How to use a Transferwise borderless account to get paid by FastSpring

We use FastSpring to sell our software, which means that our account balance is in USD. FastSpring can pay out in EUR to a SEPA bank account, but new FinTech companies seem to offer better exchange rates.

Transferwise is one of these companies. Their bordereless account (which is not the same as their regular account) makes it possible to get paid by FastSpring to a US bank in USD (for free), convert the payment into EUR at Transferwise’s advantageous rates and withdraw it to a EUR account.

1. Sign up for a Transferwise borderless account

Click here and apply (this should direct you to the borderless signup page). You can also click on this affiliate link to get a free transfer and to support this blog, but please note that this will send you to the regular Transferwise signup page.

It took quite a while for Transferwise to open our borderless account. If you don’t hear from them within a few business days, I recommend logging in to check if further documents are required.

2. Activate USD as a currency and get your bank details

Transferwise activate currency

After logging in to your borderless account, you’ll be able to activate currencies. Obviously, you’ll need USD to get paid by FastSpring. Activating USD as a currency also gives you your USD bank details.

Transferwise borderless account USD bank details

I strongly recommend clicking on the “How do I use these?” link to learn more about using your USD bank details.

3. Enter your bank details in your FastSpring account

Things get a bit more difficult here. In your FastSpring account, go to “Payment Methods”, set the bank country to “United States” and click on “Enter Direct Deposit (ACH) Information”:

 

FastSpring payment methods
Note that these are the instructions for FastSpring’s “Classic Springboard”, things will look different if you’re using the more recent “contextual” dashboard.

Transferwise gives you all the bank details you’ll need to enter with the exception of the bank’s name. However, you can easily find the name by either entering your wire routing number (a.k.a ABA routing number) on this website or by entering your ACH routing number here. In our case, both numbers returned “Community Federal Savings Bank” as the bank’s name.

To make things more confusing, FastSpring asks for a “Routing / ABA (9 digits)” number. Do not actually enter the wire routing number (a.k.a ABA routing number) here! Instead, enter the ACH routing number (FastSpring customer support has confirmed that this is correct).

Transferwise recommends choosing “checking” and not “savings” as the account type, so I selected “Business checking”.

My completed form (colors match the colors used above):
FastSpring direct deposit ACH information using Transferwise borderless account

4. Add your EUR bank account to Transferwise

Transferwise will notify you when you’ve received a new payment. In order to withdraw it, you first have to add a bank account:

Transferwise add EUR account

5. Convert and withdraw your money in EUR

You can then convert your USD to EUR and send them to your account in one step:

Transferwise send money

Transferwise will show you the exchange rate and the fees (1% for USD to EUR). Soon afterwards (on the next business day in our case), your money will show up in your EUR bank account.

How to share your Office 365 Skype minutes with your own (separate) Skype account

The problem: Some Office 365 subscriptions include a certain number of  monthly Skype minutes. You want to use these with your existing Skype account, but you can’t find a way to connect it to your Office 365 account.

The reason it doesn’t work: A Skype account is also a Microsoft account. You cannot merge two Microsoft accounts, therefore you can also no longer merge or connect your Skype and Microsoft (Office 365) accounts.

The workaround: If your Office 365 subscription can be shared with other Microsoft accounts, you can also share it with your own Skype account.

This is how you share your Office 365 subscription and free Skype minutes with yourself (as of March 2018):

If you go to your Skype account settings, you’ll see an option to “connect a Microsoft account”:
Skype connect Microsoft account

What this actually does (instead of connecting a Microsoft account and Skype account) is to redirect you to account.microsoft.com where you can sign in using your Skype credentials (because, as mentioned, your Skype account is already a Microsoft account). I you’re asked to add a phone number or e-mail, you’ll notice that you can’t use the e-mail address of your existing Microsoft account. Enter a different e-mail instead.

