Mint Business Model | How Does Mint Make Money?

Mint is a personal financial management startup with a close to 20 million-user app for North American consumers.

Mint Business Model is based on referral fees, advertising, and credit monitoring services. Intuit acquired Mint for around $170 million in 2009.

Mint is regarded as one of the premier personal financial summary tools. It generates revenue primarily through four revenue streams: advertisements on its website and app, premium accounts that include credit-report monitoring in exchange for a user fee, referrals to other financial institutions and companies, and the sale of user data. 

Mint’s goal is to provide a holistic perspective of your financial life, including bank accounts, bills, credit cards, and investments. 

Since its inception in 2006, it has experienced tremendous success acquiring funding and growing its client base to millions of users. 

Its operations improved due to Intuit’s (INTU) 2009 acquisition, which enabled it to leverage several revenue streams.

What is Mint?

Mint is a financial technology startup that consolidates data from various bank accounts. Users can utilize this service to keep a better track of and manage their finances.

Mint earns money by collecting referral fees if a user purchases one of the financial items promoted by the company.

Mint Business Model

Mint was founded in 2006 and is located in San Francisco, California. Since then, it has quickly grown to become one of the major personal finance platforms in the United States. 

The company was acquired by Intuit three years after it was founded for $170 million in September 2009.

Company NameIntuit Mint
Company TypePrivate
FoundersAaron Patzer
ProductMint.com
OwnerIntuit
Founded Date2006
HeadquarterMountain View, California, United States
Location ServedUnited States, Canada
Websitehttps://mint.intuit.com

How Does Mint Work?

Mint is a personal finance management and tracking application that enables users to manage and track their accounts.

The company combines data from multiple accounts to provide users with a holistic view of their financial condition.

Among its characteristics and offerings are the following:

  • Notifications regarding ATM fees, excessive spending, strange spending habits, or payment reminders
  • Credit evaluations without charge
  • Budgeting for several categories and establishing specific savings goals
  • Track regular payments, such as internet and other subscriptions, using this bill payment tracker.

Customers can access a wide range of financial services via Mint in addition to its money management functions.

Users can access credit cards, student loans, auto or house insurance, and bank accounts.

Mint also provides a plethora of tools to help users become better at managing their money.

The company’s mobile apps are available on Android and iOS mobile phones, tablets, and smartwatches.

How Does Mint Make Money?

Mint generates revenue through referral fees. It earns those fees if a user makes a purchase or enrolls in one of the financial products promoted by the company.

Mint supports the following categories of products:

  • Card Cards
  • Individual and student loans
  • Financial products like Betterment and Wealthfront from companies like American Express and Bank of America.
  • Life, home, and auto insurance

Mint’s offerings are personalized depending on the user’s financial condition and spending habits.

Mint’s ability to earn fees from each sale is ultimately determined by its agreements with its advertising partners.

Because of this, Mint utilizes a freemium model so that users can access the platform for free.

Businesses can access these potentially lucrative users, generating revenue for the service provider.

Users speculated during the company’s early phases that Mint would earn money by selling some of the sensitive data is accumulated. However, these charges are not genuine.

Other startups that follow a similar model include Credit Karma, which was acquired by Intuit for $7.1 billion in February 2020, NerdWallet, and the browser plugin Honey.

Referral fees

When a user purchases one of the financial items promoted by the company, the company earns money. Mint may also make a charge for sign-ups in some situations.

Mint’s aggregation capabilities enable it to advertise a broad range of products and services.

Among them include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Insurance – whether it is for life, home, or automobile.
  • Loans to individuals and students.
  • Cards de crédit.
  • Personal banking services are available through participating financial institutions such as American Express and Bank of America.

The specific fee structure is determined by the agreement between Mint and its partners.

Mint Business Model

Given Mint’s access to its customers’ whole financial histories, referral fees should be a good source of revenue. Consumers might be targeted with offers based on their buying habits.

Many have suspected that this essential data was sold to other corporations to generate additional income.

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However, there is no sign that Mint has created mechanisms for the sale of client data.

Credit monitoring service

Customers can subscribe to Mint’s Credit Monitor for $16.99 per month in addition to the platform’s free credit report capabilities.

This premium credit reporting service combines credit information from three credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. It also monitors (and reports on) possible identity theft incidents.

Advertising

Mint also generates revenue through in-app advertisements. The firm charges the advertiser a modest fee when a customer taps on an ad.

Mint’s access to precise client information means the ads should be highly targeted.

What is the Funding and Valuation of Mint?

Crunchbase reports that Mint has raised a total of $31.8 million in venture capital funding over five rounds.

Notable investors include Founders Fund, DAG Ventures, Benchmark Capital, and First Round Capital.

Intuit made Mint’s valuation public during its acquisition of the company. The software behemoth paid $170 million for 100 percent ownership.

What is the Revenue of Mint?

Mint’s revenue figures are not disclosed by Intuit. Intuit classifies it as part of its consumer segment, which produced $2.775 billion in revenue in the fiscal year 2019. 

