If someone told you that you could make money simply by playing games on your phone, you’d probably laugh in their face and tell you to stop wasting your time. Why would anybody pay you to play games? It doesn’t make any sense.
But the truth is, it’s actually possible—by downloading the Blast gaming app.
In this review, I’ll explain what Blast is and how it works so that you can better decide whether it’s something you should consider adding to your list of financial tools to try.
What is Blast?
Blast is a mobile app that is currently available only on Android devices, though an iOS version is in the works for Apple products. It was launched in early 2018 by Walter Cruttenden, a co-founder of the popular micro-investing app Acorns, as a way to help Americans save more money.
When you download the app and create an account, you’ll automatically be given a Blast Savings Account, which is where any money you earn from Blast (or any money you transfer into the account) will live. Because Blast isn’t a bank, the money is actually held in a special type of account called a “for the benefit of” (FBO) account that is supported by Wells Fargo Bank. This means that any money in your Blast account is FDIC-insured up to $250,000, and will earn a very competitive 2% interest rate (as of December 2019).
Once you have an account, you’ll need to link the account to your bank. If you’re shy about who you share this kind of information with (as you should be!), you can opt to link Blast to your PayPal account if you’d like instead. That being said, I have Blast linked to my checking account, and I haven’t had any issues in all the time that I’ve used the app.
Also note that, when you download the app, you will be asked to grant app the ability to monitor your usage of other apps on your phone. While this might sound invasive, it’s simply how Blast is able to keep track of your gameplay. Without these permissions, Blast won’t work (since the app won’t be able to see when you deserve to get paid!) and you won’t be able to use it.
How does it work?
Put very simply, Blast works like this: Game publishers want more people to download their apps and play their games. To achieve this, they pay Blast to feature their games in the app. Any time someone downloads one of the games featured in Blast, Blast makes money from the publisher. (Think of it like affiliate marketing.) To entice users to actually want to download the games, Blast passes on a bit of their earnings to you once you complete in-game missions.
Currently, you can make money using Blast in a number of ways:
- Completing missions
- Ranking up to higher tiers on the leaderboard
- Setting up a savings trigger
For most users, completing missions in featured games is the main way that you’ll make money by using Blast.
What do I mean by missions? Well, when you log into Blast and navigate over to the Gaming screen, you’ll be greeted with a list of all of the games that are currently featured on the app. By clicking into the game, you’ll see the mission that that game is currently offering. To complete a mission, you’ll need to meet certain criteria in the game.
In exchange for meeting this criteria, you’ll earn two things: A cash payout, and experience points. The money is deposited directly into your Blast account; the experience points are used to calculate the tiers on the Leaderboard, which we discuss more below.
While it’s impossible to list all of the missions you might encounter on Blast, some of the more common ones include:
- Playing the game for a certain length of time (typically, 15 minutes)
- Reaching a certain level of gameplay (popular in puzzle games)
- Advancing to a certain point in the game, such as completing the tutorial (popular in role-playing games)
Payouts from missions commonly fall around 25 cents to 50 cents, though there are $1 missions and even $1.25 missions. Generally speaking, missions that pay higher will typically require you to play a game a lot longer before you earn your money.
If you want to complete a mission, just make sure you download the game directly through Blast by clicking on the “Play Game” button. Clicking that button will take you to the Google Play Store to download the game. If you download the game on your own without clicking on this button, you can’t get paid for completing the mission. (Why? Because Blast won’t get credit for referring you.)
Other criteria include: You must start and finish the mission on the same device (meaning, you can’t swap between two phones, or between a phone and a tablet), and you can’t already have downloaded a featured game in the past.
Pro tip: For timed missions, you often don’t even really need to actively be playing to earn your reward. Just turn your phone’s screen timer up to it’s maximum (so your screen won’t turn off when you’re not using it) and open up the game with a timed mission. Leave it running while you do something else, like wash the dishes or cook dinner. When you’re done, close out the game and log into Blast to see how much of the required time has passed. This can help you really rack up money and experience points without dedicating all of your time to playing games.
Blast Tiers and the Leaderboard
In addition to earning money directly from completing missions, you can also earn money by ranking in higher tiers each week on the Blast Leaderboard. How are tiers determined? Well, remember the experience points that missions pay out? Those experience points determine what tier you are placed in.
Every Sunday, the leaderboard resets at 6pm Pacific Time, at which point every Blast user will start the week over with 0 experience points. This will automatically put you in Tier 10. By completing game missions during the week, you’ll earn experience points, which will move you into higher and higher tiers.
Once you get to Tier 8 (which is relatively easy to do) you’ll start earning cash rewards. These rewards are paid out a few days after the week ends, usually on Friday. This cash is a reward that you earn on top of whatever you’ve already earned from completing missions, and is a way for Blast to encourage its users to keep using the app. For most players, this won’t be a ton of money, but over time even an extra dollar or two a week can add up.
Blast doesn’t disclose how many experience points you need to move up into each tier, so it’s hard to say exactly how much you need to earn to get into the higher tiers. In order to place in Tier 1, you need to earn more experience points than anyone else did that week, so it’s actually a bit of a moving target. For most users, it should be easy enough to place in Tier 6, 7, or 8 each week; placing higher will definitely take more effort.
