How to Save Money » Budgeting Canadian Review Canadian Review

Just a little while ago, officially launched in Canada. Originally only in the United States, is a finance tracking service offered to consumers that have a hard time manually tracking their income, expenses, and budgets.

They do this by associating your account with your bank accounts, your credit card accounts, and your loans and debts. They then take each individual transaction (income, expense), label it to the best of their knowledge, and start outlining a budget.

You can also read an interview Tom did with Aaron Patzer about the Mint launch in Canada. I signed up for Mint and have played around with their website. I had a couple of gripes about the site, but I loved many more things, and therefore recommended it as a product worth using.


If you’ve ever taken the time to go over a month of expenses, and manually write down and track each individual purchase, then you know that it can be a daunting task, especially when there is more than one person involved. Recently, my wife and I sat down to look over the last few months worth of purchases, and that required a fairly high time investment to write out each expenses, categorize it, and calculate the total cost per month. Using, this same work was done relatively accurately within minutes, and flawlessly within half an hour. It can be a huge time saver.

The service is very easy to setup. It simply asks you to find your bank, then give your login details. Then find your credit card, and add your login details. Done deal, the basics are setup, and you are good to go. It pulls your transactions and starts to track them. Of course, you can spend more time establishing budgets or going over each individual transaction, making sure that they are accurate, but again this isn’t a hard thing to do. It’s very natural and intuitive. has the ability to alert you if you overspend on a particular budget. It comes with standard budget areas like Groceries and Mortgage, so if you spend over what you are& allotting for the month, will email you and let you know – a handy service if you split purchases between two or more family members.

Mint also has a free iPhone app, one that is not as detailed as their web service, but is perfect for on-the-go checking of bank account balances or quickly settling budget disputes. Again, very quick and easy to set up, and smooth and intuitive once up and running.

I don’t like to spend a lot of time on my finances. I’m much more of a “set it and forget it” kind of guy when it comes to budgeting, so I have all my bills and savings automated so that I never have to worry about not having enough for the phone bill or not being strong enough to set money aside for the future. Therefore, I absolutely LOVE Mint’s ability to let me hop onto the website, and within seconds the website has accessed my bank accounts and credit cards, gotten updated information from their websites, and compiled it all neatly in front of me. I often will just log into Mint, ensure that nothing looks terribly out of place, and will rest assured that I don’t have any fires to put out.

At the same time, Mint is also great at getting down to the nitty and gritty. Once every two weeks or so, I will go through all the transactions that I’ve made, again, just confirming that transactions went through okay, I wasn’t double charged for anything, and everything is labeled correctly. Every single transaction in or out is listen for me, chronologically, and I can quickly find a bill and sort the transactions by that type to ensure that my latest cable bill, for example, matches with what I have been getting charged in the past.

Best of all, Mint’s powerful budgeting and trends calculations get better with time. At first, I could only look back a month or two, but now that I have been using it for 8 months, I have almost a year’s worth of data to look back upon. I can see exactly how much I am spending on my car, for example, and if I spent more in the summer or in the winter. I can see in which months we spent a lot on groceries, and in which we were eating through our freezer.

I can tell in which months we were tired and stressed the most, as those are the months we ate out the most. Seeing all of this incredibly personalized data about myself helps me learn about my own personal spending habits, and helps me address them for the future. Mint teaches me how I have been using my money, and by doing so, teaches me how to use my money better


By far, the biggest one for me, is that they didn’t have the ability to add my British Columbia and National Student Loans. These represent the majority of my debt, so being able to track them in terms of net worth is huge. This is something that I am sure a lot of Canadians have, and it is unfortunate that they do not have access to the system just yet.

Sometimes the service mislabels transactions. It looked like we had spent a lot of money on alcohol in November, but in reality just mislabelled our fuel purchases from a “gas bar” as alcohol, not transportation costs. However, once I recognized the error, it was a quick fix.

