Home Business Mint alternative Monarch is making it easy to switch financial tools

Mint alternative Monarch is making it easy to switch financial tools

When Intuit announced it was shutting down the popular financial tracker Mint on January 1, it left millions of users scrambling for an alternative. Fortunately for them, lesser-known rival Monarch quickly released an open source Chrome extension to let users easily export data from their Mint accounts, ready for import at Monarch or potentially other services.

According to Monarch CEO Val Agostino, the company has already seen an influx of new customers since Intuit announced Mint’s impending closure late last month. Agostino was once director of product at Mint, which Intuit acquired in 2009. “Our signup volume has gone up 20 times since the announcement, so it’s definitely been drinking from the firehose a bit,” he says, adding that Monarch has been expanding server and customer service capacity since Intuit’s announcement. Both Mint and Monarch help users with financial tracking and budgeting, aggregating data on income, spending, and balances from accounts at banks, brokerages, and other financial institutions. Monarch declined to say how many users it has or how many newly signed up, and Mint user numbers are also a bit unclear: The Mint site mentions “25 million users,” but Bloomberg reports the company cited 3.6 million active users in a 2021 presentation.

[Photo: Monarch]

While Mint does offer its own export tools, Agostino says its extension, which users must install on Chrome and use while visiting  the Mint website, is a bit more flexible, able to download more complete record of a customer’s financial history in just one click, while Mint’s official tools can require multiple steps to download all the data on file. “A lot of people have been using Mint for 10 or in some cases 15 years, and they’re understandably very attached to their financial journey,” he says.

The extension downloads data into CSV files saved on users’ computers, so users can simply open them in spreadsheets or potentially upload them to compatible competing services if they don’t want to use Monarch, which unlike Mint charges a monthly or annual fee. If they do choose to use Monarch, they can upload the files in a few clicks—and take advantage of a Monarch special offering a 30-day free trial and 50% discount on the first year of service. 

Since Monarch’s extension is open source and available on GitHub, users have already submitted some pull requests fixing various issues like formatting unusual characters in account names, Agostino says. “We had a few bugs, as you always do,” he says. “Folks have chipped in and helped us identify quirky things.”

Monarch isn’t the only Mint rival taking advantage of the impending shutdown to woo new business. Quicken Simplifi is offering a free three months of service, budgeting tool YNAB is promoting a month-long free trial, and financial tracker Copilot has announced a waitlist for a feature enabling Mint users to easily import their data to its service. Intuit itself, meanwhile, is inviting users to import their data into Credit Karma, another free service which it acquired in December 2020, though it has acknowledged Credit Karma doesn’t include the budgeting features many Mint users rely on.

“We’re excited to welcome all Intuit Mint users to join Intuit Credit Karma where they will have access to Credit Karma’s suite of products, features, tools and services, including the ability to connect their financial accounts so they can track their transactions, cash flow and spending, broken down by category,” an Intuit spokesperson said in an email to Fast Company. “We are giving Mint users ample time to prepare for this change, before their access to Mint ends.”

Since Mint was free for those who didn’t opt in to paid premium or ad-free plans, many of its users will likely want to use that time to weigh whether it’s worth signing up for a paid rival. Agostino argues the paid model eliminates a conflict between serving the needs of advertisers like credit card issuers and those of consumers looking for good financial options. And while consumers weigh Credit Karma’s offerings, free trials, and other alternatives, they can ensure their data is safely stored on their own devices.

“It downloads it to your computer, so you can do what you want with it,” he says.