Thursday, October 24, 2013
A while back I wrote about Amazon Payments and how it can be used to settle up financially with friends when splitting a wine purchase. Square Cash makes it even easier.
I've been experimenting with Square Cash since it came out last week. It's clear the service is obsessively focused on making it as simple as possible to transfer money from one person's checking account to another. The design is so minimalist it makes you wonder whether it'll really work - until the money is effortless deposited into your checking account and you wondered why money has been so hard to move around for so long.
Here's how it works...
In its simplest use model you send an email to a friend, cc: firstname.lastname@example.org and include the amount you want to send on the subject line. I doubt anyone will be convinced this works right out of the box so I suspect many will, like me, download the app (iPhone and Android are supported) to trigger their first exchange. But the apps just populate an email so after a while I suspect we'll become comfortable with sending money via email.
As a sender, you provide Square with your debit card number, expiration date, and zip code. The recipient is notified of your generosity via email then the money gets deposited in their account once they provide a debit card number or ACH information associated with their checking account. The money is then transferred with in 0-2 days. In my early trials, transactions took less than a day. In some cases they money was there almost instantly.
The sign-up process with Amazon Payments is quite a bit more involved with occasionally cryptic error messaging that makes it unclear what's wrong with the accounts involved. Square Cash is a lot simpler in this respect. There is no Square Cash account per se - you just send money via e-mail and they try to stay out of the way.
The killer feature of Amazon Payments is how credit cards can be used with no fees. This provides an opportunity to rack up points and miles via credit cards transactions.
Some debit cards provide cashback or airline miles however, so if you can combine these with the ability to send money to friends it's a really compelling service.
But either way, Square Cash is my new favorite way to send money to friends to settle up for wine purchases. Shout out to my pal JF for the heads up on this service.
Limits are $250 per week until you provide the last 4 of your social at which point it bumps up to $2,500 per week on a rolling basis. That's enough to accommodate some serious wine transactions!
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