Truebill vs Mint: Which is the Better Free Budgeting App?

Posted on May 7, 2021 in Money

Budgeting is one of life’s most important yet frustrating tasks. If you’ve been struggling to make a budget or figure out where you can cut costs, you may be in the market for a budgeting app. These apps connect to your bank account so you can categorize your transactions, set savings goals, and potentially lower your bills. Let’s look at two of the top apps that promise to put money back in your pocket: Truebill vs Mint.

Truebill vs Mint

Comparing Truebill vs. Mint to find out which is best for your personal situation is key before downloading either application. Mint has been around a long time. It was one of the first platforms that would automatically scan and categorize your transactions, so that you could see where your money was going. Since then, it has evolved into a full money management app, complete with goal-setting, budgeting, credit score monitoring, and more.

Truebill is so named because it promises to show you the true shape of your spending habits. To help you save money, it offers to negotiate lower bills on your behalf. As with Mint, you can categorize your transactions and set budgets, then compare your spending to those.

Mint is a bit more full-featured than Truebill, but both platforms offer a free version for budgeting and transaction monitoring. Let’s dive into the features of both platforms and the pros and cons of Truebill vs Mint.

How does Truebill work?

Truebill promises to help you do three things to “take back control of your financial life”:

  1. Find and cancel unused subscriptions
  2. Categorize your transactions
  3. Set spending limits and create a budget

Truebill also offers a program called “TrueProtect” in which they attempt to lower your recurring bills (cable, auto insurance, etc.). They negotiate on your behalf, then collect a portion of your savings.

To compete with apps such as Acorns and Digit, Truebill also offers “smart savings” that automatically sock away money. Recently, they’ve rolled out cash advances as well.

To get started with Truebill, follow these steps:

  1. Download the app or visit the website and create a free account.
  2. Link all your financial accounts, including checking, savings, and investment accounts.
  3. Allow Truebill to scan your transactions. It will categorize them (you may need to check the accuracy) and identify subscriptions or recurring charges you may want to cancel.
  4. Once all your transactions are properly categorized, create your monthly budgets for each category (groceries, shopping, bills, etc.). You can use the average you’ve spent over the past few months or set a new budget.
  5. In the app, click on “Recurring” and review your upcoming charges. Truebill will auto-populate your calendar, but you can also manually add bills and link them to transactions.

Now, you’ve created a basic profile in Truebill. Optional features include TrueProtect, Smart Savings, and credit monitoring. We’ll review those in a moment.

How does Mint work?

Mint promises to be your one-stop-shop for managing your financial health. It auto-categorizes your transactions, monitors your subscriptions, and generates recommended budgets so you can reach your goals. You can also use Mint to set your savings goals, pay and track your bills, and monitor your credit all in one place.

Mint is a free app, but it will show you sponsored offers, such as personal loans, 0% balance transfer cards, etc.

To get started with Mint, follow these steps:

  1. Download the app or visit the website and create a free account.
  2. Link all your financial accounts, including checking, savings, and investment accounts.
  3. Allow Mint to scan and categorize your transactions. You can edit them and even set rules for how future transactions will be labeled.
  4. Click over to the Budgets tab and set your budgets. You can set a budget for any category listed in Mint on either a monthly, tri-monthly, or one-time basis, as well as roll over your budgeted amount to the next period.
  5. If you plan to use the bill tracker, head to the Bills tab and add your bills. Mint will auto-populate this section as best as it can.
  6. Go to the Goals tab and create your savings goals. You can link an account for each goal to track your progress. Mint also has a calculator to help you figure out
  7. Return to your Budgets tab to see how much you’ve allocated. Mint will deduct your budgets and goals from your income to show you whether you can cover your expenses, have extra, or need to cut costs.

These steps will give you a basic profile in Mint. From there, keep an eye out for special offers that can help you save, such as insurance quotes, cashback credit cards, etc.

What both budgeting apps excel at

Both Mint and Truebill make it much easier to categorize and track your transactions — the crucial first step toward creating a workable budget. They also allow you to see spending trends and compare your income to your expenses. A task that may take hours in a spreadsheet (especially if you have lots of small transactions and/or multiple accounts) takes only a few minutes.

When looking at other similarities of Truebill vs Mint, both apps also provide free credit monitoring, along with a bird’s eye view of your finances. If you’re trying to improve your financial health, either of these apps gives you a good overview.

Other benefits from both Truebill and Mint include:

  • Free for most features: You can create your profile and take advantage of the app’s budgeting and bill tracking tools for absolutely free. If you don’t want or need bill negotiation, you don’t need to pay anything to Truebill. Mint is 100% free for all features.
  • Easy to access: Both platforms have web and mobile apps, although you may prefer one layout over the other. (Truebill’s web app is limited compared to its iOS and Android apps.
  • Smart transaction categorization: Labeling each transaction you make is tedious, but both Truebill and Mint do a lot of the work for you. Just check that they are categorizing transactions accurately, and the app will learn from your edits.
  • Savings goal-setting and tracking: Having a specific goal is crucial to actually saving money. With Mint, you can easily compare your savings balance to your goal to stay on track. Truebill doesn’t have this feature, but it does offer “smart savings” if you’d like to start saving quickly.

4 important differences between Truebill and Mint

How you can save money

When it comes to Trubill vs Mint, both apps enable you to track your spending and set budgets, and they promise to help you save money properly. However, each app has a different method for doing so.

