It’s that time of year again: class gifts, gifts to the school bus driver, drinks out with the team, year-end pizza parties gifts for the department assistants. I feel like I’m always chipping in for something. It’s wonderful when someone takes the lead and organizes these outings and gifts, but it can get oh so complicated when it is time to settle the bill.
Just last spring when I volunteered to organize the year-end gift for his teachers, it got really messy fast. A couple of moms posted themselves outside the classroom and collected cash one morning but marking who had contributed and how much was tricky. Checks. I’m not sure why checks seem like such a hassle but dealing with a handful of checks for small denominations was such a pain. One online payment transfer service we tried was ok, but then I had several sets of parents emailing to say they didn’t use that service. Ugh. So. Complicated. It was enough to make me feel like I was being penalized for volunteering in the first place.
Shortly after that, I went to brunch with a group of old friends. There were ten of us: some
couples, some flying solo. When the bill came, out came the credit cards. Eight. Absurd. I felt sorry for the server having to swipe all those cards. Eventually, some of us scrounged for cash to pay our portions so we could pare things back to three cards. Then began the complicated explanations to the server about how much should go on each card. To settle up completely, one of my friends gave me four dollars in quarters. Sigh.
I’ve found a solution for all this hassel; it’s an app from Square: Square Cash. Lots of us have seen the Square swipe attachment used with mobile devices to process credit cards. –I think half of the vendors at my local farmers market now use them to swipe credit cards. Square Cash isn’t that. It’s even easier. Square Cash is an app that sits on your phone like any other.
The whole setup process was complete in under two minutes: I went to the app store downloaded the app. I set up my account with my cell phone number and confirmed it with a text they sent me. Then I added my bank account info so I could send and receive cash. It couldn’t have been easier.
Paying or requesting funds from the app was also a breeze simply add the dollar amount and hit either “request” or “pay.” You will then get a prompt that looks like an email interface with a “To” line and a “For:” line. Then you hit “pay” or “request” again, and you are done. Your friends will then get a text or an email letting them know you are sending them money. As long as you link your bank account/debit card sending money to friends is free! Once you receive funds, you can cash them out and get them into your bank account immediately.
The app even interfaces with your contacts. When I tried it out, I could tell which friends were already set up with Square Cash because they had a ‘cashtag’ under their name. –Essentially, a profile name with a dollar-sign ahead of it. A friend named Cash Tag might have $cashtag under his profile name. But, never fear, you can also send funds to people even if they don’t have the app yet. I used it just this weekend after drinks out with a friend. As she was putting her credit card away I scrolled to her name in my contacts, clicked on her name and ‘cashtag’ and sent the funds while we were still sitting at the bar.
Square Cash is going to remove a huge hassle factor this holiday. Drinks out with the
department? No problem. Going in on a joint gift for mom or dad? Settle up with your siblings in a snap. I may even raise my hand to take the lead on the class gift again since Square Cash will make collecting all the contributions a snap.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Square, Inc. The opinions and text are all mine.