Apps

Tonik digital bank launches in the Philippines

Offers up to 6% interest rate per annum

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It’s always been challenging to open a bank account for most Filipinos due to a number of factors. Tonik, an all digital bank, aims to reduce the hurdles in opening an account to encourage people to save more.

Anyone can open a Tonik bank account using only the Tonik App (available on Android and iOS), an ID, and a well-lit selfie. Accepted IDs are: Philippine passport, Philippine Driver’s license, UMID, SSS ID, PRC ID, and Firearms ID.

Don’t have any of these IDs? You’re still eligible to opening an account. The account will be active for 12 months with a maximum balance of PhP 50,000. That should be enough time to secure an ID.

After creating an account, a user can easily put money in through the following: Debit Card, Online via GCash, BPI, Unionbank, and Coins.ph, and over-the-counter partners like 7 Eleven, Cebuana Lhuiller, Mlhuillier, and SM Payment.

Savings, interest rates, stashes

Tonik’s aim, like most digital banks in their early stages, is to get people to save. There are plenty of ways to save to encourage people to do so.

Time Deposit

Earns as much as six (6) percent per annum. Starting amount can be set to as low as PhP 5,000. There are also no early withdrawal fees or penalties.

Savings Account

Every registered account has a one (1) percent base interest rate per annum. Pay out is monthly.

Stashes

This is the fun part. Stashes are essentially digital piggy banks for specific purposes. Say, you’re saving for a smartphone or whatever shiny new piece of tech you have your eye on, you can put money in a specific stash so you can easily monitor how well your savings are coming along.

A Solo Stash lets gets users a four (4) percent per annum interest rate. Meanwhile, a Group Stash lets you team-up with another Tonik user for your savings goals earning you a 4.5 percent interest rate. These can be withdrawn anytime without a lock-in period.

Virtual card

Digital banking is also a welcome development with the Coronavirus pandemic still terrorizing the planet. Plenty of merchants have adopted an all digital solution. Tonik also offers a virtual card that you can use for online purchases.

Is it secure?

Tonik is asking for some personal data and, of course, your hard-earned cash. Naturally, you’d want to know if it’s safe and secure.

First, the money concerns. Tonik is supervised by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and your money is insured by the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation (PDIC) up to a maximum of P500,000 per depositor.

For digital protection, the company outlines the following:

  • User account security is protected against fraud by the DAON server-based face check security feature. This ensures that no one can access a customer’s account by feigning his identity in case the account owner’s mobile phone is lost or stolen, even if the face ID is changed.
  • Passwords are safeguarded from the moment of their creation through RCA asymmetric encryption of account holders’ One-Time Pins and passwords. The level of encryption utilized for this feature is the
    same as that used by intelligence agencies
    and the military.
  • Customer data is stored safely in Amazon cloud with Advanced Cloud Security provided by AWSshield that effectively eliminates external threat like cyberattacks and data theft.
  • 256-bit encryption protection puts all transactions through secure channels that cannot be intercepted. Our security operations center monitors all customer-related activities for any possible external threats.

If you’re having any sort of difficulty navigating the app and its features, Tonik has the following customer support channels:

  • In-app chat
  • Tonik Digital Bank Viber chat
  • Customer Service email: [email protected]
  • Customer Service hotline: (02) 5322 2645

Why Tonik?

The name doesn’t immediately make you think of digital banking and the company says it’s intentional. Asked why they chose it during a media briefing, they said it’s easy to remember and doesn’t have any strong association with anything.

The company also has quite a nice and cool vibe to it. You’ll realize this with how things are worded when you interact more with the app.

Apps

Ultrahuman: The essential app to get you through quarantine

Getting through isolation days through workout and meditation

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Taking care of our physical and mental health is very much important now more than ever. With everything that has been going on in the world, it’s not surprising that people are taking extra steps to advocate and practice self-care.

One way to do this is by adding good habits everyday and being disciplined to sustain these habits.

With self-care as one of their ultimate goals this year, Martynne and MJ decided to try Ultrahuman: an all-in-one fitness app that includes all the good habits they are currently incorporating in their lives — from workout to meditation.

For a few weeks, they put the app to a test and this is their verdict:

Meditation

Martynne: I am a huge advocate of meditation and it has been a life-changing practice for me, as someone who finds a hard time focusing and being in the present.

Ultrahuman has a wide range of course options that can match a specific mood or emotion. One of my personal favorites is the Managing Anger course, which helped me take a step back, consolidate my feelings and give compassion to myself throughout the process.

