Square Inc. has introduced a new feature to its Square Cash person-to-person payment system, allowing users to request payments from a group of people or an individual.
To use the feature, consumers compose an email to one or more addresses, copy firstname.lastname@example.org and enter the amount in the subject line before sending the message.
"We're always exploring new ways to add value to our customers and, anecdotally, we were hearing people asking other people to send them money via Square Cash," says Katie Baynes, a spokeswoman at Square. "We wanted to simplify the process and enable people to settle debts in one click."
Consumers can also use the feature with an email's reply-all button and can check on the status of the payment, seeing who has paid and who still owes.
"The new request feature makes it effortless to collect moneystaving off those awkward conversations about unpaid debts with friends and colleagues," Square says in a Feb. 13 blog post. "Whether you're a coach collecting dues for little league uniforms or planning a group birthday dinner for a friend, Square Cash is fast and free."
Square Cash allows debit card users to attach funds to an email. When sending funds, users copy email@example.com as a recipient. The service is free to both the sender and the recipient of the funds.
The email-based Square Cash system appeared on Square's site in May 2013, less a week after Google announced similar capabilities through Gmail and Google Wallet. Square officially launched the system in October 2013.
The P2P field has been challenging for many companies, but both Google and Square have one thing many startups don't: a large, existing user base. However, Square merchants are not automatically enrolled in Square Cash; they must link a debit card the first time they send or receive funds.