By Jim Rossman / DallasNews.com
Square Inc., the creator of the tiny scanner that lets individuals and businesses accept credit cards on mobile devices, wants to make it simple to transfer money by email. I think they’ve done it.
The Square Cash system is genius. To send money to anyone, from your debit card to the recipient’s debit card or checking account, you just need to compose an email to that person, making sure you include a “cc” to firstname.lastname@example.org, and put the amount in the subject line. You can type a message in the body of the email if you like, but it is not necessary.
The first time you do this, you’ll get an email back from Square asking you to provide your debit card information. You only have to do this once.
The person receiving the money will get an email from Square telling them you’re sending money. They’ll be asked to click a link in the email to provide a debit card number or checking account information (routing number and checking account number). They only have to do this once.
Once both sides have given Square their account information, the cash transfer takes one to two business days.
The account data you share with Square is encrypted regardless of how you connect to the Internet.
You’ll get a text confirmation of each transaction if you link your cellphone number to the account.
Square has its own fraud detection system, with automated and human review of transactions looking for problems.
New users have a $250 weekly limit, but if you supply some additional information, you can increase the amount you can transfer to $2,500 per week.
The additional information is a phone number for text verification and either a link to your Facebook account or your full name, date of birth, and the last four digits of your Social Security number.
I sent myself a few small transactions, and the process was painless.
After the first transfer, sending cash was as easy as composing an email.
This is a good time to mention that anyone who has access to your email can potentially send your money. Make sure you have a strong password that you change often. If your email provider offers two-step verification, you should turn it on.
Two-step verification requires you to link a “trusted” phone number or computer to your account. The trust is turned on by entering a code sent by your email provider. If you or someone else tries to access your account from an untrusted device or computer, you’ll receive a text message. The message has a code that must be entered on the new device or computer before email can be used on that device.
Of course, some people won’t trust any system with their banking information. I guess it just depends on how much you trust your email provider and how much you trust Square.
I trust them both, so I’ve got a new tool to send and receive money.