Is Givling a Good Idea for Student Loan Borrowers?
Givling is a mobile app that is part trivia contest and part crowdfunding for student loan borrowers. Participants can win a weekly cash prize by answering a series of true/false questions correctly. They may also qualify to have up to $50,000 of their student loans repaid through crowdfunding. Using the app may be a fun way to try and reduce student loan debt, but borrowers should understand their prospects for success before spending significant money.
How the Givling Trivia Contest Works
A weekly trivia contest for a cash jackpot begins each Wednesday. Givling jackpots vary with the amount of money recently received from users and advertisers but have been in excess of $20,000.
Each user can play the trivia game twice per day for free.
Additional games may be played for $0.50 each. A $0.30 processing fee is also charged for each transaction. Multiple games can be purchased at once to reduce the average cost per paid game.
Once a game begins, the user has ten seconds to answer each true/false trivia question. The questions cover a diverse set of subjects and vary in terms of difficulty. Correct answers earn game points that increase with each successful response. After three incorrect answers, the game ends.
A participant’s score is added to the scores of two other players that completed games within the prior 48 hours to form a “team.” The player’s score may also be randomly selected for up to two additional teams. The highest team score determines the winner of the weekly jackpot. Each member of the winning team splits the cash prize evenly.
Is It Worth Paying to Play the Givling Trivia Game?
The Givling trivia contest may be a fun way to try to win some extra cash to repay a student loan. However, the odds of success are low. Givling has more than 300,000 registered users. Thousands of users play each week, and only three win a share of the jackpot. Most players will be better off if they limit their participation to free games rather than paying for additional games.
Participants living in states that don’t allow cash entry fees for contests are not allowed to purchase additional games. States limiting participation include Arkansas, Connecticut, Louisiana, Montana, South Carolina, South Dakota and Tennessee.
The trivia game is test of general knowledge. The highest scores earned imply a significant element of skill that gives some players an advantage over those who guess at every answer.
In addition, questions may be repeated over the course of several games. This encourages users to play many paid games to have a better chance at the high score.
Skilled users who play frequently must still be fortunate enough to be grouped with other successful players in many instances to win.
But, playing two free games each day may be worthwhile for student loan borrowers. Each game takes only a few minutes to play. In addition to a small chance of winning the jackpot, users who play at least ten times every 30 days are included in random drawings to win $10,000 of crowdfunding for student loan repayment.
How to Receive $50,000 of Crowdfunding for Student Loan Repayment
Participants may compete to receive up to $50,000 for student loan repayment through crowdfunding. A point system is used to determine which loan will be crowdfunded at a given time.
The chance of successfully crowdfunding a student loan payoff is small. Only about 1 in 10,000 registered users have received crowdfunding since the app was launched in early 2015.
Users gain points by playing the trivia game, viewing advertisements, inviting friends to play, downloading apps and purchasing from sponsors, and buying Givling merchandise. Players with the most points are periodically added to a queue of people waiting to have their student loans or mortgage loans crowdfunded.
Givling keeps two different point lists. One list includes points earned for all eligible activities. Another list only tallies points earned without spending money. The next person chosen to have their loan crowdfunded alternates between the top point scorer on each list.
The easiest way to earn points without spending money is by playing two free trivia games per day and watching up to 48 video advertisements. Each free trivia game played earns 1,000 points. After viewing a short advertisement, users spin a wheel to earn a particular number of points. The amount of points gained ranges from less than one hundred to several thousand.
The leaders on each list have accumulated tens of millions of points. It would likely take as many as three years to earn enough points to contend with the current points leaders using the easiest methods. The bar for success may continue to move higher as users who have been playing for a long time continue adding to their point totals.
The Money from Givling May be Taxable
The weekly trivia game jackpot winnings are considered taxable income. But, the tax treatment of the crowdfunding awards is unclear.
Givling is designed to crowdfund awards from user payments so that IRS gift tax rules apply. If so, the recipient might not need to pay taxes on the money received. However, IRS treatment of the crowdfunding is not a completely settled issue. Future guidance may result in taxation of Givling’s awards.
Givling allocates every net dollar received from users and advertisers as follows: 45% to the trivia game jackpot, 45% to crowdfund a student loan or mortgage loan, and 10% to itself. Net dollars are the amount of money left after paying processing fees and advertising commissions.
If revenue from advertising and sponsorships is more than what is paid in by users, a portion the crowdfunding awards are in effect supported by advertising rather than individual contributors. That amount is clearly taxable.
Thus, all or part of the Givling jackpot and crowdfunding awards may be taxable income to the recipient.
Givling Is a Fun Diversion with a Small Chance of a Big Payoff
Most users will be better off limiting themselves to the free games, given the intense competition for jackpots and crowdfunding. The app and its social media presence may also provide players with a sense of community among student loan borrowers in addition to the chance to win big money.