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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 While we were keeping up with the latest in security measures, we started to realize that the framework was getting outdated and we weren't able to keep some features working correctly (ie: Automatic Backups to Microsoft OneDrive being disabled).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

The Next Big Update for ClearCheckbook - Version 5

10/30/2019 in ClearCheckbook News
The current version of ClearCheckbook (v4) was built on code and technologies from around 2009. While we still adhere to the latest in security and privacy measures, many of the frameworks and software versions we're using are getting old and will soon stop being supported. We've run into several cases where we want to implement a new feature or tool but are limited by our older code not being supported.

About a year ago we started planning a huge upgrade that will put ClearCheckbook on the latest frameworks with better infrastructure for future-proofing the site and apps. Our goal was to keep the front facing website (what you see and interact with on a daily basis) the same, all while taking advantage of the new framework to optimize speed, performance and security.

We’re finally at the point where we’re beginning testing of ClearCheckbook v5 on the same hosting platform the site is currently running on. We’ll be running v5 through a whole slew of testing over the next few months to make sure it’s ready for you to use.

Aside from having to rewrite the backend of the site, we’ve also taken this opportunity to add several new features, tools and updates.

New Features:

  • ‘Trusted Devices’ feature in conjunction with 2 factor authentication

  • Asset tracker - Manage and track assets such as homes, vehicles and other tangible assets.

  • Account Text Reports - reports similar to the Category text reports but for accounts.

  • Payee Text Reports - again, reports similar to the Category text reports but for payees.

  • Dark CSS theme - ClearCheckbook can be switched into dark mode to make it easier on the eyes

  • Net Worth Reports - See how your net worth has changed over the past 2 years with this new report.

  • ClearCheckbook Knowledge Base - We've rebuilt the Help / Support section to make a much more informative Knowledge Base with screenshots and much more detailed instructions on how to use the site.


Updates / Bug Fixes:

  • Auto-complete updated to show more information (such as which account/category will be auto-filled)

  • Ability to disable auto-complete auto-fill features so it only fills the text

  • Manually enter ‘last price’ for investments that aren’t automatically updated

  • Hide suggestions in the Import auto-categorization tool

  • Reminders will post deposits before withdrawals

  • Payee beta reports - ability to sort by sum column

  • Monthly Summary - fixed bug that was preventing accounts and categories from showing up alphabetically

  • Transaction History tool - link to view the current transaction so you can see what changed

  • Debt snowball - additional payments can now have a date associated with them

  • Reconcile tool - you can now edit or delete reconciliations

  • Separate withdrawals and deposits sums in a reconciliation report

  • If you change the number of transactions to view per page on the register, that setting is saved instead of resetting each time you log out.

  • Profit & Loss report - updated colors to make it easier to identify positive and negative numbers

  • Latest Transactions gadget - selection to view only transactions for a specific account

  • You can now categorize transfers when creating them

  • Updated how the 'lost password' form works to make it more secure

  • Budgets - you can now see a breakdown of how the amount spent is being calculated

  • Payee reports - export to CSV functionality

  • 2FA bypass - allows you to have a bypass code sent to a trusted contact method in case you can't access your authenticator app

  • Investment Portfolio - autocomplete for symbol and note fields in Add Investment form

  • Income Budgets - show the amount differently if you generate more income than the budget limit

  • Debt Snowball - you can now see how much you've paid toward principal and interest for each budget by expanding the history

  • Debt Snowball - you can now see which snowball methods will save you the most money or be paid off the fastest

  • Ability to assign all No Account transactions to an existing account from the search results page

  • Made it easier to delete all No Account transactions

  • Ability to quickly delete all expired reminders

  • Ability to turn an existing transaction into a recurring transaction

  • Tweaks + Bug fixes - Over 45 small tweaks and bug fixes to help make the site perform as expected


We’ve also greatly optimized and reduced the number of database calls made from each page load. This will help dramatically speed up the response time of the website.

As mentioned earlier, now that we’ve got the new version running on the same hosting platform as ClearCheckbook currently is, we’ll be doing our own internal testing. After we’re happy with that we’ll be asking for some beta testers to run the new code through its paces and look for any issues we might not have come across. We’ll keep you updated on progress as it goes on!

Updated on August 5, 2020 to reflect more updates and feature additions

Announcing the ClearCheckbook Affiliate Program

5/23/2017 in ClearCheckbook News

We're happy to announce the launch of our ClearCheckbook Affiliate Program today. This program rewards you with 10% of the premium membership upgrade price for any user you get to join ClearCheckbook.

When you become an affiliate, you will receive a unique URL that you can send out. Once a user registers after clicking on your link and then upgrades to ClearCheckbook Premium, you'll be eligible for 10% of their upgrade and all subsequent renewals. We provide you with a dedicated affiliate dashboard where you can track all of the users who have signed up through your Affiliate URL.

In order to be paid out, a user you've brought to the site and who has upgraded must have let the membership go through one cycle. This means if they sign up for a monthly membership, you will need to wait one month before that membership counts toward your account. All payments will be made by either a mailed check (US residents only) or via Paypal.

This has been in use by a few users in the past but it's something that we wanted to make available to everyone. If you have any questions about the ClearCheckbook Affiliate Program, please let us know!

For more information and to sign up, please check out our ClearCheckbook Affiliate Program page.

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