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Customer Experience and Design

The Death of Cash?

I’m well aware that my children and grandchildren will never experience some of the activities that defined my youth. Activities like creating mixed tapes, watching a VHS and memorizing friend’s landline phone numbers. But will they ever experience cash and credit cards?  Or will these soon be nostalgic items of the past too?

You may or may not have heard about a company called Square. In 2010 they invented a credit card reader that pops into the headphone jack of iPhones, Androids and tablets. Small merchants have adapted this technology to enable credit card processing. Even midsize merchants have turned tablets into cash registers. Square’s latest offering in terms of mobile payment processing is for the consumer.

I just downloaded the app “Pay with Square” on my iPhone. The following is the app description:

“With Square on your iPhone, you’ll never have to swipe your card again. Simply walk in the door and say your name at the counter. Pay without ever touching your phone or wallet”.

If both a merchant and a consumer are using Square, a seamless transaction can occur. This sounds awesome, but you’re probably wondering how long will it take for both merchants and consumers to adopt this technology? According to Forrester, a leader in technology market research,  30% of American mobile phone owners are interested in using mobile payments and younger consumers are the most likely to give it a try. Forrester predicts that it will take another three to five years before mobile payments reach critical mass in the domestic market.

Regarding merchant adoption, this week Square announced that they will be teaming up with Starbucks Coffee Company. By fall, Square will begin processing all credit and debit transactions at Starbucks. While not all of these transactions will be mobile, that option will certainly exist.

Soon my entire Starbucks experience will change. I will walk into Starbucks, and because of GPS technology, Starbucks will know I am in their store and a picture of my face will show up on their register. I will get to the register to order my latte and simply state my name. The cashier will verify that my face matches the picture on their register and that’s it! I will be charged through Square and able to see my transaction on my phone and even add a tip at a later date. Like I needed another reason to find Starbucks, oh so tempting!

What do you think? Will you be an early adopter of Square?


Meagan Weas is a Sales Specialist at Zeon Solutions




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