The Feed #3 — Stripes on Stripes on Stripes

[This article originally appeared in the email blog The Fintech Feed.]

Feedsters!

In this issue we talk about systems for smart traveling and a lot about Stripe. We go deep here, there’s a lot of research and time-tested recommendations.


The Clouds

Stripe has raised nearly $100 M Series D at a $5 Billion valuation from Visa and Others! This is a big deal. But before I explain why, let me answer another question…

Who the heck is this Stripey fellow?

Stripe.com is a company that was started by brothers John and Patrick Collison in 2010 and located in, you guessed it, the Bay Area of San Francisco. So why the high valuation? This image from Paul Graham’s twitter on 9/20/2013 might give some indication.

Simply put, Stripe empowers companies to accept nearly every kind of payment imaginable through an online platform. Now obviously the Y-axis is proprietary as Stripe is a privately held company. However, it may be worth mentioning that Stripe

But why is this important? And why should I care?

Because there is a change happening in the zeitgeist of entrepreneurship. It started with Jobs and the App Store. It’s continuing with Stripe.

If you want to grow fast, build for the developer.

Many of you know I’ve been teaching myself to code for the better part of a year now. The few times I’ve tried implementing Stripe in my portfolio projects it’s been unbelievable easy. Stripe has grown because it solved two problems very well.

1) It allowed business owners to process more sales on more platforms through more channels.
2) It allowed developers to easily accomplish number 1 so they could get back to building out the 20 features the customers would actually pay for.

The Dirt

I like to travel. Correction, I love to travel. In fact it’s been over a year since I’ve been outside the US and I’m beginning to get antsy….

For those of us who do travel (or aspire to travel more) our primary concerns are:

Can I afford it? & Can I access my money when I get there?

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Enter Charles Schwab.

I’ve been banking with Schwab for several years now and they have saved my ass from being unable to access funds more times, and in more countries, than I can count. I discovered them as a sophomore in college while researching the best checking account to have (yes, I actual did this. Nerd level: >9,000) and have been an advocate of their banking ever since.

Schwab has no ATMs and all physical locations are for its brokerage business (so good luck if/when you need a certified check issued the day you sign for an apartment). Nevertheless, I still love them as a bank. In rapid fire, here’s what the account gets you:

  • $0 Monthly Service Fee
  • $0 Account Minimum
  • Unlimited fee rebates from any ATM worldwide (3 AM from random ATM in ZheJiang, China? No problem)
  • A 0.06% APY variable interest rate on any balance
  • Free bill pay on Schwab.com and Schwab Mobile
  • Schwab Mobile Deposit™ to deposit checks from anywhere (they had this before most)
  • Free standard checks and a Visa® Platinum debit card once the account has been funded (pictured below & now offered with a chip)
  • FDIC insurance up to $250,000
  • Link to Apple Pay™ to make purchases with your iPhone® 6 or iPhone® 6 Plus

Here’s the hack

In order to get the above you have to have a linked Schwab One® brokerage account. So for the past 4 years I’ve kept a balance of c. $10 in my Schwab One® brokerage account*.

Checkmate, Schwab.

Outside the US of A?

Some of you are likely saying, “Great, I spent all this time reading this Feed and Daniel is only providing info for Americans. Afterall, I’m a [insert nationality of country that isn’t constantly embarrassed by the ramblings of its citizens because, you know, statistics]!”

No pasa nada! A group called Nomad Gate published what I’ve found to be the best source of flexible financial services for international travelers. Though the article only covers European and Australian residencies it’s still a great starting place. If you know of solutions for other regions please let me know.

Until next time,

Stay curious. Stay brave.

PS ~ I encourage you to use a different provider for your brokerage account than your checking account just for the psychological purpose of keeping balances separate.