Investment Apps and Websites

Mint Vs YNAB: Finding Out The Best Budgeting Tool For You

While there are so many contrasts made between Mint vs YNAB, one thing’s for sure, both of them offer budgeting solutions to those who find it hard to do or are just finding their way towards personal finance management. Thank Mint and You Need a Budget (YNAB), handling finances now is made easier.

Mint vs YNAB best personal finance tool

Personal finance management or budgeting is not an easy thing especially for people who are not used to it. While others feel like it’s not important, more and more people are becoming warier when it comes to their money – especially the younger generation.

Well, we cannot blame them. Times have changed. Today, the future is even more uncertain, thus, it is better to be prepared than sorry.

Many studies have shown that American people are not good when it comes to budgeting and personal finance management

In fact, according to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) 2018 Consumer Financial Literacy Survey, “one in four Americans admit they do not pay their bills on time and nearly one in ten (eight percent) now have debts in collection, both showing a slight increase from 2017“. You see, this only shows how essential personal financial literacy is in the country. If people know how to properly manage their money, this may not exist.

But as we have mentioned a while ago, times have changed. Thanks to technological advancements, more and more people are becoming financially responsible – with emphasis on the young generation because studies show that they are more financially literate than older people.

Anyway, with the existence of smartphones, and the emerging digital technology and the internet, personal finance management solutions are in place. In fact, according to an article published by Bankrate, 63% of smartphone users (based on the survey they have conducted) in the country have at least one financial app on their phones.

Among these users, 55% of them have at least one full-service banking app, 40% have at least one peer-to-peer payments app, 17% have at least one stand-alone budgeting app, and another 17% have at least one stand-alone investing app.

Now, there are so many budgeting apps and personal finance management platforms out there – Mint and YNAB included. These two are actually among the popular ones. Precisely why we are going to make a comparison between Mint vs YNAB.

In this comparison review, to be specific, we are going to tackle the following:

  • Quick comparison highlighting major features that people usually look for in a budgeting or personal finance platform
  • Brief background of the two platforms
  • Similarities of Mint and YNAB
  • Differences between Mint and YNAB
  • Cost
  • Educational references
  • Security features of both Mint and YNAB
  • …and of course, our final verdict about which among the two is better.


Before we go into more specific details, as well as choose the better option between Mint and YNAB, here’s a quick comparison first between the two personal finance software. The below table will quickly show you how the two differ from one another, at the same time, it will show their commonality.

Budgeting Yes Yes
Investment Monitoring Yes Yes
Retirement Planning None None
Bill Payment None None
Bill Management Yes Yes
Manual Entries Yes Yes
Tax Reporting Yes None
Reconcile Transactions None Yes
Custom Categories Yes Yes
Import QFX, QIF Files None Yes
Two-Factor Authentication Yes None
Currency Support US/Canada US
Fee FREE $5 monthly or $50 annually (First 34 days is free.)
Customer Service Email or Chat Support Email Support
Education Online training videos and tutorials are available Comprehensive training videos and tutorials are available

Based on the above table we presented, do you already have your bet? Well, we thought it is better for you to check a more detailed comparison to be enlightened and to be able to choose the perfect personal finance and budgeting app for you – according to what you need and your preferences as a user as well.


While the specifics are important when it comes to making decisions, it is also vital to know where these platforms are from or a little of their history. Thus, here’s a brief backgrounder on Mint and YNAB.


Mint has been existing since 2006, and as of today, it has already more than 10 million users. Mint is an online personal finance service tool that can be used for free. It is likened to Quicken, which is also a popular personal finance and budgeting platform, sans any installation of software. Mint is accessible using either a browser or a mobile device.

Although Mint was launched in 2006, in 2009, it was acquired by the famous finance software company, Intuit. Intuit is the owner of Quicken, which was eventually sold.

When it comes to functionality, Mint functions around the premise that to be able to see where you are financial, you have to put everything in one place. Thus, to make the most out of Mint, you better link all your finance-related accounts like bank accounts, loans, investments, credit card accounts, etc. Don’t worry, adding all your accounts was made simple and manageable by Mint. Based on our experience, it was pretty seamless.

What is nice about the platform is that ones you are done downloading and syncing your accounts or transactions, the software will automatically separate each of them into predefined categories.

