Lin at Lunch with LevelUp
I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say that we would rather leave our wallet at home and starve for the day rather than leave our cell phone at home and be cut off from the social media technosphere for a day. In a world where we now use our phones for directions, to buy movie tickets and even make a mortgage payment, some iPhones and Android phones can now add one more app to their repertoire: LevelUp. Not only can you pay for a meal with your phone, you also accumulate credit and eventually save money while doing so.
For all of the details and available merchants within the LevelUp system, visit the LevelUp website. Here, I want to share my first experience with LevelUp, which I used to purchase lunch at the Bon Me Truck in Government Center.
I arrived at the truck around 2 pm, meaning I missed the lunch rush. I immediately saw the LevelUp kiosk right on the truck’s counter.
After ordering, I was instructed to simply open the app on my phone to display my personal RQS code. I held the phone on the kiosk for a couple of seconds and that was it! I got a confirmation email a few minutes later confirming my purchase of $8.50 at Bon Me. The email included instructions in the event that I did not authorize this purchase.
I spent $8.50 at Bon Me on this visit, and when I log a total of $50 at the Bon Me truck, I will earn a $5 credit to use at Bon Me. All of this info is available through my iPhone app, where I find the Bon Me pin on the map and select it, then am able to view my current spendings at BonMe ($8.50) and a progress bar with how much more I need to spend to unlock credit ($41.50).
It’s also possible to pay with LevelUp anytime you see the option. For example, Jon and I were out to dinner last night and a LevelUp card was noticeable when we received our check. We took the opportunity to ask our server how she felt about LevelUp from the server’s point of view. Although she hadn’t had the opportunity to use it too frequently, but she did say that it cuts down one extra step by not having to either bring change in the case of a cash payment, or return the copy to sign in the case of a credit card.
One thing LevelUp is already working on that will improve this app even more is a separation of merchants, i.e. food and activity, that way if you are looking for only a place to eat, only restaurant pins will display on the map. I was a little skeptical at first to pay for a meal with a phone, but after using LevelUp for the first time, I’d venture to say the incentives are worth it. Especially if there is one particular place you happen to visit frequently and therefore wouldn’t take too long to get up to the total amount needed to unlock credit.
And now for the obligatory food pictures…
Having visited Bon Me on a previous lunch trip, I decided to try something different and ordered the Noodle Salad ($6) with rice noodles and BBQ pork, shredded carrots, red onion, lettuce, bean sprouts and cilantro. I added a touch of garlic chili paste, but only for an added kick based on personal preference. I was pleasantly surprised by the pork, which I first pictured to be shredded pork with traditional BBQ sauce. But instead found a tender, mild-flavored pork that blended in well with the rest of the salad.
To drink, I ordered the Thai-Basil Limeade ($2.5), which was a nice and refreshing drink, able to cool the hot chili paste that I added to the salad.
A delicious lunch outside in the city all at the convenience of my cell phone. What will they think of next?!
LevelUp was kind enough to give us credit towards our account to try their app, but of course, all opinions are my own.
Have you used LevelUp? What was your experience?