I don’t ask for much, really.
I’d like to be able to access a key subset of my financial transactions, displayed in comprehensible form, all in one place, from anywhere, via my phone, iPad, or a desktop/laptop. Mint.com claims to do that.
I’d like to be able to enter pending transactions (e.g., checks written) and then have them automatically reconciled when they clear. Mint.com claims to do that.
When I have a problem — especially a longstanding one — with an account, I’d like tech support to engage and solve that problem. Mint.com claims to that.
Only, mint.com has woefully failed. Forever, one of my accounts fails to reconcile checks. I can sort of live with that, doing it manually, but I shouldn’t have to.
About this problem, tech support has been of no help. Actually, the latest communication about this by them is nonsensical. Checks won’t reconcile unless they match check number, amount, and date, they say. The first two are perfectly reasonable. The last is ridiculous. I enter the check on date written. It clears days to months later. Those are two dates that will never, ever be the same. There should be no attempt to make reconciliation contingent on them matching.
(Note, the account that has this problem is with one of the largest financial institutions in the U.S. This is not some obscure, strange account. And many other accounts reconcile checks, so clearly tech support is not making sense.)
But it’s worse. A few months back, transactions in this account started showing up with blank descriptions. Tech support has been unable to solve that. But, in trying to, they deleted a big batch of my pending transactions (entered checks, not yet cleared). So, now I have no idea what’s outstanding.
This is a disaster, and I’m fed up. I’ve lost hours of time cleaning up after mint.com’s failures. Is there any free (or cheap) service that can handle what I want, as articulated above? Is this so hard?
In the meantime, I’m going back to spreadsheets. They work, I understand them, but they don’t automate as much as mint.com claimed to automate.
Then again, mint.com seems to suck. So …
Update: Since writing this post I tried Yodlee Money Center. I don’t like it for two reasons. First, interacting with it requires far too many clicks. Second and more importantly, it fails at a basic function: It doesn’t report the difference between one’s cleared (posted) balance and one’s balance accounting for pending transactions (e.g., checks not yet cleared). This is fundamental. Without it, one can’t tell whether one had the funds to accommodate pending checks. All of this makes me wonder if people who design electronic checkbooks actually use them. I’m sticking with a spreadsheet until something better comes along, including possibly a patched-up mint.com.
Update #2: I just gave Moneydance a try. First of all, it costs $49.99, though there is a trial period. In attempting to take advantage of the trial period, I could not get it to interface with my bank, despite it being a major financial institution. The set-up wizard type thing just didn’t work. I got stuck. Sure, I could engage tech support yadda yadda yadda, but I’m not interested in anther product that requires troubleshooting for basic functions. Back to spreadsheets!