Integrated with Mint.com
Mint is an immensely popular free online personal finance tool with over 10 million users as of 2013. The integration of Mint Credit Score with the rest of Mint’s tools make it an extremely convenient option for those millions of people already using Mint on a regular basis to manage their personal finances.
This integration isn’t limited to just the website, either. One can quickly and easily access their Mint Credit Score from within the mobile Mint app on their Apple, Amazon, Windows, and Android devices as well, reducing the number of apps and accounts users need to keep track of to manage all aspects of their personal finances.
Free Version Available
We love it when companies make free versions of their core product available for customers to try out on their own, especially when they don’t require a credit card to do so. Mint offers Mint Credit Score for free, which includes access to a quarterly credit report from Equifax, along with an Equifax Risk Score based on the contents of that report.
Although the free service only monitors one of the three credit bureaus, it gives customers who are curious about their credit a reasonable starting point at zero cost. If users like what they see, it’s a simple task to upgrade to the more robust Mint Credit Monitor.
Mint Credit Monitor: Good Value
Mint Credit Monitor is powered by Equifax, one of the three major credit bureaus, and its core credit monitoring features are very similar to the bureau’s Complete Premiere credit monitoring service, except that it has fewer ID protection features, more credit features, and a lower price tag at $16.99/mnth vs Equifax’s $19.99/mnth option.
For $16.99 a month, Mint Credit Monitor provides users with credit reports from all three credit bureaus (updated each year) along with an Equifax Risk score for each of those reports, monthly credit reports and scores from Equifax, ongoing monitoring of all three credit bureaus which alert users via email to changes on any of those credit reports, and monthly identity monitoring.
After considering the relatively low monthly cost, we feel that Mint Credit Monitor does provides a better value than many comparable options on the market.
Mint offers dynamic and free mobile apps for all major mobile platforms – Windows, Apple and Android mobile devices are all compatible and one can monitor their credit from any internet-connected device. Push notifications are available as alerts should there be any suspicious or potentially fraudulent activity on your credit. As mentioned earlier, Mint Credit Score is accessible from inside the normal mint personal finance app, no separate app is required.
Free Service is More Limited than Other Free Options
As much as we applaud free services, the simple fact is that Mint’s free option is not especially remarkable compared to other free options available in the credit monitoring space. Most of the free services available provide monthly, if not weekly credit reports from one, or in some cases, two credit bureaus.
Simply put, if you’re an existing Mint user looking for some idea of your credit health, Mint Credit Score isn’t necessarily a bad way to go. But if you’re more serious about tracking your credit, there are more comprehensive free options available from both Credit Karma and Credit Sesame which provide more frequent reports from more bureaus or greater functionality at no cost.
No FICO Score
Both Mint Credit Score and Mint Credit Monitor provide users with credit scores based on the Equifax Risk Score. While the Equifax score may give customers a rough idea of their credit health, it is not considered an industry-standard credit score that lenders actually use. In other words, the credit scores a user sees in Mint Credit Monitor is not the same as the FICO scores most lenders will actually use in making credit decisions.
There have been many complaints over the years of customers either over or under-estimating their creditworthiness after mistaking an Equifax Risk Score for a FICO Score, and users are urged to not put too much faith in these numbers, as they can differ substantially from what their lender sees.
Monthly Reports from Only One Bureau
Mint Credit Monitor, the paid service only provides monthly updates to the Equifax credit report and its associated score. The other two credit reports (TransUnion and Experian) and scores are only updated once per year. Although the service includes three bureau credit monitoring, which means they’ll try to alert clients of any important changes they detect on any of the three reports, this falls short of what we look for in a full-service credit-monitoring solution.
The problem with relying solely on credit monitoring alerts instead of manually reviewing fresh, updated credit reports from each bureau is that there is no guarantee that you’ll notice an important alert when it is sent, either because you get so many you ignore them (false alarms), because it went to your spam folder, or because a particular event simply didn’t trigger an alert with that bureau.
Because of this, it is likely that major issues could pop up on one’s Experian or TransUnion credit reports and a Mint Credit Monitor customer would be unaware of this until they review these reports a full year later.
In April 2015, a potential class-action lawsuit was filed in San Francisco against Intuit (the owners of Mint) which accused the company of failing to properly secure its customer’s personal information and facilitating identity theft. The suit was filed by two women who were victims of Tax Refund Fraud after filing returns with Intuit TurboTax. At the time of writing, plaintiffs were seeking class action status.
While Mint Credit Monitor has not been specifically named in the recent security breaches which have plagued TurboTax users, being that they are both operated by the same parent company and integrate with each other, one may wonder at how secure their data really is when using Mint’s services.
In addition to their budgeting features, Mint offers basic and paid credit monitoring services. Basic credit monitoring is covered with the Mint Credit Score plan and full-featured credit monitoring is covered with the Mint Credit Monitor.
- Mint Credit Score Plan – Free
- Mint Credit Monitor – $16.99/month
Mint does not offer a free trial for the Mint Credit Monitor, instead they offer a limited feature plan which is free to use.
Scores & Reports Provided
For the Mint Credit Score Plan, customers receive their Equifax credit score quarterly and do not receive a credit report. For those using the Mint Credit Monitor, their Equifax credit score is given monthly and they receive their Equifax 3-Bureau Credit Report and Score annually.
Mint does not offer a dashboard or interface from which to dispute errors found in one’s credit report.
Mint Credit Score customers only have one-bureau which is monitored – Equifax. For paid subscribers, all three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) are monitored. Mint states that they monitor around the clock and send alerts via text, push notification (for those using the Mint mobile app), and/or email automatically as soon as a potentially fraudulent activity is detected. Customer reports suggest that this is the case.
Credit Score and Report Refreshes
For those with the free credit monitoring plan, a credit report is not included. Included is the Equifax credit score, which will be updated quarterly. For those with a paid subscription, their Equifax credit score is updated monthly as well as their Equifax credit report. Annually, paid customers receive an Equifax 3-Bureau Credit Report with Scores.
Mint is extremely transparent about their offerings and the measures which they have taken to ensure their customers’ safety. They employ triple protection to ensure that sensitive financial data is safe. To protect user information on mobile devices, a PIN number can be selected and data can be wiped out from a computer should the device be lost or stolen.
They use a standard 128-bit SSL encryption system to maintain a secure site and are constantly monitored and verified to be secure by third-party experts in online security, such as TRUSTe and VeriSign.
Identity Theft Protection
Mint offers basic identity monitoring for their paid members which includes social security scanning, medical record scanning as well as searching black market internet sites for data specific to their customers’ name, finanancial and personal information. Mint offers a threat score which can help their paid customers shore up areas in which they are at risk for having their identity stolen.
With apps for all platforms (Windows, Apple, and Android devices), users may request push notifications to alert them to suspicious activity. Alerts can also be sent via text message and emailed to customers.
Time in Business
Mint.com has been in business since 2006, its parent company, Intuit, has been in business since 1983.
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Mountain View, CA 94039-7850
Mint Customer Service – (866) 373-7830