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Intuit Buying Personal Finance Web Site Mint.Com for $170M

Intuit Buying Personal Finance Web Site Mint.Com for $170M

Brandon Bailey/San Jose Mercury News

Sep. 14 – For nearly two years, one of the biggest names in consumer financial software has listened to a steady drumbeat of rave reviews for a new personal finance tracking service offered by online startup

Mountain View-based Intuit responded Monday by announcing it will spend $170 million to buy the upstart company and add its fast-growing service to Intuit’s own portfolio of Web-based software. founder and CEO Aaron Patzer will become general manager of Intuit’s personal finance business unit.

The deal signals a further Internet expansion for Intuit, which has increasingly seen its customers shift from buying desktop software to using Internet versions of its popular TurboTax and Quicken financial programs. In particular, Intuit said it sees opportunities to combine the service – which helps consumers keep track of their spending, savings and debts – with other online consumer services offered by banks and credit unions that use Intuit’s commercial software.

“Two-thirds of our tax business is already online,” said Dan Maurer, Intuit senior vice president. “The future is going to be online.”

Industry analysts said the acquisition makes sense for both companies by combining an established brand with a newer name that has strong appeal for younger customers. helps users track their own spending and saving habits by automatically uploading statements from their banks and credit accounts and generating reports that show where the money is going. As with similar, competing services, it does this by storing users’ encrypted account numbers and passwords on its servers. Intuit had gotten some traction with its own Web service, Quicken Online, but has won praise and awards for its simple, easy-to-use interface, which provides information via e-mail and text messages. It also has a widely promoted iPhone application.

The service from is free to users. As a privately held company, also based in Mountain View, has not disclosed its earnings. But it says it makes money from financial institutions and other companies, which pay a fee when users respond to notices advising them, for example, that they can lower their credit card interest rate by switching to a sponsoring provider.

Shaking up the market, which claims 1.5 million registered users, doesn’t offer as many features as Quicken, the desktop personal finance software that has over 10 million users and which has been on the market for over 25 years. But industry analyst Emmet Higdon, who tracks financial software at Forrester Research, said many younger customers don’t need those features.

“ has certainly shaken up the market by showing strong consumer demand for some very basic functionality,” he added. “Intuit will be able to leverage a lot of their learning and user experience, to make things simple and easy for its customers.”

Intuit had introduced Quicken Online in early 2008, after and competing startups such as Wesabe began offering free services on the Web. But even after Quicken Online cut its $3-a-month subscription price to free, it wasn’t able to break out of the pack.

“Mint has a few more users than we do,” Maurer said. Intuit will continue to use the Quicken brand for its desktop product and for offering online or smart-phone services to Quicken customers.

Intuit, meanwhile, has expanded its online offerings in other segments, including an array of Web-based software for small businesses and online banking software for financial institutions. Patzer said he sees opportunities for more tie-ins between and Intuit’s banking clients.

Factoring in banks

Banks could offer their own “flavor” of‘s service to their customers, or offer competitive rates to users, he suggested. But he said the service would strive to maintain credibility.

“A bank is only going to offer its own products” and not a competitor’s, he acknowledged. “But what and its algorithms guarantee is we’ll only make a recommendation if it actually saves the user money.”

Contact Brandon Bailey at 408-920-5022.


Annual sales (fiscal year ended July 31, 2009): $3.2 billion

Annual profit (fiscal year ended July 31, 2009): $447 million

Total employees: 7,800

Headquarters: Mountain View

Major brands: TurboTax tax preparation software for consumers, QuickBooks accounting software for small business, Quicken personal finance software, Lacerte and ProSeries software for tax professionals, Digital Insight online banking software for financial institutions.

Latest news: Paying $170 million to acquire, an online startup with 1.5 million registered users, which helps consumers keep track of their spending, savings and debts.

© 2009, YellowBrix, Inc.