But Seth Priebatsch, the company’s “chief ninja,” has a strategy. Unlike regular credit cards or other mobile payment services, LevelUp doesn’t charge merchants a processing transaction fee. Instead, the company plans to make money by running special advertising promotions for the merchants.
There’s one problem with all of these services: Nobody needs them. Traditional credit cards work fine. And the new apps are another way for businesses to collect more personal data about us, in an effort to sell more stuff. The bank already knows everything I buy; should Google know, too? Something to think about before your next smartphone shopping spree.
Hiawatha Bray can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.