LevelUp adds support for NFC-based mobile payments
SCVNGR, the startup behind the fast-growing LevelUp mobile payment application, is introducing new hardware that supports transactions across all Near Field Communications-enabled handsets.
The existing LevelUp application (available for iOS, Android and Windows Phone) enables users to link their credit or debit card to their smartphone, generating a unique QR code they can scan at the point of sale to complete transactions. SCVNGR supplies the corresponding reader unit to merchant partners for free. Moving forward, the LevelUp hardware will support both QR scanning as well as NFC-based contactless payment options.
SCVNGR said it wants LevelUp to be open to all consumer technologies and merchant point-of-sale systems. The company acknowledged that the move to embrace NFC was prompted by persistent rumors that Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) next iPhone will integrate NFC support. "And, if this time around there isn't NFC in the iPhone, anyone with an NFC-enabled Android can pay using LevelUp's new terminals," the firm added.
SCVNGR does not charge a payment processing fee on LevelUp transactions; the firm instead generates revenue by claiming a 35 percent share of sales derived from daily deals campaigns and related mobile promotions that partners integrate into the app. LevelUp is now available at more than 3,000 merchant locations in eight U.S cities, including casual dining chains Johnny Rockets and Ben & Jerry's--according to SCVNGR, LevelUp's active customer base doubled to more than 200,000 over the summer, with average users saving between $30 and $40 per month.
SCVNGR has raised $41 million in venture funding. Last month, the startup raked in an additional $9 million in funding led by Deutsche Telekom's T-Venture arm and other individual investors. The funding represented the second tranche of a two-part round, and followed weeks after a $12 million investment from existing investors Highland Capital Partners, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Ventures and Balderton Capital as well as new investors Continental Investors and Transmedia Capital.
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