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New Mobile Payment Network Levels the Paying Field

LevelUp takes the guessing out of offering introductory promotions and loyalty programs. . / Credit: LevelUp merchant payment system image courtesy of LevelUp

There's a new mobile payment network that makes it easy for customers to pay with their smartphones, take advantage of introductory promotional offers and benefit from local merchant loyalty programs. Participating merchants are able to accept mobile payments without any upfront investment in technology and offer promotional deals and loyalty programs with a measurable return on investment.  

In marketing parlance, it's classic "win-win" situation.

Called LevelUp, the network generates unique QR codes on consumer smartphones that can be read by merchant devices.  Consumers download a LevelUp app for their iPhone or Android smartphone and link it to their credit or debit card. When they log in they see their personal QR code on the first screen.  The phone automatically links to a database of participating merchants based on the phone's geolocation.

Each participating merchant has an Android smartphone located in a dock right next to each cash register that can scan these codes (at a restaurant, they bring the device to the table and scan the code there).

The customers hold their phones in front of the device for about a tenth of second to pay the bill and add any tip they wish and receive an instant digital receipt. It's like swiping their card, but it's faster, more secure and saves the consumer money, LevelUp says.

Here's how they save. Participating merchants offer free credits ($5, $10, $20) to invite consumers to try out their establishments. When the customer pays with LevelUp, the credit is automatically applied. There are no deals to buy, no coupons to print and the credit never expires, LevelUp told BusinessNewsDaily.

LevelUp also lets merchants offer  loyalty programs focused on customer retention that reward customers when they spend a designated amount (spend $100 and get $10, for example).

There are more than 200,000 registered users nationwide and 3,000 participating merchants, LevelUp said.

From a merchant perspective, one of the best features about LevelUp is that there is no processing fee on payments. When a customer pays $10 with LevelUp, the merchant gets $10.

LevelUp provides the Android phones and docking stations for $25 per month per device.

The killer app for merchants, the company, believes, is that LevelUp takes the guessing out of offering introductory promotions and loyalty programs.  LevelUp analytics track customer purchasing behavior and patterns and enable merchants to see if their customer acquisition and loyalty programs are attracting and keeping the right kind of customers.

LevelUp only makes money when it adds real value to a merchant's business and receives 35 cents for every dollar of credit spent or award redeemed through merchant- sponsored customer acquisition and loyalty campaigns, the company said.

Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.We're also on Facebook & Google+.

Ned Smith

Ned was senior writer at Sweeney Vesty, an international consulting firm, and was Vice President of communications for iQuest Analytics. Before that, he has been a web editor and managed the Internet and intranet sites for Citizens Communications. He began his journalism career as a police reporter with the Roanoke (Va.) Times, and was managing editor of American Way magazine and senior editor of Us. He was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and held a masters in journalism from the University of Arizona.