Finally, you have the option of adding assets, like a vehicle or real estate. However, there is no objective way of finding its worth – Mint just asks you, and you tell it. Without doing outside research into the value of an asset, you are basically just guessing how much something is worth. My vehicle, for example, could be worth anywhere from $8000 or $12000, and I honestly have no way of knowing unless I attempted to sell the vehicle. Furthermore, its value is constantly depreciating, so if I put in a value (say, $12,000), then the accuracy of the value is constantly changing and becoming less and less accurate. I’m not sure if I am doing something wrong or if that is just the nature of the beast. Regardless, it offers the potential of artificially inflating your net worth.

I still can’t add my Student Loans (seriously Mint?), Mint still mislabels transactions, and Mint still has me adding assets manually, so depreciating assets like vehicles are going to constantly mess up my financial totals that Mint provides to me. I would have to go in and manually change them as the valuation on my vehicle or home changes. I avoid that particular problem by just not adding any additional assets.

There are a few more negatives have popped up in the few months since I signed up. The first, and foremost, was a weird issue with the system. To be honest, I don’t know exactly what happened, but somehow I started seeing duplicate transactions in my account. I thought, at first, that I had been charged twice at a particular restaurant, but when I noticed that I had multiple charges at a couple of locations I got suspicious. I checked with my credit card’s website, and that did not report the same double charges. Back on Mint, I finally figured out that my credit card had been added twice to my account.

At first, I just went through and labelled the duplicates as duplicates, and Mint removed them. That, however, was time-consuming. I then tried to figure out how to remove one of the credit cards from the site but was unable to. When I contacted Mint’s support, I finally figured out that this was an issue that they are aware of, and the “fix” was to go into the settings on one of the credit cards and to mark it as “hidden”.

It seems quite odd to me that there is no easier way of removing an account from my Mint’s portfolio, and to this day it is still sitting there, hidden away. Mint is still usable, but I do not know if a bunch of the data that I had marked as a duplicate is now completely gone, as I do not know if the transactions that I marked were from the duplicate or the original.

The only other issue that I have is that Mint will randomly stop being able to pull the information from one of my accounts. Currently, my credit card account has not been updated on the site for about a week. Mint keeps asking me to confirm that my account still exists on the credit card’s site (it does), and to confirm my login information (it is correct), yet will constantly time out and be unable to pull the credit card’s data. It has done this before with my online account and my other bank account. Often this problem fixes itself within a few days, but is nonetheless annoying to deal with.

Conclusion is definitely worth using – especially if you enjoying having a “hands-off” approach to your finances. While I haven’t yet had time to fully explore all of Mint’s features and options, I can definitely say that it will become a part of my personal finances. Instead of going to two or three different websites to get a quick picture of my finances, I can quickly go to and get an accurate estimate of my financial health.

Overall, Mint is a fantastic resource and I highly recommend people check their site out. I, personally, have not had any type of privacy or security concerns, and the benefits that I get from having all my personal financial information in one location, stored historically, is far greater than any fear I have. If you were unimpressed with Mint’s tools, check them out again once they have a few more months of data, you may be surprised at what it can do.

Have you been using Mint? What do you think?


  1. Sean

    thanks for the heads up, I use mint and have a few trading buddies up in Canada that would find it useful.

  2. Sustainable PF

    I have read many reviews on now. One thing I find is not covered is concerns about security. By adding ALL of your login credentials to a single site I feel you are leaving yourself open to an awful lot of risk. If gets hacked, your entire financial world is exposed.
    We’ll stick to our spreadsheets hidden deep beneath password encryption and network firewalls.

    • Fitch

      I totally agree. I was in the process of opening an account when I got to the point where they asked me about my bank user name and password. I aborted the process right away. I talked about this with a buddy and we both feel uncomfortable about it. Like you said, we’re exposed if Mint gets hacked. Even if they don’t, how much trust do you put on their employees? Also, whatever happened to banks requiring you to not share your password with anyone? In the end, I think the risks outweigh the benefits.

