Q&A: Can I trust storing my personal data with online financial websites?

Consumer Reports News

Q: I'm concerned about the security of my financial account usernames and passwords that I must enter to use Mint.com. Can I trust it to store them on their server? And can I trust it with my financial account information? &mdsh;M.A.H., Apple Valley, Minn.

A: Mint.com says it shares your personal data only when you authorize it; when it's doing housekeeping (such as monitoring site usage); or when it's required to by subpoena or other legal situation. Mint uses the same electronic security that banks use, and physically guards its servers. (If your bank adds a security step called two-factor authentication, Mint adds it, too.) So if you trust your bank's online security, there's no reason to mistrust Mint's.

Still, no website is 100 percent invulnerable, and our experts were leery of putting all accounts in one place. If you agree, consider adding only bank and credit-card accounts so you can monitor transactions and create budgets. We've found that to be Mint's specialty.

For more information, check our Guide to Internet security

To submit your own question, see: ConsumerReports.org/askourexperts.

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