Heartland Payment Systems (NYSE: HPY), one of the nation's largest payments processors, and LevelUp, the largest mobile payments and loyalty network in the country, are joining forces to make mobile payments mainstream in 2013.
After successful pilot programs in New York City, Boston, Louisville, Minneapolis, and Madison, WI, the pair is partnering nationwide on the first national roll out of a mobile payment solution.
As a result of this partnership, Heartland's more than 800-person sales force, customer base of more than 250,000 merchant locations, and widespread vertical industry expertise will be accelerating the adoption of LevelUp's mobile payment and loyalty platform to merchants across the country. As LevelUp expands through a phased roll-out of the Heartland partnership, more consumers will be able to save time and money by paying with their iPhone, Android or Windows phones at their favorite merchants.
"The biggest challenge facing mobile payment companies right now is scale," said Chris Mahl, LevelUp's chief revenue and strategy officer. "LevelUp has been able to reach 1 million users and 5,000 merchants relatively quickly, but we need even wider consumer and merchant adoption before LevelUp hits the mainstream. Our partnership with Heartland Payment Systems will allow us to fire up our growth rate as we begin a phased roll-out with Heartland's impactful sales force selling LevelUp and our white-label solutions to businesses and consumers across the country."
Ian Drysdale, Heartland's president, network solutions group, added, "Heartland and LevelUp are both innovative companies with a shared vision and commitment to accelerate the shift from card payments to mobile payments. Our collective goal is to proactively expand market share while creating additional value at the point of sale for both merchants and consumers. The partnership provides consumers with another method of payment acceptance while merchants have the opportunity to further increase their bottom lines by meeting the payment demands of today's tech-savvy consumers."
The strategic relationship involves more than simply the nationwide rollout of LevelUp services, as LevelUp sees tsees the power in Heartland's vertically integrated solutions. To benefit the partnership, LevelUp will leverage Heartland's scalable, multi-site authorization and settlement network, currently capable of 3000 transactions per second. When a MasterCard, Visa, American Express or Discover card "backs" a LevelUp transaction, Heartland's average response time will be less than one second.
LevelUp stands apart from its competitors by providing value to consumers and merchants beyond the transaction. Engineered for speed, security and rewards, consumers save when they try new places and unlock rewards for returning to their favorite merchants. Merchants grow their business by running performance-based campaigns, receiving powerful marketing analytics to measure campaign success in real-time, and paying zero interchange fees. In providing LevelUp's robust payments and loyalty solution to merchants and consumers across the country, Heartland is continuing to build upon its efforts to help merchants stay ahead of the quickly changing payments space.
In addition to the LevelUp app for individual merchants, the companies will also co-promote white-labeled apps for businesses with multiple locations. LevelUp's white-label solution enables businesses to offer a fully branded mobile payment and loyalty solution with access to all LevelUp features on the back end, such as zero payment processing fees, world-class analytics, powerful campaigns, technical support and more.
To accelerate LevelUp acceptance nationally with Heartland's premier payment solutions, Heartland and LevelUp are absorbing 25 percent of the development cost of a white-labeled iPhone and Android app for merchants with 10 or more locations that switch their processing to Heartland, or extend their existing processing relationship with Heartland. In doing so, the offer will accelerate mobile acceptance at chain merchants nationally while delivering Heartland's leading card acceptance solutions, including payment processing and related electronic service solutions.
An added benefit for both merchants and consumers is that LevelUp has integrated its technology into Heartland's E3™ end-to-end encryption terminal/POS, which protects payment data throughout its lifecycle. This is combined with Heartland's tokenization technology that replaces card data with a token that replaces this sensitive information. Beyond the merchants' benefits of using E3 for secure mobile payments and mobile loyalty programs, consumers using the LevelUp app can be confident their payment data is protected by the highest level of payment card security.