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Banking

Blast App Review: Grow Your Savings By Playing Games

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

If you’ve been reading about the gig economy and side hustles, you’ve probably heard more than a few times about monetizing your hobbies. Whether it’s selling your crochet masterpieces on Etsy or hopping around the city with TaskRabbit, side hustles work best when you turn your personal interests into money-making ventures.

For gamers in search of a side hustle, the Blast app is here to help. Blast pays you to play Android games, such as Words with Friends and Diner Dash, on its app. Don’t expect to rake in the big bucks, however, as you’ll likely only earn a few cents each time you play. For a few high scorers, your shot at the big money is getting your name on the competitive leaderboard.

Blast also includes a high-yield savings account to store and grow your earnings at 2% APY. While this is certainly an added perk to a fun gaming app, it’s not made for serious savings. The account imposes low limits on your deposit and withdrawal capabilities, keeping the account confined to the app’s earnings.

Blast features

Via blast.com
  • An extensive list of games and Missions (more below) from which to choose
  • The chance to earn bonus cash by topping leaderboards
  • A high-yield savings account
  • Further automatic savings opportunity through Game-Based Savings

Blast offers a variety of games to play, from “casual to hardcore,” as it puts it. Everybody should be able to find a game that suits their tastes. You can see your options right from the app’s homepage, clocking each game’s earning potential at a glance.

Each game has a set of Missions, or objectives, to complete, such as completing the game’s tutorial or passing a difficult level. You earn your cash rewards, or Mission Rewards, by completing these Missions. Cash rewards aren’t huge, paying out between 5 cents and a few dollars, depending on the Mission. For example, completing the tutorial of an “Easy” game can rake in 25 cents, while beating level 10 in a “Hard” game could reward you with $5.

Missions change periodically, so be sure to check back in to find new ones you haven’t tackled yet.

The chance to earn more than a few cents comes with ranking on the leaderboard. You can do this by collecting eXperience Points, or XP, for every dollar you earn or by completing certain Missions. Each week, a new leaderboard winner is chosen. Each winner is rewarded with an extra $50. Those ranked lower can still win a bit of extra prize money, too, depending on how high up the board they land.

Blast savings account

To take your savings a little further, all the money you earn through Blast Missions is deposited into a Blast account that earns at 2% APY.

While this is a relatively competitive rate, paired with the minimal earnings you get from Missions, it doesn’t yield much savings. Say you start with 50 cents for completing a Mission or two and each month you earn $1 more. In five months, your total savings would equal a whopping $5.53.

You can take a bit more advantage of the APY by setting up recurring deposits, either weekly or monthly, from a linked external checking account. However, even here, Blast limits your savings abilities. The minimum daily deposit amount is $5, while the maximum is only $50. This doesn’t offer much ease or convenience if you’re trying to move around bigger sums of money.

Further, all deposits cannot exceed a combined daily maximum of $100. This includes any recurring deposits and deposits from Blast’s Game-Based Savings feature. This optional feature allows you to save 1 cent for every minute you spend playing any Blast game on your Android. This isn’t a cash reward paid by Blast, though. The money comes out of your personal checking account. You have to earn at least $5 for a Game-Based Savings transaction to go through — which equals more than eight hours of gameplay. However, transfers cannot exceed $10 in a seven-day period. All Blast transfers take one to two business days to fully settle.

You can also transfer money from your Blast savings account to a linked checking account or PayPal account. The minimum daily withdrawal amount is $5. Transfers out of a Blast account will take four to six business days.

Blast fees and fine print

It’s pretty free to open and use Blast. There are no monthly or annual fees.

The only fee you’ll have to keep an eye out for is the 30 cent PayPal transaction fee when you make transfers from your Blast account into a PayPal account.

There are a few steps you have to successfully complete when using the Blast app to earn your Mission rewards. Once you’ve chosen a Mission, you’ll have to hit the “Connect” button. You have to connect through the Blast app before a Mission expires to be eligible to receive Mission rewards. You must also start and finish a Mission on the same device for it to count.

Additionally, to earn Mission rewards, you must not have previously installed or played the game on your device outside of the Blast app.

You can use Blast with almost every game in the Google Play Store, offering the chance to earn just by having an Android. Compatibility with the Apple App Store, Steam and other PC and console titles is not yet available, but it is planned in the future.

