This week we are continuing our discussion around mobile technology, and the vital role it plays in today’s society. In my blog post last week I explained the relationship I have with my smartphone, and how that bond continues to grow as time goes on. My phone is not only my means of communication, but it’s also my newspaper, my television, my calculator, my alarm clock, my dictionary, and after reading the assigned articles for this week, I strongly believe that it will soon be my wallet too.
This week we are learning about the idea of the ‘virtual wallet’. Applications such as LevelUp, Square, and Google Wallet which allow the consumers to use their smartphones as payment options. Instead of using a traditional debit or credit card, these different applications allow purchases to be made with the click of a button. After a consumer downloads one of these different applications, they then securely link their debit card to their personal account, and then they are able to make their payments through their phone.
LevelUp is one of the nations leading mobile payment networks, and they are continuing to grow and evolve each year. They recently launched the LevelUp “Connected Apps” which is a simple way for consumers and retailers to connect with LevelUp and create new and improved opportunities to make purchases, view previous transactions, and to deliver gifts to other LevelUp users. Not only are these new payment applications helping the consumer by eliminating the need for bulky wallets and purses, but they are improving the system as a whole by adding additional benefits.
Unlike the more ‘traditional’ wallet, LevelUp provides additional benefits and awards for those who make their payments by using the app. One additional benefit that LevelUp offers is by advertising ‘credit’ which is essentially free money for the consumer. “For example, a fine dining restaurant hopes to attract new customers by offering a $10 credit. LevelUp advertises this dining credit to local users, and a customer decides to eat at the restaurant purchasing a $50 meal. Using LevelUp, the customer would pay $40, and LevelUp would receive $4 and the merchant $36,” Quang Truong.
I decided to test my luck and reach out to LevelUp via Twitter to find out more information about any local retailers in Bellingham that are using the LevelUp services. To my surprise the company Tweeted back to me shortly after reaching out, which is a great example of quality social media marketing. Although they said they didn’t have any businesses in Bellingham, they said to keep checking as they continued to grow. Out of curiosity I also decided to download the application to see if it would how easy it would be to navigate and use. The application was simple yet brilliantly designed, and they gave me the option to vote to bring LevelUp to Bellingham as they continue to grow and expand.
Another mobile wallet I researched was the ISIS mobile wallet which is available to Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, and AT&T users. Like the other companies we read about, ISIS offers a safe and convenient mobile payment option which allows their users to shop, pay, and save using their ISIS application. ISIS members who are using an Android have to make sure their phone is equipped with Near Field Communication (NFC) and an enhanced secured simcard. For ISIS users who have an iPhone they have to purchase an ISIS case that is equipped with an NFC antenna. After you have finished those steps, and you have met their requirements, you can may go forward and begin adding cards to your personal account, and then you are officially ready to use the application. For more information and access to ISIS tutorials, Click Here
These applications are just another reason why my iPhone will continue to play a significant role in my future. I am beyond excited to see how this technology will continue to grow and expand within the next few years, and there is no doubt in my mind that these mobile payment processes will change the way we make transactions on a day to day basis.