Mobile payment platform LevelUp — which allows small businesses to charge customers by scanning their smartphones at the point of sale — has partnered with First Trade Union Bank to develop a mobile payments app.

The deal comes as more banks move into the mobile payment space. Last month, Bank of America announced plans to develop its own mobile payment system, allowing small retailers to swipe customer credit cards on a smartphone attachment, charging a 2.7 percent swipe-fee.

For the past few years, mobile payment has been dominated by tech companies like Square, Google and PayPal, who claim to be cheaper alternatives to banks charging high credit-card swipe fees to small businesses. Square and PayPal charge a flat swipe fee of between 2.7 and 2.5 percent, or, in Square’s case, an option to pay a flat monthly fee of $275. First Trade Union Bank and Bank of America are two of a handful of financial institutions launching mobile payment initiatives.

First Trade Union Bank and LevelUp, both based in Boston, Mass., are scheduled to release the app for the iOS and Android system early next year. The collaboration will integrate LevelUp’s technology into First Trade Union Bank’s existing mobile banking app, so that First Trade Union Bank customers will be able use their smartphones to transfer money from their First Trade Union Bank account at any small business using LevelUp.

LevelUp and First Trade Union Bank announced a partnership to create a mobile payment app, which is scheduled to be released early 2013. (GLENN CHAPMAN/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

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