As for security, Blast doesn’t play around, implementing bank-level security — provided by Plaid — and maximum FDIC — through a Wells Fargo For the Benefit Of (FBO) account — insurance for a fun and secure experience.

Opening a Blast app account

Blast is only available for Android users. You can sign up online to be placed on the iOS waitlist.

You can find the Blast app in the Google Play Store. To create an account, you’ll need to provide your email. You don’t need to link an external checking account right away, but you’ll need to eventually if you want to transfer your Blast rewards out.

Now, you’re ready to play — and earn.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Lauren Perez
Lauren Perez |

Lauren Perez is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Lauren here

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Banking

Review of the Tip Yourself App

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

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Saving money doesn’t always come naturally, even though it’s one of the best ways to stabilize your finances and live the lifestyle you want without going into debt. Apps like Tip Yourself exist to help you become a better saver.

Founded in 2015, Tip Yourself is a savings platform that allows you to reward yourself for everyday achievements by transferring money into a “Tip Jar” that serves as a savings account. It’s a clever and low-pressure way to save money and incentivize healthy, productive behaviors.

It is not the most robust or sophisticated savings tool, but it’s a great way to develop a savings mindset and consistently put money toward your goals. However, you will not earn interest on your Tip Jars, so it’s not a good long-term savings tool.

What is Tip Yourself?

Tip Yourself is a money-saving app that lets you reward yourself throughout the day when you accomplish tasks or achieve small goals. Ideally, you’ll get in the habit of saving by making incremental, consistent changes to how you manage your money. Every time you knock a loathsome task off your to-do list, you can double the dopamine hit by transferring money into your Tip Jar. You feel accomplished and save money, reinforcing two good behaviors.

A basic account is free and allows you to create up to two Tip Jars to save for different purposes. Tip Yourself Pro is the premium version, and it allows you to set up 10 jars. Those include an Automated Tip Jar and one dedicated to a savings challenge, as well as a Hidden Tip Jar to help curb spending impulses. The company earns money on Pro subscriptions and on interest accrued in users’ Tip Jars.

Your Tip Jar is linked to your checking account and is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation up to the legal limit through Tip Yourself’s partner, nbkc bank, which holds the funds in your Tip Jar. The accounts are secured with 256-bit SSL encryption — the same protocol that’s used by banks. Once you link a checking account, you can only withdraw to that account.

Pros of the Tip Yourself app

It’s a low-cost service. You can sign up for free, and the app doesn’t charge transaction or service fees, so you never lose money on your tips. The minimum tip is $1, so there’s no reason not to save. Even Tip Yourself Pro (more below) can be affordable at $9.99 a year.

You can build good habits. By rewarding yourself for personal and professional victories, you develop a saving habit and motivate yourself to continue working toward non-financial goals as well.

It’s easy to use. The sign-up process is simple and quick, and you can familiarize yourself with the app in just a few minutes. The simplicity of the app and its features keeps the focus on saving and makes it easy to get into a routine of tipping yourself.

You can always withdraw funds. You don’t have to wait until you’ve accrued a certain amount of savings to dip into your cash. As soon as the money hits your account, you can initiate a withdrawal. There are no minimum or maximum withdrawal amounts, and you can make as many transfers as you want.

Follow inspirational posts on the social feed. The beauty of this app is that you’re rewarding yourself for good behaviors — and so is everyone else on the app. Your social feed is populated with other people sharing their life wins, such as going back to school, making time to exercise and taking care of long-overdue chores. You can also follow particular members to curate your feed. If you don’t want to share all the tips you give yourself, you can set those transactions to private, and they’ll only be visible to you.

Cons of the Tip Yourself app

Tips take several days to clear. Tip Yourself uses Automated Clearing House (ACH) transfers to move money from your bank account to your Tip Jar, a process that takes about three days to complete.

You don’t earn interest. The Tip Jar is a great place for holding money, but not for earning it. You won’t accrue any interest, no matter how long you leave the money in the account.

The social feed can be distracting. While seeing other people’s money wins can be a great motivator, having yet another social feed to scroll through can feel like a time-suck. The app defaults to showing your feed when you log in, so it’s difficult to avoid. But it’s easy to navigate to the other features, so it may not be a deal-breaker.

There’s a limit to how much you can tip. Tips are capped at $250, so if you wanted to give yourself a bonus for a job well-done, you’ll need to do so through another account. Still, the app seems to work best for small wins, so the tip cap doesn’t lessen the account’s value too much.