Although you can create and add your own subcategories, Mint does not allow modification of top-level categories.

Basically, Mint allows you to do the following:

  • Track your spending
  • Set reminders for your bills and payments
  • Build a budget based on your preference
  • See your credit score standing
  • See what’s happing with your investments

With all of these functionalities, it makes Mint ideal for people who want to put everything in one place. It’s a great option for those who want everything organized in just one app or platform.

Mint can be used free of charge.


You Need a Budget or better known as YNAB is an application that allows its users to take advantage of monitoring your income and expenses, at the same time, allows you to learn more about personal finance by providing instructional support, which makes it ideal for those who are just starting out their personal finance management journey or wanted to continue learning about this aspect.

Unlike Mint, YNAB is not free for use. Yes, it comes with a price tag.

Also, compared to Mint, which is relatively new in this area, YNAB has actually been around for quite a long time now. However, it was only recently when YNAB earned users’ recognition being one of the best budgeting tools out there.

YNAB has changed over the years. In fact, it’s the last version, which was the YNAB 4, which was a desktop-based application. The latest edition was rebuilt from scratch. If then, everything has to be done manually, today, all you need to do is click the “Import” button at the top of your account. The platform safely and securely connects to your bank through a third-party provider and right there and then, imports all your transactions.

If you are looking at opting for YNAB over Mint, it just right that you should be aware that YNAB’s budgeting strategy is built on three rules, which were designed to help you live within your means, save money, get out of debt, and stop living on a paycheck to paycheck basis. For your reference, here are YNAB’s three rules:

– Rule 1: Give Every Dollar A Job

This basically means every dollar you have must be allocated to a particular purpose until you are left with nothing — if you are familiar with zero-based budgeting that basically is it.

– Rule 2: Embrace Your True Expenses

This allows you to set your budget goals to be able to prepare for your expenses on a monthly basis, which includes big expenses like parties, insurance premiums, as well as vacations.

– Rule 3: Roll with the Punches

This refers to the flexibility of your money — make sure to make adjustments for overspending in particular categories in some months, but making sure you are on track with your long-term financial goals.

Before proceeding to our very own comparison review between Mint and YNAB, here’s an insightful comparison by You Need A Budget itself. Click the play button to watch the entirety of the video:


While Mint and YNAB have their share of differences, the two personal finance platforms do have something in common as well – which was actually evident in the table we presented to you earlier.

So, just so you know, here are some of the most evident similarity of Mint and YNAB:

Budgeting Both Mint and YNAB provide a program that allows you to know exactly where you are spending your money in an easy-to-understand graphical presentation.
Online Synchronization Both Mint and YNAB let you link your accounts (bank, credit cards, loans, etc.) as well as import transactions automatically, synchronizing your entire financial picture in just one place.
Device Compatibility Should you make any changes on any device (e.g. smartphone, desktop, tablet, laptop), both Mint and YNAB automatically carry over the changes made to other devices you’re using.
Mobile App Both Mint YNAB offer smartphone support via iOS and Android.


Having presented some of the major similarities between Mint and YNAB, this time around, let’s look into what makes these two platforms differ from one another.

Let us start off with MINT:

Cost/Fees While Mint is free for use, using YNAB will cost you a few bucks.
Weekly Email Summaries Mint provides information on what has happened to your finances for the week that was.
Alerts via email or SMS Mint app lets you know should you have pending bills and/or fees. It will also suggest different ways for you to be able to save money, particularly on transaction fees.
Investment Tracking Mint’s investment tracking feature is ideal for those who are a buy-and-hold type instead of an active investor.
Credit Score Tracking Mint lets you see and monitor your current credit score standing, as well as your payment history, account usages, and errors.
Apple Watch If you own an Apple Watch, lucky for you as Mint is accessible through it as well.
Net Worth Report Mint has the capability to calculate your current net worth. It also displays the figure obviously at the top of your account to keep you reminded.

