The market for mobile payment apps has grown increasingly crowded in the past few years, with major banks and tiny startups alike fighting over users. Now Square is stepping into the arena with Square Cash, a new service for iOS and Android that hopes to beat the competition by offering the simplest and fastest way to send money online at no extra cost.
Square Cash doesn’t ask you to set up a new account, all you need is a debit card and an email address to get started. Once you’ve downloaded the free app you can open it and start sending money immediately. The first thing you’ll see is a keypad where you enter how much cash you’ll be transferring. Next tap “Attach to Email,” pick the person you’re wiring money to, type in a personal message, and click send. The first time you use the app you’ll also be asked to authenticate your debit card, but otherwise that’s it.
The new app serves as a natural extension of Square’s current business—those little white squares that plug into your smartphone’s headphone jack and let you accept credit and debit cards payments. For now, the company won’t combine the two services, a move it worries would complicate the user experience rather than offer a simplified all-on-one digital wallet replacement. After all, the purpose of Square Cash is to make mobile payments as simple and painless as possible.