Pro tip: While games are added to Blast on a rolling basis, there actually aren’t that many added each week. If you want to rank as high as possible on the Leaderboard each week, it might make sense for you to take a break from Blast every other week. This will increase the number of active missions that you can work towards when you return to the game, giving you a greater pool of experience points to earn. Otherwise, if you play each week, you may find yourself with only a handful of missions to choose from, which will definitely make reaching the higher tiers more difficult.
Blast Savings Triggers
When Blast originally launched, there was an additional way for users to make money—Savings Triggers, which were designed to help users save more money. They worked like this:
- Choose a game that you play on your phone.
- Choose a trigger, such as playing for a certain length of time or defeating a certain number of enemies
- Choose a payout amount
Once you created a trigger, anytime you reached your criteria, money would automatically be transferred out of your funding source (your bank) and into your Blast account. These micro-transfers were meant to be small enough that you wouldn’t really miss the money, making it easy to mindlessly save money that you could use later on.
Completely separate from the missions and leaderboard functions, this feature didn’t technically help you make money. But it did help you to save money, to the tune of $30 to $40 a month on average, according to Blast’s founder.
After a beta testing period, Blast removed Savings Triggers from the app. But there are plans to bring them back stronger than ever, thanks to customer feedback that was collected during the beta. There’s no set date for when Triggers will return, but it’s expected to be at some point in 2019. Some of the new features that are being planned include:
- Global Triggers: This would allow users to start or deactivate all Triggers for all Blast games with one touch.
- Easier Setup: To help make the process of setting up Triggers more intuitive.
- Savings “Governor”: To ensure that no more than around $1 per day (or $30 per month) are transferred into your Blast account due to Triggers.
- PC Game Triggers: Most hardcore gamers play their games on PCs or other systems, meaning they can’t use Blast’s Triggers to save money. Luckily, they are currently testing betas for Triggers in both Steam and Fortnite, which means that users may soon be able to earn money and experience points even if they don’t play games on their phones.
How much money can you make on Blast?
Ultimately, how much money you make by using Blast will depend on a number of different factors. The most important of these are how often you play games on your phone, how many missions you can complete in a week, and what Tiers you rank in on the Leaderboard. If you play less, you’ll make less; if you play more, you’ll make more.
For example, I managed to make just over $17 using Blast over the course of a week. $12 came from completing missions, and $5 came from ranking on the Leaderboard. And I didn’t dedicate hours to playing games or anything like that—I played when I was waiting for appointments, using the stair stepper at the gym, and lounging on the couch.
While it’s possible to make $1,000 by reaching Tier 1 on the Leaderboard, this is very challenging to accomplish, and most users won’t meet that goal. Generally speaking, Blast isn’t a way for you to get rich—but it can be a great way for you to make money doing something you’re likely already doing anyway. If you play games on your phone, find yourself waiting for a lot of appointments, or have a long commute (where you’re not the one driving!) Blast can help you make and save some extra money. Even an extra $10 a week will equal $520 after a year, which you can use to pay down your student loans, build an emergency fund, or invest for your future.
Should you use Blast?
Whether or not you should use Blast will depend on your own financial goals and habits. That being said, you should take into account the pros and cons below to help you make up your mind.
Pros of Using Blast
- Blast is completely free to use.
- You can make money simply by playing games.
- Money in your Blast account is FDIC-insured up to $250,000 and earns an interest rate of 2%.
- You can potentially earn up to $1,000 in one week’s time, though this is challenging.
- It’s a great way to discover some new games.
- They have great customer service. I asked them a question, and they responded within minutes.
Cons of Using Blast
- To play a game recommended by Blast, you’ve got to actually download that game to your phone. Some of these apps can be very large, and they can eat up a lot of space on your phone. Luckily, after you complete a mission you can simply delete the apps.
- Most of the games that are recommended are monetized with ads, sometimes pretty aggressively. While most of them aren’t too bad, some of them (particularly the puzzle games) can display an add after every single level you play, which gets old REALLY fast.
- Many of the games tend to be less-fun versions of more popular games, like the ripoff of Candy Crush Saga shown below.
- Sometimes, the missions function can be a little buggy. Occasionally, you will complete a mission and it will not show as being complete in the app. This was few and far between, but it did affect me a few times over the month or so that I’ve been using Blast. (Time-based missions tend to be more likely to have this glitch.) If you reach out to customer service, they’re usually pretty good about getting your account credited.
- Withdrawals take between 4 and 6 business days to go through, which can be bad if you need the money fast.
- This isn’t a way to get rich. If you’ve got a side gig or even a part-time job, you will almost certainly make more money doing that than by playing games through Blast. So don’t think of Blast as an income source; think of it as a way to get paid for something you already do.
The Bottom Line
I’m currently using Blast, and I enjoy using it—but I am someone who plays a lot of games on their phone. It’s a fun, nice way to make some extra cash while you’re playing games, but you definitely won’t get rich with it. If you’re interested in giving it a try, you can download it here.