Square, a leader in mobile payments, launched a gift card program for Square Wallet today! Now anyone can purchase a gift card for friends and family at over 250,000 businesses nationwide that accept Square Wallet, an app for iOS and Android devices that lets customers pay with their mobile device. According to CNET.com:
The recipient would then redeem the value of the gift using Square Wallet on their own device. All it takes to send a gift, Square said, is to pick a merchant, choose the amount, and enter the name or email address of the recipient. They will then get a message letting them know about their gift. The service allows recipients to store the value directly in Square Wallet, or to print out a QR code that they can bring into the merchant if they don’t have a smart phone. The service also allows iOS users to redeem the gifts using Apple’s Passbook.
The value of a service like this is that it avoids the use of physical gift cards and lets merchants that accept Square Wallet easily set up the transaction with Square Register, a system that lets them take credit cards, track sales and inventory, and generate analytics.
Although the gift card business is worth an estimated $100 billion a year, tens of millions of dollars of these gifts EXPIRE every day, according to CouponTrade.com. Even Apple has recently attempted to enter the gift card business by letting iOS users store the cards on Passbook. The San Francisco startup, Square, has been developing more and more ways for customers to pay and hopes to be the digital gift card service of choice for the millions of Android and iOS users.
Square, in case you’ve been living in a cave for the last several years, started by providing merchants with dongles from scanning credit cards into iOS devices (I’ve got mine!) and then launched Square Wallet and Square Register.
Square is currently processing over $10 billion in annualized transactions. The company recently launched a partnership that lets customers pay at more than 7,000 Starbucks outlets in the United States using Square Wallet.
Square hopes to leverage that partnership with the gift cards initiative, since Starbucks is one of the merchants involved.
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