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Report: JPMorgan deepens relationship with payment startup

While JPMorgan Chase & Co. only recently announced a partnership with mobile payment startup LevelUp, the relationship between the two runs deeper, as the bank put in $10 million into the app developer while development was still ongoing for its own payments app, Chase Pay, The Wall Street Journal reported Dec. 28.

Citing "people familiar with the deal," the news outlet reported that the investment was made quietly last September.

Under their recently announced partnership, JPMorgan will be adding LevelUp's features into Chase Pay. The LevelUp app allows customers to order and pay for food even before they enter a restaurant, earning rewards in the process.

The Journal also cites Ana Capella, who heads the bank's strategic investments arm, as saying that JPMorgan could have developed LevelUp's preordering and rewards feature, but opted to go with what the mobile payment app already had and incorporate it into Chase Pay. Chase Pay chief Jennifer Roberts added that the efficiency and time-saving features the app provides show a change in consumer habits.

The Journal also pointed out that incorporating LevelUp features into Chase Pay will increase the chances of customers retaining their credit and debit cards with the bank, and incentivize more restaurants to accept Chase Pay. Citing a survey of U.S. consumers earlier this year by Phoenix Marketing International, the publication said consumers are less aware of Chase Pay compared to competitors like Samsung Pay or Apple Pay.

It is also not the first time LevelUp has partnered with a bank, as it has collaborated with institutions such as Radius Bank in the past.