Square Launches Square Cash, Email-Based P2P

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Square has officially launched its person-to-person payment system, Square Cash, which lets debit card users send funds by typing an email.

To use Square Cash, senders put the dollar amount they wish to send in the subject line of an email and copy “cash@square.com” as an additional recipient. The sender then receives an enrollment e-mail asking for a valid debit card number.

Square also asks the transfer’s recipient to provide a debit card number to direct the funds. Though the system can be entirely email-based, Square also released an app for iOS and Android devices. The app simply creates an email with the dollar amount and the cash@square.com email address pre-populated, with a link to Square Cash in the message body.

Square, best known for its mobile card reader, has been testing Square Cash since at least May, when the Square Cash website first leaked. At the time, Square required users to copy “pay@square.com” as a recipient. Google also began testing an email-based P2P system in May, allowing Gmail users to send funds like an email attachment. P2P became the focus of Google Wallet in a September update to Google’s mobile apps.

Square Cash works only with Visa and MasterCard debit cards; Square does not support credit cards, prepaid cards or ATM cards.

Consumers have a limit of sending $250 per week via Square Cash unless they enroll for “Gold Status” by providing a mobile phone number and linking a Facebook account. Alternatively, users can enroll for Gold Status by providing a full name, birthdate and the last four digits of their Social Security number. This process extends the weekly transaction limit to $2,500.

Square charges no fees to use Square Cash. The company promises P2P payments complete within two business days. Square supports payments sent from all U.S. states except Hawaii and Tennessee; recipients can live in any U.S. state.

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Technology Disruptors Mobile payments P-to-P payments