Some of the best mobile banking apps are those that make everyday tasks simpler. Two of my favorites are GoBank's Balance Bar, that lets you see your account balance without login, and Moven's real-time mobile purchase receipts and analysis.
Tuesday, Square, Inc. joined my growing list of über-simple mobile banking applications with their introduction of Square Cash, a new app that makes sending money person to person as simple as sending an email. In today's mobile world, simplicity is the 'new black'.
P2P applications are definitely not new. There are literally hundreds of bank and non-bank applications that allow you to send money digitally, including Google, PayPal and Venmo. Consumers also have the choice of simply writing a check as they have done for years. But, I believe Square has introduced the most streamlined app that may have the broadest mass market appeal.
Imagine emailing money to another person, without a fee, directly from a debit card without a login or password. All that is needed is a debit card number, Zip Code and expiration date from the sender and recipient (only need to be entered the first time you use the service). After that, sending money is only an email address away.
Compare that process to most banks, that require mobile banking sign-in (don't get me started), a test transaction and potentially more steps, even though there is normally no fee for the service. PayPal's P2P app transfers money from a PayPal account to another PayPal account, with transferring funds to a bank account being an additional step (in addition to a one-time signing up for PayPal). Google's P2P service uses email like Square, but requires signing up for Google Wallet and transferring funds to a bank account. Venmo is a growing favorite of younger people who prefer to send money via a Facebook-like newsfeed. This service also requires an application sign-up.
Unlike Square Cash, most of the other P2P applications have fees attached as shown below. Square Cash, however, only supports debit cards at this time, with low weekly limits ($250) unless you provide a mobile phone number and Facebook account or verify your full name, the last four digits of your social security number and date of birth -- then the limit is raised to $2,500. If the Facebook option is selected, no information or messages are ever passed to the social channel. Square is simply using Facebook as part of authentication.
|Source: My Bank Tracker, September 2013|