Meanwhile, here’s what makes YNAB different from Mint:

Cost/Fees To be able to take advantage of the YNAB app, and enjoy its services, you will have to either pay $5 monthly or $50 annually. However, it gives a 34-day free trial period so you get to decide whether or not it works for you.
The Inspector This is a special feature that is unique to YNAB. This lets you see summarized information regarding your budget. At the same time, it also provides you with quick options. This feature also lets you know if you have budgeted enough for an upcoming expense or not.
Budgeting Services YNAB is all about budgeting. They focused on this alone, which is why they have mastered the craft.
Innovations As compared to Mint, YNAB is not a static web platform kind of thing. In fact, there are already four versions of YNAB out there, and nothing’s the same. The continuous innovation and evolution only indicated that they are responsive to customer suggestions and concerns.
Category Codes YNAB uses color codes, which is ideal for users to know a category’s current fund standing. For instance, if a category is colored yellow, it means it is unfunded, while a red color will appear if you have overspent.
Customer Service Compared to Mint, YNAB has a better customer service response, which should be the case given the fact that the app is not free.

The above-mentioned aspects of each app are only some rather the most notable differences between Mint and YNAB. This hopefully gives you an idea about which is indeed ideal for you as a user, based on your needs and preferences.


Now that we already know what both Mint and YNAB are all about, what their similarities and differences are, plus a few more relevant information about the two platforms, let’s talk about pricing.

To be honest, if we are going to judge the two personal finance and budgeting platforms based on cost, we have to say that automatically, without a doubt, Mint will win the battle.

As we have mentioned, Mint can be used by anyone at any time for free, while YNAB comes with a cost. YNAB charges $5 per month or $50 per year. However, it gives a first 34 days free trial so you can test it out, and gauge whether or not you’re okay with it.

Now, probably you are wondering, how then Mint earns from the app if they are giving its services for free? Well, the answer to that question is – they have a lot of other means to earn money, which include the following:

  • Mint recommends different financial services from which they earn a referral fee.
  • Mint has banner ads in different parts of their website. Ads provide them with revenue.
  • Mint offers premium access to your credit report, which costs very little.
  • Mint sells collective financial data to different providers. (Don’t worry the data collected are done anonymously so you are ensured your personal data or identification is protected.)


Both Mint and YNAB offer educational references — anything related to personal finance as well as budgeting. Both Mint and YNAB do publish their respective blogs namely, MintLife and The YNAB Blog.

More so, both also provides educational articles to help you improve your personal finance management skills. In addition, both also offer training videos as well as tutorials, which makes learning about personal finance quick and easy.

However, comparing what both have to offer, we have to say that YNAB’s training is more comprehensive as compared to Mint, which is expected because after all, they are a paid service provider.


Like any other online app or website that requires your personal information, both Mint and YNAB ensures that your personal and financial data are well-protected and are far from being compromised.

With Mint, below are some of their key site security measures:

Two-Factor Authentication – Apart from your password, Mint will not let you access your account without validating the device that you are using. Validation may be done either through email or through SMS.

Touch ID Sensor (For iOS Users) – This feature reads your fingerprint to be able to unlock your phone, which also provides you quick access to your Mint app.

Meanwhile, here are some of YNAB’s key site security measures:

Data Encryption – This ensures that your data will not be read by anyone even if your hard drives are stolen.

One-way Salted and Hashed Passwords – It uses multiple iterations of a key derivative function for passwords, which makes it hard for hackers to compromise an account.

In addition, YNAB’s staff members are not given any access to customer data unless there is a request sent by either the customer or as required by the law. Also, once you terminate or delete your account, your data is automatically wiped clean from YNAB’s database.


Both Mint and YNAB offer amazing features that are really helpful when it comes to personal finance management and budgeting. To be honest, it’s hard to tell whether Mint is better than YNAB or the other way around.

It is perhaps safe to say that the best between the two will depend on you, the user.

While Mint may win because it’s free, YNAB does also has the chance especially when it comes to their very responsive customer service, as well as their glitch-free synchronization.

You see, it’s really hard to decipher the best between the two. So, we’d rather leave it to you.


It’s nice knowing that today people have various options and tools when it comes to personal finance management and budgeting. With so many options around, this hopefully helps people become even more interested in becoming better in handling money.

Anyway, based on the data and information we presented, which between Mint and YNAB wins for you? Have you decided as well or you are still thinking about it?

To end, we just have to say that comparing Mint vs YNAB was a bliss. You know why? Because both offer essential services, and both are amazing money tools. At the end of the day, it’s really just about finding what suits you best.

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