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Heartland Payment Systems (HPY - Snapshot Report) and LevelUp, the largest mobile payments and loyalty network in the United States have inked a deal to shift all payments from conventional modes to mobile in 2013.

The partnership will allow LevelUp to access Heartland’s extensive sales force, huge customer base of over 250,000 merchants. This will help LevelUp expand its mobile payment and loyalty platform, and thus increase its growth rate by acquiring more merchants.

Additionally, the strategic association will also co-promote white-labeled apps for businesses with multiple locations. The white-label solutions of LevelUp helps businesses to provide a fully branded mobile payment and loyalty solution including all LevelUp features such as zero payment processing fees, world-class analytics, powerful campaigns and technical support.

On the other hand the partnership will enhance Heartland’s multi-site authorization and settlement network. Heartland’s average response time will be reduced to less than a second when a LevelUp transaction is made through a MasterCard (MA - Analyst Report), Visa (V - Analyst Report), American Express (AXP - Analyst Report) or Discover (DFS - Analyst Report) card. Currently, Heartland is capable of processing 3000 transactions per second.

Heartland expects the liaison to facilitate merchants by enabling them to meet the payment demands of consumers thereby increasing their bottom lines. Consumers will also benefit from the deal, as it will provide them a cost effective and time saving payment option. They will be able to make payments at their favorite merchants by using their iPhone, Android or Windows phones.

LevelUp has also integrated its technology into Heartland’s E3 end-to-end encryption terminal/POS to protect payment data permanently. As a result, merchants can use E3 for secure mobile transactions. On the other hand consumers will likely benefit from this integration due to the confidentiality of their payment information. Heartland will also use its tokenization technology to replace card data with a token, which will replace information related to payments.

Heartland and LevelUp will absorb 25% of the development cost of a white-labeled iPhone and Android app for merchants with 10 or more locations for whom the company will process payments. This will increase the acceptance of mobile payments at chain merchants nationally. Additionally, it will promote Heartland's services thereby enhancing its customer base.

Mobile payments have already been in use for the past few years. However, the scale of mobile usage for making payments is much small compared with other conventional modes. The joint venture between Heartland and LevelUp thus aims at accelerating the acceptance of the mobile payment mode, while at the same time making it the mainstream mode of payment.

Heartland has undertaken a number of strategies to increase the usage of mobiles for making payments. Previously in Oct 2012, Heartland launched Mobuyle, a mobile payment solution for Apple iOS-based mobile devices. This allowed merchants to accept credit, debit, and gift card payments on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Heartland currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Among others from the industry, Alliance Data Systems Corp. (ADS - Analyst Report), Fiserv Inc. (FISV - Analyst Report) and Vantiv Inc. (VNTV - Snapshot Report) carry a favorable Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) and are worth noting.

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