Long Game Review: What If Your Bank Paid You to Game?

long game review

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 on (iOS or Android), 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 helps you build good habits by making saving exciting, thus you’re less inclined to spend. But does it work?

Setting Up the App to Start Saving

Setting up an account still takes a bit more effort than 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, nbkc, an FDIC-insured bank.

Any savings that users add will be protected by the U.S. government, up to $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 (iOS or Android) 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 as 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. You can refer friends who sign up, make deposits, or catch special promotions on the app.

Users can choose from a variety of games, from single-player, scratch-offs to a lottery-style weekly drawing for $1,000,000.

The games are simple but addictive. Users can play games for as little as 5 coins. The games that I was most interested in – and that offered cash prizes – were at least 10,000 coins.

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, your normal purchases will round up to the nearest dollar and you save the change.

For instance, if you spent $9.55, it’ll get rounded up to $10, and $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 goes into your savings. 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.

I found myself using the app during small downtimes, such as waiting for a train or killing time during lunch. Usually, I played until I ran out of coins and picked my phone up later when I had more.

Long Game encourages you to save, but you can transfer 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 (iOS or Android) 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 or an online 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 iOS or Android 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.