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Mint.com makes good use of Android-specific features

by Kristen Nicole

Nearly two years after launching an iPhone app, Mint.com has arrived in the Android Market.  The personal finance tool has seen a great deal of success since launching it’s Web-based tools, helping to re-define what it means to have a finance tool that can be self-managed and optimized.  The company, which has since been acquired by Intuit, has further expanded its mobile presence, taking advantage of a few Android-specific features.

One such feature is the widget option, which gives you home screen access to your accounts, as well as a live folder option, which displays your recent transaction history directly on your home screen.  This may seem like a potential security issue, but for those that have password-protected phones and tend to keep their device to themselves, it’s a great quick-glance option for the budget-conscious.

Speaking of password-protection, the Mint.com app itself can be set up for a separate password to gain access.   This is a necessary step for a personal finance app to take, with Mint.com taking the extra measure to enable remote app disability via its website should your phone ever be stolen.

One other Android-specific feature I found useful was the global search option, which lets you pull up Mint.com account info from anywhere on your phone.  The setup for most of these Android-specific features is a tad roundabout, but they really aim to make access to your account as easy as possible.  Leveraging the more seamless navigation capabilities of Android devices is something I’d like to see from more mobile applications.

Beyond these Android-specific features, however, the Mint.com app isn’t too different from the iPhone version.  You get the quick-and-dirty rundown of your account balances from your bank, credit cards and investments, your budget and transaction history.  Alerts can be set up as well, but many of the other perks of Mint.com’s service are not directly available through the mobile app.

As Mint.com moves forward with updates for its Android and iPhone apps, I think a great opportunity lies in mobile delivery of recommendations for how to save money or avoid high interest rates, and the like.  With Mint.com already taking steps towards cross-app integration with the Android release, I’m also hoping to see other options for account management, such as auto-disabling the app based on your location or time of day (i.e. while you’re sleeping).