Mint vs. YNAB 2023 | Is YNAB or Mint Better for Budgeting
I’m really excited to talk about Mint vs YNAB – the two of the world’s most popular online budgeting apps. Both of the service can track your spending, savings, and debt amounts, among other things. However, they are also different in many aspects. So is YNAB or Mint better? Which one is right for you?
Keep reading the side-by-side comparison between Mint and YNAB and learn how each app works and find out which is best for your needs.
Let’s jump right in and start with the basics.
Note: This post is part of our roundup of the best budgeting software. Here are 2 more articles to see how YNAB compare with other budgeting apps:
Mint vs. YNAB: Overview
What is YNAB?
YNAB stands for “You Need a Budget.” The company was founded in 2004 by a husband-and-wife team Julie and Jesse.
YNAB is all about helping you save money and budget better. You can connect bank accounts, set goals, contribute to savings and customize spending categories. You can also access resources, like app user guides, budgeting advice and free workshops.
What is Mint
Founded in 2007, Mint is a financial tracking app and budgeting tool offered by Intuit.
Mint is a more comprehensive financial app on the market. Users can add their own categories, track bills, split transactions and set budgets that alert them when they’re exceeding their maximum spending threshold. The service also provides free credit scores and credit score monitoring.
The Basic Features of Mint and YNAB
|Credit Score Monitoring||×||√|
Mint vs. YNAB: How They Work
How Mint Works:
- Create a Mint account.
- Connect your credit cards, bank accounts, mortgage and other financial services.
- Mint will pull in each of those transactions.
- You give each transaction a category (ex: Groceries, Rent, Shopping).
- Create budgets for each category and track trends over time to better understand your spending.
How YNAB Works:
- Create a YNAB account (free for 34 days).
- Create budgets for each and every thing you spend money on.
- Connect your bank account, or let YNAB know how much you have saved.
- Either manually add all transactions to YNAB or connect your credit cards and categorize transactions after the fact.
- Understand where every dollar is going by giving it a budget.
Mint vs. YNAB: Budgeting
When it comes to budgeting, both YNAB and Mint can do the job well. Both services are versatile enough for any budgeter to stop over-drafting, set up a systematic way to pay off credit card debt, set up savings, and manage spending.
But how they are different?
YNAB focuses on giving every dollar in your bank account a job. Before you can spend any dollar, you need to know what bucket of money on YNAB that money was coming from. Its budgeting strategy is built on four main rules that have been designed to help users live within their means, get out of debt, save money, and stop living paycheck-to-paycheck. They are as follows:
#1. Give Every Dollar a Job
#2. Embrace Your True Expenses
#3. Roll with The Punches
#4. Age Your Money
Mint focuses on categorizing your spending after you have spent the funds. This allows you to see if you’re still within your budget, as well as look back on prior months to understand spending over time. Mint offer three types of budgets: Monthly, every few months (you enter the number of months) and a one-time budget that goes until the funds are exhausted.
Mint vs. YNAB: Synchronization
Both platforms provide automatic synchronization of your bank, credit card and loan accounts with many financial institutions. While Mint supports a larger number of banks and financial services than YNAB.
Mint vs. YNAB: Cost
YNAB charges $11.99 per month or $84 per year, with the first 34 days free so you can test it out. If you choose to pay for the service on an annual basis, it works out to a better deal of 7$/month. College students get an even better pricing deal from YNAB. If you can provide evidence you’re currently enrolled as a student, you can enjoy the service free for a full year.
Mint, on the other hand, is a 100% free budgeting software. The drawback of providing a free software is that Mint has other ways to make money. Then, how Mint make money? Mint generates its revenue through four separate channels:
- Advertisements that appear on their website and app
- Premium accounts offering credit-report monitoring in exchange for a user fee
- Recommendations to save using various financial services from other institutions and companies where in return they receive a referral fee
- Mint also sells the aggregate (not your individual) financial data to various providers.
Mint vs. YNAB: Security
Security is an important issue to anyone using an online financial app since your entire financial life could be exposed.
YNAB has a security page that details their security practices – which is a good sign. YNAB’s infrastructure is built on Heroku, which is the same technology used by the CIA. Key security measures include:
- Staff members do not have access to customer data unless requested by the customer or required by law.
- Passwords are one-way salted and hashed, using multiple iterations of a key derivative function for passwords, making it nearly impossible for a hacker to determine the exact sequence.
- Data is encrypted, so it can’t be read even if the hard drives were stolen.
- When you terminate your account, your data is wiped clean from the database.
Mint also is concerned about the security of your personal and stored information. It comes from the makers of TurboTax® and QuickBooks®, trusted by millions with sensitive data. Key security measures include:
- Two-factor authentication: In addition to password protection, Mint won’t let you access your account until you validate the device you’re using either via the email address you used when you signed up or by a SMS text message to your cellphone.
- Touch ID sensor for iOS: This quickly reads your fingerprint and unlocks your phone, allowing you quick access to the Mint app.
- Mint participates in security scanning with VeriSign to help ensure security for sensitive data transfer.
The data security I’m most concerned about with Mint is their partners they share your data with. You can learn more about Mint’s security features here.
Mint vs. YNAB: Customer Service
Neither Mint nor YNAB offers customer service support via phone.
YNAB support is run through their homepage, and there is a comprehensive list of topics that are discussed in community forums, weekly YouTube videos, and they even have 300+ short podcast episodes to help you with different budgeting issues. If all of that doesn’t answer your question, you can email them directly.
I didn’t find any help in Mint website expect for the list of FAQs.
MINT VS. YNAB: Which One is Right for You
Till now, you may be aware that Mint and YNAB offer slightly different services. So the question of which service is better depends on your unique situation.
Mint is for You If…
- You just want to better understand your spending and tweak it accordingly
- You want to see all your accounts (bank, credit cards, loans) in one place.
- You want to create monthly budgets for expense categories (e.g., eating out), and you want to see how much of your monthly budget you have consumed so far.
- You need some budgeting help, but you don’t want to pay for the service
YNAB is for You If…
- Your primary focus is budgeting—and if you’re really serious about setting and making a budget.
- You want to maximize spending habits, create and adhere to budgets and optimize your financials
- You want to organize your finances by “allocating” money for your expenses out of your monthly income, and you want to see what is left over.
Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone.