Online Banking – 5 Services That Will Change The Way You Bank

Posted by Harshad

Online Banking – 5 Services That Will Change The Way You Bank

Online Banking – 5 Services That Will Change The Way You Bank

Posted: 03 Apr 2014 06:01 AM PDT

It’s not really a stretch to say that the big banks aren’t keeping up with the curve. Not only do they seem perfectly happy to ignore the needs of small customers, but these big banks aren’t really doing well trying to keep up with the mobile-centric lifestyles of today’s urban dwellers. Between the fees and the lack of mobile support from the big banks, it’s no wonder that alternative and mobile-friendly banking solutions are starting to emerge. If mobile payment systems are here to stay, maybe online and mobile-friendly banking is next in line.


These mobile banking services take advantage of the possibilities afforded by being online and mobile, providing cool features that you just won’t see in the online apps from your traditional big banks. These services aren’t actually banks themselves, and are still backed by traditional banks, but each provides an interface and features that are worlds apart from what you’d get from a traditional bank’s mobile offerings. Here’s a list of five that might pique your interest.

1. Simple

Simple has been around for a while, and is one of the leading lights in this new generation of online banking services. Simple has easy to use web and mobile banking tools, which come with rich budgeting tools. For instance, you can set goals and request regular reports. You can even deposit checks using your smartphone. Simple is almost entirely free to use; the only fees Simple charges are a $2 International ATM Cash Withdrawal Fee, an $8 Treasurer’s Check Fee and a $1 Over the Counter Cash Withdrawal fee.


Simple also sends you a Simple Visa card, which can be used like any other card to make purchases. Simple is available by invitation only, and only to residents of the United States. However, Simple was recently acquired by BBVA for $117 million, and although this acquisition doesn’t seem to have changed much yet, there’s a possibility that this acquisition may lead to Simple expanding beyond the United States. The Simple app is available for both Android and iOS.

Simple App

2. GoBank

GoBank is a mobile-first bank that eliminates a lot of the fees and complexity associated with traditional banking. WithGoBank you can sign up straight from your smartphone, and it lets you send money and deposit checks straight from your smartphone. You can also use the GoBank app to create and send a paper check free of charge. GoBank has a large network of free ATMs, with 40,000 free GoBank ATMs spread across the United States. Deposits can be made at any Green Dot retailer, including Wal-Mart.


GoBank, like most online banking services, includes robust budgeting tools, such as letting you set custom alerts for specific situations. GoBank gives you your own debit card for free. For added personalization, for a fee of $9, you can even customize it with a photo from Facebook. GoBank is only available for United States residents. Interestingly, GoBank has a negotiable monthly membership fee that ranges from completely free up to $9. GoBank supports both both Android and iOS smartphones.

GoBank App

3. Moven

Moven is a mobile banking service and app that has only recently left beta. The app provides a lot of useful real-time information, including real-time updates and spending alerts. Moven also has useful budgeting and bookkeeping features, such as the ability to analyse spending across all your credit and debit cards. Moven even lets you send money through the app using either Facebook, email or mobile phone number. The Facebook integration also lets you see a map of social events, which may come in handy.


One thing that sets Moven apart, though, is that you can manage other accounts and cards through the app. Moven accounts are almost completely free, with charges only incurred for international ATM withdrawals. You’ll also be charged if you with draw from non-STAR Surcharge-free ATMs, although this is charged by the vendor and not by Moven. Moven is invite-only at the moment, and is only open to residents of the United States. The Moven app is available for Android and iOS.

Moven App

4. Avuba

Avuba is a new mobile-first, completely-digital online bank. Avuba has an always-available 24/7 helpline, and promises that you’ll be able to start banking within 24 hours of signing up. Avuba also supports authentification via text message and all the easy money transfer options you’d expect from a mobile banking app. Avuba offers free credit and debit cards. What’s more, Avuba waives withdrawal fees; even international withdrawals won’t incur any extra fees. Avuba also provides advanced analytics, letting users track their spending behavior thoroughly.


Avuba is invite-only at the moment, and is currently entirely free to use, although they are discussing a 7 Euro monthly fee. The site doesn’t seem to explicitly mention any regional limitations, but it’s safe to assume that Avuba is at the very least limited to German residents. Avuba is also one of the 11 startups that’s part of startup accelerator Techstars’ London 2014 intake, which should help raise funds to improve Avuba even further.

Avuba App

5. Holvi

Holvi is an online bank that aims to help businesses, events and associations better manage their finances. Holvi works just like your conventional bank account, but with a clean interface designed for web and mobile use, plus a lot of tools and features that are usually associated with dedicated accounting software and services. For instance, Holvi has real-time invoicing built into the service, alongside budgeting and real-time bookkeeping features. You can also gather expense claims and pay them directly from your account.


