Yodlee. The rewards category and the reliability of loading my sites are the deciding factors. If I had fewer accounts and no rewards cards I might prefer Mint though. What about you? Which do you prefer and why? Did I miss some key features. Let me know in the comments!

PS I should note that at the time of this writing Mint is the only one of the two to have a smartphone app. That could be important down the line.

PPS Yodlee has instituted a major "upgrade" that's really full of flaws. I recommend anyone using Yodlee to actually downgrade their version below 10.0 to get the much more user friendly version. Just click on the "time machine" in the upper right of your screen once you login.

Update 10/5/11:  Starting October 7th, 2011 the default home page on Yodlee MoneyCenter will be their brand new "Dashboard" with several of the most frequently used FinApps, including: Accounts, Track Spending, Yodlee Offers (*NEW!), Spending by Category, and Track Your Goals. However, you can still find your original dashboard by clicking on "Dashboard Classic" on the Dashboard tab.

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  • skube

    I have mostly tried Mint and think it is great. However, it has a serious flaw. Although it will show the correct balances, it will indiscriminately not show some transactions. You may not even notice until you compare line by line with you’re bank’s statement.

    Yodlee seems not to be able to download transactions for me at all. While I can connect to my MasterCard account and show balances, it fails to load any transactions and seems to just hang.

    I am trying to connect to PC Financial in Canada.

    • I have to say I have never had the issue of some transactions from a card not loading. It’s always been all or nothing with me. That is disturbing. Have you tried sending in help requests to them. Mine never seem to get resolved in a timely manner, but they do always respond so it feels like things might get better at some point.

  • Andrew Hammond

    I am frustrated by the pathetically bad transaction matching and categorization on mint. I haven’t tried Yodlee yet, but I guess I won’t bother based on the above. As a software developer, I know exactly how easy it would be to do this and to it extremely well, which is why I’m so disgusted at their incompetence on this front. I notice that it’s a large issue in the online feedback site for mint, yet still unaddressed. Scaling for large string searches would have been a challenge a decade ago, but these days with hadoop, it’s so easy to build, scale and maintain massively parallel search solutions that not doing it is cause for comment. Consider that unlike both Google and Microsoft Bing, both Yardlee and Mint have enormous user bases that would be happy to go in and categorize transactions for them. So setting up a feedback loop and using that to feed a neural net would take very little work. The problem domain is highly constrained. In brief, there are no good excuses for this.

    • Andrew,

      Thanks for the informative comment! The category tags have always been an issue for me in both Yodlee and Mint, and the fact that the system does not seem to learn from how thousands of people re-categorize or create custom categories in their respective systems.

  • Maverick

    Slug …do you have any security concerns?
    With either site?

    • Maverick,

      In a word, YES. However, this is the same YES I would apply to my concerns about Chase or ING Direct or ALLY or any online financial institution where I have an account. In no way does my concern outweigh the benefits I feel I receive by maintain ties to both sites.

      PS At the time of this comment I am still favoring Yodlee who recently spent 2+ months working on an issue I brought up. They just fixed it, and I’m quite happy about it. However, 2 months for a relatively small issue felt like a looooong time. You get what you pay for.

  • Richard Gilbert

    Two months to fix an issue with a piece of software may seem like a lot.  It's not!

    First, you must determine the cause of the problem.  This can take a while.  Then you have to design the fix, code it, test it, and release it.  I'm sure you could fix it in five minutes and introduce two or three new bugs!   Software, and programmers, are like that!!  The objective, however is to produce a fix that works, hopefully without breaking anything else.

  • Dave

    Like your review and agree.  Mint will not work with my  bank (It works with my credit card) .  Yodlee does work with both.  I like the interface of Mint much better but without the data, the interface is worthless.  While I am still trying to see if Mint  can fix the problem, I am almost out of patience.  From their questions, it seems they do not know the solution.  My problem with Yodlee is that upon sign up, it loaded the current month but not the previous two months from my bank.  It did load my credit card for all 3 months.  I am assuming that is something caused by my bank but I really do not know.  The current month, which is my second month using Yodlee, is being loaded successfully.  I think the difference (but I am not a computer guy) is Yodlee includes the security questions in the sign-in process when the connection needs fixing.  The right answers to these questions appears to allow the computers to talk.

    • Dave,

      Thanks for your comment. Yes, I believe both Yodlee and Mint try to bring as much historical data as possible when you first sign-up, but it can be limited by the account type. However, going forward both should be loading everything so you end up building a strong history of your transactions. As of this writing, I’m still using the old version of Yodlee over both the new version and Mint.

