The news in personal finance today is that Intuit, the makers of Quicken and TurboTax, purchased internet start-up Mint, a service that has come into its own in the past few years. The two companies offer competing products: Quicken Online and Mint are both free web applications that aggregate your financial information across a wide variety of banks, credit cards, and investment accounts.
We’ve reviewed both offerings at Consumerism Commentary. We offered one of the first looks at Quicken Online as well as an early look at Mint, both from 2007. We’ve also spoken to representatives from each of the companies for the Consumerism Commentary Podcast. On May 3, we spoke with Aaron Patzer, the CEO of Mint and on June 7, we spoke with Barron Ernst, the product manager of Quicken Online. Both interviews offered interesting insights into the software and the philosophy behind the companies.
There has been fierce competition between the two companies as they raced to announce higher user numbers. Intuit challenged Mint not too long ago to substantiate their claims that they were adding 3,000 users a day. Any bitterness seems to have subsided for the time being. Mint seemed to be winning the battle over users, and it’s not a bad move for Intuit to buy the competition.
Each application has its own strengths and weaknesses. Personally, I use the desktop version of Quicken to manage my own finances. I don’t believe the software is perfect, but I prefer it above any of the web-based applications.
With this deal, Intuit obtains customers it was unable to reach and Mint obtains the backing of one of the best-known software brands. Intuit will continue offering both web-based services for free, and there are no current plans to integrate one set of users into the other piece of software. How long will it continue to make sense to maintain two highly similar services under one roof? Consolidating the users of the two separate services into one larger user base would solidify the surviving software’s spot at the summit among other similar services such as Geezeo.