While keeping customer email addresses is fairly common practice, Square wants to help its partners do that service one better by allowing customers who frequent the place to pay with the information from cards they have already used. No card required.
To make this feat possible, Square launched Card on File — a new tool that stores customers' payment information. With customer permission — and only with customer permission — businesses using this service will be able to charge customers without requiring any further action from them — no card, no phone — no additional equipment required.
The service is voluntary on both sides — customers can opt in or out by choice and merchants can chose who they want to sign up, if anyone at all.
Will it work? That is the big question — and hinges on whether or not customers are as comfortable giving their credit card data to a local coffee shop as they are to Amazon, Apple or Netflix. The service will work through the in-store option Square Register, Square Invoices and Square's e-commerce API. Businesses can use Card on File to charge remote customers from their stores.
"Customers love going where everybody knows their name — it establishes familiarity that instills trust in a business," the company wrote in a blog post. "Simple and effective tools for sellers can help build this rapport, deepening relationships with regular customers in a way that doesn’t take time away from running a successful business. Today, Square is introducing , which gives sellers the ability to provide an even higher level of personalized service, and makes accepting payment significantly easier."