Mint, a personal finance app, provides users with simple tools to help them manage their finances in times of financial stress. In addition to budgeting, the app offers users two new features: subscription tracking and bill payment negotiations.
Mint is a simple to use app and offers users a free way to better manage their finances. Users connect all their accounts – including credit cards, loans, subscriptions and investments – to the Mint app so everything is in one accessible place.
The app will track expenses, income, bills due, and subscriptions you pay, among other transactions. It’s an intuitive way to monitor cash flow in one place. Users receive alerts on when bill payments are due and can set custom budgets to help them save money.
Consumers could use an advantage in a rapidly changing and financially stressful environment created by the storm of rising gasoline prices, an ongoing global pandemic and inflation hitting 8.5% in March. Mint seeks to give it to them.
“We are still in the middle of the inflation journey, so there are still a lot of uncertainties and unknowns as to where this is heading, but I think the most important thing is to have as much insight and awareness as possible about how [consumers are] spend money,” said Varun Krishna, senior vice president and head of consumer finance for Mint at Intuit. ZDNet.
According to Krishna, consumers should consider whether the purchase is a short-term discretionary cost or if it is a long-term purchase that will sustain them in the future. Understanding where your money is going is the first step to creating better financial habits, he said.
“Using products that help you understand how your money is being spent is a great tool for managing inflation because you understand, ‘Okay, I’m spending a lot more month-to-month on the essence'” Krishna said.
The average consumer does not necessarily realize the impact that everyday purchases such as gasoline can have on their finances. But using a budgeting tool like Mint can show them that impact month-over-month or even week-over-week, he said.
Mint gives consumers an edge over simply tracking transactions in their bank account by clearly showing them things like how much they’ve spent on fuel or other purchases over the past month.
Once users connect their accounts to Mint, the app will intuitively tell them what transactions they are making and where their spending is increasing or decreasing. It will also allow them to create custom budgets to focus on certain areas where they would like to save money.
“[The app will] tell you, ‘hey, here’s how much you’re spending on each area, here’s your subscription fees that’s gone up, by the way, could you negotiate your bills’, if you want to take it a step further, you can create a budget and say, ‘You actually want to spend less on going to the bar,’ and so you can create a specific budget to track a specific behavior,” Krishna said.
It may seem obvious, but simply knowing where your money is going and figuring out where you can spend less are simple and effective ways to support your personal finances in the face of rising prices for everyday items.
“The best thing we can do is just to be as aware as possible of what we are doing and really understand the consequences of the decisions we make when it comes to money,” Krishna said.
Support the financial well-being of consumers and communities
Besides budgeting, what can consumers do to better support themselves in the face of so many financially stressful forces like stagnating incomes and the Great Quit?
“[Finance] is a game of thumbs, small steps. It doesn’t take a massive change; little by little, go little by little,” Krishna said. According to him, the best thing to do is to know where your money is going, look for consumer-centric products, and follow these simple tips:
- Don’t spend more than you earn.
- Consider consolidating several credit card debts into one personal loan. They have lower interest rates, so if you can only make the minimum payment on multiple credit cards, consolidating debt into one loan with a lower interest rate will save you money. as you pay it back.
- Understand your credit scores. Learn what drives your scores up and down. Credit scores determine the terms you get for financial products, so they are very important.
- Use Mint (it’s free!). Outside of the app, Mint offers financial literacy resources on its blog. Use the app to monitor your cash flow by creating budgets and take advantage of Mint’s new subscription manager to control subscriptions and easily cancel them if necessary. And if you’re a Mint Premium user, use Mint’s bill negotiation to potentially get lower bill payments. However, Mint’s partner BillShark will take a cut of the savings for up to 24 months.
Consumers should look for tools and services that put their needs first. Some financial products are built on predatory systems like overdraft and maintenance fees or ridiculously high interest rates on payday loans that some consumers may need just to make ends meet.
However, lately there has been an influx of financial services companies looking to support the financial wellbeing of their customers, from big banks like Bank of America to payment processors like Visa and FinTechs, including Robinhood and SoLo. funds. But some do it better than others, and there’s still plenty of room for improvement.
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“A big part of the financial system, they want you to spend money, they want you to take dealership financing, they want you to overdraw and pay fees. an unbiased product that can just look out for you and your interests and try to keep you out of debt, try to save you money, it can also forgive you and say “hey, you know what? You have saved a little; you deserve a vacation, go have fun. Because at some point people have to be able to enjoy their lives,” Krishna said.
This is one of the main motivating factors behind Mint, to be a product that truly supports consumers. And often it is underserved communities that suffer the most from outdated or predatory practices.
In addition to supporting the financial well-being of its users, Mint also works to strengthen the financial literacy of underserved communities. Many underrepresented communities lack access to banking and financial resources and are subject to predatory practices such as unfavorable rates and fees.
So, in partnership with EVERFI, Mint created Prosperity Hubs and the Prosperity Hub School District program to bring Mint educational resources to schools. The program teaches students about personal finance, covering basics like understanding a credit score, budgeting, and net worth, among other topics.
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“We focus on communities that have diverse student populations. Part of the reason is that it’s the underserved communities that I think are unfortunately the hardest hit in terms of lack of financial literacy,” Krishna said. . The Prosperity Hub School District program has helped nearly 1.2 million students.
The Evolution of Financial Literacy
Financial literacy has become increasingly important as consumers use more financial products and frequently turn to digital banking solutions. As consumer needs evolve, the way we approach financial wellness must also evolve.
“You have Gen Z navigating careers during a pandemic, with lower incomes and a much more difficult situation to start working. At the same time, you have more and more millennials who want to become creators. is a new type of job market that is so exciting, but I think it creates a need for further education,” Krishna said.
FinTechs and banks creating new financial technologies should feel compelled to teach their users best practices in a changing financial environment and how users can better manage their personal finances. It should no longer be up to the individual to seek out financial literacy resources.
“We all have a moral obligation to help our consumers. We’ve evolved into a place where people have their own goals and purposes, and I think there’s a way to educate people that doesn’t require them to always take the initiative,” says Krishna.
The financial system, he said, has ignored the issue of financial literacy for so long that it is now up to FinTechs and banks creating new financial products to create a more consumer-centric environment in which consumers can thrive. It doesn’t have to be hard to get, but rather integrated into these products so users can easily make more informed decisions about their finances.
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Krishna said consumers shouldn’t need deep knowledge to understand their finances. The products they use should intuitively provide this information to consumers without them looking for it. Financial literacy shouldn’t take extra work. “For me, I imagine a world where finance is much more autonomous and implicit, and it works on your behalf,” he said.
“I think that’s the advanced state of financial literacy. Beyond just the fact that we’re doing more to educate consumers and build their knowledge and awareness, but to create products that improve their financial lives. products that drive automatically [consumers] to prosperity without having to think about it. I see this as a grand vision that financial literacy could grow towards,” Krishna said.