LevelUp app: a new way to pay and get rewards

(Saving with 6abc - Amy Buckman)

January 16, 2012 2:20:35 PM PST
If you find yourself wandering through the Reading Terminal Market and you'd like to get free food, there's an app for that!

It's called LevelUp and it's a new way to pay for items at participating merchants and collect rewards.

Bassett's Ice Cream is one of more than two dozen Reading Terminal Market Merchants who're using the app.

Michael Strange of Bassett's compares the app to an old-fashioned punch-card for frequent shoppers, "We have a 'frequent licker' program, it's an old-fashioned card, where if they purchase 10 cones, they get the eleventh at no charge. This is a high-tech version of that."

Here's how it works. Users download the app and link it to a credit or debit card. The app creates a QR code on your phone that you scan at checkout. The merchants' incentives -- in Bassett's case $10 free on your first use -- are deducted from your bill, the remaining amount is charged to your card.

I tried it out at the Market Bakery, which was also offering $10 in free products for first-time users. I ordered 6 bagels, scanned the code from my phone -- and got my bagels for free. I even got a receipt on my phone.

The app uses your phone's GPS to help you find participating merchants near your location. And you can protect your card with a PIN number, just in case the phone gets lost or stolen.

LevelUp is available for both iPhone and Android. When you sign up, you'll get a promotional code that you can share with friends so that both you and they get an extra $5 in incentives. Click here to link to the sites where you can download the app.