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LevelUp is opening up — even more.
The Boston-based mobile payment company turned loyalty and marketing platform (and press release machine) announced today that it's making its payment platform available as a white label solution. Merchants can now use LevelUp infrastructure to run loyalty and payment programs —including LevelUp's barcode payment method and "interchange zero" network — at the point of sale on their own custom-branded mobile apps.
In an announcement of the company's new white label approach, Seth Priebatsch, self-proclaimed "Chief Ninja" at LevelUp, said that many of the company's merchant partners already have established brands — "epic brands with some serious cult followings," was his exact phrase.
"They've told us they want LevelUp’s unique combination of mobile payments and loyalty-driving campaigns, but they've got to make it their own," Priebatsch said. "LevelUp White Label gives them exactly that. The full functionality of LevelUp on the backend, with a fully branded experience on the front end."
LevelUp is offering its white label solution in two different ways. The first way is a full-service approach in which merchants use LevelUp's team of designers and developers to build a custom mobile payment app for them. The cost for an app designed and built by LevelUp ranges from $40,000 to $50,000.
The second way is an approach that lets merchants or third party developers license a new software development kit — either to build their own app or to integrate LevelUp's functionality into an existing app. The cost to license the SDK is $5,000. LevelUp said the SDK will be released in the next couple of months.
Regardless of how merchants and developers use the solution, full- or self-service, transactions will run through LevelUp's "interchange zero" platform. This means that transactions are "free," i.e., there is no fee for a processed transaction. Instead, LevelUp charges merchants 40 cents on every incremental dollar brought in through the marketing campaigns it runs.
Along with eliminating transaction fees, a move LevelUp announced earlier this year, opening its platform is another sign that LevelUp isn't focused on transactions for the sake of transactions. Instead, the company is betting that merchants are looking for more value from mobile payments in the form of customer data for marketing and loyalty-building efforts.
In August, Priebatsch said the economy was "shifting" away from merchants simply paying for transactions. "[M]erchants come to expect so much more value from their payment provider than just the basic movement of money," he said.
Priebatsch made that statement while announcing that LevelUp had received another $9 million in funding, bringing the amount of money the company has raised to date to $21 million. He could be on to something.
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