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How Mint’s SmartSave™ Online Budget Software Savings Engine Works

At Mint, one of our sayings is: “Know your money. Grow your money.” In order to “know your money,” Mint links seamlessly to thousands of banks, credit unions, and credit card companies in the US. Combined with a patent-pending spending report, our online budget software lets you see exactly where your money goes, across all your accounts, with one login.

But knowing where you stand is only the beginning. The real question is “How can I do better? How can I have more?” It’s a question that traditional personal finance software “solutions” like Quicken and Money can’t really answer. But Mint can.

That’s where “grow your money” comes in. Not only is Mint free, it can actually help you save thousands of dollars each year.

For example, if you have $20,000 in a bank account that’s earning no interest, Mint’s SmartSave™ system might recommend a high interest rate savings account from E*Trade or HSBC. That would mean $660+ more in your pocket each year. In calculating the best deal for you, Mint even considers minimum balance requirements and monthly fees.

SmartSave's Head-to-Head Comparison

For credit cards, Mint goes even further. Now if you’re like us, you get three credit card offers a week. What’s better, 3% back on gas, 5% cashback on restaurants, or 1.25 miles for every dollar spent? It depends on who you are, and where you spend your money – but it’s basically impossible to calculate by hand.

Mint does the work for you. Based on your personal spending patterns, Mint finds the credit card that will pay you the most money. It even considers those minute little details like maximum rewards, balance transfer fees, and 0% introductory rates that expire six months from now.

Mint only shows offers that are calculated to save you at least fifty dollars. Offers are also prioritized by value – the one calculated to save you the most is shown first.

Mint’s algorithms typically find $500 – $5,000 in annual savings for each user. The average was $1,800 (or $150 per month) We could all probably use an additional $150 in our pockets each month.

In order to “feed” our savings engine, Mint maintains the latest interest rates for hundreds of banks and credit cards. Our patent-pending algorithms then crunch through all these prices to find savings opportunities.

The whole process is entirely anonymous, done in software, and your information never leaves the site. If or when you click through on a savings opportunity, no information is passed except that the click came from Mint.com.

Mint does make a small referral fee from advertisers on some offers. That’s what keeps Mint free. Whether or not we have a relationship with a provider in no way affects our ranking algorithm – we find users the best interest rate or lowest price regardless.

What does all this all mean? Mint only makes money if we can find ways for the user to save money. And we think that’s pretty revolutionary. At heart, we’re consumer advocates. We’d like to see people move away from banks that pay no interest to those that pay 3-4%; away from credit cards offering no rewards to those paying up to 5% cash back on certain categories. We just want people to save.

The national savings rate for people under 40 is negative. At Mint we’re out to change that, and our SmartSave™ savings engine is at the heart of it all.