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Announcing a Sync Membership for Connecting to Banks

2/10/2021 in ClearCheckbook News

Today we're announcing a new Sync Membership that allows you to connect up to 5 financial institutions to ClearCheckbook.

This membership is for people who want to connect their bank to ClearCheckbook but don't want or need all of the additional features that come with ClearCheckbook Premium. The Sync Membership costs $2.49 per month and gives you the ability to connect up to 5 financial institutions.

You can upgrade to the Sync Membership by clicking on Settings at the top right side of the page and then click on the Manage Your Sync Membership link under the Syncing Transactions section. More information about the upgrade process can be found here: Our Manage Your Sync Membership Knowledge Base article.

Here are some FAQs about the Sync Membership and Bank Connecting

What counts as a connection? A connection is counted for different financial institutions. For example, Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Capital One are three different connections. We do not count multiple connections to the same institution toward your total. If you have 3 different accounts with Wells Fargo, that still only counts as one connection.

Is my bank supported? You can check to see if your financial institution is supported here: Our Supported Banks Knowledge Base article.

Can I have more than 10 connections? If you have a ClearCheckbook Premium membership and also purchase a Sync Membership, you will be able to connect up to 10 financial institutions.

I want to learn more about how to connect my bank to ClearCheckbook We have a full support page that covers how to connect your bank to ClearCheckbook here: Our Connecting to your Bank Knowledge Base article.

Why do we charge for these connections? The service that provides your transactions charges ClearCheckbook a flat fee per institution connection per month. Unlike other financial services that offer these connections for free, we do not sell your data, show ads or receive income from any source other than our ClearCheckbook Premium upgrades. We are offering this Sync Membership and our Premium Membership in order to cover the connection fees.

2020 Roundup and a Huge New Feature for 2021

12/30/2020 in ClearCheckbook News

2020 was a huge year of updates for ClearCheckbook with the launch of Version 5 of the website and Version 4 of both the iOS and Android apps.

The launch of ClearCheckbook V5

ClearCheckbook version 5 had been in the works for a while and we finally made V5 live in August. Version 5 included over 100 new features, options and settings. You can look back at our blog post announcing V5 as well as the release notes for a full list of all the work that went into the update and what new features were included.

Major updates to improve the speed and performance of the website

After launching V5, we focused a lot of extra attention on tweaking our server and database setups to make the site much more efficient. If you're curious about some of the updates we made, you can check out our blog post on the subject.

New iOS and Android apps

We launched new versions of the iOS and Android apps in late June. These new versions were a complete rewrite that makes it easier for us to streamline updates to the apps. There were some hiccups at the launch of the new apps, but we worked around the clock to get those fixed. The apps are stable now and any bugs that have popped up have been resolved quickly.

To followup the V4 release of the apps, we recently updated the apps to 4.1 which included a lot of new features and settings that had been suggested to us. The 4.1 update really focused on making the app much more streamlined with the website by taking a lot of the settings (such as date format and custom transaction fields) and putting them in their own Settings menu. If you update the settings via the app, they will also update the website and vice versa.

Connecting to banks is finally coming!

We're super excited to announce that the most requested feature we've received since launching ClearCheckbook in 2006 is finally being introduced. Soon you'll be able to connect ClearCheckbook with your financial institutions so your transactions are automatically synced from your bank and into ClearCheckbook throughout the day. We're putting the finishing touches on the code and then need to do some extensive testing, but so far everything looks like it's working very well!

ClearCheckbook has prided itself on putting privacy and security first and this isn't going to change. The bank connection feature is 100% optional but will help open ClearCheckbook to people who don't want to manually enter or import all of their transactions. Making ClearCheckbook more accessible and giving more people the ability to manage their finances has always been one of our main goals. Offering this feature falls right in line with that.

Happy New Year

While 2020 has definitely been a year none of us expected or planned for, we're very hopeful for a bright and exciting 2021. This is also going to be a big year for ClearCheckbook as the site will turn 15 years old in May.

Thanks to everyone who has been using ClearCheckbook to manage your finances. Whether you've been using the site for free or you're a paying member, we really appreciate you choosing ClearCheckbook and we hope to continue making the site and apps better so managing your finances becomes easier and easier.

-Brandon

Welcome to ClearCheckbook Version 5!

8/16/2020 in ClearCheckbook News

After nearly two years of development and testing, we're extremely happy to announce the update to ClearCheckbook Version 5 is complete! Check out many of the new features and updates here: v5 Release Notes

Version 5 has over 100 updates, new features and bug fixes all on top of a new development framework. In addition to the new framework, all of the 3rd party libraries we use have been updated which will help make updates and new feature additions much easier moving forward.

The site doesn't look any different, what changed?
One of our biggest goals with the Version 5 upgrade was to make sure the site looked and behaved like everyone has grown used to. Almost the entirety of the updates apply to the part of the site you don't see. We call this the backend and it's the code that actually runs all of the logic behind ClearCheckbook.

Why was this update necessary?
The last version of ClearCheckbook was running on a development framework that was initially implemented in 2008 and then heavily updated in 2014. While we were keeping up with the latest in security measures, we started to realize that the framework was getting outdated and we weren't able to keep some features working correctly (ie: Automatic Backups to Microsoft OneDrive being disabled).