It’s difficult to get in touch with the company. Although Tip Yourself has an email contact button on every page, this MagnifyMoney writer reached out and did not receive a response. Two phone calls to the company’s number, which isn’t intuitive to find, went unanswered and messages were not returned. Tip Yourself’s Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts also seem to be updated infrequently.

How to open a Tip Yourself account

You can only sign up for an account through the app, so your first step is to download it from either Google Play or the App Store. Then you’ll need to create an account, which takes less than a minute. If you want to keep it really simple, you can sign up using your Facebook account, or you can create new credentials for Tip Yourself. In the latter case, you’ll just need to input your name, email address and a password.

Before you finalize your sign-up, you’ll need to agree to the privacy policy and terms of use. However, if you click on either one to read, the app may kick you back to the home screen where you’ll need to input your sign-up information again. The privacy policy and terms of use are linked on the website, so you can read them before signing up, but it’s a bit cumbersome if you’re unable to do so in the app.

Once you’re logged in, you’ll be prompted to link your checking account to the app. You don’t have to link accounts right away if you just want to browse the app’s features, but you’ll need to add a checking account to fund your Tip Jar. It’s best to link the account as soon as possible, because the app initiates two micro-deposits to verify your checking account, and it can take a few days for those to clear. After verification is complete, you can start tipping yourself. You’ll need your checking account to be linked and verified before you can add new Tip Jars, as well.

All users can set up a Standard Tip Jar and designate what they’re saving for and how much they want to save. Tip Yourself provides Quicktip Savings Buttons in the app, in the amounts of $2, $5 and $10, so you can easily reward yourself when you feel you deserve it. Or, you can set a higher amount if you want to kick your savings into high gear.

If you want to close a Tip Jar, perhaps because you reached your goal and no longer need it, you’ll need to move any remaining balance to another Tip Jar. You’re required to have at least one Tip Jar open at all times.

If you opt for a Pro account, you’ll be able to set up special Tip Jars, such as the Hidden Tip Jar and the Savings Challenge jar. The Savings Challenge encourages you to save $1,378 throughout the course of a year by setting up weekly tip transfers that increase incrementally. In Week 1, you tip yourself $1. In Week 2, you tip $2. In Week 3, your amount is $3 — and so on. It’s a neat way to save and to overcome the idea that you need to make massive transfers to build savings.

With the Hidden Tip Jar, you set a savings goal and tip yourself as usual, but you won’t see your balance until you’ve hit your goal. The logic is that not being able to see what you have will reduce your urge to spend before you’ve hit your savings target.

Pro users can also set up an Automated Tip Jar, which allows you to add set-and-forget tips to that account and have them transfer in on a weekly or monthly basis. If you opt for a monthly tip, you can choose whether it transfers at the beginning, middle or end of the month, so you can plan around your pay schedule. Or, you can schedule a weekly tip for yourself on the day of your choosing.

How much does Tip Yourself cost?

A basic account is free and includes two Tip Jars. Upgrading to Tip Yourself Pro will cost $9.99 a year and gives you access to 10 Tip Jars.

If you just want to build the habit of saving money generally, you’ll be fine with a free account. But if you’re the type of person who likes to create multiple funds for specific purposes, you’ll want to upgrade to the Pro option.

How Tip Yourself stacks up to the competition

You might be wondering why you’d download the app, much less pay for it, when you may be able to create multiple savings accounts with your bank.

As noted above, your Tip Jar isn’t a long-term savings account. It’s a temporary place to stash your money while you save toward specific goals. Psychologically, setting aside small amounts of money feels more doable than trying to build up your bank account.

The fact that you can reward yourself for other positive behaviors, such as going to the gym, eating healthy or finishing an assignment before your deadline, reinforces good habits in different areas of your life through small, sustainable wins.

However, Tip Yourself does seem less robust a service than, say, Digit. Also a money-saving app, Digit offers automated savings, in which the platform assesses your finances every day and transfers money into your savings accounts based on what you can afford to spare. Like Tip Yourself, Digit offers unlimited withdrawals, but it also provides overdraft protection and a 1% savings bonus after you’ve used the app to save for three consecutive months.

Digit also allows you to set however many savings goals you choose, whereas Tip Yourself limits basic users to two Tip Jars and Pro users to 10. At $5 a month, Digit is costlier than Tip Yourself, but the extra expense may be worth it for the broader range of features.

