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Which Video Conferencing App is Right For You?

As Americans move indoors in an effort to comply with mandates for social distancing, lots of our everyday interactions have moved online, or more accurately, onto video conferencing. These apps have been around for a while, but now they’ve become an integral part of everyday life and a medium for sharing good times with friends — without the germs. Let’s take a look at three of the most popular video conferencing apps on the market.

 

Zoom

While businesses across the country are bleeding money and struggling to make payroll since the coronavirus pandemic hit, the cloud-based video conferencing platform has been enjoying an unparalleled explosion in downloads. In the third week of March, 2020, communication apps took the first spot as the most downloaded apps. Zoom was No. 1, with close to 20 million downloads in just one week according to data provided by analytics firm Sensor Tower. The app was installed about 3.7 times more than Skype and 8.6 times more than Google Hangouts since the pandemic hit.

The app is free for one-on-one users and pricing generally starts at $14.99 a month. With the pandemic forcing millions of people to work or learn from home, Zoom is now offering free downloads until normal life resumes.

Best features

Zoom’s exceptional popularity is likely thanks to its functionality. It is easy to set up and offers high-quality videos and calls. You can also choose to record a class, meeting or virtual party.

Zoom also has lots of nifty features, making it especially popular with millennials. The app’s beautification feature helps you look your best on screen, and virtual backgrounds allow you to swap out the messy room behind you for fun screens, like the Milky Way or the interview area from “The Office.”

Glaring glitches

Many users don’t like the almost omniscient power Zoom gives the host of the conference, which can include checking to see if you’ve been focusing on the meeting you were virtually attending, or maybe Facebooking in another window. Creepy, much? Some users think so.

The explosion of Zoom users during the pandemic has also led to the disturbing new trend of “Zoombombing.” In this 21st century equivalent of a prank call, online trolls disrupt public meetings and make a general nuisance of themselves.

 

Skype

Microsoft’s Skype introduced the concept of video calls to the world. While Microsoft has let its plans to discontinue the app and replace it with Microsoft Teams slip out, Skype is still wildly popular, especially with businesses, throughout the world. Skype to Skype calls are free, but calls to landlines and mobile devices without Skype start at $2.99 a month. Skype for Business starts at $2 per user per month.

Best Features

Skype lets you hold HD video conferences with up to 250 people. You can also screen-share on the platform, record your conferences, blur your background and share all kinds of files of up to 300 MB through your call window. The app also features live subtitles and real-time translation, making it the perfect choice for conferences that include participants from around the world.

Glaring Glitches

Skype is easy to use if you’re participating in a conference, but users complain that setting up a conference and inviting people to join can be complicated and full of glitches.

 

Google Hangouts

Google’s contribution to the videoconferencing market is always free, but requires a Google account. Hangouts Meet, the business version of Hangouts, can only be started by subscribers to G Suite, which starts at $6 a month. Google is now providing free access to Hangouts Meet through July 1, 2020.

Best Features

Google Hangouts users claim the platform is easy to use and integrates quickly with the Google ecosystem. The app can also be used to make free international calls to many countries. Hangouts also beats its competitors in playfulness. For instance, the app lets you add fun emojis, stickers and GIFs to your chat.

Glaring Glitches

Google Hangouts was designed with Chrome users in mind, so it doesn’t always work well on other browsers. Conferences are also limited to 25 participants and cannot be recorded. Some users have also complained about the quality and dependability of the videos on the app.

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Purchase Rewards allows you to earn cash back on items you already purchase from stores where you already shop! Here's how it works.

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This personal financial management tool brings together all of your accounts from virtually every company you do business with, in one place to give you a total picture of your finances. Use it to:

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All Texans debit and credit cards are now equipped with a fraud-fighting microchip that encrypts information when making transactions at a chip-enabled terminal.

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Plus, chip cards are more widely accepted worldwide so your card is easier to use outside of the U.S.

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Regardless of which card you choose, there are no annual fees with a Texans VISA card. Plus, you can transfer balances from your other high-rate cards without paying a balance transfer fee and take cash advances with no additional fees.

But that's not all. Your Texans VISA comes with online access where you can utilize our personal financial management tool, Money Management, to create a budget and gain valuable insight into where your money is going.

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Use your Texans Mastercard Debit Card at more than 70,000 surcharge-free ATMs worldwide through the Allpoint and CO-OP ATM networks, and anywhere Mastercard is accepted. Plus, your Texans Mastercard Debit Card will:

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Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP)

Texans GAP coverage could save you thousands. If your vehicle is totaled or stolen, your insurance may not pay to cover its full value. That’s where we come in. Our GAP coverage offers low-cost protection if you have a high-cost loss by covering additional funds needed to pay off the vehicle loan. And it’s available on most new and used auto, motorcycle and RV loans1.

 

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Car repairs today can set you back thousands of dollars. Fortunately, Texans offers its members Major Mechanical Protection (MMP) coverage. This protects you from the unexpected expense of vehicle repairs. There’s absolutely no deductible for repairs and you don’t have to wait for reimbursement — all repair costs are covered up front. Available on most new and used auto loans2.

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