A few short years after cell phones were introduced, those on the forefront of technology predicted that there would come a time in the not-so-distant future that we would be able to pay for goods and services using our cell phones. This seemed unfathomable, yet here we are with this option. While there are several apps that allow users to pay with their cell phones, LevelUp is a newcomer, hoping to gain some market share. LevelUp provided me with a credit which I recently tried at the Atlanta Food Truck Park.
LevelUp is free to use for consumers and available nationwide, currently available at more than 3,000 restaurants and stores across the U.S., including well-known fast-casual restaurants like Subway in addition to small local food trucks and coffee shops and restaurants.
1.) Go to the LevelUp website and sign up. You’ll need a credit card to link to your account.
2.) Download the app to your smart phone (iPhone or Android)
3.) Pull up your unique QR code to vendors to pay for goods and services
Once you register for LevelUp and download the app to your smart phone, you’ll have your own unique QR code. This is like a credit card. To pay, simply hold your phone up to the vendor’s phone and the payment process is almost instantaneous. You are notified on your phone how much as been deducted from your account and an email is sent to you for your records.
How great was it not to have to pull out my wallet each time I wanted to get a taco or bubble tea? While it is convenient, there are some downsides to LevelUp too. Several businesses listed as accepting the app, like King of Pops, refused to take payment from it. Others had issues with their phones not being charged or getting a signal to accept it. My tacos got soggy waiting for the vendor’s phone to be charged up to accept payment.
• Not accepted everywhere
• Not all venues listed on the app accept it
• Long waits at some places
What about security? If your phone is stolen does that give the theif carte blanche to go on a shopping spree using your LevelUp account? Not necessarily, but it is up to the user to be vigil about this. You can and should pin lock the app to ensure someone couldn’t gain access to LevelUp, plus you can reset your unique QR code instantly from your account online, rendering your old one invalid.
Obviously the idea is to make payment easy, but some of the vendors I encountered didn’t give this much priority. Some even said they’ve “decided to except another form of mobile payment” What? That’s like saying we accept Visa but not Master Card. I really like LevelUp and ease of use (from the app end). I think more vendors just need to get on board, and it will be a viable payment option. To start using LevelUp sign up on their site here.