Noah J Nelson on Wednesday, Oct. 16th
Let's talk a moment about financing. Not the kind you find on Wall Street, but the kind we find in our wallets. This isn't the first time in recent weeks we've talked about an online bank or an online financial services.
Last week it was about Simple which had developed a new way for its members to share cash with each other.
Today e-commerce solution provider Square ups the ante by unleashing Square Cash, which enables not only their members but anyone with a debit card to send money a simple email exchange. With no fees involved.
To send their first payment, customers simply compose an email by filling in the following fields:
- To: [email address]
- Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Subject: $ [amount]
Customers then receive an email prompting them to link a debit card to fund their first payment. To accept a payment, the recipient enters their debit card number once, and will automatically receive funds to their debit card thereafter.
Square Cash works from any e-mail client (such as Gmail, Yahoo, Mac Mail, Android Mail and Outlook), whether on a phone, tablet, or desktop. In addition to the e-mail service, Square also created a Square Cash app for iOS and Android. The app enables customers to keep Square Cash on their homescreen and send e-mail payments from a simple, customized interface.
It sounds so simple it's hard to believe. Especially when it comes to the whole "no fees" part. Sooner or later someone is going to have to make some serious dough off this.
Beyond that there are major trust issues. It's easy to want something like this to work, but until it's been done a few million times it's impossible to think that the email trick won't get spoofed by ingenious hackers. Square isn't talking about how they are preventing that, in part because that would make it easier to hack.
The further we go down this road, the more this feels like the inevitable future. It's not just Square and Simple there going to take us there. Everything from the big banks like Citi and Bank of America, to other online-based ventures like Go Bank (which contacted me after last week's Simple post) are going to keep innovating in the space until…
That's the question. Until what? Until we live in a completely cashless society? Is that something we even really want?
The user experience framed in the promotional videos for Square make it all so attractive. Just say your name and what you want is yours. Yet that's just the transactional experience. It covers up the sweat and effort that goes into getting the goods to market and the means to purchase those goods into your smartphone wallet.
Square is clearly leading the way on the UX here, but as we accelerate towards a friction-free marketplace we would be wise to consider just what else we may be sliding towards.
H/T: The Verge
Follow Noah Nelson on Twitter (@noahjnelson)