October 10, 2014
Square recently announced a new feature as an upgrade to its mobile payments app, Square Cash. The new feature allows users to send or request money using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology. Anyone can now make a payment from their device by simply tapping the name or photo from a list of those that appear within proximity. The feature works in such a manner that it’s not necessary to know the other person’s contact info.
The Cash app uses BLE effectively to signal one’s intent to make a payment to another peer. This makes it easier for mobile payment enthusiasts to pay each other for tickets, restaurant bills and in many other social scenarios. The new in-app feature is currently available only on iOS and only supports version 8 only. The app also provides a privacy feature which enables customers to choose whether to make themselves visible to others or stay private.
The use of BLE would enable an app user to see anyone within 250 feet. BLE also helps in avoiding concerns around battery life of the mobile device. The app, dubbed as Nearby Payments, provides interactive push notifications which can simply be swiped to accept or reject payments. The Cash app provides an effective P2P payment platform and only requires your debit card information.
The Cash app is free and enables users to make instant payments directly through bank accounts. The base app has been around for over a year across iOS and Android platforms and has helped process a large volume of transactions. The new add-on feature will help Square compete in the expanding mobile payments landscape. It seems far better than the previous use of text messages or email in the Cash app.
Here is an illustration of the Sqaure Cash app highlighting the new feature:
Square has indeed added another trick up its sleeve for P2P payments to compete against other potential players like Venmo and Facebook. Square can have an edge over the competition as it already has Square Stand and Reader being used across businesses as cash registers. This can further be coupled with Square’s Order platform to enable any mobile device to make payments directly to a Square Reader.
As the battle for mobile wallets is heating up, Square is trying its best through such initiatives to lock in more users and make sharing as fast as possible. The company was recently successful in raising $150 million in funding. We can expect the company to come up with even more features on the mobile platform and attract more users for its mobile payments capabilities.