As far as app usability, the two platforms are pretty much tied. Tip Yourself’s app is rated 4.7 in the App Store and 4.4 on Google Play. Digit’s App Store ranking is also 4.7, while its Android rating is nearly on par at 4.3.

The bottom line: Is the Tip Yourself app worth it?

If you struggle with saving money or budgeting for things such as vacations, holiday gifts or just a general rainy day fund, Tip Yourself is a good tool for establishing the habit. By linking everyday accomplishments with tipping yourself, you make saving part of your routine. You also reduce the stress of money management by saving toward specific goals.

It seems to work best for smaller-scale goals rather than major expenses, and you won’t find a full suite of budgeting or money management features here. However, the low cost and ease of use make Tip Yourself an accessible, helpful app for saving on your own terms and beginning to take control of your spending.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Casey Hynes
Casey Hynes |

Casey Hynes is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Casey here

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Banking

Review of Moven: A Mobile Bank Account

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

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Founded in 2011, Moven is a fintech company that attempts to use immediate prompts, such as spending reviews each time you make a purchase, to positively impact its users’ financial habits.

It is not a bank itself, but Moven partners with CBW Bank to offer users prepaid cards. These cards act similarly to many cash management accounts, sans any interest.

If you’re looking for a high return on the money in your checking account, look elsewhere. But if you’re looking for an app that could potentially alter your spending habits for the better, you may want to give Moven a closer look.

What does Moven offer?

You can use Moven through your existing bank account or as a fully functional prepaid account that offers direct deposit of your paycheck.

As you spend and save, Moven will learn your money habits. From there, it will anticipate spending across categories such as groceries, transportation and dining. This will be tracked on your Spending Meter, which will track your spending progress within each category.

Every time you make a purchase, the Moven app will show you how you’re doing according to the anticipated budget. If the Spending Meter is green, you’re doing all right. If it’s yellow, you are approaching your expected spending. But if it’s red, you know you need to address your spending as soon as possible. Moven also looks at your daily spending in general and will give you color-coded information on spending spikes throughout the month.

If you have short-term savings goals, Moven provides a feature called “Moven Stash” where you can put this money aside until you need it for rent, a road trip or whatever your goal may be. It won’t earn any interest.

Moven debit account

The Moven account comes with a debit card and the ability to issue checks, albeit electronically. (Checks can be written for between $10 and $4,000.) This account does not pay interest, but it is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation up to the legal limit.

The most complicated part of this account is its loading limits. If you are getting your paycheck deposited directly into your Moven account, there is no limit on how much you can deposit at once. However, there are maximums — and minimums — on other methods of account funding.

When you initially open your account, you must deposit between $50 and $500. Every time you reload your card, you must add between $10 and $2,500 for Automated Clearing House (ACH) transfers other than paychecks that are deposited directly. If that ACH transfer is coming from another bank, it will be limited to $1,000. If you’re doing a card-to-card transfer, you must stay between $10 and $750. The maximum you can load through Moven in a month is $10,000 (again, direct deposit paychecks are an exception).

You may also choose to make deposits via cash at convenience stores in the MasterCard rePower network. Moven does not charge a fee for this type of deposit, but the MasterCard rePower location will. Your funds will be available immediately.

Finally, you can deposit checks via your phone using the Ingo app. The standard fee for cashing a check with Ingo is $5. Depending on how many checks you cash a month and the type of check (personal, payroll or government), fees for checks beyond $125 to $500 vary from 1% to 5%. If you can wait 10 days to access your funds, the fee will be waived.

Daily ATM withdrawals are capped at $500, while total daily spending is limited to $10,000. You will not run into any overdraft fees since Moven will not approve a purchase if there are insufficient funds in your account. It’s impossible to overdraw.

Moven budgeting and spending tools

To figure out if your Spending Meter should display green, yellow or red, Moven projects your spending. It does this by averaging your past spending by category. That means the longer you have your account, the more accurate the average will be. By the same token, the longer you use your account, the less impact a particularly good or bad month will have on your average.

In addition to the color-coded notifications and Moven’s algorithm that learns to predict your projected spending, the Stash feature allows you to budget. You can set expenses as milestones, whether they’re mundane things, such as a utility bill, or once-in-a-lifetime expenses, such as your best friend’s baby shower. By scheduling these, you can ensure you’ve budgeted for both expenses ahead of time.

How much does Moven cost?

Moven doesn’t charge many of the fees you usually see, such as maintenance or overdraft fees. But some of its fees are not as common elsewhere.