Mint shows you targeted offers that may end up costing you less than your current providers and accounts. These include credit cards that offer cashback, 0% balance transfers, or 0% APR for your first year. You’ll also see insurance shopping options, personal loans, and other ways to potentially consolidate debt and get better rates.

Truebill does show you sponsored content, such as insurance options with lower rates and personal loan offers. However, it primarily aims to lower your monthly bills by offering bill negotiation through its TrueProtect program.

How your budgets are set up and categorized

Both apps allow you to categorize your transactions as you see fit, as well as create custom budgets for your needs.

Mint is incredibly customizable. Choose from dozens of popular categories or create your own. You can then create monthly, tri-monthly, or one-time budgets for each category.

Truebill is a bit more limited. If you want more than 2 custom categories/budgets, you’ll need to upgrade to the Premium plan. You also need Premium if you want to track business, legal, or investment expenses.

That said, Truebill’s budgeting features are much more intuitive. The auto-categorizations also seem to be more accurate.

The experience on desktop vs. mobile

Truebill was initially designed as an app, while Mint was debuted as a web platform. You can see the difference: Truebill’s web interface is limited to subscription monitoring and bill tracking, while the app offers many more features.

Mint’s app is decent, but many users find the web interface easier to use. There are so many features that Mint’s mobile app feels clunky compared to Truebill’s sleek design.

The security methods they use

Truebill collects your transaction data through Plaid, a secure third-party service. This means Truebill doesn’t directly access your data. Similarly, Mint uses VeriSign to pull the data from your accounts.

Where you might see the difference is with certain financial institutions. Some smaller banks and credit unions don’t work well with VeriSign. Your experience will depend somewhat on the accounts you want to attach.

Which budgeting app should you choose?

The better option between Truebill vs Mint depends on what you really need out of your personal finance app. For sorting out your expenses, cancelling subscriptions, and learning to reduce your spending, Truebill is ideal. For tracking long-term financial health and setting goals, Mint is better.

FAQs

Which is better: Truebill or Mint?

While the apps are similar, both do a great job of helping you make a budget and track your spending. One isn’t necessarily better than the other. Rather, they focus on different things. Truebill is definitely your best choice if you want bill negotiation and subscription monitoring, as Mint doesn’t offer these features. Truebill also seems to be better at auto-categorizing your transactions.

That said, Mint offers all of its features for free, and it is definitely better for people who want to dig deep into their expenses. You have to upgrade to Truebill Premium if you want custom budget categories, credit reports, or the ability to export your data. Mint also offers a savings goal tracker, which Truebill does not. Both budgeting apps offer great customer service.

Is there anything better than Mint?

Mint boasts that it’s the world’s #1 personal finance app, and it certainly has many amazing features — all for free. But is it truly better than the rest? Many users report that the platform struggles to connect to their bank, or it will randomly disconnect from their accounts. Some users find the constant sponsored offers annoying.

However, Mint does have some highly useful features, such as the savings goal tracker that links to your savings accounts and free credit score monitoring. But where it truly excels is in its ease of budgeting.

Is Mint the best budgeting tool?

Mint is unparalleled when it comes to tracking and analyzing your expenses and income. The Trends tab in the platform lets you drill down into various categories, review your spending and income by time period, and even see how your debts, assets, and net worth have changed over time.

Can I trust Truebill and Mint?

Both apps use bank-level 256-bit encryption to protect your accounts, and neither of them accesses your accounts directly. This means you’re essentially using the apps’ internal software to process the financial data they’ve imported — not modifying your data directly. Were someone to gain access to your Mint or Truebill accounts, they’re not able to access your banking accounts or even see the details.

However, keep in mind that Truebill does charge you fees for Premium plans, so if you sign up for that, you authorize them to withdraw money from your account. Be sure you know which plan you have with the service.

Does Truebill cost money?

Truebill’s basic functionality is free. If you would like to have more than 2 custom budget categories, track certain types of expenses, or take advantage of Truebill’s proprietary features (TrueProtect, Smart Savings, and the Cancellation Concierge), you’ll need to upgrade to Premium. The good news is, you can choose how much to pay (about $3 to $12 per month).

Where Truebill can become costly is if you use their bill negotiation services (the Cancellation Concierge). They collect a 40% annual “savings fee” comprising 40% of the amount they lowered your bill(s). So if they reduced your cable bill by $20 per month, they’ve saved you $240 but will charge you $96.

Can Truebill actually help lower your bills?

Truebill claims to have an 85% success rate in negotiating lower bills, as well as requesting refunds on overdrafts and other fees. They’re basically doing what you could do yourself: send letters to request refunds on fees or talk to salespeople to find a better deal. You’re just spared the tedium of doing this. Here’s the catch: to enjoy this privilege, you pay Truebill 40% of what they save you. And this is billed annually, which can be a shock if Truebill did indeed save you a lot on a bill that would otherwise be paid monthly.

Bottom line: Which is the best free budgeting app between Truebill vs Mint?

The best free budgeting app between Truebill vs Mint is whichever app better suits your goals. For short-term transaction monitoring, getting rid of subscriptions, and cutting down on expenses, Truebill is superb. For an overall financial home with credit monitoring and goal-setting, Mint is ideal. Either way, both Truebill and Mint financial apps are worth a review!

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