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Square kicks it up a notch with hands-free payments

Sick of tapping, touching, swiping, and jiggling? Try paying with your name

Technology trends and news by Faith Merino
November 2, 2011 | Comments
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/210b

Square just upped the ante on the mobile payments game.  You thought waving your phone over a reader or tapping a sensor was cool?  Try not even touching your phone. 

That’s right: Square has released a new version of its Card Case app that makes it possible to make hands-free payments by simply walking up to a participating merchant and giving your name—no tapping, swiping, or waving required.

Of course, you have to have your phone with you when you do this.  

So here’s how it works: you download the Square Card Case app, link up your credit cards, and then select your favorite nearby merchants.  At that point, the app will present you with the option to automatically open a tab whenever you’re in range of one of your favorite places—for example, a coffee shop or bakery. 

By selecting the auto on feature, a tab will automatically open whenever you’re within 100 meters of one of your preferred spots.  You place your order, give the merchant your name, and your card is charged without you ever having to touch your wallet or your phone.  On the merchant’s end, your name and picture will come up on their iPad, so they’re sure to charge the right person.

Check out a demo here. 

If you choose not to step into that bakery for a bit of Baklava, the tab automatically closes on its own when you pass out of range.  (But Baklava is delicious—why pass it up?)

The new version of Card Case will definitely give Google Wallet a run for its money (ha!).  Launched over the summer, Google Wallet uses near field communications to let users touch their phone to a sensor to make payments—definitely beating out Square’s previous Card Case offering, which required linking your credit cards, selecting your favorite spots, and then opening a tab before placing your order.  It seems like it would be easier to just swipe your credit card.

The new version of Card Case doesn’t use NFC, but rather geo-fencing to automatically open a tab when the user is within 100 meters of a participating establishment.  


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