San Francisco start-up Square, founded by Twitter's Jack Dorsey, has released a new version of its mobile payments iPhone application called Card Case, which leverages location-based technologies to allow users to make purchases by simply saying their name.
With Card Case, everyday customers can feel like regulars by registering their credit card information with that store, negating the need to ever open their wallet again. Once the shopper is within 100 meters of the store, a geo-fence at that establishment automatically activates their tab so the customer never needs to open their iPhone. Users can always opt to turn off this automatic setting.
When it's time to pay for an item, all the user must do is say their name to the merchant, and the merchant's Card Case app automatically charges the account. Users can receive push notifications for payment receipts, but they can always access their entire list of purchases directly in the app.
Megan Quinn, Square's director of products, said the new application aims to make mobile payments even faster, easier and more casual.
We've removed the artifacts from the experience, so it's all about the interaction between the merchant and the customers, Quinn said.
Nearly 90 percent of Americans carry credit cards, yet 27 million U.S. businesses don't accept them. Square was one of the first companies on the scene to leverage smartphone and tablet technology to provide a mobile payments solution with mass appeal, by making digital credit card payments cheap, efficient and safe.
When a user registers for a free account with Square, the company sends the user a free card reader in the mail to start making and accepting credit card payments immediately. Furthermore, the lone cost of the service is a flat rate of 2.75 percent per transaction, which is simple for customers to remember.
Other services will have a transaction charge on top of [its rate], a 15 or 30 percent charge, and we've eliminated that charge, said Kay Luo, a spokeswoman for Square. There's no hidden fees and no fine print. With Square, you know you're always going to pay one rate whenever you're transacting.
By digitizing credit transactions, Square is a green solution that helps small businesses and merchants cut down on paper costs and customers keep track of their receipts.
For merchants, Square offers the Square Register for the iPad, which works in tandem with the consumer application to help store owners manage items, check daily transactions, update pricing, automate checkout, and generate digital receipts.
Waving around your phone in the air next to a terminal hoping that you hear a beep... We don't think that's the way to go, Dorsey said, clearly taking a shot at NFC technology. We think in order to do this right, you have to have one system. You have to build for the buyer, the seller, and everything in between.
We create the whole solution, Luo said. It's sort of analogous to Apple, where they create the hardware, the software, the operating systems, they create all of that. We create the hardware, we create the app software, we approve your account through Square, and the process is seamless.
Square, which was recently valued at $1 billion, says 200,000 merchants nationwide have already joined the Card Case app's directory.
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