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Hidden Danger at Mint.com?

Published April 24, 2011 - 6 Comments

I wrote a post a while ago about a new (in Canada) service called Mint.com, which took all your financial information from different sources and combined it into one easy to view site.  It’s been extremely helpful for me to be able to view all my different accounts, and track my spending across different areas.  Mint.com automatically begins to create a budget for me based on my spending habits, and alerts me when I have gone beyond my normal spending.  It shows me my net worth, and has actually become a bit of a game for me, as I check it frequently to see how close I am to breaking even.  (Currently around $ -3000, but I include the mortgage for the house that I don’t live in, so as soon as my name is off that house, my net worth will skyrocket).

I’m a huge fan of Mint.com, so it was quite a surprise to see an article titled Hidden Danger at Mint.com in my latest copy of Money Sense magazine.  They warn that “by disclosing your passwords to such sites, you might be nullifying an important agreement with your bank that covers you in case of fraud.  Ouch.  To be honest, that never occurred to me.  I suppose that it makes sense on some level.  Of course Mint.com takes a different approach, reminding users that they use bank-quality security measures.  And really, are the banks really taking as good care of your information as they could?  Too many stories of lost laptops, or pages and pages of customer data being faxed to the wrong person.  I think I’ll take my chances with Mint.com.

I did think that the end quote from a Toronto lawyer was interesting: “If there is fraud on your account, even if it’s not related to Mint or another aggregator site, there is still a potential that the bank will deny you fraud protection.”  Can’t say that I agree with that, but I’ve never felt that the banks have had my best interests in mind.  They seem to be doing quite well, though.  RBC (my bank) posted record profits again in Q1 of this year.  It’s nice to know that the pain I feel every time I see my service charge fees is going to a good cause.

Back to the issue of Mint.com and what it means for me, I’m disappointed that the banks would take this approach with the company, but it will not change my use of the service.  For me, the positives outweigh the potential negatives, but when I read the article, I felt that I should make note of it here, because of my previous post championing the service.  I’ll let you decide whether the bank’s bullying is enough to change your mind.