Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s another startup, Square, has made a name for itself with a compelling and competitive mobile payment service which, in my mind, is more straightforward and powerful than Google’s Wallet. The company is selling its iPhone payment dongle via the online Apple Store, having released an accompanying Wallet app on iOS and Android on November 8. It supports, among other things, receiving electronic receipts and paying with your own name.
Now, the Wallet app has been recently updated with micro-payments at Starbucks locations and now Square has added a timely new functionality, the ability to send personalized gifts that can be used at about 250,000 businesses supporting Square Wallet as a payment option.
This new feature also taps Apple’s Passbook service in iOS 6 so any gift card created with the Wallet app gets automatically imported into Passbook and synced across devices via iCloud. This let you redeem a Square gift card at any of the supported points of purchase via Passbook. How’s that for a hands-free checkout?
“It’s as easy as sending an email”, Dorsey tweeted today. It’s also one less physical item to carry in your pocket, I’d add. In addition to receiving a Square gift card via an email address, your recipient can also print out a QR code to redeem with paper.
From release notes accompanying the download:
Gift cards, just in time for the holidays! Square Gift Cards are the easiest way to send a personalized gift to anyone, anywhere in the United States.
The refreshed software makes it ridiculously easy to, say, send a Starbucks gift card or any other gift card that’s in the directory to pretty much anyone.
Treat friends and family to local favorites with Square gift cards. Easy to redeem with Wallet, Passbook, or paper. twitter.com/jack/status/27…
— Jack Dorsey (@jack) December 9, 2012
Here’s a video from 3 weeks ago showing how Square handles digital gift cards.