SCVNGR's LevelUp is launching a gift card program to allow merchants to sell physical cards in-store and digital cards through the company's mobile wallet app.
The LevelUp-powered plastic cards have a unique QR code that can be activated with any amount. The recipient of the card can use it at the point of sale with a LevelUp merchant or by linking the card's balance to the LevelUp app. Merchants scan the card's QR code with the same LevelUp reader they use to accept mobile payments.
"Gift cards have long been the most-requested feature for both consumers and businesses using LevelUp," said Seth Priebatsch, LevelUp's chief ninja (CEO), in a July 31 press release.
To offer LevelUp cards, businesses will pay $50 a month. LevelUp's 1.95% processing fee will also apply to gift card sales. Businesses can create custom cards or have LevelUp design cards for them.
The gift cards will be rolled out to stores in the next couple of weeks.
LevelUp, which has more than 1.5 million users and 14,000 merchant locations, has started offering a variety of discounted services to startups in an effort to set them up to accept mobile payments from day one.
The company has also added support for Android Wear, Google's new platform for smartwatches, and is experimenting with Google Glass. Plus LevelUp is also pushing beacon adoption, as it's seen a sharp rise in spending at merchants that use the Bluetooth devices for location-based marketing. The company recently added a distress button to its app so consumers could alert LevelUp of issues, and interactive receipts to provide merchants with direct feedback.
LevelUp is the latest of several mobile wallet providers to add a physical card as an option. Google added a plastic card to Google Wallet in November 2013, and PayPal has had a similar product since 2011.