Yodlee Moneycenter for tracking your personal finances vs. Mint or Geezeo or Wesabe or Mvelopes or Quicken

There’s been several articles recently about tracking your personal finances online (article 1, article 2). They mention a wide variety of personal finance tracking sites including:

http://www.quickenonline.com/ (which charges)
http://www.mvelopes.com/ (which charges)
http://www.wesabe.com/ (SHUT DOWN)
http://www.mint.com/ (BOUGHT BY INTUIT)

However, none of the articles I’ve seen have mentioned Yodlee Moneycenter, which I’ve been using for almost a year now. There’s no cost for the basic service and there’s no ads.

Here’s the spiel of offerings in Yodlee’s own words:

Key Yodlee MoneyCenter Features:
Account Consolidation
– from over 8,000 financial, bill and rewards accounts
Personal Data Reports – such as a net worth statement, cash flow report, and historical account balances
Expense Categorization – for all credit card and bank account transactions
Budgeting – including spending analysis, goal vs. actual and business related reports and charts
Automatic Check Register – includes future, projected cash flows based on scheduled payments and transactions
Bill Pay – including card payments and “same day” payment credit for consumers
Account-to-Account Funds Transfers – the easiest, quickest way to move money between any two financial accounts
Universal Portfolio Tracker – with quotes, company profiles, and historical portfolio performance and asset allocation charts

On Yodlee, I basically track everything I can. This includes: 17 bank accounts (checking, money market, CD’s), 9 investment accounts (IRA’s, 401k’s, brokerage, TreasuryDirect), 7 credit cards, my mortgage loan, all my Prosper loans as a lender, and 11 different airline and hotel rewards programs. How could one possibly keep all this straight without something to help aggregate the data. I’ll be honest, you need to set some time aside to really set it up and get all your logins and passwords entered, but once you do it pretty much runs itself. Each day I login and click update and it logs into all of those accounts and gives me a pretty complete view of my finances (my student loan company is in the stone ages so it’s not available through Yodlee). Some of the things I use Yodlee for most often are:

  1. Bill Tracking – Since I try to pay everything by credit card if possible, my bills are normally pretty high, and I like to know when they are about to be auto-paid from my checking account so I can make sure the right amount is in there to cover the bill as well as not too much so that I’m wasting interest accumulation by leaving a surplus in a low interest checking account (I should switch my bill pay to my ING Checking account which has a much higher interest rate, but doing so is painful and should be the topic of another discussion).
  2. Prosper – I get to see every payment that comes through on my Prosper loans and note when I’ve accumulated enough payments ($50) to fund another loan without ever having to actually login to Prosper.
  3. Net Worth – I like to look at this and watch how it changes month to month. It’s amazing to watch your money grow and your debt shrink (even if the movement feels incredibly slow)
  4. Global view of money markets – This makes it so easy to make transfers between accounts because you can see where all of your money is.
  5. Transactions – Since I almost never pay cash, I can see every single transaction I make. If anything fraudulent is ever going on, I will see very quickly.

Well, that’s my long-winded story on Yodlee and tracking personal finance online. I know the idea of entering all those passwords on one site is scary, but is it really any scarier than storing them on the Post-It under your laptop? Yodlee feels very secure to me, and I encourage you to try it out.

Check out my updated review with a comparison to Mint.com.

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