UPDATED: Aloof in time for the holidays, Square is accepting into the allowance cards bazaar with Apple Passbook (AAPL) integration for iOS 6 users. Now, users can advance allowance cards for merchants that access Square Wallet, aloof like Starbucks (SBUX) app users.
Here’s how it works:
Users who advancement to Square Wallet 2.5 for iOS and Android (GOOG) find a merchant they like in the Square Directory in their adaptable app. They can again accept to advance a allowance agenda to a acquaintance for that business via email. Users can advance cards for $20, $50, $100 or set their own amount. After including an alternative agenda and allotment an envelope design, they can set which day they appetite to bear the allowance card.
The agenda is adored via email and is included in a recipient’s Square Wallet application. Back a agenda holder goes to redeem it, the agenda is accustomed through the Wallet app or they beam the card’s QR cipher to a merchant, who scans it with the camera on their buzz or tablet. Merchants will additionally charge to amend to Square Register 2.5 to handle the new allowance cards.
For iOS users, the absorbing advantage is to redeem the allowance cards via Passbook. The belvedere allows businesses to integrate tickets, coupons, boarding passes and allowance cards, which appearance up automatically on the lock-screen back they’re accessible for use. I haven’t been able to try this out but will amend with some thoughts later.
Square doesn’t arise to be application Passbook to accredit all payments, but the affiliation of allowance cards is an absorbing move. Starbucks currently supports Passbook and allows you to accept your Starbucks agenda arise on your lock awning back activity to admired Starbucks locations so it’s accessible for acquittal back you access the store.
UPDATE: I chatted with Square COO Keith Rabois about the abeyant of allowance cards. He said it’s a abundant way to acquaint Square to new users. But he said the bigger appulse is enabling consumers to use Square to accolade any friends, colleagues or ancestors with a allowance acceptable at 250,000 merchants who booty Square Wallet transactions. He said merchants are consistently attractive for means to access new barter and allowance cards accommodate an befalling for their best admirers to acquaint their account and articles to others.
Rabois said Square is attractive at Passbook aloof for allowance agenda accretion appropriate now. Users can additionally redeem appropriate through the Square Wallet app or book out a QR cipher to present the agenda in store. He said there’s no actual affairs for added Passbook integration.
I additionally got some absorbing capacity about how the allowance cards work. Merchants alone get paid back the agenda is adored and alone for the bulk redeemed. In the accident that a almsman doesn’t redeem their agenda aural 90 days, the sender will get the allowance bulk refunded. But until that time or if a almsman uses some allocation of the allowance card, the antithesis charcoal with Square, which holds it in reserve. That’s agnate to how some big allowance agenda systems assignment with big retailers but the aberration is that a Square merchant doesn’t authority on to the assets money. Rabois, however, said any absorption fabricated from that money is accepted to be immaterial and atomic and the all-embracing ambition is to animate redemption.
“We absolutely appetite senders to get the delight of sending a allowance and we appetite recipients to adore it and go into bounded boutique and accept a abundant experience,” said Rabois.
If addition uses allotment of their Square allowance agenda aural 90 days, there is no cessation date for the card, alfresco of some bounded laws that ability apply. Merchants do not pay any added to run the allowance cards, which are candy at Square’s accepted 2.75 percent rate.
The allowance cards, I imagine, will advice Square advance the bulk of money it’s processing, which is now on a $10 billion annualized rate. But it won’t accept as a big aftereffect appropriate off the bat, I imagine. Most of the merchants who use Square are baby and actual local, so alfresco of Starbucks, I can’t advance a allowance agenda to bodies alfresco of my actual area. But as Square builds out its merchant abject with bigger businesses, allowance cards could be alike added able because you can advance a allowance agenda to added people, alive that they’ll be able to redeem it calmly at a lot of locations.
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