Mint.com is regarded as one of the premier personal financial-summary tools. The service aims to brings together a view of your total financial life, including bank accounts, bills, credit cards and investments, to provide personalized information to help you manage your money. Since its formation in 2006, it has had great success with raising capital and expanding its customer base – reaching millions of users. Its operations improved as a result of its acquisition by Intuit (INTU) in 2009, allowing it to capitalize on multiple revenue streams.

How Mint Works

Mint operates by gathering all aspects of an individual’s personal finances into a single location.  A user links their Mint account with their personal bank account. Then, as transactions occur, Mint receives the financial information and provides customizable reports. The same process is completed with investments, credit cards, and other financial accounts. Users can input information regarding real estate properties owned to track real estate values.

Mint offers users an easy way to see their bills and money together in one place. This allows for an individual to create and manage a budget, while providing a way for users to receive alerts for different types of activities on their accounts.

Intuit’s purchase of Mint provided numerous benefits to how Mint operates. Through the deal, Mint began to rely on Intuit’s methods of extracting financial information by utilizing web-scraping applications to extract individual customer data.

Information from larger banks typically is extracted using web services or file-transfer protocols while data from smaller institutions can be extracted using web scraping. Mint currently uses Intuit's Customer Central platform to collect data.

Mint was founded in 2006 with $750,000 from angel investors. It received $4.7 million in Series A venture capital financing in 2007 and $12 million in its Series B round. In August 2009, Mint received $14 million from six investors. Just a few months later, Mint was purchased by Intuit for $170 million.

How Mint Monetizes Its Products

Mint has monetized its free product by including advertisements on various parts of its website and app to generate advertising revenue. For a fee, companies may purchase advertising space on Mint's various platforms. Mint utilizes targeted advertising, so users may find the advertisements relevant since prior search history and elements of the user's profile are utilized in the contextual ad displays.

Another revenue-generator for Mint is a credit-report monitoring system. Users of Mint can opt for a free quarterly option. However, if this does not meet a user’s need, that user can upgrade to "Mint Credit Monitor." This monthly subscription returns multiple credit reports, three-bureau credit monitoring, statistics regarding the user’s credit score and identity theft monitoring. This premium service costs $16.99 per month. 

Mint generates revenue based on referrals made to financial institutions, products or credit cards. Through its "Ways to Save" service, Mint offers financial opportunities that may benefit consumers. When a consumer utilizes the advice of Mint, the referred company rewards Mint with a referral payment. For example, Mint often recommends credit cards based on APR and rewards point offerings. Upon an individual signing up for a credit card through Mint, the company receives revenue.

The referral service is utilized when a user requests opportunities or alternatives. For instance, an individual may select to view alternative credit card opportunities and how they compare to their current position. Alternatively, an individual may investigate alternative banking opportunities to search for higher interest rates and lower banking fees. Mint provides users with referral links that contain information on these services. Upon the customer clicking the referral link and completing an offer, the link earns revenue.

Mint also generates revenue through the sale and distribution of aggregate consumer data. Mint has continual real-time access to valuable data relating to consumer trends. The company monetizes its unique position through the aggregation and distribution of data. This aggregate data is compiled by combining collective transactions across numerous individuals and obfuscating unique identifiers. In this manner, all individual information is removed, and a pool of data remains.

Mint ensures a minimum number of transactions occur before pooling and distributing data. For example, it requires at least 50 data points for a specific merchant or zip code before the data is combined to ensure each individual’s identity is secure. The information collected and sold provides insight into average spending, saving habits and banking fees.

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