Let’s take the account closure fee, for example, which is not a fee you find on all checking accounts. You’ll pay $10 at Moven to shut your account.

While Moven doesn’t charge any ATM fees when you use the STAR network, you may incur a fee if you use an ATM outside of this network. The fee would be charged by the out-of-network ATM owner. The STAR network has over 40,000 surcharge-free ATMs across the country, so finding one might not be difficult.

Moven doesn’t charge to replace your card — at least not the first two times a year. If you lose your card more often than that, the fee is $4.99 for each subsequent incident. If you want expedited shipping on your replacement card, there is a $30 fee.

Moven is not a great account to use if you’re traveling internationally or to an area where U.S. dollars aren’t accepted. Moven has several fees on these transactions, and they can compound.

First, you’ll have to pay an EFT fee of 1% every time you use your Moven account outside of the U.S. If you’re using an international ATM, you’ll have to pay an additional 1% fee.

Regardless of how you’re accessing your Moven account, you will also have to pay a 3% currency exchange fee when you are charged in a currency different than U.S. dollars. That means that if you’re making an international transaction, the fees could be 1% if there’s no currency conversion. Otherwise, it’d be 4%.

Here’s a breakdown of Moven’s fees:

Moven Fees
Monthly feeNone
Maintenance feeNone
Overdraft feeNone
ATM feesNone, unless charged by an out-of-network ATM owner
International ATM withdrawal fee1%
Card replacement fee2 free replacements per year; each subsequent replacement is $4.99
Paper statement fee*$5
Expedited shipping on card replacement$30
Account closure fee$10
EFT surcharge1%
Currency conversion fee3%
*Statement will only be printed upon request. Fees accurate as of October 4, 2019.

The Moven mobile app experience

Moven’s mobile app is the entire reason to get an account. The app notifies you of where you stand with your money in real time, creating an immediate prompt that can help you modify your behavior. At any point, you can check your spending and see if you’re in red, yellow or green, curbing your purchases as necessary.

The app doesn’t just track the money in your Moven account, either. While one reason to link your personal banking account to Moven is to establish a funding source, another is that the app can track all of the spending on your linked accounts. It can also track credit card spending, though you cannot fund your Moven account with a credit card.

The app will split your expenditures into three categories: wants, needs and other. The wants category includes line items such as travel, dining and entertainment. Needs are things such as rent, utilities and health care expenses. In the other category, you’ll have miscellaneous line items such as gifts, business expenses and account transfers.

This gives you a holistic picture of your spending habits, income flow and how you can improve your money habits. In fact, you don’t have to open an account with Moven at all. You can use the app to track your spending with accounts you already have with other financial institutions — if you want to go that route.

As with other mobile-only apps, you don’t have a branch you can visit if you have any banking-related questions, so keep that in mind as you compare your options.

How to open a Moven account

To use Moven, you must be a U.S. citizen aged 18 or older with a Social Security number. You need a mobile device that runs on Android 4.1 or above, or iOS 8 or above.

While you can easily and quickly create your Moven profile via desktop, you will need to download the app via the App Store or Google Play to use all the features. If you do decide to use the account to track your spending in real time with the Spending Meter, it will take seven to 10 business days to receive your card.

If you need assistance during the process, you can get in touch with Moven via email or phone.

The pros and cons of Moven

Pros

  • Immediate spending alerts serve as reminders to adjust your money habits
  • You can link external accounts, potentially allowing you to track all your spending
  • No maintenance, overdraft or domestic ATM fees charged by Moven
  • Easy to open an account and use the app

Cons

  • No interest
  • Requirements for minimum and maximum deposits
  • Numerous fees for international travelers
  • Can deposit cash, but you will pay a fee
  • Fee charged to close your account

Who should use Moven?

If you’re trying to change your spending habits, Moven can provide reinforcement. These behavioral goals are what would motivate the ideal user to download the app.

If you’re attempting to earn interest on your savings, access financial charting tools that allow you to incorporate your retirement savings or other investments or handle a lot of cash, this account is likely not a great fit for you.

This is even truer if you travel internationally regularly or you’re planning an extended stint abroad. While you’re outside the U.S., you will get hit with fees every time you spend money.

Moven isn’t a great place to grow your cash, but it can be a great way to modify undesirable spending habits in real time.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Brynne Conroy
Brynne Conroy |

Brynne Conroy is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Brynne here