      • Quate

        My main concern was also safety. I don’t like the idea of it having access to my accounts. I love the concept, but the idea of giving out such personal information makes me uncomfortable.

        • Lindsay

          Me too, I worry about 3rd party issues and marketing schemes and who really gets access to my financials.

          • Katie

            We talked to a security supervisor at Royal Bank who said that Mint was one of the bank’s approved trusted sites and it was OK to provide RBC login credentials. I don’t know about other banks but that made me feel more secure about using Mint.

      • John

        That’s the difference between old school and new school guys.

        It’s an electronic world…everything has a trail. Money goes missing, your covered.

        Spreadsheets? Sure that works, but ridiculously inconvenient in almost every way.

        What is your bank gets hacked?

        Maybe read their privacy info over again….

        • Mike

          “Money goes missing, your covered” should be “Money goes missing and you gave your password to a third party, you are sh*t out of luck”. Read the terms & conditions on your web banking accounts.

  3. Amy

    It’s a great idea but as mentioned security does seem like something i’d be a little skeptical about when putting all my financial information trust into a website.

  4. schultzter

    I think another interesting question (asked on the Mint forums but never answered) is where they store your data (including passwords & transactions). If they’re stored in Canada then Canadian laws apply, if they’re stored in another country (like the USA) then their national laws apply (like the Patriot Act) which could differ significantly from you’re used to in Canada!

    • kbub

      Read their terms and conditions. It is stored in California. You are also giving up your right to trial by jury – which is illegal and nullifies the whole agreement. I would not recommend them at all based on their terms and conditions.

  5. Richard

    i’m not worried about security concerns at all. all login information is encrypted. even if someone breaks in and steals all the databases, it’ll take them what, like 50 years straight computing time to get our passwords out? mint will announce that they were breached and you can change all your passwords.

    Surely the passwords you tape to your keyboards/monitors should be of more concern….

    That said, my biggest beef with Mint is that they axed one of the best features from Quicken Online (quicken bought mint a year or so ago). You used to be able to input all of your monthly bills and income sources and then forecast your bank balance for the next month or so. This was of huge benefit so that you could identify any trouble ahead of time and move money around accordingly. It also let you see how much you could overpay your credit card without coming up short on your mortgage, etc.

    • Eric

      You should try CalendarBudget if you want to be able to forecast your account balances and future transactions. No automated data pull from your bank, but it can import your data – give you great flexibility for planning your money, not simply reacting to whats happened.

  6. Geoff

    Hi everybody, Geoff here from the Mint team in Canada.

    Alan – thanks for the review. A couple follow ups: We’re adding banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions on a regular basis and you can make requests from within your account. I’ll check with our team about the status ofstudent loans.
    Transactions naming accuracy is pretty solid and continually improving al the time. Interestingly, the recent increase in the number of Canadians using Mint has also improved our accuracy percentage in the US…lots of Canadians taking advantage of the strong dollar and buying down south.
    Assets: as Aaron noted in his interview with Tom (the one you linked to) “US Mint users who have added their home address see a Zillow home value estimate, and can accept the Zillow estimate or enter their own estimated home value. As of today, Canadian Mint users can enter their estimated home value. Again, as we did in the US, we’ve launched in Canada with a core set of features, and will add more. We’ll alert our users as we add more Canadian features in the coming months.”

    There were a few comments centered on security. Mint is locked down. You can find quite a bit of info on the page, and we addressed a number of other specific questions in Jody White’s recent Moneysense blog here:


    • kbub

      Then why do you ask users to give up a constitutional right in your terms and agreements? Maybe because your service is not as secure as you profess and when poo has a moment with fan you can feel covered?

  7. Jessica07

    Thanks for the information. You really had me chuckling at the November drinking bill mishap. 🙂

  8. youngandthrifty

    I”ve been tinkering around with mint in the past few days, and set up a “budget” which was easy enough to do.

    I find that their prompts for you to “save money” by using their recommended institutions are kind of annoying.

    I also was dismayed because there is no Questrade on Mint.

