Cash has become so Square

Unless you’re turned off to the media world, you know that Square received $25M investment from Starbucks yesterday and very soon will be processing your credit or debit card at over half the Starbucks in the US.

If Forbes has it right, Square and Starbucks will let you mention your name to the cashier and by knowing you’re in a Starbucks store, give the cashier access to your picture and name.

From a personal perspective, Starbucks matches your name and face, which is only good for business. From a security perspective, signatures are so last year.

What does it mean for currency? Well…having cash in your pocket is no reflection of what you really have. In fact, it may be inversely proportional. So ‘currency’ is no longer the right word for the ability to transact using money. When I can move money to you and vice versa with an attachment to our mobile device, currency is no longer current.

Everything changes

What is a cash register? Where does accounting belong? What is a mobile app?…all questions that mobile payments raises. A friend’s mantra is, “all technology is just mildly interesting until it does more than pave over a cow path. Technology is truly interesting when it fundamentally shifts the way we view the world and our behaviors.” My buddy will agree this is one of those things.

Business processes will come under fire, from how we close a transaction and perform ‘checkout’ to where we physically sell goods and services (and who can do it). Customer expectations of what is ‘good’ or ‘fast’ service change. It opens up commerce to disruption in significant ways.

And the competition? There are others working hard in this space but there will be resistance to the idea of having everything you own under one roof. It may be enough that Google has all of your personal records and may be just a little too much that they have control of you money, too. There’s security in diversity, for sure.

If not being on Facebook is suspicious (yesterday in Forbes), how long before using cash is, too?


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Categories: Finance, Mobility, Retail

Author:Chris Taylor

Reimagining the way work is done through big data, analytics, and event processing. There's no end to what we can change and improve. I wear myself out...

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3 Comments on “Cash has become so Square”

  1. August 8, 2012 at 10:26 am #

    Chris – interesting story and spot on that those who will really gain from this new technology are not those who simply implement it, but those who redefine their processes to provide value in new ways.

  2. August 8, 2012 at 2:28 pm #

    This coincides with a fascinating article in Forbes about the “end of cash”


  1. Order-ahead, pay-ahead from your cellphone: The race is on | Successful Workplace - January 15, 2013

    […] closely, you’ll realize the race is on between the various in-store solutions like PayPal and Square. This is disruptive to the ATM and Visa card, but we’ll venture that the real story is in the […]

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