When Mint.com finally started working for us Canadians, I got really excited. Having to log into multiple bank sites to see how I’m doing is a pain. Sure, I’ve got Quicken on the desktop, but there’s just something about the eye-candy layouts that these modern websites give you. It somehow makes boring financial data exciting.
I recently read an article in Money Sense that, technically speaking, freaked me out. According to the article, by using Mint.com or similar services, you can be voiding your ability to use fraud protection services should your account be compromised.
They spoke to some people at the big banks in Canada, who confirmed this notion. Basically, what the spokespeople said, was by giving your password information to Mint, you are breaching your contract with the bank. That password is supposed to be yours and yours alone. If someone steals your information, the bank’s got your back when bad things happen. When you freely give that information to a stranger, even a highly secure stranger, they no longer have to protect you.
I guess on one hand I understand the bank’s position. If you tell someone a secret that only you and your bank shared, even if it’s your best friend, you can’t be completely shocked if that secret gets out. Sure, you didn’t mean for it to get out, but now the bank isn’t going to tell you secrets anymore, and you can forget about sitting next to them in the cafeteria.
On the other hand, I think this should only apply if you can prove that it was Mint’s fault that your account was compromised. What if I don’t use Mint, but I have my password written on a post-it note on my monitor, or I use something stupid like 123456? Does that count as a breach of contract? Probably, but the bank wouldn’t penalize me for that. Yet because I’m using a service who employs conspiracy-theory-crazy-guy-level security to protect my passwords, they won’t help me if someone charges a hotel room in Northern Mongolia to my Visa?
What do you think? Should using sites like Mint.com nullify our account protection? Does this news mean you’re going to stop using the site? Let me know what you think.