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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