Nick Summers is a technology journalist for The Next Web. He writes on all sorts of topics, although he has a passion for gadgets, apps and Nick Summers is a technology journalist for The Next Web. He writes on all sorts of topics, although he has a passion for gadgets, apps and video games in particular. You can reach him on Twitter, circle him on Google+ and connect with him on LinkedIn.
Mobile payments platform LevelUp is developing a custom-branded payment and loyalty app for First Trade Union Bank. The new app will launch for Android and iOS devices “early next year” and allow users to pay with their smartphone at any existing LevelUp merchant location.
It’s the first time that LevelUp has built an app for a bank and follows the company’s reveal of LevelUp White Label in September, which offers businesses “a fully white-labeled, custom-branded mobile payment app” powered by the existing LevelUp payment infrastructure.
At the time, it kicked off its new offering with a custom app for Sweetgreen, a rather healthy looking chain of restaurants based in DC, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
So why does First Trade Union Bank want to start offering its customers a mobile payment app? Well, LevelUp believes that following the rise of online banking and mobile banking apps, this kind of service will be the next big offering for most high street banks.
Launching such an app will help the banks to sever their customers’ relationship with traditional credit card companies such as Visa, Mastercard and Discover, while strengthening their own ties.
Seth Priebatsch, Chief Ninja at LevelUp. said:
“By developing a custom app with LevelUp, First Trade is in one fell swoop tying the bank even more closely to local businesses and creating additional savings and convenience for customers that meshes perfectly with their mobile lifestyles.”
On that last point, once consumers have downloaded the new app and linked it to their existing First Trade Union Bank mobile banking app, they will have instant access to rewards, discounts and other loyalty schemes which are tied to the LevelUp payment platform.
The new app will also have some other helpful features built in, including a map to help user’s first their nearest bank branch or ATM.
On the other side of the fence, LevelUp will undoubtedly benefit from the new partnership by giving it instant access to millions of bank customers, who, provided they download and use the app, will further endorse and support its payment infrastructure and growing network of vendor locations.
LevelUp is recognizable for its use of QR codes in order to help users make payments with their smartphone. At the moment, users need to download the app and then link their credit or debit card before making payments. As a nice touch, users can also have a push notification sent to them after a purchase detailing the receipt and how much money they’ve saved.
In October we reported how the LevelUp platform had been added to Genius hardware, further expanding its vendor support. Back in July, meanwhile, we noted the company’s $12 million investment from Google Ventures, which brought its total funding up to $32 million.
Creating apps for local businesses will help LevelUp gain crucial support from merchants and vendors. The link with an organisation such as First Trade Union Bank, however, is a smart way of tapping into new potential users, and could pave the way for greater growth against its closest rivals, such as Square.
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