LevelUp, the mobile payments wing of location-based gaming startup SCVNGR, is launching a mobile Web app today to compliment its Android and iOS apps. LevelUp has been available in San Francisco, Boston, New York and Philadelphia and the Web app should help make it one of the most ubiquitous options for mobile payments available.
This is a smart move for LevelUp because it will free it from the confines of the native platforms. The company uses QR codes instead of NFC or other mobile payments methods to combine merchants and users meaning that any screen that can display black and white and connect to the Internet.
here and here. What the company does is provide Android phones to merchants with the ability to scan QR codes that is tied to a payments server. It uses a triple-blind key system meaning there is no payment information stored on the phone. The QR codes are personalized to the user and can be changed on the fly if compromised and tweaked at the point of sale for the purpose of tipping servers.If you are unfamiliar with LevelUp, take a look at our previous coverage of the payments initiative from SCVNGR
"Currently, mobile payments are still terribly limited by niche requirements like Near Field Communications chips and licenses with certain card merchants, but it's just not going to work until anyone and everyone can pay with their phones," said Seth Priebatsch, founder of SCVNGR and LevelUp in a press release. "LevelUp solves this problem by allowing anyone with a web-connected device - and, coming soon, an offline HTML5 version of the app - to show up at their favorite merchants and just pay."
LevelUp is available at nearly 600 merchants across four cities and promises to launch the in more cities soon. It is a combination of payments and loyalty rewards programs in one app that gives merchants the ability to offer discounts in the form of pre-paid credits. For instance, if you visit a merchant using LevelUp for the first time, you may get $5 off before making a purchase. Go back to that merchant enough times and you can "level up" to obtain greater credits.
SCVNGR has the right idea about mobile payments. It needs to be as painless as possible for both the merchant and the user. The launch of an HTML5 Web app is another step in this and can bring LevelUp to feature phones in addition to the iOS and Android. It will also give LevelUp the ability to be on Windows Phone and BlackBerry without having to specifically develop native applications for those platforms.
What do you think about the concept of LevelUp? Do QR codes bother you? Or does it not matter to you how you pay as long as it is easy? Do you think that LevelUp makes it easier and more enticing to pay with your phone? Let us know in the comments.