The Singles option with one-time meditation tracks helped me become more mindful and grounded whenever I feel overwhelmed in the middle of a workday. The productivity course, on the other hand, kept my eyes glued to my laptop screen until I finished what I needed to do.

The only thing I didn’t like about it, though, is the visuals seem basic to me, and the “dark” interface is much more fitting for the workout option.

Workout

MJ: When gyms are closed and home workouts aren’t fun anymore, how do you remain committed to your fitness goals? That’s what Ultrahuman did: Filling the gap by providing fun workouts and challenges that you can do in a span of weeks. It’s similar to how Nike Training Club presents their videos albeit more personalized.

The Ultrahuman app comes with guided videos from renowned trainers, and watching their instructions during your exercises felt like having a live session with a personal trainer. Unlike most fitness apps that offer video-on-demand workouts, Ultrahuman remembers that we are all beginners, offering a collection of videos through challenges that suit different levels.

After living a sedentary lifestyle, I knew I have to ease up when working out again. The app did wonders in helping me stay active by gradually increasing the difficulty of my challenges, without straining my body or having myself complain about how difficult a certain workout routine is.

Sleep

Martynne: There was an instance that I had a bad case of insomnia and I needed something to put me to sleep.

I tried listening to Ultrahuman’s Bedtime Stories and it reminded me of the sleep podcasts I used to listen to on Spotify.

The voices are relaxing, and the stories come with meditation and sound effects, but I realized I can be impatient with slow stories. I resorted to the app’s soundscapes and brain music, and they helped a lot to relax my brain and finally shut my eyes off.

I don’t exactly know what’s the science behind brain music, but they really work sometimes.

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You can now buy and sell bitcoin, ethereum within the Venmo app

You can’t pay with crypto though

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Cryptocurrencies are the most trending topic right now, and everyone wants to be a part of it. Well, PayPal-owned peer-to-peer money transfer app Venmo has rolled out a new platform that’ll let users directly buy or sell the cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, ethereum, and litecoin, within the app.

With more than 70 million active users, the app serves as a perfect destination for more users. They can hold a stake in cryptocurrency starting with as little as US$ 1. They can also share their acquisition of digital currency on their feeds.

According to the payments company, more than 30 percent of Venmo customers have already started purchasing cryptocurrency or equities. And 20 percent of those customers started doing so during the pandemic.

The Venmo app is straightforward to use, and everyone is habituated with it. Hence, it is easier for folks to get on board the cryptocurrency train without worrying about complex tools.

The announcement did not say anything about paying for goods or services with cryptocurrency, but that ability could come to Venmo later. Customers will choose between four types of cryptocurrency — Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash.

PayPal recently announced it would let users pay for goods at checkout using cryptocurrencies. Meanwhile, Tesla said it would accept Bitcoin as a form of payment. With wider acceptance on mainstream services, cryptocurrencies are become easier to grab for everyone.

Venmo is rolling the new crypto features gradually, starting today. They should be available to all customers “within the next few weeks.”

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Spotify will now let you download music on your desktop

You can finally play songs while working offline

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One of the biggest updates to arrives for premium members on Spotify is the ability to download music on your laptop or computer. While this has always been a must-have feature on mobile phones, it wasn’t extended to a full-fledged PC.

Music streaming has taken over the world, and Spotify is leading the market. Streaming lets you listen to anything within a tap, so you never have to download songs via pirated sites or torrents. But the biggest problem with Spotify was — you can’t download songs for offline playback on your computer.

The hurdle is now gone, and you’ll never have to think of piracy or a legal alternative anytime soon. Just fire up Spotify’s free desktop app, and you’re good to go. Similar to the mobile UI, you can choose to keep an album or playlist offline. It’ll download all the tracks and be ready for you whenever you need them.

While this may seem like a minor addition that should’ve been implemented long ago, it technically isn’t. Only the desktop app supports it, and you can’t access it via the website player.

Spotify redesign

Spotify is also rolling out a redesign for the web and desktop app that looks similar to the mobile app. The move was aimed to improve the app’s navigation, add new features, and make the experience uniform across platforms or devices.

The old search bar is now relocated and toned down visually and sits in the left menu section. The “Made For You,” “Daily Mix,” and more playlists now sit within your library section. The Recently Played tab showed playback history up to three months ago.

If you’re a playlist fanatic, there’s now an option to add a description, upload your own images, and drag-drop apps within existing playlists. The new update is aimed at improving your discoverability, in turn offering more opportunities to curators. The hybrid manul-AI setup gets perfectly tuned to understand your taste and offer the most relevant curations.

Read Also: Spotify launches Car Thing, a voice-controlled music player for cars

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