  • mike

    Yodlee does not seem to have a  tagging. I find it essential to be able to add as many tags as i want to a transactions.
    Ex: my wife might have bought gas for a business trip.  I can put it in the category of gas but then add tags – 'wife' 'biz trip'.

    • Hi Mike,

      Yodlee does allow tagging. I actually have the same issue where I need to create custom tags for my wife’s business and my own business expenses.

      Under the Transactions heading, just choose Manage Categories. There you can:

      -Define your own category name for an already existing category.
      -Use Manage Categories to rename existing categories, create subcategories, or hide categories from drop-down menus.
      -Hide a category (and its subcategories) from appearing in the drop-down list of categories by unchecking Show Category.
      -Expand/collapse to show a category and its subcategories.

      Good luck!

  • casual

    I'm not liking the new yodlee dashboard. Those boxes are forever loading. For the most part I go straight to  expense analysis .And for the me the category deal is tedious. I was a ms money user for years before moving to yodlee. And that was one money's strongpoints to me.  Mint was not a option for me at the time because my bank was not listed. May go back and check again. 
    while passing by another blog i saw the guy talk about a site he likes. . It is not free but it does have some pretty nice features. I may try out the free trial.

    • Yeah, I don’t like the new dashboard at all. That’s why I always revert back to the 9x version.

      I’m not familiar with moneydance, but I’m highly averse to anything I have to pay for when I have something for free that works well. 🙂

  • AK

    The new Yodlee is unuseable…I've gone back to the old 9x system which I use constantly. I'm having trouble getting upcoming transactions now and this is the best feature as far as I'm concerned. Does anyone know what I may be doing wrong.

    • AK,

      I’m not sure. My account which is also 9x only is updating accurately.

  • Nelson

    Another user that is not happy with the new Yodlee upgrade.  I understand using Flash for charts, but really, in this day and age they decided to go that route?  The flash modules are cramped, take forever to load, don't load until they scroll into view, etc.  If they ever force me to upgrade they lost me.
    What I like about version 9 is the dashboard's net worth summary, which seems cleaner than Mint's.  In addition to rewards, Yodlee will also link to your utility bills so they come up as they the statements are created.  Mint only lets you manually set recurring bills, which is unfortunate when the bill amount can change.  Put another way, Mint in general has a superior interface, but their lack of bills (and rewards) is the main reason I haven't switched.

    • I couldn’t agree more Nelson. The flash load time is a pain, and they aren’t that useful when they’re loaded anyway. Thanks for bringing up the point on utilities too.

  • Abu

    In the recent past due to additional security features added to many credit card, banking and other sites. I have not been able to auto-login on most of the websites… which has been frustrating. I hate the latest 10 upgrade, which slows down even on the best connection. I am assuming its a server issue or data acquisition issue. Anyways right now they let you go back to the 9x version, which I love the most. I have not even tried other personal finance sites such as Mint or Quicken. I might start trying those when Yodlee pushes everyone to the new version. Until then I 'll stay with my Moneycenter.

    • Yeah, me too. I’m sticking with 9x until my hand is forced.

  • Tesh

    I recently gave Mint a shot, and have not been to impressed with it. Being a Bank of America customer I really like their MyPortfolio tool.  It has few features I found lacking in Mint.. Track ulitiies and rewards accounts. Another great feature it allows to hide accounts from effecting your net worth. IE I am linked on my parents accounts, but really dont want their balance to reflect in my net worth.  I also have few unvested investment accounts. I guess what I am getting to, it allows me to decide which accounts make up my networth in my own opinion.
    I just wanted to throw it out there as I believe this is a great tool, but off course you need to be a bank customer.

    • I’m glad you find utility in the BofA tool. I simply can’t stomach their business practices or low interest rates to ever be able to test it out. Thanks for pointing it out anyway.

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  • Bob

    can you make payments with mint?  

    • No, Mint does not offer a billpay feature. I believe Yodlee does, but I do not use it so I can’t comment on that.

  • Tim

    I'm in the process of trying to decide whether to use Mint or Yodlee.  I'm still a bit concerned about the risk of having ALL my financial information aggregated in one place vs. having one of my accounts breached.  For example, if Wells Fargo (my bank) has security breach, well then my bank account is exposed potentially.  If Mint or Yodlee has security breach wouldn't ALL my info be exposed.  What am I missing?