Verify your e-mail, then sign out of your Skype/Microsoft account and log in to your Microsoft account with the Office 365 subscription. Share the entire Office 365 subscription with your Skype/Microsoft account using the e-mail address you provided in the previous step:
Share Office 365 subscription
Sign out, accept the invitation using your Skype/Microsoft account, then activate your free Skype minutes in your new Office account:
Activate your free Skype minutesJust click on “activate” (or waste a lot of time reading outdated information about linking accounts, then come back and click on “activate”):
Just click on activateYou should now see the subscription in your Skype account settings, too:
Skype subscription

Notes:

  • Instead of signing in and out of your accounts you could stay signed in on two different browsers (or using incognito mode).
  • If your Office 365 subscription does not allow sharing (or if you’ve already used all invitations), you can obviously not use this method. I don’t know of any alternative methods you could use.
  • If you’re reading this article in the future… as opposed to reading it in the past… The method I described worked for me in March 2018. Things will look different and work differently at some point in the future.
  • In the comments below, feel free to rant about Skype and Microsoft, say nice things about me or propose your own solution to the problem. Don’t ask me to fix your issues! Think about it, Microsoft is a large and immensely wealthy company while I’m just some poor blogger. Ask them for support, not me.

How to make looping videos (for cinemagraphs, looping GIFs) using Davinci Resolve

The challenge: Loop a short video clip seamlessly so that it appears to go on forever.

Let’s take this drone footage*:

Example drone footage

It’s not terribly interesting or noteworthy but it’s good enough to demonstrate the concept.

If we simply repeat the same video multiple times, there will be a noticeable jump (repeated 4 times below):

Repeated four times

If we reverse the video, the frames will match but the direction of the movement won’t, which makes it look rather goofy (this is what Instagram does with Boomerang):

The solution: Blend the video onto itself

I have used DaVinci Resolve for the following steps (a powerful free version is available),  but the concept is the same, regardless of the software. I first cut the video down to a shorter clip (which cannot start at the very beginning of the original footage). As far as the length of the clip is concerned, this is up to your artistic vision and experience. If there’s a discernible repeating movement in your video, you can use this for orientation. I picked a one-third rotation of the wind turbine in the upper left corner:

Wind turbine

The looping playback control can be very useful during this step:

loop playback

The resulting clip was just a little over 2 seconds long:

Clip

I then copied it to another track and moved both to the right for demonstration purposes:

clip copied

Next, I lengthened the clip on the upper track by dragging the “in” point to the left:

in point dragged to left

Note that the upper clip starts earlier in time and contains footage which is not a part of the lower clip.

I then shortened the upper clip by also dragging the “out” point to the left. The end of the upper clip now perfectly matches the beginning of the lower clip (because it is the part of the original video that comes just before it):

Out point dragged left

So far, this looks like a needlessly complicated way to split a clip (and yes, you could do it on a single video track). Things got more interesting as I moved the entire upper clip to the end of the lower clip (and moved both of them to the beginning of their tracks):

upper clip moved to end

Obviously, yhis resulted in a clearly visible jump at the point where the upper clip starts. However, this jump can be made a lot less noticeable by slowly fading the upper clip in:

blended onto itself 1

The video had now been blended onto itself and I had ensured that the frame at the end was a perfect match for the frame at the beginning.

Here’s the result, repeated 10 times:

Short blend (repeated 10 times)

If you know what to look for, you can see the blending happening (particularly in the water). To make it less obvious, I lengthened the upper clip and the blend:

video blended onto itself 2

This is the result (again repeated 10 times):

Looped video (repeated 10 times)

This is the basic concept. You can improve the result in DaVinci Resolve by freezing everything except for the parts where movement should be visible (and also by stabilizing and color grading the video):

If you want to learn more about DaVinci Resolve, I recommend reading the extensive user manual or watching some video tutorials (like the ones made by Casey Faris or Ripple Training). Should you have any questions, I recommend posting them in the official DaVinci Resolve forum (and not in the comments below).


* The video was recorded on a DJI Phantom 3 Standard. The ruin of the mill you see on the left is located in the Luxembourgish town of Moersdorf. The drone was launched from the German side of the river.