Square revamps its digital wallet

March 26, 2012

Pay with Square start screenSquare, the progenitor of the mobile POS, has turned its attention to its consumer product, Square Card Case. The new release sports an updated look (no more faux leather start screen), some snazzy new features and even an Android version. Oh, and Square gave it a better name too: Square Card Case is now Pay with Square.

Launched last May, Square Card Case Pay with Square is the company's digital wallet solution that lets users pay at the point of sale with their mobile devices. But instead of tapping or swiping or really doing anything at all, Pay with Square lets users simply walk into a participating merchant and say their name to pay. Geo-location technology in the phone does the rest, placing the customer in the merchant's location and making the digital wallet available to the merchant to charge come purchase time. The wallet then puts the purchase on whatever payment account the customer has associated with the digital wallet.

Automatically placing the customer in the merchant's location not only makes Pay with Square mindlessly simple, but it also allows merchants to push discounts and offers to customers when they walk into the store. Plus the "pay by name" feature is a nice way to foster a connection between merchants and their "regulars." It's the mobile payment equivalent of a "Hello, my name is … " sticker. 

But for all its slick simplicity, adoption by Square's legion of merchants using its mobile POS product hasn't been overwhelming. Even a cursory perusal of the list of available merchants shows only a handful of merchants accepting Pay with Square. (A report by GigaOm said only 75,000 merchants nationwide currently accept Pay with Square.) What's more, most of the stores accepting Pay with Square are small mom-and-pop stores. That's not a bad thing, since Square's aimed, well, squarely, at reinventing payments for small merchants. But a handful of small merchants in any one area doesn't give Pay with Square a ton of credibility in the battle to become a top-of-wallet payment method.

With the revamp of Pay with Square, the company may be addressing slow adoption by increasing the value to merchants of accepting Pay with Square. The new version of the app includes an easy-to-navigate search feature that locates nearby Pay with Square-accepting merchants, provides directions and shows discounts and offers.

This is the second time this month that Square has revamped one of its products. Square just re-released its Square Register after giving it a nice overhaul. Launched last May along with Card Case, the register product is an iPad-based point of sale system for brick-and-mortar retailers. With its latest redesign, the Square Register accepts payments and offers retailers a host of bells and whistles such as analytics and cash drawer management.

For more stories like this, visit the Mobile/Digital Wallet research center. 

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