LevelUp May Take Mobile Donations to a New Level

Photo via Android News Center
03.06.2012By

Photo via Android News Center

Here’s a great trivia question: After Starbucks, who is the second biggest player in mobile payments?

The answer is Boston-based LevelUp, which is processing nearly $1 million dollars a month with 100,000 users and 1,400 merchants in Boston, NYC, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Seattle, San Francisco, San Diego, and Chicago.

If you don’t use Starbucks mobile payment app to pay for your drinks, you might have stood behind someone who does. You just swipe your phone like a building pass and presto! you’ve paid for your drink and the amount is deducted from your balance, which you can add to with a credit card.

You’ve probably heard some of the buzz around mobile payments and maybe even mobile cause marketing and donations, but you probably haven’t heard of LevelUp. You may be familiar with its parent company, location-based game platform SCVNGR. You can read up on LevelUp here and here.

And here’s why I think LevelUp is important for nonprofits:

LevelUp is made for small businesses.

It operates very similar to Starbucks mobile payments system. After you sign up and input a credit card number, you get a unique QR code that can either be scanned by a smartphone or waved in front of a terminal. Think about the potential for your next event or auction when guests are waving their smartphones to buy tickets and bid on auction items.

The rates are lower for LevelUp.

You pay 2% on purchases, instead of the 3% most other credit card companies charge.

LevelUp has a built-in loyalty and incentive program.

LevelUp rewards customers when they use the service or spend a certain amount of money. One of those rewards could be supporting a good cause! LevelUp also comes with the analytics you would need to track the metrics of such a program.

LevelUp is worth watching and perhaps trying.

It holds a good middle ground between Starbucks mobile payments, which the coffee giant has no plans to share with others, and MasterCard, PayPass, and Google Wallet that are banking on near field communication (NFC) but won’t be mainstream for a couple of years.

Another way to get going with mobile donations is Give.mobi, which uses a QR code to connect donors with their Paypal accounts. And unlike LevelUp, Give.mobi has already proven itself as a fundraising tool.

Bakery chain Cinnabon raised $3,800 for Share Our Strength in just five days. That’s pretty good for a passive cause marketing program. The average donation was $43 and the average cost per donation was $3.40.

You can learn more about Give.mobi, how it works and its success for Share Our Strength from this this post: There She Blows! Cause Marketing, Mobile Gifts Surface with Give.mobi.