No more Mint

If you remember, I wasn’t a big fan of Mint.com in the first place because there was trouble getting all my accounts to show up on the website. A few weeks after that post, everything was sorted out and the website started working the way it was supposed to. I LOVED the app on my iPhone and the summaries of my spending emailed to me or appearing as alerts in the app were super useful since I haven’t been tracking it lately (sorry guys, April is definitely another month lost in the abyss. I have only a vague recollection of where my money is going).

However, this week I read this article in MoneySense and realized absent accounts might not be the biggest concern when using Mint.com. I didn’t need much convincing, and deleted my accounts from the website right away. Since I’m spending May in France, the last thing I need is my credit card being stolen abroad and then being responsible for the bill. I’m particularly wary because credit card fraud is exactly what happened on my vacation last year.

I went to Montreal last May, and about two months after I got home, $300 was withdrawn from my chequing account. I received a call immediately from my bank notifying me of potentially suspicious behavior on my account — the money was withdrawn from a Montreal ATM machine only 2hrs after I bought Starbucks in Edmonton with the same card, so yeah, that was definitely weird! TD handled things perfectly, and I had my $300 back within a few days. I really appreciated how painless they made a scary experience!

That said, having had money stolen from my bank account in the past means I have no naivetee to spare thinking it won’t be stolen in the future (though a lot of hope that it doesn’t!). The MoneySense article says that the way Mint.com accesses your bank accounts breeches the contract you’ve made with your bank and thus voids your protection against fraud. This makes sense, because if you’re not keeping your passwords confidential then no surprise the bank doesn’t want to back you up if your money gets stolen.

So now I am Mint-free, but that’s ok. Now that I’m using ING’s Thrive chequing account, they’re filling in for alerts when I have low account balances or new deposits. My own money tracking (when I intend to get back to it, that is) will provide me with graphs & charts in simple office software.

Fees? Noooooo!

Argghhhhh!

FML!

I have a student account which means I’m entitled to no-fee banking — within limitations. One of those limitations is on how many debit transactions I can do per month. Since I very responsibly tucked my credit cards away tow wait out my spender bender, I’ve been using debit exclusively for the month of March. This is awesome because I can’t spend more money than I actually have in my bank account. It is not awesome when I spend so much I get charged fees =(

I was pretty choked. I mean, I could have gotten a latte AND a pastry from a coffee shop for that $7! In retaliation, I went right ahead an opened a no-fee Thrive chequing account with ING. I love ING very much, as I’ve told you before, so I’m excited to make them my main bank with NO LIMITS ON DEBIT TRANSACTIONS!

I just need to set up direct deposit for my job and some other sources, switch over my automatic bill pays, and then I’ll be good to close my TD chequing account for good when I get back from Paris. I’ve banked with TD ever since I’ve banked, but there’s no way I’m shelling out $12/mo for a normal non-student bank account (which is what I have to get now that I up and quit grad school). The fee is waived if you maintain a balance of $5000, but I really feel there’s better places for such a sum than a chequing account! I will be keeping my line of credit with TD and may or may not close my TD visa account, I’m going to think about it.

How much do you pay for banking? Do you accept fees as a necessary evil or do you do all you can to avoid them?

FML.

Sigh.

 

Mint.com sucks

I know a lot of people are huge fans of Mint.com, but I think it sucks.

I have been using Mint.com since last August, before it officially came to Canada. At that time, ING wasn’t recognized so only my TD accounts showed up. This was a significant limitation to me getting the most out of this website, but I waited patiently until all banks were supported. Now ING does show up… kind of. Unfortunately, having all my banks show up doesn’t make Mint work for me, and I’ve about given up entirely for a number of reasons:

All my accounts don’t show up. My RRSP mutual fund is wholly absent from my financial summary. Consequently, there’s always a nice little notice when I log in that I am “behind on my retirement goal”. Uh, thanks.

My transactions are never categorized correctly. Credit card payments, transfer to savings, etc. are always marked “unknown” or “uncategorized”. Trips to the drugstore show up as food, grocery purchases appear as fees, you name it. I have to go in and manually change everything to the correct category for it to give any semblance of true financial book-keeping — but this entirely defeats the purpose of using Mint since it’s supposed to do all this for me!

For the longest time, Mint recognized my available credit as debt. This has since been resolved, but I had a horrible net worth for months. It was depressing to look at even if it wasn’t true!

I know I might be alone in this, but I hate Mint.com. If I track my own spending, set my own goals, and make my own pie charts, what good does it really do me? While I can see how useful Mint wants to be, the glaring inaccuracies aren’t going to help anyone that can’t budget themselves. I really want Mint to work, because the website is easy to use, there’s an iPhone app, and it sends me alerts for low balances and large deposits & withdrawals, but right now it’s still infuriating to use because everything is always wrong.

Stupid Mint.com, I’ll be sticking with my own spreadsheets if I have to manually enter every price & category, thankyouverymuch.