Lauren Goode

Recent Posts by Lauren Goode

Turning Attention to the Payment Side, Square Rebrands Its Card Case as “Pay With Square”

Mobile payments start-up Square has built its business by targeting small business owners who shied away from traditional credit card systems, offering an easy-to-swipe, low-fee solution with a Square dongle attached to a mobile device.

Now it’s working on the other side of the equation: The consumer. The company is rebranding its consumer product, formerly dubbed Card Case.

Pay with Square, as the app has been renamed, now has participating merchants listed at the forefront of the free app, rather than hidden on cards in the old app’s virtual wallet. It also includes a curated list of featured merchants, a search bar, and a tilt-to-map option, which allows the user to tilt their phone to make a map appear and display a merchant’s location.

Square has also added geo-fencing capabilities to the Android app, which will allow customers to pay for an item at a participating store simply by walking in and telling the merchant their name.

Square’s move comes as mobile payments continue to heat up — and as competitors like PayPal and Intuit move into Square’s traditional territory.

Square first launched Card Case last May, but the app has gained little traction. While Square now claims $4 billion a year in mobile payments transactions, only about 75,000 of its one million merchants are accepting payments via Card Case.

Megan Quinn, director of products for Square, said that merchants that have taken payments through the app have seen a 22 percent increase in revenue.

“Square isn’t just about accepting credit cards,” Quinn said. “Our focus is the whole ecosystem, and we don’t think anyone is making the whole experience as easy and delightful as we are.”

Square’s app update comes just as online payments giant PayPal has started focusing on offline payments solutions for both big and small businesses, including PayPal-branded point-of-sale payments systems in Home Depot stores across the U.S., as well as a mobile payments dongle for iPhone that rivals Square’s small business solution. PayPal claims more than a hundred million users worldwide, whereas Square has yet to expand beyond the U.S., though it’s clearly taking steps in that direction.

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There’s a lot of attention and PR around Marissa, but their product lineup just kind of blows.

— Om Malik on Bloomberg TV, talking about Yahoo, the September issue of Vogue Magazine, and our overdependence on Google