Square Card Case: Leave Your Wallet at Home

How many times have you walked to the store to pick up a carton of eggs, or some mundane item, and you realize you forgot your wallet at home?

Now you can intentionally leave your wallet at home thanks to Square’s (relatively) new Card Case for the iPhone. Square Card Case is the next logical advancement in the Square payment system. Essentially, users can “start a tab” at their favorite retailers or vendors making the need for such things as cold hard cash (not to mention wallets) superfluous.


The Basics

Square Card Case is the next version of the Square revolution. Square, as you may know, is the mobile payment startup co-founded by Jack Dorsey of Twitter fame. Essentially, the Square Reader is a small attachment for iPhones, Androids and iPads, which enables the retailer to accept physical credit card payments. Benefits of the Square system are that smaller businesses and independent retailers such as taxi drivers, stylists at hair salons, and the like all have the option of receiving a mobile payment and analytics from their customers. The customers on the other hand, have the receipts emailed to them and the added convenience of paying electronically.

The Square Card Case is the next evolutionary step for the Square brand. Designed to resemble a leather wallet, Square Card Case offers users the opportunity to get cards (open tabs) for their favorite venders — ranging from medical doctors to coffee shops — who have the corresponding Square Register software. In addition to providing a paperless experience, the app stores purchase history (receipts), a vendor directory and live menu information for selected vendors.

Square Card Case is your virtual wallet

Square Card Case is your virtual wallet

When starting the app, you are prompted to create an account. Creating an account is as easy as choosing a user name, password, adding a credit card and an optional profile photo.

That’s it for setup.

Square Card Case uses your location to find local vendors that use Square Register

Square Card Case uses your location to find local vendors that use Square Register

In order to find vendors that are using the required Square Register app, just tap the Explore Places option at the bottom of your card case. This option uses your location to pull together a list of vendors in your relative vicinity. Once you tap a promising location, it rises to the forefront of your screen and gives you the option to start a tab (if you are within two blocks), the option to keep the card in your cardholder and a More button. The More button opens up a new screen featuring a Google map (which if you tap will show the option to open the location in Google Maps), menu information if relevant, and the Start/Use Tab and History.

In my eagerness to get started, I selected a number of locations that I had been to (none of them particularly close to me), and a number of locations that I would like to visit, and added them to my card case. This means that when I selected the vendor, and the card was pulled to the forefront of my screen, I tapped the button marked Keep Card. Said card was then added to my card case and available as an open tab for the linked location.

Square Card Case keeps track of your "open tabs"

Square Card Case keeps track of your "open tabs"

The User Experience

Roughly one block away from my first Square Card Case experience at Sightglass Coffee, I opened up the app and selected the Use Tab button. By tapping that button and physically being within a few blocks, I was essentially “checking in” to that location. My photo linked to my “tab” immediately appeared in Sightglass’s Square Register and was ready for me to place an order. When I ordered, the employee was quickly able to see my “tab” on his screen and thus attribute my order to me and effectively charge my account.

Square Card Case allows you to easily add a tip to your order and keep track of your purchase history

Square Card Case allows you to easily add a tip to your order and keep track of your purchase history

My order was then pushed to my iPhone and I was able to see each item that I ordered and determine the appropriate tip (no tip, 20%, 30%, 40%). After confirming the amount was correct, adding the tip and tapping the Done button, I was prompted to Use Tab. Tap and done. My order history or receipt is then relegated to my history section under Sightglass Coffee’s card in my Card Case.


Playfully referencing a leather wallet, this app seems to hit all the main points of design and functionality that are relevant to the customer. The one improvement that I would hope to see soon is the option to add multiple credit cards to your account. Also, there are still only a relative few vendors currently using the Square Register. However, I believe if you check back in a year, or even six months, that the number of vendors using Square Register will have significantly increased.

This app is essentially starting a new conversation on the advancement of the retailer/customer relationship. While Google has mobile wallet for Android phones and Apple and PayPal are said to be working on an equivalent, Square has really jumped ahead of the curve with creating an extremely simple solution.


A virtual wallet for your iPhone.