Mobile payment apps such as Square and Google Wallet (NASDAQ: GOOG) are widely available but shoppers in the U.S. are still not convinced they are secure or convenient to use.
This week, Square announced it is dropping the Square Wallet app from Apple and Google's app stores. The app allowed users to make payments at Square merchants by checking in at local businesses through the app, walking up to the register and saying their name. Merchants were able to see a photo of the user and their account information on their displays. Square wasn't able to earn a profit with the app and analysts suspect that having to check-in using a smartphone to pay wasn't any quicker than a quick swipe of a debit card.
Square said it will instead focus on Square Order, its new app for Android and iOS that lets shoppers order and pay for carryout food at restaurants and receive an alert when their order is ready. The service, which replaces Square Wallet, is available in New York and San Francisco immediately, but will be rolled out in more cities, according to the company.
Square on Tuesday also debuted a new Square Feedback feature, which gives shoppers an interactive digital receipt that can be used to offer feedback on their shopping experience. After shoppers swipe a credit card on the seller's Square card reader, they get the option to give feedback in their receipts, which are sent via text or email. The new feature serves as a two-way communication tool where sellers can, in turn, communicate with their customers.
Feedback is now live and is integrated into Square's sales software suite. Sellers pay $10 per month, but there's a 30-day trial.
Square said it processes more than 10 million digital receipts a month, but that number is still low compared to worldwide mobile payment use. Research firm Gartner estimates that across the globe, shoppers spent $235.4 billion through mobile payments in 2013, compared with $163.1 billion in 2012. In North America the number is much smaller, with consumers spending about $37 billion through mobile transactions in 2013, up from $24 billion in 2012.
With the shutdown of Square Wallet, which launched three years ago, the hope is that Order will find more success. Square thinks the order-ahead feature will be one way to provide additional value for its merchants and, hopefully, finally catch on with consumers.
-See this FierceRetail article
-See this New York Times article
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