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TheStreet Open House

Using Square Wallet: Mobile Wallets That Stay In Your Back Pocket





I'm often the annoying person in the checkout line who spends four minutes digging out her credit card to pay for a $1.79 soda. So when I heard that the Square Wallet app would allow me to use my smart phone to pay for purchases, I was eager to give it a try and hopefully keep from being "that" person in the checkout line.

Up and running without tech support from my kids

Several of the farmers market stands that I frequent use Square as a mobile credit card processing system, so at first I was confused about the difference between Square and Square Wallet. But after a few minutes of online research, I learned that merchants that use Square for credit card processing could opt to allow their customers to use a separate app to pay for purchases with their smart phones. I was also reassured to read on the website that the cashier would confirm my identity for security purposes using the photo of me on their screen.

I quickly set up the free application, available for both Android and Apple products, by entering my credit card information and uploading a photo. Since I am not an overly "techy" person, I was impressed that I didn't even need the help of 'tween kids as I often do when it comes to my smart phone.

I began browsing through Square Wallet and was a little disappointed to see that there were only a handful of merchants in my town using the app. Several businesses in the next town over were offering discounts for purchases made using Square Wallet and so I made a mental note to try the shops in the near future. However, I saw that my favorite coffee shop used Square and decided that it was great time for a hot chocolate break. I added Wake Forest Coffee Company to my Square Wallet with a quick press of a button and headed out of the house.

Paying without opening my purse

When I walked into the coffee shop, I opened Square Wallet on my phone and clicked on the "Pay Here" button so that the cashier would know I was in the store. After the cashier rang up my hot chocolate, I told her to "Put it on Jennifer" as the app advised. She found my name on her iPod Touch that was connected to the register, punched a few buttons and completed my purchase without me having to do anything at all. A few minutes later, I was happily sipping my delicious cocoa and marveling at how easy it had been to pay for my treat.

But what do the merchants think?

I was curious what the merchants thought of Square Wallet and talked with the owner of Wake Forest Coffee Company, Robert Barneto. He told me that his coffee shop saved over $400 a month in credit card fees by using Square to process all credit cards transactions. Currently, only about six of those people each day were now using the Wallet app to pay. "I really recommend that any stores that use Square for credit card processing also allow customers to pay with the Wallet. It really saves a lot of time in checkout," Barneto said.

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