Carrying cash and cards is often a wasteful headache: Your pockets become weighed down with unnecessary coinage, and waiters are likely to give you the side-eye when you ask to split more than three credit cards. Small and modern grievances, but tiny problems nonetheless.
That leaves us with mobile payments, a technology that is just beginning to come into its own. While NFC transfers have been more or less a bust, the ease of electronically transferring money to someone right next to you has actually improved dramatically in the past two years, thanks in part to direct money transfer apps like Google Wallet or Venmo. (The latter is worth downloading and using immediately if you aren't already).
Yet the area is still ripe for innovation, which is why Square's new easy-to-use direct payment app looks so promising — especially for someone like me who always has nickels and pennies spilling out of his pockets at inopportune times. In a tweet this morning, Square founder and erstwhile Twitter dude Jack Dorsey unveiled Square Cash, which allows you to send money through your phone from your debit card account. All you need is the other person's email.
I tried it out this morning, and the process was as easy to use as advertised. Here's how to use it:
2. Enter the amount you want to send, like so.
Hit "attach to email" at the bottom.
3. Enter the email of the person you want to send the cash to.
It automatically cc's firstname.lastname@example.org and sends an email to your inbox. This is your receipt.
4. Link up your debit card, expiration date, and zip code, and you're set to go. The recipient will be sent a link so that they can easily deposit money into their accounts after they enter their debit info, too.
The service is free, and Square so far has had a solid reputation for handling secure money transfers. The appropriate Silicon Valley word here is "frictionless," but I could see Cash becoming an indispensable way to send and receive money. Imagine not having to write your landlord a check every month (saving you from having to re-order checkbooks) or splitting dinner evenly without having to ask for proper change. Could be big. Give it a try.
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