After what seemed like every mobile device company joining the mobile payment system club, we figured one of the first to get in the game would come back with a new beefed up system, and we were right. From the makers of the Square, Square Cash is an updated version of the mobile card payment system, with a new feature designed to make it easier for anyone to accept payments, and also businesses to accept payments. It’s a solid upgrade from the looks of it, with some great features and makes collecting money easier.
As mentioned above, the peer-to-peer mobile payments market already has a few big players. Facebook, Google and even SnapChat have joined the fray. But the top dog for now is Paypal-owned Venmo. Venmo is a hit with the younger crowd who use it to easily send money back and forth, so much so that it’s already well on its way to becoming a verb that translates to “pay”. That means good old cash needed help to stay relevant, and its new release has its own viral component to it, and also introduces what Square is hoping becomes an even more commonly used word.
The answer is “$Cashtags”, which are designed to give people ways to accept Square Cash payments out in the physical world as well as online, while simultaneously marketing their brand.
Essentially, it’s just a username that redirects you to an account at www.cash.me. For example, the artist “Curtis Kulig” uses the Cashtag $LoveMe, which lets anyone who uses the Square Cash app pay him with this username, but also lets him accept a payment from anyone who goes to www.cash.me/$LoveMe and enters a debit card number.
It’s an instant transaction; money is transferred immediately between banks instead of being held in a limbo, and is free for individuals. (Businesses will pay 1.5%.)
Yet while Cashtags are new and intriguing, they will be a little confusing until and the masses catch on. Square is hoping the tags will be a way for people and businesses to market themselves and create an address to accept payments. The idea helps everyone, if people market their Cashtags well, obviously they will also be marketing Square Cash itself. Square envisions a world where people will eventually use Cashtags in YouTube videos, on Medium posts, even on business cards and promotional materials.
But getting to that point will require education for the less tech savvy and promotion. Square has a few nonprofits on board using the tags as a way to fundraise, kind of like the way SMS short code is used, including Wikipedia and Project (RED).