When Intuit bought Mint.com and its 1.5 million users in September 2009 for $170 million, it was widely assumed that the company would eventually transition the current users of its Web-based Quicken Online personal finance application to the award-winning Mint. Intuit kept Mint founder and new media darling Aaron Patzer and its development team on board, and it promised Quicken Online users that “good things are coming your way.” Aaron even sent note on April 29, 2010 telling me and my fellow Quicken Online users:
Dear Valued Customer,
Since Intuit acquired Mint.com, our personal finance teams have been hard at work (behind the scenes) combining Quicken® Online and Mint.com into the single best way to manage your money online—Mint.com from the makers of Quicken.
You will still enjoy the features you know and love in Quicken Online plus so much more. It will make personal recommendations based on your spending to help find ways to reduce your bills and cut your interest rates—on average, saving people hundreds of dollars. And, best of all, it will remain FREE!
We'll let you know when we get closer to a release date. In the meantime, you can continue to use Quicken Online just like you have. Once we have completed integrating all features to Mint, you will be able to easily transfer your information and data to ensure the smoothest transition possible.
Thank you for your continued loyalty.
Wow. Mint. All those awards. All that glowing praise from the personal finance and Web press. And I'll be able to easily transfer all of my information. Maybe they'll even do it for me, I thought. Bring it on!
Then two weeks ago Intuit reversed that decision. On July 16, 2010, good old Aaron sent me and all other Quicken Online users another note, this time with bad news:
Dear Valued Customer,
For the past several months, we've been working hard to combine the best features of Quicken Online and Mint.com into a single online personal finance solution—Mint.com. With the improved Mint.com, you can enjoy the features you love in Quicken Online, plus new benefits such as connecting to over 16,000 financial institutions, including Canadian banks—as well as tracking your investment and retirement accounts. There is also a new Goals feature that takes the tool you enjoyed in Quicken Online to the next level.
As a result of these changes, Quicken Online will no longer be available as of August 29, 2010. Creating a new Mint.com account is easy, but for reasons of security and accuracy, we cannot create one for you. Once you're signed in, you can add your accounts and see your financial picture in just a few minutes.
While it only takes minutes to sign up, I do urge you to make the switch at your earliest convenience. After August 29, 2010, you will no longer be able to access Quicken Online or your data stored in it.
If maintaining a record of your Quicken Online data is important to you, you can export it to a CSV file. If you have any questions, we're here to help. Click here to view a list of common questions.
We look forward to continuing to serve you with Mint.com—the best online personal money-management solution available. Sign up today.
Disappointing but understandable. No doubt that migration is tough, and transitioning all the user bank, credit card and bill information set up in Quicken would be a monumental task. It would have been nice if Aaron would have been straight with Quicken Online users about those difficulties instead of telling us about all the great new features but hey, I can take a hint. And killing off my Quicken Online account certainly makes sense from Intuit’s point of view—they did pay $170 million for Mint, after all. Might as well start recouping some of those costs and shuttering Quicken Online is a big step in that direction.
So migrating my own stuff on my own might be a hassle but it will be worth it, I thought. Aaron has personally assured me that his team has been working hard to combine the best of both sites. Mint debuted at TechCrunch, got raves on this very Web site, and won a slew of awards. 1.5 million users can’t be wrong, can they?
Sure they can.
Awards are fairly easy to come by on the Web and 1.5 million users isn’t exactly a bellwether of a great site—just look at MySpace (actually, spare yourself the trouble). But Quicken bought Mint for $170 million—the more I say it, the more my head hurts—so, hey, it’s gotta be good, right?
I’m here to tell you that for many users, especially those from the Quicken Online diaspora, Mint,—and I’m searching for a really nice way to say this—Mint sucks.
Here’s why. In addition to several usability quirks—like signing you out of the application while you pour yourself a cup of coffee or the practically unusable drop-down calendars that require a surgeon’s steady hand to select dates—Mint does not let you schedule transactions in future. While Quicken Online was far from perfect, it let me schedule transactions in future, so I could budget at a very granular level of detail. Not so with Mint.
In keeping with it's Web 2.0 Weltanschauung Mint does have some very active message boards. So I went there to get some satisfaction. Judging by the posts I read, anger and frustration among Quicken Online users is rising. Open rebellion is being proposed and most shocking of all is that for months users have been complaining of the lack of the most basic budgeting functionality and have been summarily ignored:
abloxom replied 4 months ago
This is the number one reason I use Quicken 2007. Scheduled transactions allow me to see in advance how much money i'll have if I make all of my CC, Phone, and Utility Bills on time and in full. I'm able to easily evaluate how much I can spend without going over my limit. Come to think of it, it's the ONLY reason I use Quicken at all.
Amen abloxom. And the affable Jami from Mint responded:
Jami, Official Rep, replied 4 months ago
As this feature is not currently available, I've changed made your question an idea so it can be considered by the product team.
Mint Community Manager
So while Mint’s product team has been twiddling around merely considering adding the most basic functionality for the last few months, they’ve made absolutely sure that they have some kind of business model in place to make money off the Quicken Online users they are asking to migrate. Mint has put a ton of resources into partnering with financial institutions and credit card companies to offer you alternatives to your higher interest rate credit cards, for instance. Great. But if Quicken loses thousands of customers in the next few weeks because its product cannot meet user needs in terms of the most basic functionality, all this Webby-award winning new economy goodness will be for nought. That means zero, Intuit. As in ZERO Quicken Online conversions.
Thankfully, members of the Quicken Online diaspora are more than willing to help each other. Help each other escape Mint, that is:
amysun123 replied 9 days ago
I'm thinking of migrating to a new product (GreenSherpa) that has everything I need. I am even willing to pay a small monthly amount to have useful functionality. QUESTION to fellow forum users: What do you all think of GreenSherpa: http://www.greensherpa.com/ ? It seems to have everything we need and it's only $5.95/month. Does anyone have any experience with that product? Should we all do a mass migration and leave Mint in the dust?
Wizznilliam commented 9 days ago
Why pay $5.95 a month when Yodlee has everything Quicken Online had and more for free. The only shortcoming I have seen so far is that it does not automatically give the pretty cleaned op transaction descriptions that Mint is good at doing and QOL was only partially good at. Everything else is there and it is HIGHLY customizable. And Free Bill Pay so you can do EVERYTHING all in one place. I'm digging it so far. There are a few quirks. But they all have them.
I’ll be checking out Yodlee, Greensherpa and whatever else I can find and reporting back in the next few weeks. If Intuit is going to force us to go to something other than Quicken Online, then we should investigate the alternatives to the sad excuse for personal finance site that they are offering. If you have any suggestions, let me know.