In addition to these accounting features, Holvi lets you invite other users to manage the same account. Definitely something useful for businesses and associations. This is complemented by an account Feed that lets all users see exactly what’s been going on with the money. Holvi even provides an online store for each account. Holvi is currently only available for Finnish residents, but the company plans to expand its services to the rest of the European Union in the future.

Holvi Interface


How To Remove Irrelevant Ads (Or Tailor Them To Your Liking) [Quicktip]

Posted: 03 Apr 2014 04:01 AM PDT

While the majority of us dislike being served ads (prompting the making of apps that help you block ads) there are some ads that inform users of great deals, new services or tools that can be helpful to them. If ads are better catered to our preferences, we probably won’t find them as annoying or interruptive.

Google Ad

Google serves ads based on preferences built upon your searches. Frequent searches of "computers" may cause Google to serve you more computer-related ads and deals. This however is not an exact science. If it helps, you can actually add or remove interests, essentially tailoring the type of ads you get served. Here’s how to pick your preferences.

Accessing Google Ad Settings

To access the information, you must first login to your Google account, and then go to the Google Ads Settings page.

Ads Settings

From here, you can see what information Google has on you based on your previous searches and the websites you’ve visited. Provided you haven’t given the data, Google can also make guesses on what age and gender you are using your history.

In order to view the categories that are listed under your preferred ads, simply go to the Interests section and click on Edit.

Ad Interests

You can add and remove interests from this panel, suiting it to your taste. Once done, Google will look into the list and show advertisements that are more relevant to your selected interests.

Opt-out Of Personalized Ads

Here you can also choose to opt out of personalized ads. Note that the ads will still keep coming, however, they won’t be tied to your browsing history or searches. To do this, go to the Opt-out Settings > click Opt out.

Note that this opt out applies only to the web browser and computer you are currently using. It must be redone if you would like this to take effect on another browser or computer.

Google Opt-Out


Google Ad Settings is a useful tool to make sure that all advertisements that are served to you are relevant and useful. It’s also useful if you feel uncomfortable with your browsing habits and history being used as a marketing platform. You may not be able to get rid of advertisements completely, but you can control what types appear.


A Look Into: Handlebars.js

Posted: 02 Apr 2014 10:01 PM PDT

In this post, we are going to look into Handlebars, a JavaScript templating engine based on Mustache. It shares the same functionalities with Mustache but sports a number of new features. Handlebars is a handful templating tool particularly for displaying a data serial in a form of JSON, which is today is a common data-formatting form used in a web application API. Check out this introductory post, which explains JSON really well.

In this article, we are going to walk you through some of Handlebars’ basic functionalities, and we will also work on a real example at the end of this article. If this is something that you want to get to know, then let’s get started.

Getting Started

To start off, let’s go to the Handlebars website and download the source code file, handlebars.js. Put the file in an appropriate folder of your project. Link the file from the HTML documents. You can either add the link inside the head tag or before the <body>.

 <script src="js/handlebars.js"></script> 

Alternatively, you can also link to the Handlebars source from a CDN.

 <script src="//cdnjs.cloudflare.com/ajax/libs/handlebars.js/1.3.0/handlebars.js"></script> 

When it is done, we can start creating a template.

Basic Template

Let’s add our data: name, age, and where the person come from.

 var dataSource = { "name": "Joe Bloggs", "age": "19", "from": "United Kingdom" } 

This data serves as an example. As mentioned, you can retrieve similar forms of data from most web applications that provide open API such as Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, Dribbble, and Forrst – though you’ll get greater lines of data than what we have shown above. Alternatively, you can try JSON Generator to generate some random data.

The Template

Once we’ve got the data on our hands, we can create the template to place these data. Let’s take a look at the following code.

 <div id="content" class="content-wrap"> <script id="template" type="text/x-handlebars-template"> <p>Hi, I'm {{name}}. I'm {{age}}, and I'm from {{from}}</p> </script> </div> 

Handlebars template is set within a script tag with a special type: text/x-handlebars-template, and preferably also with an ID, because selecting an element with ID in JavaScript technically is more straightforward and faster than using a class.

While each of the data is declared within double curly braces, {{...}}; this is also known as Handlebars expression.

However, before we can see the result in the browser we have to compile these codes, merge the data into the template.


Let’s store the template in a JavaScript variable, like so.

 var template = $('#template').html(); 

We then put the template variable into Handlebars.compile() to compile the template.

 var compile = Handlebars.compile(template); 

The most important thing from the above code is the variable’s name, compile. We will use it along with our data to generate the final result, like so:

 var result = compile(dataSource); 

Lastly we put it in #content using the jQuery .html() method this way.


This will give us the following result in the Browsers.

HTML Escaping

Sometimes our data could contain HTML tags, for example:

 var dataSource = { "name": "<em>Joe Bloggs</em>", "age": "19", "from": "United Kingdom" } 

By default, Handlebars will escape these tags. They will turn the tag into their entity, < will turn into&lt; while > will turn into &gt;. So we will get an unexpected result, as shown below, in the browsers.

