A few Bed-Stuy small businesses have adopted a new means for point of sale purchasing that allows customers to leave their wallets at home.
It’s called Level Up, and it’s allowing the customers of cash-only business establishments to make charges on their credit or debit card via a free, downloadable cell phone app.
And thank goodness, as one of the most oft-heard complaints by Brooklyn residents is the large number of small businesses in the borough that do not accept credit cards.
Level Up works similar to PayPal in that it is linked to the user's credit or debit card.
Within seconds of downloading and registering, the service then gives the user a unique QR Code (abbreviated from Quick Response Code), a type of matrix barcode that can be read from the merchant's own cell phone. A transaction using a QR Code is easier and faster than a debit or credit card purchase which requires users key in a password or sign a receipt.
"We don't have a credit card machine, and we saw that a lot of our customers didn't like having to go to an ATM machine and then have to come back," said Peter Camilo, co-owner of Colador Cafe on Bedford Avenue. Camilo said so far, they have about 20 regular customers that use the service daily.
“I never carry cash and a lot of businesses in this neighborhood do not accept credit cards,” said Kristen Anderson, who has live in Bed-Stuy for two years. She was at Colador Café purchasing a small cup of coffee using Level Up.
Kristen said she’s been using the service for about 6-7 months, around the time it was first introduced: “It’s a much easier way to pay for things” she said. “So far, I’ve found three in the neighborhood that I go to regularly. But there are a lot more in the city where I work.”
Here are the businesses within a 0-1 mile radius of Bedford-Stuyvesant that use Level Up:
- Safeway Locksmith
- Bergen Bagels
- Brooklyn Crepe and Juice
- Luscious Food
Once downloaded, the app locates the user and then indicates all of the stores within a certain radius of the user’s current location that use Level Up.
"We like it," said Camilo. "It's easier for the customer, plus you get rewards and extra money after spending a certain amount."
"It's the future, it's part of the future. So we knew we had to adapt to it."
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