However, it should be noted that the majority of that revenue is almost certainly attributable to TurboTax, Intuit’s SaaS tax preparation software.

Success Story of Mint

Aaron Patzer established Mint.com in 2006 in San Francisco, California. Pratzer’s fascination with computers began at a young age.

By the age of 15, he had founded his first business, a web development company for small businesses.

Following high school, he attended Duke University and majored in three areas of Computer Science and Engineering.

He eventually added some accounting lessons to improve his tax management for the web development services he gave.

He had to save his own Quicken Loans ledger every Sunday to keep his books current. 

This required saving each transaction (which he had hundreds of in a week), manually categorizing them, and devising effective storing methods.

Following graduation (he continued his education at Princeton with a Master’s degree), Pratzer worked as a software developer for businesses such as IBM.

Patzer subsequently relocated to San Francisco to pursue his entrepreneurial dreams. 

Saving $50,000 provided him with the required buffer to establish a network in the Valley. Matthew Snider, Mint’s first employee, became friends with Patzer during a group hiking trip.

Patzer and a small team of software engineers began work on Mint in March 2006. They worked relentlessly for the first seven months, frequently putting in 14-hour workdays.

Meanwhile, Patzer proposed his proposal to over 50 investors, who all declined to invest. 

Mint Business Model

However, his efforts would eventually bear fruit. After watching an early product demo, Josh Kopelman of First Round Capital, Patzer’s dinner, became the startup’s first investor.

Regrettably, there remained one more hurdle in the startup’s path. Patzer initially titled the company MyMint, for which he paid $3,000 to get the domain name mymint.com. 

However, he quickly understood that the mint.com domain would be significantly more important in terms of branding.

The issue was that the domain was formerly owned by an investment banker who ran an investment company called Mint Investments. He first refused to sell, but Mint’s backers eventually convinced him.

They gave him shares in the startup’s Series A round (rather than cash) and guaranteed him to be the only New York-based investment manager admitted. 

That appealed to his ego in some way. He will later invest in Mint’s Series B and C rounds after unfolding his initial investment.

Mint, an acronym for Money Intelligence, was set to debut once the domain concerns were overcome. Mint.com launched in late 2007 following months of development.

The team used a few growth hacks to help the business get off the ground. They began by establishing a separate personal finance blog a few months ago. 

This enabled them to amass a mailing list of over 20,000 subscribers, which they could use to generate interest in Mint.

Second, Patzer made himself as open to the media as possible. He conducted around 550 interviews before and following the launch. 

And he wasn’t afraid to go after minor players, conducting interviews for high school newspapers, for example.

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The event that finally resulted in Mint’s breakthrough was dubbed TechCrunch40. Mint was named the best-presenting company, garnering $50,000 in prize money and national media coverage in the process.

Mint’s company soared to new heights due to the exposure, with close to 50,000 people holding a combined $2 billion in their accounts. 

Mint was able to secure a $4.7 million Series A round of funding on the strength of that publicity.

Mint had already surpassed 300,000 users a year later. Apart from the initial coverage, its offering was simply superior to other available solutions, such as Quicken Loans from Intuit. 

In comparison to market leaders, Mint’s platform was incredibly simple to set up and navigate.

Mint was acquired by financial software behemoth Intuit for a stunning $170 million in September 2009, following two years of hockey stick growth.

Patzer was acquired by Intuit and joined the company as a Director of Product Innovation.

He was responsible for heading Intuit’s whole personal finance sector, Mint, TurboTax, and Quicken Loans. Ironically, Patzer had previously spent years decrying how awful Quicken was.

Being a part of Intuit enabled Mint to continue growing its user base. In 2010, it urged Quicken users to migrate to Mint, which allowed them to preserve all account data and relationships.

By mid-2012, Mint’s platform had surpassed 10 million users. Mint expanded from 8,000 to 15,000 partner institutions as a result of Intuit’s existing bank relationships.

Patzer left Intuit that year to start his own business. He founded Fountain, a firm that connected customers to skilled professionals such as attorneys or physicians. In October 2015, the company was acquired by Porch.com.

Another factor contributing to his leaving was the ease with which a significant firm like Intuit could innovate.

Mint’s creativity and product quality had also been harmed by the delayed development efforts.

The platform continues to have issues that users have pointed out over the years.

For example, the platform continues to miscategorize transactions routinely, there is no connectivity with TurboTax, and specific sources have exporting issues.

According to a 2016 blog post, the Mint.com platform has over 20 million members despite these setbacks.

Key Takeaways From Mint Business Model

Mint was founded in 2006 by Aaron Patzer as a personal financial services startup. The platform acts as an aggregator, letting customers manage all their financial products within one interface.

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You can use Mint for free. However, the company does have access to a large amount of valuable consumer data, including information regarding spending and saving patterns, among other things. As a result, it earns most of its revenue from paying targeted referrals.

Additionally, Mint offers an in-app advertising feature and a credit monitoring service that provides customers with their credit scores from three credit bureaus.

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