My favorite app based banks

There’s a new(ish) breed of bank accounts popping up, online-only app-based accounts that run on your smart phone and do not have brick and mortar locations.

USAA was like this for me forever, so I’ve been using app based banks for over a decade now.

I’ve tried 3 of what looked like the best and and 1 banking app that’s setup to give your teenagers a debit card.

We’re going to look at an overview for Chime, N26, and MoneyLion. I’ll cover Current, in another post or video.

I’ll make detailed reviews of each here shortly.

Chime is easy to use and navigate. Links to most major banks using Plaid’s secure service(but not all, I can’t link it to N26). But it’s biggest feature that gives it a unique edge, is the ability to make cash deposits. Any greendot location(CVS, Walgreen’s) can deposit**for a small fee**. As someone who does random side jobs, being able to deposit cash is nice.

N26 is… special. I’m drawn to it’s saving “spaces”, which are like sub-accounts. You can choose to include the balance on each space in your overall total, or hide it. I find it missing some key features I require. You can’t link other Banks. You can transfer in, if you link N26 from another bank, but that’s it. No cash deposits. Quirky perks based on weird subscriptions.

MoneyLion roars! By far my overall favorite. A full featured and rich experience, the only thing that it’s missing is cash deposits. You can mobile check deposit, link to other Banks, see your credit score and more. MoneyLion nudges you towards microinvesting, and offers a network of credit card options(which is as good as it’s bad). The plus account is $20a month, but every day you log in, they deposit $1 into your investment account. Up to the cost of the plus plan. It also has a mirco loan built in for direct deposit users. It will let you borrow 20% of your monthly deposit average, and pay it back out of your next. No fee.

Overall, I’ll be using the MoneyLion as my primary account. But both N26 and Chime fit a niche need too. Chime is simple for those who don’t want frills, and has key features like account linking and cash deposit. N26 can help you look at saving in another way.

In the next day, I should be putting out video reviews, with screenshots of key features, so if you want a little more information, stay tuned.

If you want to try one, sign up here, for a bonus:

MoneyLion – $10 for trying the Plus program, ( it’s not required, but the plus account is where the Instacash and $500 personal line of credit come in).

Chime – get $50 when you get your first direct deposit!

Ă‘26 – Get $5 back on your first purchase of $10 or more on your N26 debit card.

Winning as a parent

What does winning as a parent look like? Is it when your kid doesn’t throw a fit in the store? Or acts like a little, calm grown up while eating dinner at a restaurant? An Advanced Reader in Pre-School?

Those things are great things. They’re achievements. And I’m not going to knock achievements. But, I am of the opinion, that they are not the whole kit and caboodle of making a great kid.

For me, the things I’ve felt the strongest WINs with, are when I see them surpass me.

I grew up on a dairy farm. I was totally what we now call ‘economically disadvantaged’. -A pretty euphemism created so that those above you can disassociate the reality of poverty.

I was lucky, among my siblings, I was the caboose. The last of the offspring for my parents. My next closest sibling was 6 years older than me. When I was born, my parents had less mouths to feed, as the others had grown and left the nest.

Even so, I felt the tight strings of a single income family, making a living in agriculture. I am ever so grateful for all my parents did for me. Every last bit of it. I do not sit here today, feeling I missed out on a damn thing. However, as a teenager, having my first car be a beat up banana yellow Chevy Luv.. felt humbling. My peers all had Hondas and Toyotas, I had the smoking banana.

Onto landing this plane.

The next generation for me, to my daughters, finds me a single father, scraping the bottom of just-barely-not-being-‘economically disadvantaged’. My younger daughter lamented to me, that she wished she had more of the ‘cool brands’ that her friends wear. Most of our clothes come from Target’s clearance rack, garage sales etc. But the way she did it, without whining. It wasn’t a complaint, it was a graceful expression of desire without faulting the lack of.

Both of my daughters surpass me, I think in their grace in wanting more material things, yet showing gratitude for where we are. I always wanted the new nintendo thing that was always way out of budget. I can’t honestly say I wasn’t a little shit about never getting it sometimes. And I did get some of them, sometimes, more often than I’d like to think about- because I now know it always came at the cost of something else I never thought about. I can see now that the summer I got my Game Boy, that we mostly went fishing around home instead going camping a few hours away.

So, its a humbling win, when I can see that my children have surpassed me. Some is nature and genetics, but some is environment and what they are taught. And these wins, feel amazing, and I do accept a bit of responsibility for that.

New Direction!

I started this blog just as a way to, document my journey into self taught Web Development. And, that will remain a primary focus of what I hope to do here.

I have also, separately, started a Facebook and Youtube channel in the hope of helping people out there make a little extra money in the wasteland that is the gig economy. That is, the Ubers, and Lyfts, and Instacarts, and Postmates, Bird, Lime etc.

It didn’t feel entirely cohesive, as I wasn’t first and foremost a rideshare driver. This blog didn’t even feel cohesive, as I still know very little to make it worth having a presence on the web. But both of these endeavors were taken in the vein of helping those who come after me. If anything I say, can help someone, that gives my weird little soul some happiness.