Many of the 3rd party APIs we deal with were updating and would stop working with the old version of ClearCheckbook. In an effort to stay on top of this, we started development of Version 5 back in late 2018. Version 5 runs on an entirely new development framework which has a much more active development community. This means it's extremely easy to keep the underlying code that runs ClearCheckbook updated with the latest security patches and version updates.

Taking security and privacy to the next level
ClearCheckbook was built with privacy and security in mind and the idea that your financial data is yours. Staying true to these goals, we've updated how our "Lost Password" function works and added a Trusted Devices feature that works in conjunction with Two-Factor Authentication (2FA). Speaking of 2FA, we also implemented a way to access your account if you get locked out due to losing access to your authenticator app.

The new ClearCheckbook Knowledge Base
The previous Help / FAQ section was very limited in its scope and only addressed the most basic of questions about the various tools and features ClearCheckbook has to offer. We knew that Version 5 was the perfect opportunity to build up an extremely extensive Knowledge Base that covers how to use every feature on the site. The amount of detail and information contained within the Knowledge Base is enormous. Each Knowledge Base article is filled with screenshots and full explanations on any features/settings specific to that page.

The Knowledge Base is broken down into sections (General, Tools, Reports, Settings and Apps). Each parent section has sub sections related to each tool or setting. You can find the updated Knowledge Base by clicking on the Help / FAQ link in the Support section at the bottom of the page. A direct link is here: ClearCheckbook Knowledge Base.

A special thanks to all the Version 5 beta testers
The amount of feedback we received during the testing phase of Version 5 was overwhelmingly helpful. Thank you to everyone who has been using Version 5 for the last seven months. You've helped us find and fix many issues we never would have caught in our own testing. Beta testers - you know who you are and thank you!

What if I notice an issue or find an error?
Version 5 went through seven months of beta testing with hundreds of active users so we feel pretty confident that most issues were found and fixed. If you do happen to notice something not working correctly, please message us through the Contact Us link at the bottom right side of the page.

Looking toward the future

As mentioned earlier, Version 5 sets some extremely solid foundation for future updates and new features. We have a huge list of updates that we plan on making now that Version 5 is released. We'll post more information about the next round of new features and updates when they're being launched.

When I built what would eventually become ClearCheckbook in my college apartment back in 2005, I never could have imagined what the site and apps have turned into. If someone had told me the site would help nearly half a million users manage a fifth of a billion transactions, I don't think I would have believed them.

Thanks everyone for the continued support!

-Brandon

Save the Date - ClearCheckbook v5 Launches on August 15, 2020

8/6/2020 in ClearCheckbook News

The next major version of ClearCheckbook, version 5, is launching on August 15, 2020!

The switch to version 5 will take place on Saturday August 15, 2020 at 10pm EDT (7pm PDT) and will require us to take the site offline during the upgrade. We wanted to give you as much heads-up time as possible so you can plan for the site being offline. The iOS and Android apps will also be affected since the server won't be available for syncing. You will still be able to add transactions via the app, they just won't sync or show up until the upgrade has been completed.

Development of version 5 has been taking place behind the scenes for over a year now and we're extremely excited to finally be able to release it. We want to say thanks to everyone who has been using and testing version 5 over the last several months.

For a list detailing many of the updates and new features that will be available with v5, check out our The Next Big Update for ClearCheckbook - Version 5 blog post.

The version 5 beta site will remain operational until we make the upgrade. If you want to check out version 5 before it launches, you can learn more here: ClearCheckbook v5 Beta Testing

Thanks!

ClearCheckbook's 2019 Roundup and What's Ahead for 2020

1/3/2020 in ClearCheckbook News

The main focus of 2019 has been on rewriting ClearCheckbook for our latest update, but we also hit some big numbers and milestones.

ClearCheckbook Version 5 had been taking most of our time this past year and we hope to have it launched soon. You can check out the full blog post for more information about what new features and updates this will bring. In short, the version 5 upgrade has completely rewritten ClearCheckbook for the latest versions of frameworks and programming languages the site is built around. This will help make updates faster and easier in the future.

ClearCheckbook hit a big milestone in 2019 and surpassed 400,000 registered users with a half a million users set firmly in our sights. Our users also added over 18 million transactions during the year which brings the total number of transactions we're tracking to around 112 million!

This growth and activity has also brought with it a few hiccups along the way. We've experienced some site lagging and slowdowns this year and have worked on mitigating this by doubling our database memory and increasing the number of CPUs the site has access to during high traffic times. We will continue to monitor traffic and site speeds and adjust these metrics as needed but we're very optimistic this will address a lot of the slow response times.

We also want to thank everyone who supports ClearCheckbook by upgrading to ClearCheckbook Premium. You're helping us to keep improving the site and keep the site running smoothly. We've never received any money from investors, advertising or any other means aside from ClearCheckbook Premium upgrades, so thank you again! If you haven't upgraded, you can always help us by spreading the word about ClearCheckbook to family, friends and coworkers.

Here's to great things coming to ClearCheckbook in 2020!

Brandon OBrien
Founder, ClearCheckbook.com

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