Square Overhauls its App, But How’s Ignition Going?

Square’s Card Case payment app wasn’t even a year old, and now it’s gone. The company who disrupted the POS space with its white square mobile dongle rolled out a major upgrade to its geofencing payment system this week, and gave it a new title: Pay With Square.

Along with the technical update, Square also updated us on its merchant total for the service: they’re now at 75,000, up from 40,000 in February and 20,000 in November, according to TechCrunch. Globally speaking this is still quite small, but compare it to LevelUp, which has an estimated 1,400 merchant signups.

Evaluating consumer adoption takes a little more digging, and is much less precise. But there are some readily available data that help us guess. Each app in the iOS App Store has its own page (see example), and while it doesn’t show the total number of downloads, it does show the number of reviews. Square’s Card Reader app, for example, has 10,355 ratings; PayPal’s iPhone app has more than 54,000 ratings.

If there’s any correlation between review numbers and total downloads, it’s safe to say Card Case/Pay With Square is much less popular. To date, the app has been reviewed just 161 times, including 16 ratings today. Like I said, imprecise — but still telling.

With today’s update, the core features of Card Case remain intact: customers can still walk up to merchants who have signed up for the platform and instantly be recognized by the payment app. Using GPS and geofencing technology, Square “wakes up” the consumer’s phone automatically, so users don’t even have to take their smartphones out of their pockets to make purchases.

But Pay With Square improves on Card Case, the company says, by putting more emphasis on merchant discovery. In the new app, Square put both a carousel of featured merchants and a map showing their locations in prime spots, to try to get app users to buy with more merchants. The new app also includes social media integration, so consumers can tweet about their experiences as soon as they make a purchase — or, maybe shortly after, since the whole “coolness factor” with Card Case/Pay With Square is the fact that you don’t have to actually present your smartphone to buy things.

Based on the above numbers, an upgrade to the consumer experience is precisely what Card Case/Pay With Square needed to bring the platform closer to full-on ignition. And today’s update made one more move that will help keep the consumer side of the platform well populated: this version now works with Android, in addition to iOS.

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Our data and analytics team has developed a number of creative methodologies and frameworks that measure and benchmark the innovation that’s reshaping the payments and commerce ecosystem. In the November 2019 Mobile Order-Ahead Report, PYMNTS talks with Dan Wheeler, Wahlburgers’ SVP, on how the QSR balances security and seamlessness to secure its recently launched WahlClub loyalty program.

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