    • Tim,

      You’re not missing anything. This is the case. If they were breached, you could be very exposed. I’ve been using Yodlee for years now, and there’s never been a problem. Yodlee has proprietary security software that it licenses to the banks, and I assume the same security is used on their own site. So, what I’m saying is that if you’re using the internet to login to your bank, you’re probably already using and trusting Yodlee and you just don’t know it. Of course, there is always risk associated with doing so. Good luck!

  • paranoid

    Orwell was totally wrong about 1984.  The government never even had to go out of its way to monitor and track citizens.  We easily and voluntarily do it for them.  We document our lives on Facebook, Tweet exactly where we are at and what we are doing all the time, and now we even track our finances for them.  This makes it really simple for the NSA to tap into 2 accounts and have all of our information and everything we've done for years, within minutes.  When this total all powerful control falls into the wrong hands, and is used against up, this force will be unstoppable.  Imagine if Hitler had this power.  Anyone who tries to go against it will be stopped with the dirt they documented 1 or 2 low moments in their lifetimes on Facebook or Twitter account.  Their actions will be put in the spotlight and publicly rediculed.  Imagine if Martin Luther King had a Facebook and posted something in his younger years that he no longer beleived later on in his life.   The people in power then could have used that to publicly humiliate him and crush his movement.  The people with the power will be able to conceal their lives since they will be in control of the information network.  They will be able to decide who will win elections.  They will decide who suceeds and who fails.  All this technology seems fun a necessary now…  but is it really?  Could you live without it?  How did we survive 10 years ago without it.  Is life really better this way?

    • paranoid,

      That’s easily the most entertaining comment I’ve read this week. As someone who is actually pretty vigilant myself, I can relate to your concerns easily. Can we live without technology? Absolutely. However, if you choose to do so in the current era, you will end up disengaging from society in a major way. There are large opportunity costs related to the denial of technology. Likewise, there are trade-offs one must make. As you imply, the downstream effects of these trade-offs could have terrible consequences, and the current leadership I see in Congress gives me little faith in those who hold such power. For me, I choose to participate and be mindful of the privacy I lose along the way. If it all gets to be too much, I have no doubt in my ability to walk away from technology or anything else.

      slug, the anonymous

  • Tom

    On the topic of Yodlee…. Just started looking at it in the last couple of days. On both of my computers (running Chrome) it lags a LOT, and tends to freeze. When I, on those same computers, use IE, it works great. Anyone out there having browser issues???

    • Tom,

      I also use Chrome, but I’m not having loading issues. I’ve been on multiple times in the last few days. Sorry I can’t be more help.

  • Tom

    Thanks for the quick reply. Perhaps I will double check setting and such… who knows!

  • Dave

    Yodlee hangs up a bit on Chrome, especially the beta version.  I only use Chrome and have not tried IE  to compare.   Yodlee says they have design their program to work with IE.  Consequently, other browsers seem to be getting less support.

  • I should have mention I only load the old versions of Yodlee.  I hate the more Mint-like version.

  • CmentMixer

    Does Yodlee allow you to enter future transactions or does it only harvest?

    • I have to say I don’t actually know the answer to this question. I have never had the need to enter future transactions so I never explored it. If you figure it out, let us all know.

  • Dan

    Slug – Great review from a few years ago, thank you! I’m a Yodlee 9.x user since 2006, and I’m just today trying out and seriously considering switching to Personal Capital. It’s based on Yodlee’s back end, and my first impression is THIS is what Yodlee SHOULD HAVE done when they re-worked the interface. Might make some good material for sunkcostsblog?

    • Thanks Dan! I’ll have to check that out.

      • I have signed up at Personal Capital. I’m having trouble with my 401k right now, but I like the look and feel. I do wish I could track my rewards cards here too.

        • Dan

          Slug, a couple comments:

          (1) The Personal Capital support is very helpful. After a little back and forth, I got them to count my savings bonds in my manually added Treasury Direct account as US Bonds on their asset allocation screen.

          (2) By now you’ve realized as I did how they make money: They call to offer their advisor services. I did the free consultation. Wasn’t bad, and was actually interesting to get another point of view. I had warned the guy beforehand I was a DIY-Index guy and he said he didn’t really expect to sell me on their individual stock plan.

          Strangely, PC doesn’t automatically update home value from Zillow like Yodlee does, even though it’s based on Yodlee back end. Overall, I really like PC and haven’t even returned to Yodlee Moneycenter in two weeks.

          • Nice to hear. I also got the advisor call, but it’s a total soft sell. They seemed really receptive. I still have lots of accounts to load. May have time in June if I don’t have a new job by then 🙂

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