Long Game is Now Charging to Use the App (Unless You Use Their Debit Card a Lot)
Ah, that familiar feeling of betrayal. First, the promising-sounding Aspiration underwent a series of head-scratching changes. Then, the Uber Visa Card that I exalted so highly was revamped to the point of near uselessness. Now one of my favorite free apps — and one that made my list of the top money apps to try in 2020 — has let me down as well. Long Game recently announced that it would now begin charging users $3 a month for their service unless they meet some lofty requirements.
Okay, dramatics and hyperbole aside, I was disappointed to open Long Game one morning and see their new tiers of service. Now, users will default to the Teal tier, which will cost the aforementioned amount of $3 per month. Meanwhile, in order to keep using the app for free, you’ll need to attain Gold or Diamond status. For the former, you’ll need to AutoDeposit at least $400 and spend upwards of $100 on your Long Game debit card each month. Meanwhile, to reach the top tier, you’ll need to direct deposit your paychecks into Long Game and spend $200 a month on your debit card. I should note that, in addition to Gold and Diamond being free, they also offer bonus daily coin multipliers — which means they can play more games and, in turn, perhaps win more money.
Admittedly, I’m oversensitive to recurring monthly fees among financial apps. That’s because, with free options available, why would you hand cash over to an app when you’re trying to save money? However, to their credit, Long Game isn’t quite like any other app out there and does succeed in its mission to make setting aside money actually fun. Plus, even at $3 a month, that still puts it below other tools such as Digit.
As for the debit card alternative, while I don’t love the idea of having to spend enough in order to have your fees waived, it’s honestly not the worst arrangement. That’s partially because Long Game’s debit card does include a RoundUps feature that could further help users to reach their savings goals. And, while using certain credit cards instead might earn you more cash back from these purchases, a typical 1% back card would only net you $1 — so missing out on that is still better than the $3 option. At the same time, while Long Game accounts are FDIC insured, I don’t know if I’d recommend going “all-in” with that and setting up direct deposit.
While I’m saddened that Long Game is no longer a truly free app, the truth is that it could definitely be worse. Personally, of the three options, I’d say the Gold level is the best deal as it doesn’t require direct deposit (just AutoDeposit, which are scheduled transfers) and still waives the $3 fee. In any case, if you’re still interested in Long Game or are a current user debating whether to hold on after these changes, there is a 30-day free trial that includes one week of Diamond status followed by three weeks of Teal.
So… what app or service I love will turn on me next? Stay tuned!