Square launches e-mail P2P payments service

Square launches e-mail P2P payments service

Following an invitation-only test, Square has opened up its free e-mail-based person-to-person payments service, Square Cash, to the American public.

To send money, users send an e-mail to the recipient's address, CC'ing pay@square.com and putting the dollar amount in the subject line. The first time the service is used, the sender receives an e-mail from Square prompting them to link a debit card that funds their payments.

Recipients also have to link a debit card the first time they are sent money, with the funds deposited straight into their bank account, rather than held in a stored balance account.

The service is free to use for both parties and works from any e-mail client. Android and iOS apps have also been built, letting customers keep Square Cash on their homescreens and send e-mail payments from a customised interface.



Brian Grassadonia, Square Cash lead, says: "Square Cash makes it convenient to send money to anyone-without making them jump through hoops to retrieve it. Now it's easier than ever to split a bill, send a birthday gift, or settle up with a friend, no matter where you are."

Square's move into P2P payments sees it stake a claim on rival PayPal's home turf and also competes with a similar service from Google, which has integrated its Wallet app with G-mail for money transfers.

A survey released by Fiserv yesterday suggests that there is a strong potential market in the US for simple P2P payments. While cash and cheques still dominate, the vast majority of respondents say that they would welcome an electronic alternative.

Comments: (6)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 16 October, 2013, 11:55Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Sounds like an email version of Barclays' Pingit. The questions which spring to my mind are security, KYC & AML, authentication. How hard (or easy) is it to "hijack" a PC from which an authorized email is then sent to Square?..

Payment is all about secure authentication, not funds transfer which is easy. Email per se offers no security at all, to the best of my knowledge (would love to stand corrected).

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 16 October, 2013, 12:18Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

 

 

I think the point is this: if it is very convenient (easy) for the consumer, it could also be very easy for the fraudster. Securing payments always means a compromise between end-user convenience and risk.  Have Square put any safeguards on this email based payment process? If payment fraud occurs, who carries the loss?

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 16 October, 2013, 12:56Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Yes this is Ping-IT, but linked to debit cards rather than bank accounts.  The weekly limit is $250 - raisable to $2500 with some KYC.  Once established with a debit card set up, the email does appear to be the only payment instruction needed, even to a new recipient.  It does not strike me as being secure, or having any AML or KYC - but I have not used it. It would be interesting to hear more from someone who has.

 

 

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 17 October, 2013, 16:41Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

On first glance, this reminded me of similar P2P products that worked on SMS. Although it'd seem very simple for the average Finextra reader, their syntax proved too rigorous for the average payer, denying mainstream adoption of these products. This fantastic Q&A on Quora convinced that SQUARE has launched this new product more to gather Cards On File, a goal that it apparently failed to accomplish due to the lukewarm traction received by its SQUARE Wallet mobile wallet product.

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 17 October, 2013, 16:44Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Quora guy also highlighted potentially HUGE issue with IP... Looks like Square's gone soul searching...

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 21 October, 2013, 17:10Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Right. And, considering that most of that IP it's reportedly infringing is owned by PayPal, that's some show of chutzpah by SQUARE!

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