LevelUp
gallery mobile payment level up

LevelUp is a free app for iPhone and Android phones that's easy to set up. First, you enter your card info. When you're ready to make a payment at a participating merchant, the app displays a code merchants can scan. LevelUp targets small businesses, and has 3,800 participating retailers in the U.S.

I hit one set-up glitch. A feature allowing you to scan your debit or credit card with your phone's camera flat-out didn't work. I resorted to manually typing in my American Express (AXP, Fortune 500) digits.

I used LevelUp to buy coffee at West Village snack shop Victory Garden. It worked seamlessly: I held my phone up against the device LevelUp gives retailers, which scanned and charged my phone within seconds. The transaction was by far the smoothest one I had during my day of wallet-free shopping.

LevelUp's hook for consumers is its built-in discounts and loyalty program. Retailers usually offer breaks. When I bought my coffee, I automatically saved $1. LevelUp says its users typically save $25 per month.


  @LaurieSegallCNN - Last updated September 24 2012 09:31 AM ET
Join the Conversation
Your smartphone will be hacked

Smartphone cyberattacks are rare, but experts continue to predict that a malware doomsday is coming. Here's why it hasn't happened yet.

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.