Square Cash introduces the best bet to kill checks

Square Cash introduces the best bet to kill checks

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Photo: Square
Photo: Square

Square Cash is one of those few apps I can show my non-techy friends and immediately get a wide-eyed, “whoa” kind of response. Its ability to quickly send and receive money is super slick.

Today two big changes to Square Cash will make it an even more attractive peer-to-peer payments service. First, anyone can now create a web profile for accepting money without needing a standalone app. Second, businesses and nonprofits can get in on the action.

Given that Facebook Messenger is getting into mobile payments, it’s key for Square Cash to differentiate itself. That’s exactly what today’s user profiles, which the company calls $Cashtags, will hopefully do.

Any Square Cash user can create a cash.me profile with the “$” prefix that lets anyone pay them from the web. So for instance, the Product Red charity could have the domain cash.me/$RED where donations could be accepted. Individuals, such as myself, can also create profiles.

Square doesn’t charge transaction fees for individuals, which makes it a very attractive replacement for checks and even certain kinds of bank-to-bank transactions.

Starting today, Square will charge a modest 1.5% transaction fee for business and nonprofits. Since Cash has yet to make Square any money of its own, the company is likely hoping that small and big businesses will jump on board.

You get a good idea of the $Cashtags idea’s usefulness by browsing Square Cash’s website. Local artists could include their Cashtag under their work to accept donations, roommates could split rent, freelancers could get paid, or YouTubers could ask for support by sharing their links.

The mobile payments market is exploding right now with PayPal, Venmo, and Facebook vying to gain consumer traction. Square’s Cashtag concept will entirely depend on user adoption. It’s a good idea, but whether it will catch on remains to be seen.