Mint.com is broken…should I keep going?

So I thought I could live with Mint.com despite the fact that it renames every electronically paid bill as ‘BP’, and categorizes it as ‘Fuel’. As you might imagine, this screws up our budget a little.

First I sent Mint.com the following bug report:

All of my electronic bill-pay transactions have descriptions that start with BP. Mint has decided that all of them must be fuel charges, i.e. BP the gas station.

How can I fix this?

They offered this reply:

Here’s how:

1. Log in to Mint.com.
2. Click the Transactions tab at the top of the page.
3. Click the transaction you want to rename and/or re-categorize.
4. At the bottom of the box that appears around this transaction, click Edit Details.
5. In the Description column, you can type a new name for this transaction. In the Category column, you can click the pull-down menu to view and select from other categories to re-categorize this transaction. To add your own completely new category, click Add/Edit Categories at the end of any of the category lists.
6. Check the box under “Rules” if you’d like to permanently apply the new name and/or new category to this type of transaction.
7. Click I’m Done.

Here’s the problem. Their rules are a very simple text replacement. So if I make a rule to replace, say, ‘BP’ with ‘Thunderhoot’, it’s going to change every one. Never mind that some of those BP transactions are daycare payments, and others went to the mortgage. All it has to go on when making the replacement is BP. So I respond:

Hi Mary,

Thanks for responding. Unfortunately, renaming doesn’t work because
ALL of my electronic bill pay transactions get renamed as BP. When I
make a rule for one, they all get changed.

Am I being obtuse? Seriously, sometimes I write things that seem clear but aren’t…maybe this is one of those times:

In order to investigate & troubleshoot bugs, we need to know the following:

1. Browser and Operating system you’re working with.
See link for supported browsers:
http://forums.mint.com/showthread.php?t=1860&highlight=supported+browsers

2. The specific steps (if any) that caused you to encounter the error.

3. A screen shot and description of the error. A file should be .jpg or .png format. *Directions for Windows users: http://graphicssoft.about.com/cs/general/ht/winscreenshot.htm
*Directions for Mac users: http://guides.macrumors.com/Taking_Screenshots_in_Mac_OS_X

Important Note: All requested information are crucial for fixing the bug.

I sense this is the ‘Give the customer some busy work and hope he’ll get tired and go away’ reply. Seriously, they actually think the browser is going to affect how their website processes data? Maybe my operating system? Just for the record, I’m using Firefox, or sometimes Safari. Normal versions, not special developer versions. I’m also using Snow Leopard, again a normal version.

For those of you who are curious, the misnamed transactions behave the same way regadless if it is Firefox or Safari, Mac or Windows XP, or even my iPhone.

It seems that the suggestions Damon (from Mint.com) wrote back on November 8, 2007, with concise instructions on what to supply aren’t correct. I posted a followup so others would know what is required.

Anyway, before these replies had shown up I had started contacting Mint.com with the specific transactions that are misnamed, as requested in this post. It’s not easy to do, because even though Mint.com has the correct transaction name (they include it in the properties of the HTML item for the transaction) there’s an extra step or two required to cut and past it into their contact form. Today I got the same browser/os/screenshot reply.

Putting together a complete screen-shot sequence of all the steps required to show their product doesn’t work is, well, a lot of work. The thing is I’m not the first person to notice it. I mean, this Lifehacker post from 2007 describes the problem pretty well under ‘Drawbacks’. My intuition tells me if they wanted to solve this problem, they’d have solved it. Or at least added a ‘Do not translate transaction names’ checkbox to the options page.

Mint.com feature suggestion

I was using Mint.com again today, as I decided that even thought it renames all of my electronically-paid bills to ‘BP’ there would still be some value in using it. The spending that really needs monitoring isn’t usually paid electronically, so the rest of the transactions that Mint.com doesn’t mostly misname are still intact.

Mostly.

Today I found out that handwritten checks get renamed to ‘View Image’. This is because the description that my credit union provides includes the phrase ‘View Image’, which is a link to the image of the check when I’m on the CU site. Mint.com decided to throw away the check number, which is the only piece of identifying information you usually get on handwritten checks.

So after nosing around on the Mint.com support forums I found specific instructions for filing a bug request when Mint.com misnames transactions, I decided to start filing bug requests for all these misnamed transactions.

Feature Suggestion

Mint.com, please add a ‘Report misnamed transaction’ button on your transaction view. Maybe to the edit details pane. Since you already have the transaction date, my account ID info, the name that Mint gave the transaction as well as the original statement text, it would save me from having to re-type all that info when filing a bug request.

Personal finance software revisited: Mint.com not so good

Why is the world of personal financial management software so awful? About twice a year I go looking for a solution that works, and I always end up wasting a bunch of time and come up empty handed.

Just this week I once again set forth to find something, and thought I’d finally found it when I tried Mint.com. While MInt’s got lots of features that make people happy, it has at least one major flaw that will keep me from using it. It records all my electronically paid bills as ‘BP’, and then dutifully categorizes them as fuel. I’m not the only one with this kind Mint problem, and since my specific ‘Mint renaming all transactions as BP‘ problem was posted by someone else in 2008. While I’ve filed a support request, I’m not optimistic. It would seem that Mint is focused on the users where their automation works, not where it doesn’t.

I then tried Wesabe, but after I registered and picked my credit union, they prompted me to upload my transactions. What, is this 1995?

Does ANYONE make a decent personal financial management product that a) Connects to my credit union, which is Educator’s Credit Union in WI and b) Also connects to the usual other institutions, and c) Works?