Liven – Earn Cashback, Get Discounts, and Pay with AMEX at Restaurants

Disclaimer: This post contains a referral link. This referral link gives you $10 off your first meal via Liven and gives me $10 credit towards my next meal after you have used my referral.

To obtain this referral bonus, you need to enter the code U7K2 upon registration.

Liven – Cashback at Restaurants

A few weeks back I posted about StudentPal. I also posted a guide teaching you how to redeem a $1 meal through the app which would’ve probably been useful for those who can’t understand Chinese!

This app won’t need a guide. It’s in English and actually isn’t that new! Liven has had deals posted on Ozbargain since 2016. It’s called Liven and is available on both iOS and Android. Liven, like StudentPal, is primarily for restaurants but has some other merchants on their app such as Secure Parking and Airtasker. Liven is currently only available in Melbourne and Sydney.

My one sentence summary of Liven (TLDR)

App that helps you earn cashback (generally 15-25%) and allows you to avoid a Credit Card surcharge charged at some restaurants!

Liven is in actual fact probably better than StudentPal where accepted. The primary reason for this is because the cashback rates are often higher than StudentPal. Be aware that some restaurants have “caps” on the cashback amount, for example, “25% Liven cashback up to $30”. You’re also probably going to get a greater variety of cuisines on Liven as opposed to primarily Chinese restaurants on Chinese-centric app StudentPal.

As an example, a restaurant I recently visited called Qing’s Kitchen in Eastwood accepts both Liven and StudentPal. Here, I had a good problem. Do I pay with Liven or StudentPal?

  • Using StudentPal at Qing’s Kitchen gives you 10% cash discount.
  • Using Liven at Qing’s Kitchen gives you 25% Liven cashback.

It’s important to be aware that the restaurants that give you cashback via Liven give the cashback in the form of “Liven” specific cashback. This means it is not actually a direct discount off your bill, but rather a percentage of your bill that gets awarded to you as Liven credit which you can then use towards a future bill at another Liven participating restaurant.

Given the difference in cashback was substantial, I felt it was worthwhile picking Liven.

As another added advantage, Liven accepts American Express with no surcharge (which StudentPal does not accept). Big win for paying with my American Express Explorer!

Paying through the app

Payment through the app is different to StudentPal. There is no “wallet” of money and you do not manually key in how much you are paying the restaurant. It is for this reason that I think it actually makes more sense for the restaurant (to be in control of the bill/payment amount)

The steps are roughly as follows:

  1. Advise a waitstaff that you would like to pay your bill
  2. The waiter will bring their Liven tablet over (it’s just an Android tablet)
  3. At this stage, the waiter should simply see a blank Liven screen. You are now required to go to the Liven app, find the restaurant you wish to pay, and tap “Pay Now”.
  4. The Liven tablet should now show that a customer would like to pay and has assigned a code to this customer’s bill – which you, as the customer, will also see on your Liven app
  5. The waitstaff will key in the amount payable
  6. Your Liven app now advises you how much your bill was and how much Liven cashback you have earned

My own personal experience with using Liven is somewhat limited (compared to my StudentPal experience), but my experiences thus far have been smooth and easy. I also find that the variety of restaurants is actually somewhat limited for what feels like quite an established app.

It is nevertheless never a bad thing to have more options, and Liven certainly gives us more options. The restaurants that do participate also give pretty high cashback rates of (generally) 15-25%, which is significantly higher than the general 5-10% discount given via StudentPal. Not forgetting that some of the restaurants are on both, so it pays to check which one offers more value!

Have you had any experiences with Liven? Please share, and feel free to share any tips that you may have!

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