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Friday, March 4, 2011 PR Nightmare

I use In fact, I was checking my account on my iPhone app several times a day before this mess. Mint pulls all the transactions from my personal and business banking accounts as well as my American Express accounts to create a cohesive picture of my financial situation. It shows me in a simple manner my cash flow and where I can cut back spending and overhead, the graphs are amazing. I love it, but something happened the other day that is simply not sitting right with me or my fellow users...

As of March 2nd, Bank of America is blocking the application, with no end in sight. This has caused a tremendous uproar in the Mint community. Those of us watching our spending, managing our business, and counting the beans for business dealings are left without this precious tool literally overnight. I don't know who to be mad at, Mint, Intuit (they recently bought Mint), or Bank of America.

Within 24 hours, there have been over 1,000 complaints to the Mint support forum on this topic alone, and users are furious. Many are calling for a Bank of America boycott, others claim they're closing their account immediately and moving on to greener pastures. I, on the other hand, will sit tight for the time being while I get some more definitive answers. Which brings me as to why this is a PR nightmare.

Regardless of who's fault this is, there are few solid answers out there which simply causes people to speculate. Bank of America claims it's a security issue, which makes some believe that they just don't like a big company/competitor like Intuit using Bank of America's data for use that isn't profitable to BofA. If that is true, BofA needs to play nice in the sandbox or lose customers to competitors that know how to share information, even with other competitors, for the sake of us consumers. But BofA's statement that it's a security issue doesn't hold water with me. For one, I don't see any other big banks blocking Mint, go figure.

Yes, there have been one or two updates from Mint as to why this is happening, which have been general and vague at best, with no future indication of a fix. Big mistake. As the media gets a hold of this and consumers continue to speculate, they risk losing control of this crisis and causing a massive migration of their customer base. If I were managing Intuit's PR department, I would be using social media and mainstream media to put pressure on Bank of America. Turn this crisis into an opportunity. The publicity would be like gold, and really drive focus back on Bank of America, for they caused the block in the first place, while other banks maintain their compatibility. This crisis also lends to conversations about online banking security and allow Intuit/Mint to demonstrate publicly how they're a tech leader in this space.

None the less, I see nothing. I see a bunch of angry consumers and no objective response from Mint or Intuit to win their customers over. I hope they take some proactive measures to use this as an opportunity to get MORE subscribers to the service. Yet, big corporate structures tend to tie hands and impede progress, way to go Intuit.

About Chris Heuwetter, president of TwiloPR
Chris Heuwetter has implemented award-winning strategic marketing and public relations programs for an array of clients, in various industries, during his years as a professional. Before launching TwiloPR, Chris worked for M. Silver Associates, a New York City public relations agency with an office in Fort Lauderdale, handling accounts in industries that range from travel and education to financial services and non-profit organizations. His work with M. Silver Associates can be demonstrated by his dense portfolio which contains media placements he has secured for clients that range from magazine cover stories, to national AP placements, to local broadcast segments in top regional markets around the country. Chris is extremely tech-savvy and his new media expertise has allowed to help launch the new media and online reputation management practice of M. Silver Associates as well as introduce the newly trademarked service to clients.

Chris also specializes in crisis communications and has worked on crisis programs with corporate and government clients across the world. One prominent issue Chris worked on while at an international PR firm was the Natalie Holloway issue in Aruba, where Chris worked worked on crisis communications regarding that issue as it related to tourism for the Caribbean nation.


  1. brilliant article - hope it takes off for you - maybe mint and boa will learn something from you

  2. I completely agree.
    PR nightmares can make for great opportunities. Case in point, the recent meat claims against Taco Bell... which we're handled brilliantly.

    If BofA blocking is indeed the reason, mint should leverage its social media friendly user base. Why have 1 company fighting for you when you can have 150k+ people advocating with you?

  3. Taco Bell handled that "brilliantly"? How so?

  4. They came out and confronted the issue right away, disputed the claims and provided evidence to back it up.
    They then motivated their customer base by offering $0.88 crunchwrap supremes which tied back to their 88% beef claims.

  5. BofA isn't blocking, you just have to stop using their "SafePass" security scheme. I was able to restore BofA access to my Mint account by following the instructions here:

  6. Jake,

    This was much larger than a SafePass issue, as you'll see from the lengthy message boards on when this event occurred. All has since been resolved, albeit with a crap response time.

    But thank you for your comment!


    Chris Heuwetter