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Personal Finance

Empower vs. Mint: Which budgeting app should you be using to track your spending?

The choice largely comes down to whether you prioritize budgeting or investment advice.

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The Mint app has shut down as of Jan. 1, 2024. For alternatives, check out CNBC Select's ranking of the best budgeting apps.

There's no shortage of ways to create a customized budget that helps you handle your finances. A number of budget and expense tracking apps have become very popular over the years for the way they connect to your accounts to automatically categorize your spending.

Mint and Empower are two popular options that, at first glance, have nearly identical functionality. But a closer look reveals a couple of standout features that are unique to each. Below, CNBC Select fleshes out how they compare and contrast.

Mint vs. Empower

Mint

Information about Mint has been collected independently by CNBC Select and has not been reviewed or provided by Mint prior to publication.
  • Cost

    Free

  • Standout features

    Shows income, expenses, savings goals, credit score, investments, net worth

  • Categorizes your expenses

    Yes, but users can modify

  • Links to accounts

    Yes, bank and credit cards

  • Availability

    Offered in both the App Store (for iOS) and on Google Play (for Android)

  • Security features

    Verisign scanning, multi-factor authentication and Touch ID mobile access

Terms apply.

Empower

On Empower's secure site
  • Cost

    App is free, but users have option to add investment management services for 0.89% of their money (for accounts under $1 million)

  • Standout features

    A budgeting app and investment tool that tracks both your spending and your wealth

  • Categorizes your expenses

    Yes, but users can modify

  • Links to accounts

    Yes, bank and credit cards, as well as IRAs, 401(k)s, mortgages and loans

  • Availability

    Offered in both the App Store (for iOS) and on Google Play (for Android)

  • Security features

    Data encryption, fraud protection and strong user authentication

Terms apply.

Budgeting approach and tools

Both Mint and Empower allow users to connect bank accounts, investment accounts, credit cards, loans and other financial accounts. This lets you easily track your assets and liabilities as they fluctuate.

Both apps also feature a net-worth tracker and budget-tracking interface. Empower's tells you how close you are to reaching or overspending on your monthly budget while with Mint you can create specific spending goals for different categories. Both platforms automatically attempt to assign a category to each of your transactions, but you can edit them in case the app gets this wrong.

Unlike Mint, Empower provides you with a breakdown of your investment portfolio and even offers investment management services (at a cost). Empower also has an "investment checkup" feature in the app that helps you find ways to earn more with your investment portfolio. The platform also offers financial advisor support to help users tailor their investment strategy.

Because of this, Empower feels a bit more geared toward users focused on growing their money rather than just tracking their spending. Conversely, Mint places a greater emphasis on detailed budgeting tools and spending guidance.

Pricing

The Mint app is free to use. Most of Empower's features are free except for its investment management services. The cost is 0.89% of the user's funds for portfolios up to $1 million; after that, you'll be charged based on a tiered fee schedule that decreases as your portfolio balance gets larger. The tiered fees are capped at 0.49% on anything over $10 million.

Perks

Despite charging a fee for investment management services with a financial advisor, Empower offers some investment tracking features for free — like a retirement planner to help users figure out how much money they need to retire. There's also a savings planner tool to help you save for different goals, such as your retirement, an emergency fund or a debt payoff.

Mint offers a more comprehensive set of perks for users. Users receive around-the-clock access to their credit score for free and a credit report summary. Plus, they receive notifications if there are any changes in their TransUnion® credit report.

The app also alerts users if they get charged fees — like an ATM fee — or if they've gone over budget or have made a large transaction. Users can also track their bill payments through the app and get reminders sent to them when a due date is coming up.

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Availability and ratings

Both Mint and Empower are available in the App Store (for iOS) and on Google Play (for Android).

Empower rating in App Store at time of writing: 4.7 out of 5 (over 38,000 ratings)

Empower rating on Google Play at time of writing: 4.3 out of 5 (over 17,000 ratings)

Mint rating in App Store at time of writing: 4.8 out of 5 (over 774,000 ratings)

Mint rating on Google Play at time of writing: 4.3 out of 5 (over 200,000 ratings)

Bottom line

Mint and Empower both help users become more efficient with their spending and budgeting. But the way Mint's features work together makes it the better choice for those wanting a comprehensive picture of where their money is going. On the other hand, those who prefer a bit more of a mix between budgeting and investing support but can do without the extras (like bill payment alerts) may feel more inclined toward the Empower app.

Either way, both are excellent tools to help you make better decisions about your finances.

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Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.
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