According to Felix Salmon, Mint.com, the popular personal finance website, may be benefiting from playing outside the regulatory rules that govern banks. At a Banking 2.0 panel at SXSW, Mint’s Aaron Patzer explained why:
For instance, he said, he can see pretty much in real time how much money his huge database of customers is, in aggregate, spending at Blockbuster vs Netflix vs Redbox, or any other set of retailers — and that kind of information would surely be extremely valuable to hedge funds. It was clearly something he’s talked a lot about, and he never said that he wasn’t already selling that data to the highest bidder.
If I am to do my banking online, I need to be confident that my financial information is being kept secure. This is not like Google, where I can stomach giving up a bit of anonymized usage data in exchange for great software. No, when it comes to my financial information, I do not want my data sold to the highest bidder.
After reading Salmon’s column, I deleted my Mint account.