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LevelUp is a one-of-a-kind credit card processing service that entered the merchant services industry in mid-2011. The company is based in Boston, MA, and has established itself as a unique alternative in the world of mobile payments. LevelUp was acquired by online and mobile food ordering platform GrubHub in September 2018, but the company appears to be maintaining its own branding for the time being. It has yet to be seen how the acquisition will affect LevelUp’s rating on a long-term basis, but for now this review will cover the company’s current operations.
Before we dive in, here’s a short summary of what we’ll cover:
- LevelUp’s various payment processing services.
- LevelUp offers a unique payment processing app that uses QR codes and which encourages return customers.
- The company’s only complaints are more about the app than their services.
LevelUp Payment Processing
LevelUp has created an app that allows businesses to accept credit and debit card payments with a method unlike any found with traditional merchant account providers. First, the service is marketed to consumers as a way to securely store payment card information in order to pay businesses using unique QR codes that display on the screens of their mobile devices. This technology allows consumers to connect with LevelUp clients for the purpose of earning rewards for loyalty and first-time visits when they pay using the app, all of which is supported directly within the application itself. For businesses, LevelUp touts their service as a better way to engage customers than traditional card acceptance methods because the app gathers data and offers insights about their customers’ visitation and purchasing patterns. The information can then be used to bring customers back again through LevelUp’s customizable loyalty program and engagement tools. Additionally, this data can be used to attract new customers by tailoring incentives for first-time visitors.
A Secure Supplement
Currently, LevelUp is not intended as a replacement for a traditional merchant account. Instead, the service is more of a marketing supplement that also serves as an electronic payment acceptance method. Businesses that wish to join LevelUp’s program simply download an app for their iPhone or Android device and complete a short setup process. Additionally, LevelUp can supply clients with an optional countertop docking station and Android smartphone app to act as the method for reading the customers’ QR codes. The company takes responsibility for the storage of payment data, so there is little to no risk for the client or the consumer.
Customer Engagement Services
LevelUp offers features for customer engagement that go beyond simple transactions. They include loyalty programs and promotional campaigns designed to retain customers and encourage repeat business.
Data Analytics and Reporting
LevelUp provides merchants with detailed analytics and reporting tools to track payments, customer behavior, and other key performance indicators. This data can be vital for making informed business decisions.
Order Ahead and Digital Ordering
One of the standout features is LevelUp’s “Order Ahead” functionality. This allows customers to place orders in advance using the LevelUp app, enabling them to skip the line and improve their overall experience.
LevelUp is designed to be compatible with a variety of point-of-sale systems and can be integrated into existing hardware and software solutions. This makes it more convenient for businesses that are already set up with certain POS systems.
LevelUp ensures that its payment processing adheres to standard industry compliance norms, including PCI compliance, making it a secure option for businesses concerned about data breaches.
The company offers location-based services to provide offers and promotions to customers when they are in proximity to a store, thereby encouraging in-store visits and purchases.
Customizable User Experience
LevelUp allows for customization of the mobile app interface, offering businesses the option to align the look and feel of the app with their brand identity.
Location & Ownership
Seth Priebatsch is listed as the founder and CEO of LevelUp, whose headquarters are 1 Federal St, 6th Floor, Boston, MA.
LevelUp Pros and Cons
- Has A Unique Payment Structure
- Few Complaints
- Offers Built-In Insights and Rewards Program
- May Not Be As Cheap as the Best Providers
Table of Contents
- Costs & Contract: LevelUp charges a variable per-transaction fee and…
- Complaints & Service: LevelUp has received fewer…
- BBB Rating: LevelUp has an “F” rating with the Better Business Bureau and has…
- Sales & Marketing: LevelUp appears to hire in-house sales representatives and has not…
LevelUp Customer Complaints & Reviews
Here's What Users Think
Total Online Complaints
Live Customer Support
Most Common Complaint
Low Complaint Total
We have found fewer than 10 negative LevelUp reviews on the usual online forums, and none of the available complaints accuse the company of being a scam or ripoff. The issues cited in the available complaints include technical issues and poor customer service, but there is no clear theme. The company’s reviews in the App Store and Google Play marketplaces are overwhelmingly positive. If you have your own LevelUp review to make, please do so in the comments below.
