Mint.com’s monetization model is based on making recommendations for financial products tailored to the user’s financial situation such as bank savings accounts, credit cards, insurance or brokerage accounts. And it does so in an intelligent manner that is useful to the user. (That is the best kind of selling). For example, I got a recommendation for a savings account that offered much more interest than I was currently earning. Mint also noticed that I hadn’t been saving in my 401K for a few months and so suggested a 401K rollover account. Pretty neat, I thought, even though I did not end up using these recommendations.
Another area for Mint to monetize while providing customers with useful functionality is to incorporate Discount Coupons. Since most Mint users are serious savers focused on reducing their spending, this is a natural fit. So, based on the stores I shop at (Mint already pulls this information from my credit card and bank information to calculate my spending), it can show me coupons from retailers of interest. For example, if I’ve been shopping at Target or See’s Candies, Mint can show me Target coupons and coupons for See’s or Godiva chocolates. This should of course be non-intrusive, and could be an option on the “Ways to Save” tab.