Update: Lending Tree, the owner of Thrive, has shut down the aggregation product. Please see my always up-to-date list of free money management tools
I have given Thrive a test run and decided to put a review of my thoughts of the Mint vs. Thrive battle here. Mint and Thrive both give similar aggregation services to users, though each one has a slightly different emphasis and a different front end.
What They Have in Common
Both sites have the same behind the scenes program, Yodlee, bringing in the data from the bank websites. As such, you are going to get the same information from either site. Both sites bring in transaction data and perform some sort of analysis and budgeting function. Both sites offer a fairly sleek and intuitive layout and design. For the most part, the sites do the same thing. For the details and differences, keep reading.
Any longtime reader of this site is very familiar with Mint.com. Mint is one of the pioneers of online financial aggregation and I have been a proponent of the site for the two years I have been using it.
Mint's flagship feature is automatic budgeting. Mint builds a budget for you based on your average spending and allows you to tweak it at will to fit your lifestyle. While it is always a good idea to clamp down on budgets, that is up to you to decide.
Mint has been going through many changes including adding new investment and loan features. The company has gone through growing pains, however. Many users complain about the slow customer service response times and how long it takes for fixes to be made to broken accounts.
Overall, I am very happy with my experiences at Mint. I enjoy the ease of use, for the most part, of keeping tabs on my account balances, transactions, and budget.
Thrive gives you the same sort of budgeting data as Mint, though it goes beyond tracking and gives you advice. I have only used it a short time, but Thrive seems to pass the test. It works as advertised and gives you a different perspective on your financial information.
The things that Thrive gives me that Mint does not: Estimated credit score (which is fairly close to my score reported by free reporting site Credit Sesame), how long I can make it if I lose my job (61 days apparently), and how expensive of a house I could buy today. It also analyzed my saving and spending habits to give me an estimated retirement budget and tips on how I can save money.
Thrive does seem to have a few drawbacks compared to Mint. Some accounts that work for me on Mint do not work on Thrive. I suspect that has to do with the age of the two sites. Thrive is much newer and has had less time to add more sites like Lending Club that Mint has supported. On the other hand, Thrive has a toll free number for support if something goes wrong. That is almost unheard of for most web based companies.
I have also found that Thrive does not have as good of a transaction history view and has trouble differentiating between transfers and income. This makes some of the information less accurate.
Mint and Thrive are trying to one up each other to gain your loyalty. Thrive's budget system is an obvious re-designed look at Mint's budget tool and Mint's new financial fitness (still in beta as of this writing) is a rip off of Thrive's financial health score.
If you want to be your own financial adviser with an easy way to track things, you would probably be happier with Mint. As the tried and true aggregator, I have no plans to simply abandon my historical data compiled in Mint. I have, for the most part, always been happy with Mint.com and would suggest it without hesitation to anyone looking for a way to make money management easier.
If you feel like a rookie in the personal finance world and want help figuring things out, Thrive is probably a better choice. The site's features that help you create a personalized saving and investment plan make financial planning so easy anyone can do it.
If you have any questions or think I missed anything, please let me know.
If you enjoyed this post, be sure to read up on the latest free money management tools to get your money on the right track.
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