Tag Archives: personalcapital

Personal Capital Security

This review was performed on January 17, 2014 and is part of a series of comparisons of financial management sites.

Personal Capital is a relatively new service with the following goal: “to build a better money management experience for consumers. That’s why we’re blending cutting edge technology with objective financial advice.”

personalcapital.com uses a EV certificate with a 2048 bit RSA key.

personalcapital.com receives an B on the Qualys SSL Test run on February 11, 2014. They do not support TLS v1.1 or v1.2. Overall, not a major concern, but areas where they could easily increase the security of the connection to the site.

Security Claims

I wasn’t able to find much about Personal Capital’s security.

Analysis of claims

Personal Capital’s description of their security is concerning. There is only one very high level descriptions of their security. Their privacy policy claims they describe their security and answer common questions; however, none of those links work. Personal Capital does not describe any protections for protecting usernames and passwords stored in their database. The positives are that they have multi-factor authentication and constantly watch for suspicious activity.


With the very limited security claims, I was still able to identify

  1. “best technology” – Personal Capital does not use the “best technology.” They do not support TLS v1.1 or v1.2. Both of these provide better security than TLS v1.0 or SSL v 3.0.
  2. “military-grade encrypted algorithms” – Personal Capital supports triple DES which is only allowed if required by legacy technology of the (US) military.
  3. Linking to non-existent pages that claim to describe security.


I find the number of problems in Personal Capital’s almost non-existent description of security very alarming. I give their claims a F.

Comparison of Financial Management Sites

This compares the observable security and the security claims of popular financial management sites. The security policy reviews were spread over a period of time; however, all Qualys SSL Labs tests were re-run on February 11, 2014 to ensure consistent grading.

The following aspects of each site were considered:


Service / Site EV Qualys
Inconsistencies Date Checked
mint.com Yes A- B 1 January 16, 2014
PersonalCapital Yes B F 3 January 17, 2014
Yodlee MoneyCenter Yes A- 1 A- February 5, 2014
LearnVest Yes B C 1 February 1, 2014
CreditKarma Yes A- C 0 January 19, 2014

If you have other sites you would like added, please add them to the comments.


EV – Extended Validation

Extended Validation (EV) is important, because it provides additional assurance that you are communicating with the site you believe you are. A corporate-proxy, cannot (with the exception of InternetExplorer) impersonate an EV certificate. This is a simple yes/no whether the site uses an EV certificate to identify itself.

Qualys SSL Server Test

The Qualys SSL Server Test provides a good snapshot of the Certificate, Key Exchange, cipher suites, and protocol version supported by the servers to secure the connection between the web server and your browser. This is the Qualys SSL Server Test letter grade (A–F).

Security Policy Review

The connection between your browser and the web server is only one aspect of site security. The design of the website and its supporting database contribute to security. Without being able to sit down with a developer and analyze the the internals of the website, the posted security policy and practices are the best the general public can review. This is my letter grade of whether the security policy includes feasible protections and adequately addresses security threats.


To try to determine whether the security policies can be taken at face value, I’ve compared the security polices agains security aspects of the site that can be observed and verified by the general public. This provides a feeling of how accurate, and therefore trustworthy, the security policies are. Granted, some of the inaccuracies might be to make the security policies understandable by the average person. This is the number of inconstancies identified between different areas of the security policy and/or the actual website.