Just as the NFC payment is heating up, Square, the same company that brought us the credit card processing device for the iPhone, has their own solution. Instead of relying on physical proximity to a reader, like NFC, Square’s solution, called Card Case, relies on the customer and a smartphone app to process the transaction.
The Card Case app acts very much like Paypal, but is designed to be specifically compatible with Square merchants. The consumer downloads the app, punches in their credit card info – they can even add a photo for added security – and launches it when they walk into a participating restaurant or coffee shop. The consumer must then select the merchant, where upon the restaurant can see their name and identity within the merchant application. Once the consumer has finished with their meal they simply provide their name and the checkout process is completed. A virtual receipt is sent to an on file email address. Square has added a few features since the app’s launch, which include the ability to tip waiters and allow merchants to charge a $0 item to help them track complimentary goods.
Transactions over $25 require a signature, but anything less and the customer can just dine and dash. Since launching today, at least according to Square, the Card Case app is only useful in major cities where they have a strong presence, such as San Francisco, New York City, LA and others.
If merchants want to participate they’ll need to acquire a Square account and reader. Consumers, however, just need to download the Square Card Case app, which is already available from the app store.