LevelUp has updated its mobile payment app with a feature that empowers consumers to immediately notify the company of problems they experience with its mobile payment app.

"One of the things we pride ourselves on, and I think makes us a bit unique in mobile payments, is our support team," says Matt Kiernan, marketing manager at LevelUp. "We have nine or 10 people focused exclusively on making sure the customer and merchant experience is flawless."

The Distress Signal feature allows consumers to push a button within the app to send location information to LevelUp's support team. The consumer does not have to explain what the issue is.

Once the consumer has pushed the button, LevelUp will call the merchant within several minutes to attempt to fix the problem, says Kiernan.

Sometimes, strapped for time and busy, it's hard for cashiers, sales reps or business owners to call the support team.

"We're constantly looking at data and using that to make better decisions. At times we see a business doing X amount of transactions per week and then all of a sudden the transactions stop completely or decrease dramatically," says Kiernan. 

LevelUp calls stores when its data suggests there is a problem. Allowing consumers to notify LevelUp might, in turn, help the company respond to issues before they become big enough to notice in the company's data monitoring.

"Any time we can make that fix happen the same day, that's better for the consumer and the merchant," says Kiernan.  

LevelUp has long taken an aggressive stance against issues that arise with its technology. Its earliest point of sale devices were 3G cell phones placed in a LevelUp display stand. These systems had issues with connectivity and battery life, so in late 2012, the company began replacing the phone docks with custom readers to improve the experience.

By May 2013, 70% of its deployments were the new, custom readers that can integrate with NCR Corp.'s Aloha point of sale systems. LevelUp also allows banks and merchants to offer branded versions of its app to create a more seamless experience for the shopper.

LevelUp has also frequently tinkered with its pricing for merchants and its incentives for consumers. The company once championed an "Interchange Zero" pricing model, which did not charge for individual payments but assessed a 40% fee when consumers redeemed offers. This system went live in July 2012 and replaced an earlier 2% transaction fee, but a year later LevelUp reinstated the 2% fee after merchants found the Interchange Zero model too limiting.

LevelUp reduced its fee to 1.95% in April 2014, and is pushing to get it even lower by aggregating payments and offering incentives for consumers to fund their mobile purchases with debit cards, which are less expensive to handle than credit cards. LevelUp pays 1.5% to 2% for debit card payments, compared to 2.5% to 5% for credit card payments.

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