Both endeavors also center around taking responsibility for your situation and working to make it better. Even if you don’t have all the answers. I don’t have all the answers, I hope I never do. But I’ll share what I can in the effort that someone stumbles a little less than I did.

But what ties them together, for me, what makes both of them take such a front and center space in my life, is being a parent in an age of capitalism and terrible, terrible parenting.

Being a Dad, is hands down my favorite job. Even when it was non-stop poopy diapers. I want to take back up Web Development, to secure a better future as a Dad(and granddad maybe). I took up Uber and Lyft a year and a half ago, to provide more for my kids right now.

So, here it is, Thomas Aurelius – Dad on a Dime. Where I put both of these eggs into the same basket, because for me, I’m a Dad first. I can speak more authentically from this parent-being centered space, than I can from a Web Development space- or a Lyft or Uber driver/gig worker space.

That said, anyone is welcome. No exclusions, all aboard.

Cool Stuff!

I found some cool Amazon stuff for keeping your car clean and tidy!

About React…..

I’m kind of stuck with getting the run build to work right.

I built my app on codeanywhere’s IDE, but now I have found that getting it off of there and into the real world is less simple than I’d hoped.

So, in the meantime, I made a new profile for my side gig, ridesharing. I’ve wanted to make a page to share with riders from out of town, my favorite things in Austin. This has a “best of Austin” linkset, that for now, just links to outside posts, that I agree with their contents. In the future, I want to personalize some of my favorites, while still providing the broad links.

It has a rideshare section that has some recruitment links, and some of my favorite apps, for drivers and riders.

I hope to get the React App version out soon, as it looks cleaner, no scrolling.

If the React issue takes too long, I will switch the profile page over to some Javascript and just use dynamic html to create a single page app.

Onto React!

I’ve been slacking in updating here, but I have been working on Javascript a lot lately, as well as making a couple new web pages just to refresh.
React is what I’m working on now. I certainly understand the high level flow of React, but I’m still working out exactly how routing and state/props work.

I’ve completed all the React modules, but I still want more practice before I add redux to it. Once I have that, I am going to make a few web apps and then start diving into Android/iPhone apps.

I made a random quote generator with just js, now I want to go back and make it using React. ->

I also made a landing page for Uber and Lyft referrals, I’m going to use a URL shortener, and generate a QR code to link to it, and put it in my car. – >

Back in the game!

Took a short break to address some work priorities, and some family health issues.

I just finished my first, from scratch, Javascript powered game- hangman. Well, finished the prototype… it works. Not flashy, but now I will work on polishing it off. But it does have win and lose logic, random words, and words of varying lengths. I still need to go and make it responsive. I was so focused on the javascript and getting the functionality going, that I didn’t work on any breakpoints.


For me, this is a big jump, from the hand holding projects from They were totally useful learning tools, but working from scratch with just notepad and chrome dev tools really helps me understand and think forward much better.

L’eggo my eggo..

I found myself struggling to really understand what I was doing at I was completing exercises… but not feeling like I actually understood what I was doing. So, I have gone back and paid for another month of codecademy. was more of a skills check and less of a learning outlet in Javascript. Codecademy has you build the javascript line at a time, rather than just having you mimic code with a different variable name. I do plan to go back and complete the stuff, but once I have a better understanding.

Also, I have been listening to a video by Tony Alicea, about the weird parts of Javascript. the first 3.5 hours are on youtube, the rest at Udemy. I haven’t paid for the Udemy parts yet, but I think I will. His 3.5 hour video, I’ve learned a lot from so far.

Early signposts

I think I have enough time working with a few tools to leave some opinions for anyone who follows behind me.

So far, I have done almost all of this learning, on my phone, and my chromebook. I know that I will outgrow that here in a month or sooner, but for the early stuff- I didn’t jump out and buy a specific machine for this.

I started with codeCademy, and paid for a month of premium. I liked it, I think there is value there… but I decided to try moving on without it, and I think I’m doing just fine without a premium learning source.

I also did a free month trial of LinkedIn Learning, for video content and LOVED the content there. I liked all of the presenters, and most of the content was fresh and relevant. They also provided files to follow along, and practice. Going as cheap as I could, I wanted to see if I could replicate the quality using YouTube. -LinkedIn Learning is better than youtube for getting quality content. Enough for me to fork over $30 a month.. I decided no.

Moving out of that first month, I started with, its very similar to codeCademy, but donation based, and has a solid and devoted community. YouTube also has filled in for my video/audio learning content. I listen mostly, to the videos during down times that I can’t really code.

I was trying to buy a month of codeanywhere… and bought a year. I like it, it does allow me to keep my learning projects online, but I would not recommend at this point. CodePen serves a very similar function for my purposes, and is free.


Youtube works enough for video content. is also good. Premium subscriptions, LinkedIn Learning and codeCademy may be slightly higher quality, but if you are progressing with the free options, I would stick with them.