The number of ways to use smartphones to move money back and forth between people and businesses continues to increase.
Following Facebook, which followed PayPal and Venmo, comes Square with its own approach to people-to-people mobile payments.
Earlier this week, Facebook announced that it would be offering peer-to-peer payments through its messaging app, which I wrote about here at the time (Mobile Payments Validation & Facebook’s Peer-to-Peer Plan).
Now Square is has introduced a payment system where individuals can get their own “$Cashtag," dollar sign and all.
After downloading Square’s Cash app, a consumer links their debit card to the app and selects a name, which then can be used for others to send payments to.
For example, my Cashtag name is $ChuckMartin, so for someone to send me money, they would use their own Cashtag app and send an amount to $ChuckMartin.
They also could go to the website www.cash.me/ChuckMartin, which Square has set up for Cashtag users. (The website automatically adds the $ in front of the person’s ID).
Like the Facebook peer-to-peer payment plan, Square also is free for consumer-to-consumer money transfers.
The money, at least for Square, comes when a consumer sends cash to a business.
Square will charge businesses 1.5% of the amount transferred to them, which is less than Square charges for it card-swiping Register app.
The long-entrenched PayPal is still at the top of the digital payments hill, but others are attempting to climb along.
While many people likely will sign up to the new Square program to claim their own $Cashtag name, the longer term question is how many people and businesses will use it continually and over time.
That’s really the key issue in many of the novel payment systems: which consumers will gravitate to which services among the increasingly divergent ways to pay.
And then there’s cash. And credit cards.
Both of which already are everywhere.
With no learning curve.