To prevent Handlebars from converting the HTML tags to their entity character, and to just treat them as they are, we use triple curly braces {{{...}}} to declare the data, like so:

 Hi, My name is {{{name}}}. ... 

There you go! The heading tag is now rendered correctly; the name is displayed in italics.

Conditional Helper

Handlebars supports conditional helper (or also known as conditional function). This feature is an exclusive addition to Handlebars, not available in Mustache. Conditional helper is useful to prevent data rendering if the data value is empty. As an example, let’s remove the value from our age data.

 var dataSource = { "name": "Joe Bloggs", "age": "", "from": "United Kingdom" } 

We use the conditional helper this way. As the age value is not present, we will not display the line that says I'm {{age}},.

 {{#if age}}I'm {{age}},{{/if}} 

In the browsers, the above line will be rendered.

In addition, Handlebars will also grant the data as empty if the value is explicitly specified with: undefined or false.


Handlebars also supports Loop. As in the other programming language, it is used to iterate a series of objects. At this point we only have one object containing three lines of data. Let’s extend our example with two more objects, like so.

 var data = [{ "name" : "Joe Bloggs", "age" : "19", "from" : "United Kingdom" }, { "name" : "Jane Doe", "age" : "21", "from" : "United State" }, { "name" : "John Doe", "age" : "20", "from" : "United Nation" }]; 

As we now have more than one object. Our current template will no longer work to render these data into the template. In this case, we must use Handlebars Loop, wrap our template within {{#each}} ... {{/each}}. We may also change the template if needed.

In this example, we will display these data in a list.

 <script id="template" type="text/x-handlebars-template"> <ul> {{#each this}} <li>Hi, My name is {{{name}}}. {{#if age}}I&#039;m {{age}},{{/if}} and I&#039;m from {{from}}</li> {{/each}} </ul> </script> 

Here is the result that we will see in the browsers.


Now let’s implement this in a real example. This time we want to display a profile from Forrst, a hub for designers and developers. Forrst provides a simple method to retrieve their data. In our case, we can use https://forrst.com/api/v2/users/info?username={username} to retrieve a user profile. We will get something similar to this data below.

Note: the actual data is really long. So I have to strip some of them out to make it shorter.

 var forrstProfile = { "id": 24606, "username": "jimmyliu", "name": "Jimmy Liu", "url": "http:\/\/forrst.com\/people\/jimmyliu", "likes": "11", "followers": "10", "following": "2", "photos": { "medium_url": "https:\/\/secure.gravatar.com\/avatar\/3151a9294608c3143551aa265f00bf71.jpg?s=75&d=https:\/\/forrst.com\/assets\/images\/default_75.jpg", "small_url": "https:\/\/secure.gravatar.com\/avatar\/3151a9294608c3143551aa265f00bf71.jpg?s=45&d=https:\/\/forrst.com\/assets\/images\/default_45.jpg", "thumb_url": "https:\/\/secure.gravatar.com\/avatar\/3151a9294608c3143551aa265f00bf71.jpg?s=25&d=https:\/\/forrst.com\/assets\/images\/default_25.jpg" }, "bio": "<p>A graphic and web designer based in Cupertino, California. Follow me on Twitter <a href=\"http:\/\/twitter.com\/jimmyliu\"><\/a><a href=\"\/people\/jimmyliu\">@jimmyliu<\/a><\/p>\n", "is_a": "developer & designer", }; 

We will put those data in this template.

 <div id="forrst" class="forrst-profile"> <script id="forrst-profile-template" type="text/x-handlebars-template"> <div class="profile"> <figure class="avatar"> <img src="{{photos.medium_url}}" alt=""> </figure> <div class="person"> <h3 class="person-name"><a href="{{url}}">{{name}}</a></h3> <div class="person-bio">{{{bio}}}</div> </div> </div> <div class="social-count"> <div class="social-item social-posts"> <div class="heading">Posts</div> <div class="counts">{{posts}}</div> </div> <div class="social-item social-followers"> <div class="heading">Followers</div> <div class="counts">{{followers}}</div> </div> <div class="social-item social-following"> <div class="heading">Following</div> <div class="counts">{{following}}</div> </div> </div> </script> </div> 

Let’s compile them together, like so.

 var template = $('#forrst-profile-template').html(); var compile = Handlebars.compile(template); var result = compile(forrstProfile); $('#forrst').html(result); 

With a couple lines of CSS, we can achieve a nicer result.

You can download the source and see the demo from these links.

Final Thought

I previously used jQuery for templating. It think I was doing it wrong, as my codes turn out to look like a mess. When we have a big chunk of data, it is far better and neater to use Handlebars for templating and displaying them. So I hope this can be a good reference for you to get started with Handlebars.



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