Mobile payments have made it so that you don’t have to take out your wallet to pay. Now the Apple Watch is making it so that you don’t have to take out your iPhone either.
On Tuesday, Square Cash released its Apple Watch-compatible app. The updated Square Cash app lets you transfer funds between friends, family, or anyone close by with just a few taps on the Apple Watch interface. To start using Square Cash on the Apple Watch, just download or update to the latest Square Cash app for iOS. It’s free to download and there are no transaction fees if you are transferring money between friends or family.
The Square Cash Watch app has been designed to make it easy to transfer funds by using virtual bills representing $1, $10, $20, $50, or $100. If you want to send $31 to a friend for example, simply tap the $20 bill, the $10 bill, and the $1. Square Cash also sends your Apple Watch a notification when someone requests money from you, and you can accept or reject the transaction right from your wrist.
If you want to split the dinner bill with a big group—so big that not everyone is in your contacts list—Square Cash lets you collect money from people nearby, too. The app uses Bluetooth LE technology to spot Cash users within 250 feet. The app also relies on 128-bit encryption and Touch ID or passcode verification to transfer the funds directly from or into your bank account.
Why this matters: The friend-to-friend mobile payments arena is getting crowded, as Square Cash is not only competing with other payment players like Venmo and PayPal. In the last year, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat have also started experimenting with facilitating money transactions over their vast social networks.
Square Cash was created by Square, the maker of the easy-to-use credit card reader for businesses. Earlier this summer, Square started testing an option for conducting Apple Pay transactions.
Oscar writes about iOS, mobile culture and digital music. He also hosts 'The iPhone Show' from Macworld's San Francisco HQ.