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This week’s review is by Hank Coleman who is an active duty Army officer and the publisher of Money Q&A, a personal finance blog about investing ideas after you’ve maxed out your retirement plans.
The gamification of personal finance is all around us these days. Whether you’re earning reward points, receiving badges on an app, or simply trying to increase your credit score, the psychology of gamification is alive and well in our finances. And, the savings app, Long Game, has taken gamification to the next level.
With online and video games increasing in popularity, it’s no surprise that gamification has moved into the personal finance space as well. Gamification is typically a marketing technique that uses elements of game playing such as scoring points, earning rewards, competing with others, leaderboards, and other game attributes to encourage consumers to interact or engage with a product or service.
Long Game is an expert at using gamification to encourage users to save more money. Long Game is essentially a savings account. It’s FDIC insurance and backed by Blue Ridge Bank in Virginia. Every dollar that you save using Long Game earns you Coins, virtual currency in the app, that you can then spend on mini-games and a lottery type sweepstakes.
Win Up to $1 Million in Cash Prizes with Long Game
Long Game is a personal finance app for your smartphone that gamifies you progress saving money. Users deposit money in an interest-bearing savings account that is FDIC insured. Long Game users earn 0.1% interest on their savings in addition to any money they win with the in-app games.
Long Game encourages users to save money by completing “Missions”, gaining experience points (called “Brains”), and Power-Ups. When you complete a personalized Mission tailored towards your savings goals, the app rewards you with Long Game’s virtual currency, called “Coins”. Missions include things like hitting a savings target, setting a streak of weekly savings, and other savings related tasks.
Coins are the reward for saving money with the app. You then use Coins to play mini-games and weekly lottery like drawings, where you have the chance to win real cash prizes and further increase your savings. You can win up to $1,000,000 in the lottery like games on the Long Game smartphone app.
Long Game rewards users for saving money and making progress towards their financial goals.
You get 300 free Coins when you initially set up your account and link your bank account to your Long Game account with their smartphone app. And, you earn one free entry in the Omega Millions weekly lottery. The Omega Millions is Long Game’s weekly drawing for $1 million that is held every Thursday at 5 pm Pacific.
There is also a First Week Bonus where you earn up to 3 free Coins for every $1 you deposit and 40 free Coins for every $1 that you deposit with the auto-save feature during the first week you use the app.
FDIC Insured Savings Accounts
Long Game is very similar to a bank. The Long Game personal finance smartphone app gives users FDIC-insured interest-bearing savings accounts that are run and backed by Blue Ridge Bank in Virginia. The savings account earns 0.1% interest, and that’s in addition to any winnings from the games that you receive.
For example, I tried out Long Game and deposited $25 into my account. With the 600+ Coins that I earned, I ended up winning $1.45 on my first day playing the different games in the app. That equates to a 5.8% return. Not too bad!
Any money that you transfer to Long Game still belongs to you. And, you have complete access to your funds and can withdrawal them at any time.
Long Game is designed to encourage users to build up their savings. The games are merely there to make it fun, give you a chance to win real cash prizes, and help you increase your savings – almost without you even realizing it. That’s the beauty and power of gamification.
Convincing Lottery Players to Save
According to the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries, Americans spend over $70 billion playing the lottery every year. That equates to over $300 in lottery tickets per adult in America. Almost 60% of Americans buy a lottery ticket every year. And, to make matters worse, a vast majority of lottery players are low-income wage earners.
And, that’s why Long Game initially targeted lottery players who need to increase their savings. Long Game models many of its in-app mini games after scratch off lottery tickets. But, instead of playing the lottery, Long Game uses the same concept of game playing behavior and helps people redirect that money into savings accounts.
Bank Rated Encryption and Security
Long Game uses the Dwolla service to transfer funds from your bank account to the app. Dwolla is a payments platform that banks and financial institutions use to make ACH payments and verify customer and bank account information within the Long Game platform. Dwolla securely connects the app to your bank or credit union to transfer the money.
Long Game and Dwolla use the standard 256-bit SSL encryption just like banks. And, Long Game does not store your bank’s login information. Like all other banking accounts, the company is required to verify your identity with your social security number. But, they don’t pull a credit report, and it won’t harm your credit score.
Prize Linked Savings
Prize linked savings are widespread in Europe. The United Kingdom has had games for years, but these types of accounts have only been legal in the United States for a couple of years.
Linking cash and prizes to saving money encourages people to save more. A savings account liked to these types of benefits rewards individuals for establishing and growing savings deposits over time. And, with a median savings in America of only $3,000 per person and 40% of Americans having no savings at all, we need all the help and encouragement we can get.
Congress passed the American Savings Promotion Act in 2014 legalizing prized based savings in the United States. Prize linked savings accounts connect the prospect and thrill of the lottery and switches it to growing a savings account. Long Game is the first company to bring these types of savings accounts in the United States.
Odds of Winning
Long Game lists the odds for all games in the “How to Play” section of each game. And, you can also find the odds of winning on the Long Game website.
The odds of winning $1 million in the weekly Omega Millions game are 1 in 227,279,052. The odds of winning $20 is 1 in 12,368.
But, don’t despair. The odds of winning Coins to use on future mini-games are much higher. For example, the odds of matching one number and winning a Coin is 1 in 2.55. The odds of matching two numbers and winning five Coins is 1 in 9.
The odds for the Daily Instant Win game are a little better as well. In the Instant Bronze game, the odds to win 20 coins is 1 in 3.43, for example. The odds vary, of course, based on the game (Bronze through Platinum) you play and the probability of payout. The odds of winning $5,000 in the Instant Platinum game are 1 in 100,170.
Many Americans are struggling financially. We’re not saving enough money. Many of us aren’t saving at all. Long Game is looking to change that with the gamification of a savings account. The app makes it easy and fun to save money. It also ties into our obsession with lotteries and scratch-off game cards.
Long Game is targeting Americans who play the lottery and don’t save much. Instead of avoiding our finances, Long Game is looking to help Americans change how they think about saving by adding a gaming component to it and backing it up with the chance to win real cash.
The gamification of personal finance is everywhere, and that’s evident in smartphone apps like Long Game. Whether you’re earning reward points, receiving badges on an app, or trying to save more money in the bank for a rainy day or family vacation, the psychology of gamification and apps like Long Game can help you reach your financial goals while making it fun.