    I also agree that the things are kind of mislabelled sometimes- like I was charged for a monthly fee for my bank (but then it was deducted) and Mint perceives that I am getting charged a monthly fee and it recommends other institutions that don’t charge a monthly fee.

  9. young'n'savvy saver

    I’m also somewhat concerned about the security, but loved seeing my spending some up on the website.

    Although it doesn’t always categorize things the way I want, I do like how I’m able to go in and change it, which keeps me looking at my transactions and still having to pay attention to them– but saves me way more time than entering it into Excel!

    My friend had trouble logging on though and getting her BMO account linked up, and we’re not sure why…anyone else experience this?

  10. Youssef

    They still have problem with BMO bank Account. I’m still waiting for the fix.

  11. Tax Guy is terrible. I never could get any of my banking information to be added and I kept getting error messages.

    I was never a fan of Quicken and I am not a fan of Mint and will never try it again.

    • Gary

      I got all my various accounts set up in less than 10 minutes. I am a retired financial advisor and absolutely love it but have only used it for about an hour so far. I too am concerned about the security but I am comfortable with their security levels, policies, etc. There was a time when no one would use debit cards and credit cards and only wanted to go to a bank. There was a time when no one would shop online. There was a time when people wouldn’t use their computer to do online banking. I doubt the people who say they won’t use here go without online banking, without debit cards, without credit cards, without online shopping, etc. Do you really think your personal home wi-fi security and your $750 computer and online shopping website has a higher level of security than Intuit’s? Are you qualified to make that assessment? What about the guy at the gas station who is going inside to swipe your credit card? Are you sure he isn’t swiping it through a card reader? What about when you go to the bank? Are you sure you aren’t being watched via a pin-hole camera that can see your PIN, etc.?

    • John

      Mint is not terrible. What bank are you using? It could be you that’s the problem!

  12. Matt

    I am looking for an online budgeting program, and the options have narrowed down to Mint, or Quicken. Does anybody have some insight into the differences between these programs? Can Quicken access all the same bank information? Canada Student Loans are another one that need to be included. Any information would be much appreciated! Thank you

    • Allan Risk

      I’m using You Need a Budget (YNAB) … it’s way better than Quicken. I can’t say how it compares to Mint.

  13. Jen

    After feeling confident that is a secure site, I recently opened up an account. Many many pro’s to this program. Yes there are sometimes mistakes with the categories, but this is a very easy fix, and forces you to keep tabs on your transactions. My only big con with this program is that is does not take into account a running balance. The “everything else” option at the bottom of the Budget page just isnt’t enough, and there should be a way of reviewing your balance without setting budget categories. This seems to be the number one complaint so far with other users as well, and hopefully this issue will be resolved soon.

  14. Jane

    I’m interested in using mint to track my investments. Does anyone know when the investment part of mint will be launched here in Canada?

  15. Chris

    I would stay clear of Mint. Absolute nightmare in the UK and real mixed track record. Could be far better.

  16. pete

    For those looking for financial tracking software, what about MS Money Sunset for free? MS has discontinued it, but provides the sunset version at no charge:

  17. rebecca

    has anyone had any privacy issues with What do they do with your information – I know it’s free, so they must get something out of it. Anyone know what?

  18. Rasha Gad

    I used Mint primary because “It pulls your transactions and starts to track them” and really that is what mint is supposed to be all about because it is not a budgeting tool nor is it able to predict cash flow, ..etc. But guess what !!! after using the software for 1 year now and was completely confident that it pulls all my transactions from my bank accounts, i found out that IT DOES NOT!! I was devastated because I based all my tax returns, budgeting .. etc on the transaction on Mint. I went to Mint user online form and found out that this is a common problem and Mint claims to be working on it. I contacted Mint and pointed them out to the problem ( which was i was missing out 1 month of transactions ) and after 4 emails back and forth in which I have answered all questions asked and gave them enough proof of the error they could not find a solution to it and stopped communicating with me all together!! So bottom line, It Is Not A Reliable Software.. you will be keeping your books based on incomplete financial info and after all its free .. so you really have no where to go when problems happen and they can not resolve it .. Sad to say but, I would recommend against using Mint!!

