Should you close your Mint.com account?

The banks (and the government) think you should.

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Online only.

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It seems that all is not well in the world of financial aggregators.

MoneySense recently learned that the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada issued a warning to Canadian consumers that the use of third-party aggregator sites may leave them without a security guarantee from their bank.

“Consumers should be aware that if they disclose their online banking information to any other party, including financial aggregators, they may risk losing their protection against unauthorized transactions,” reads the agency’s statement.

Remarks from some of the Big Five banks were more direct, stating that the submission of access codes and passwords to third-party aggregation sites was a direct breach of security policy and voids any security guarantee, even if it can’t be proven that any fraudulent activity was a direct result of the act.

The news caused a stir here at MoneySense, as we’ve previously recommended services such as Mint.com (owned by Intuit) as an efficient way to stay on top of your finances. While Mint.com goes to great lengths to explain its robust security features, this explicit warning from both the banks and government means we have to re-visit our position on the subject.

See our follow-up story here.

17 comments on “Should you close your Mint.com account?

  1. The banks also warn us about independent mortgage brokers.

    Reply

    • Very true, Fearce, but in the case of your going with a mortgage broker, there's less opportunity for them to throw their hands up and say "not our fault" in the case they lose you a tonne of money.

      Reply

  2. Banks don't want you knowing how much you spend of fees, and how you could save by moving to other financial vehicles (something that Mint provides). I'm sticking with Mint.

    Reply

  3. I closed mine. I really didn't like another site having IDs and passwords to my bank. I love Quicken though. I've been using it for 25 years.

    Reply

  4. This sounds rather like two-faced, self-serving misdirection.

    RBC invites you to "Link other institution accounts" to your RBC card, and view these accounts online via RBC.

    It was convneient, but a couple of years ago I realized the potential for abuse by RBC, so unlinked. At least Mint.con is independant, so the issue becomes one of security and secondary usage of the data.

    But I see the point; your passwords are out there in cyber-space, just like all these credit card transactions in supposedly secure systems that hackers manage to break into.

    Reply

  5. A true secret is only known by one person, yourself. You might share a secret with a trusted party, your partner perhaps, but once a third party is involved it's not a secret, it's common knowledge. Act accordingly with financial info, and you'll never suffer a loss.

    Reply

  6. mint.com is not the only online software people should be concerned about, I do think it depends on the level of security questions. The other day I forgot my password for Questrade account and I was rather surprised by the lack of security this online trading site has. One question and one email. I think anyone that knows you well could get into your account while try getting into a ING online account….

    Reply

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  8. It seems strange to me that the Canadian Banks would build their systems to integrate with a 3rd party application such as Mint.com in a manner that is against their own online security policies. Why not come up with a solution that does not require the banks' customers to waive their online security reimbursement guarantee? A simple secondary password stored on both sides would have been sufficient since Mint.com has read-only access. In this case, customers could avoid giving Mint.com their actual banking passwords.

    Reply

  9. I like the idea of “Mint.com” but I’ve never liked the idea of my financial data sitting on the server of a company with no liability for what happens with it.

    Find a copy of Microsoft Money 2004. Later versions seem dependent on an online components but the 2004 version stores everything locally in a file you can password protect. You can download bank statements into Money to do essentially what Mint.com will do. Quicken will likely do the same thing.

    Reply

  10. I thought mint.com was a terrific idea and signed up. But, after reading the MoneySense article, I reconsidered and deleted my account. Simple to do, and was the right decision for me.

    Reply

  11. The banks should accept that this type of data aggregation service provides value to their clients and try to leverage it for good instead of fighting it. By letting Mint do what it does best, it eliminates the need for them to provide similar (but weaker) services at a cost.
    If they embraced this trend, I would think they could provide read only access to a client's financial data (I may be over simplifying things though).

    Reply

  12. "Mint.com goes to great lengths to explain its robust security features" — BULL. Everytime this issue comes up they say there tool is read only but thats not what the banks care about. Read only doesn't make the banks happy.

    Reply

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