While the financial industry has rolled out budgeting apps and automatic savings features that make it easier than ever to save for a rainy day, it can be hard for savers to prioritize short-term satisfaction for longer-term incentives. A new app, Long Game Savings, is taking a new approach by gamifying the process instead.
Long Game’s founder, Lindsay Holden, describes the app as a “combination of personal finance and gaming.” The app encourages users to build their savings by paying them to play games. The app is supposed to help you build good habits by making you excited to put your money away, and thus less inclined to spend it. But does it work?
Setting Up the App to Start Saving
First things first: setting up a savings account still takes a bit more effort than getting started with a typical game app. Upon opening Long Game for the first time, users are prompted to open up a savings account with Long Game’s partner, Blue Ridge Bank, an FDIC-insured bank in Virginia.
The partnership means that any savings that users add to the game will be protected by the U.S. government, up to the amount of $250,000. However, that also means that you’ll have to input some sensitive personal information required to set up a bank account, like your address and social security number.
Once your account is set up, you’ll set up an automatic funding plan. Users link a funding source, such as a bank account, and set their preferences as to when (weekly/monthly/bi-monthly) and how much (minimum of $5) they want to save each cycle. Users can also make one-off deposits at any time to get started or to boost their savings. The amount that you have stored in your savings account determines how quickly you’ll earn coins, which are used within the app to play games.
Also noteworthy: while Long Game will automatically deduct the pre-set amount from your bank account on the schedule that you select, you can opt to skip a withdrawal at any time if an unexpected expense arises.
How Does Long Game Work?
Coins work like they do in most apps: they accumulate over time, whether you’re playing Long Game or not. Users have other means of earning coins as well, such as by referring friends who sign up for Long Game, by making deposits, or through special promotions announced on the app.
Users can choose from a variety of games, from single-player, scratch-off style games of chance like “Flip It” to multiplayer games like “Turtle Racer” that let you race against your friends.
The games are simple but addictive. Users can play games for as little as 5 coins, but I found that the games that I was most interested in playing – and that offered me the option to win cash – were at least 60 coins each.
Utilize the Debit Card for More Rewards
Their newest feature includes the Long Game debit card lets you earn more rewards just by spending normally. With the Round Up feature, you can have your normal purchases be rounded up to the nearest dollar, with the change going towards your savings.
For instance, if you spent $9.55 on lunch, it’ll get rounded up to $10, and the $0.45 goes towards your Long Game savings. So every time you’re spending, you’re contributing to your savings and earning interest.
Is Long Game Legit? Can You Win Money With Long Game?
The more “expensive” games offer users the chance to win up to $100, which is deposited into a user’s savings account. Long Game claims that users can win up to $1 million for playing and has so far cut checks to users for up to $1,000, according to TechCrunch.
Remember: even though you’re playing lottery-style games, your money isn’t at risk. Long Game says that it makes its money by sharing in part of the profits that banks make off of your savings, which means that the app technically doesn’t cost you anything.
When testing Long Game, I found myself using the app mostly during small bits of downtime, such as waiting for a train to come or when killing time during lunch. Usually, I played until I ran out of coins and then would pick my phone up a few hours later and have enough coins to play for a bit longer.
While Long Game is set up to encourage you to save, you can also transfer your money out of the app at any time. Like any transfer across bank accounts, doing so takes a few days: Long Game cites a three- to five-day window for transfers.
Is Long Game Worth Your Time?
Long Game is a fun, engaging way to save your money. If you’re predisposed to gamble – or you’re just looking for a way to spend your free time – it’s worth downloading. Between the coin-based rewards system and automating savings features, this app will likely help even reluctant savers get started.
It’s worth noting, though, that if you’re already diligent about saving, you can likely earn more money with a high yield savings account with a traditional bank. Long Game’s savings account currently offers only 0.1% APR, while some savings accounts may offer users as much as 3% on their savings. While Long Game offers users the same level of deposit protection that they would get with regular savings accounts, the interest that users accrue on their investments is limited.
Long story short, I’m excited to see Long Game continue to evolve. The app is definitely already fun, it’s completely free as banks pay them, not you, and the team behind the app seems to be continuously rolling out new games, as well as new features, like the ability to earn free crypto for saving and playing. With some luck and a little bit of fun, all of us will save more.