  19. CJ

    I would LOVE to be able to use but the issue in Canada is one of “liability.”

    If your BANK got hacked and your account had money stolen, your bank would be liable. If your bank found out you used, they have grounds to deny covering the stolen funds, regardless of whether or not had anything to do with the theft.

    Until Canadian banks accept and change their terms and conditions of use to reflect that, you are giving up a large measure of safety.

    • Jawad

      Excellent. After reading all this thread, indeed you came up with the most convincing word. Liability to Mint!

  20. CJ

    Furthering what “Pete” mentioned above, Microsoft Money Sunset Plus is free to download.

    It will do what does and much more, albeit with a bit more user interaction.

  21. Coco

    I tried I setup one credit card and got an email warning from my credit card company that my account had been compromised. I deleted my account right away.

    • Gary

      Generally, credit card companies do not email their customers. is a 3rd party website that pulls info electronically and securely from the various financial institutions that you have accounts at. When pulls info. (to update your info at credit card/financial institutions sometimes recognize it as a breach of security. If you picked up the phone and called your credit card company, they would be able to tell you that it was It is just a precaution issued by the credit card company. The same happened to me when I first set it up, I got alarmed at first and then I realized it was just

  22. Allan

    I work for a bank in Canada … and the policy of my employer is that if you use aggregating sites like Mint, and you are hacked, or money is stolen from your account, you’re on your own.

  23. Miss K

    By using Mint you violate your banks third party agreement. Giving your account details to a third party you are waiving any protection your bank gives you.

  24. Andrea

    In terms of finding the value of your car. You can go to This site will give you the value that the bank would loan to you to purchase that particular car; however, selling it on your own you will usually yield a higher value.

  25. Kevin

    I would not recommend using this tool.

    I have used Mint for a number of years and it has been one problem after another.

    The tool is constantly re-categorizing entries at random, requiring the user to routinely check history to verify that nothing has changed and make corrections to their changes, so that the information displayed over time is remotely accurate.

    This tool claims users can make rules that will automatically categorize routine / repeating expenses, but this only works in a very limited way, and not always requiring the user to constantly change the categorization of pulled data.

    They also screwed up the data pull from my main account and won’t fix it, insisting I have to delete my account (which deletes all history) and set it back up again, which will only pull 3 months of history.

    After dealing with their system admins for a month to fix this, I have lost any confidence that they have any idea what they are doing and I now worry for my data’s security.

    Save yourself the headache and look elsewhere for good Budgeting tool.

  26. Michelle

    I’ve used Mint in the past & have gone back to it to keep track of my banking in a more specific way category-wise than my bank has it. One thing I’d love to see with Mint, though, is the option to add actual cash transactions since I tend to use cash a lot more than my debit card. I don’t even have a credit card. The ability to add cash transactions would be helpful instead of having the “Cash” category as my chequing account. I’d like that to just be called “Chequing.” 🙂

  27. Anna

    I use Mint every day via a widget on my Samsung Note 4. It’s brilliant! I don’t need to log into the mint website, it’s just a widget app on my phone that I can refresh and, bingo, I can tell when I’ve been paid or when my mortgage payment has cleared my account. I can also see what transactions my partner is making and viceversa. So, in a minute, I can tell if he’s eaten at Subway for lunch or shopped at the hardware store. It is waaaay easier than logging into my bank accounts online just for an update or to see if a cheque has cleared. I don’t use it for budgeting, just for getting info. It is not used to move any money around, again, just for info. It gives me peace of mind to have my transactions and balances at my fingertips. And, since the accounts total into a (reasonable) approximation of my net worth, I’m constantly reminded that 1) my net worth is in the positive no matter how large my mortgage feels, and 2) that I should be taking actions to increase my net worth.

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