It seems as though payment-revolutionary Square has been quite busy these last few weeks. With a revamp of their web app, a new iPad app and now a Card Case replacement named Pay With Square for iPhone (and Android, I suppose), Square continues to innovate and change the way we do business.
If you weren’t already familiar, Card Case was Square’s first attempt at a mobile app that was designed to allow you to locate businesses utilizing their technology, gather information about them, and then pay via a tab system. While Card Case was great, Pay with Square is a huge update to the app, complete with new icon, interface and functionality. Let’s dig in and see what’s new.
Making A Purchase
Since Pay With Square is, as the name implies, designed to be a method of payment at a Square-enabled business, let’s start there. One of my favorite places for coffee is the book shop right across the street, and I know that once I get in there, I’ll be able to check out using my iPhone. Let’s launch the app.
The home screen has a list of nearby businesses sorted by distance from your current location, along with a featured business on top. This is the first and probably most useful change from Card Case, where locating a list of nearby businesses was several taps away from the launch screen. Having access to this list immediately is useful for when I want to see which nearby places use Square.
As expected, right at the top of the list is the book shop. It’s safe to say I’ll probably visit pretty regularly, since I live right across the street, so I want to add it to my favorites list. I can do this by tapping the name of the business to visit the details page (more on this later), tapping the arrow in the upper right corner, and tapping Add to Favorites.
Now the shop is added to my favorites list, and I’ve made the journey to the other side of the street. “Large coffee, please, and put it on ‘Scott.'”
While the gentleman behind the counter prepares my delicious beverage, I can simply tap Open Tab next to the name of the business on my iPhone, and Pay With Square begins searching for a nearby device that is also using Square. Once my total is entered into the register (that is, the iPad or other Square enabled device), he will be able to see the payment options: cash, charge, and if my location services are working properly, “Scott Danielson.” As per my request, he’ll choose my name, and when the transaction has gone through, my phone will update letting me know that I’ve been charged.
So that’s pretty darn simple. Walk in, order and give them my name. It makes things easy, and few things will make you feel more like a well-known customer than being able to say “put it on my tab.” And that, I think, was the main purpose of the Card Case redesign. It seems as though Square intended to trim the fat, as it were, resulting in a product whose main purpose was much more accessible.
None of the features above can be used until you perform a few preparatory tasks, such as linking your Square account with your bank account and adding a photo to your profile (so the cashier can identify you). But once that’s out of the way, there are a few other neat features of Pay With Square besides simply making purchases.
Remember when I mentioned the details page for businesses earlier? Well let’s take a look at one. I’ve chosen this downtown bakery, because it currently has a more complete details page than the shop across the street from me.
You’ll notice on the main detail card, you’ll see an area map of the location. Tapping on this will allow you to open your maps app and get directions to a business from your current location. From here you can also set your tab to auto-open when you arrive. I chose not to do this for the shop across the street because my close proximity would cause it to be always open. However, Square promises that this feature uses background location services to determine when you arrive, and that it’s impact on battery life is minimal.
You’ll also notice a few selections at the bottom. The More Info tab is just that — more information about the business itself. Most useful (assuming the business owner has set it up) is the Items tab. The right side of the screenshot above is what it looks like when a business has a complete menu of items available for browsing on Pay With Square. Quite helpful, yes? Finally, you can also track all of your previous visits from this screen, or add the business to your favorites list.
I really enjoyed the first iteration of Square Card Case. I thought it was beautifully designed, and frankly, I may have even liked the icon a bit more as well.
However, things evolve. And I don’t think that Pay With Square could have been a more expertly executed redesign. The icon looks great, the interface certainly appears more sophisticated and organized, and the core functionality puts the most useful and necessary features right at my fingertips without me even having to think about it.
That, for me, is what makes a great app. When you don’t have to put any effort or thought into using the software; when the app itself and the device on which you’re using it disappear, leaving only you and the intended purpose of the app, a great piece of iOS software has been developed.