Moving to a new card provider

This post is to explain the background details of our switch to Stripe Issuing. Accounts that need action to make the switch will receive an email.

Emburse cards have been a feature since one of the earliest versions of Hack Club Bank, allowing any team member to spend money with a debit card without dealing with reimbursements. While that’s been amazing, there have been a few trade-offs with using Emburse:

  1. Separate bank & card balances. This was the big one. Emburse cards spent money from an Emburse balance ("card balance" in the Bank interface). That meant after you raised money, you couldn’t immediately spend it. The invoice/donation needed to deposit, you needed to transfer the money to your card, wait 3-5 business days, then you could spend your money. Ideally, moving money should take only the 3-5 seconds of fishing your card out of your pockets & tapping at the register.
  2. A separate website login to remember. We tried to hide emburse.com from as much of the app as possible, but at the end of the day Emburse was built for people to use directly. To issue a card to someone, we had to create an Emburse account. To activate your card, you had to sign into emburse.com.

These trade-offs made sense when we first started, but lots of details have changed in the last 2 years. Hack Club Bank has grown by…I started doing the math on this, but the comparison is stupid–our first year on Emburse has less than $1k spent per month, last week Bank users spent $20k through their cards. Emburse has been acquired (by a company that renamed to Emburse) & have shifted their product features.

Recently Emburse announced they’d be removing the card budgeting feature Bank currently relies on. If we stayed on Emburse the new flow would require organizers to request funds for a purchase, staff (Michael / Chaleb) to approve the purchase amount, then the card could make the transaction. Emburse was super gracious about the change, delaying the budget feature removal long enough for us to switch to another platform.

The card alternative we’ve eyed for awhile is Stripe Issuing, but it was in private beta we couldn’t access when we built Hack Club Bank. At the time of writing, we’ve got a private version of Stripe Issuing cards running on Hack Club Bank (only available to admins) to make sure our new system works. I’m happy to say it improves many of the previous issues with cards:

  1. You’ll have 1 true balance: this should explain itself. Donations go into your account balance, your card spends from your account balance, no more transfers & maintaining two balances.
  2. All built into Bank: no more Emburse account login, just login to Bank with your email.
  3. More card control: ever forget the billing zip code of your Emburse card was 90069? or was it 60096? I don’t even remember it. Now we’ve got way more control over cards through the Stripe Issuing API. You can use your own card billing address instead of Hack Club’s, we can make keeping track of receipts way easier, we can let you spend money without waiting for a physical card to ship. The Stripe Issuing API is way more flexible, and we’re working on a bunch of ways to let you spend money more easily.

This is obviously a big change, and if you have any questions/comments please let us know either by reaching out to bank@hackclub.com or posting in the #bank channel on Slack.

Donations, new design, & more

4 major improvements to Bank live today:

  1. Aesthetic overhaul. All the controls of the app—buttons, cards, menus, filters, inputs, modals, tables—have new colors & a new look & feel. Additionally, you’ll notice revised interfaces in a bunch of places, from the project settings page to G Suite accounts.

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  1. Donations. While a beta has been kicking around in the settings page for awhile, Donations are redesigned & available for everyone. Your project now has a live page where anyone can donate with a credit card, & the funds will go directly into your account. You can add a custom message (using Markdown) to your donate page if you’d like.

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  1. A small addition: you can now export your transactions as JSON, in addition to CSV.
  2. New icon. Inspired by macOS Big Sur, the previously-flat icon is now 3D-looking & pretty sweet :)

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All of this is live for everyone now. More to come! 👀

Free Repl.it

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Thanks to our generous friends over at repl.it, in light of COVID-19, Hack Club Bank users get a free Hacker plan for the next year. Repl.it is an amazing web IDE, where you can get basically any programming language running in your web browser in just a few seconds—regardless of what kind of computer you have. The Hacker plan, normally $84, gives you private projects, unlimited collaborators, & unlimited storage. They’ve generously sponsored many events that have run on Hack Club Bank, and we’re so thankful for their continued support.

To claim your subscription, visit the promo page & click "Apply". It’s limited to the first 500 people who claim it, so don’t wait.

Hope you’re safe & well. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reply & ask away!

Transparent finances (optional feature)

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Last week, we launched a new feature in Hack Club Bank: Transparency Mode.

With Transparency Mode, you can open source your finances instantly from your account settings page. Why would you want to do that? Nonprofit donors deserve to know what their contributions are funding—as a hackathon/nonprofit, you can talk about what you’re spending money on, but transparency in every transaction builds trust for supporters. It’s already live in action!

That’s not all. When Hack Club first started, Zach’s hope was to build a different kind of organization: one not only open source with code, but open source with its finances too. Every month, Zach would painstaking put every transaction on GitHub. Unfortunately, as we grew, the tooling took too long & we had to outsource our books to an accounting firm that didn’t know what GitHub was. We’ll be sharing this publicly next week, but Bank users are getting a sneak peek today: Hack Club HQ has been running entirely on Bank for months now, and our finances are public. Dig in, right here: bank.hackclub.com/hq.

Let’s set a new standard in financial transparency for nonprofits. If you have any questions or feedback on how to improve Transparency Mode, please let us (bank@hackclub.com) know!

Hack Club Bank and MLH are combining forces.

Today, we’re announcing with Major League Hacking that Hack Club Bank is the new preferred financial platform for all MLH Member Events.

With this announcement, Cal Hacks, the world’s largest college hackathon, is announcing their switch to Hack Club Bank. Spectra is joining them as well.

Click here to read Linus's full post on this announcement.

Upcoming Activity

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Bank can now predict the future! 🌀🎉

If you want to know when your invoices are coming in, or how much money is going to be automatically withdrawn from your account, Bank will now tell you.

Check it out by clicking on either "Incoming Deposits" or "Pending Withdrawals" on your Bank dashboard.

Archiving Invoices

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If you've ever wanted to get that old, unpaid invoice off of your invoices page, you now can.

Check it out by clicking "Archive" when you're viewing an invoice. 🚢🎉

Upload a Profile Picture

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You can now upload custom profile pictures on Bank.

Check it out by navigating to the Team page and then selecting the settings icon next to your user. 🎉👌

Change Your URL!

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Have you been stuck with a lame URL like https://bank.hackclub.com/hack-pennsylvania and have wanted to change it to something like https://bank.hackclub.com/hackpenn?

Well, now you can!

Check it out in the your Bank's settings. ✨ ⚡️

Fiscal Sponsorship Confirmation

2019-05-27 18.42.42.gif We've added a document to all projects that you can give to sponsors confirming that you're fiscally sponsored by Hack Club.

Check it out in your Documents tab! ✨☝️