In 2017, LevelUp was sued by CardFree, a rival service. The suit alleges that LevelUp created accounts with access to CardFree’s platform for mobile orders which gave the company access to CardFree’s clients. With that access, the suit alleges that LevelUp falsely advertised that it could offer services comparable to CardFree’s in order to steer business away from its competitor.
LevelUp Customer Support Options
LevelUp also assigns a dedicated account manager to each client. This way, businesses have a specific person to contact for questions or service issues. Additionally, the account managers can help clients set up loyalty and incentive programs as well as give tips on the types of offers that work best for attracting more business. LevelUp’s website lists a customer service phone number and customer service form and these channels appear to perform at a level comparable to top processors for customer service.
LevelUp BBB Rating and Report
Our Better Business Bureau Profile Assessment
Over 20 BBB Complaints
LevelUp has been accredited with the Better Business Bureau and is currently showing a rating of “F” due to 30 complaints filed against it in the last three years. Only 15 of these 30 complaints were resolved by the company to the satisfaction of the merchant. The remaining 15 were resolved to the dissatisfaction of the merchant or received no final response.
What Merchants Say
The company also has 2 informal reviews posted to its BBB profile, which are negative. The most recent review mentions unexpected charges and poor customer support:
I just want to warn people about Levelup. I had two charges on my bank debit card for a product and service that I never bought from them. Finally, my bank gave me two credits. The is a local burger place that we frequent twice per month. They have a rewards program that provides a free something after you spend $100. However, the program is administered by none other our buddies at Levelup. Try getting credit!!!! Try communicating with Levelup!!!! They tell you that “we will have a service representative get in touch with you”!!!! Seriously, they are playing such a scam on the public. We just stopped believing that the burger place cares, because they don’t
An “A” Performance
It is worth noting that the BBB LevelUp complaints are largely from dissatisfied consumers using the app and do not necessarily reflect on the client’s experience, so business owners should not solely rely on the BBB to assess the company’s trustworthiness. In light of the company’s complaint total and resolution ratio, we have adjusted the BBB’s rating to an “A”.
LevelUp Fees and Rates
A Closer Look at the Contract
Monthly & Annual Fees
No (One-Time Fee)
LevelUp offers a month-to-month service agreement with a flat rate for transactions of 1.95% and no cancellation fee. There is a one-time hardware cost of $50 for a LevelUp scanner or $100 for a LevelUp tablet. The company also offers free hardware that clients can rent but deducts a $250 fee from their accounts if the hardware is not returned. We have not found LevelUp reviews that mention excessive transaction fees or monthly fees from LevelUp. LevelUp’s loyalty programs are promoted through custom campaigns designed by the client, and the company makes money by charging 25% of redeemed incentives offered in each loyalty campaign allowing them to keep a low, flat transaction fee. LevelUp also shields clients from 100% of chargebacks.
Overall, these terms seem to be very affordable, even compared to especially cheap merchant account options. Additionally, the loyalty program fees are tied to LevelUp’s performance, which is a much more competitive deal than those found through a standard provider.
LevelUp Jobs and Employment
Hiring Standards and Ethical Marketing Assessment
Uses Independent Resellers
Discloses All Important Terms
No Misleading Marketing
LevelUp uses no deceptive advertising or rate-quoting tactics that are apparent to this reviewer. The company appears to primarily market its services using its own outside sales agents (as opposed to independent agents) as well as other business development and marketing methods.
No Sales Complaints
In addition, there are no client or consumer complaints that mention deception or misrepresentation by either LevelUp or one of the company’s agents. We have assigned the company an “A” rating at this time, but always recommend that merchants seek a third-party statement audit if hidden fees are suspected.