A New Debit Card in Square’s Future?

April 19, 2017         By: Steven Anderson

While Square is widely known for the little plastic dongles that let us turn most any smartphone or tablet worthy of the name into a mobile payments processor, there are new reports that say Square’s next move will be a lot more familiar.

The new reports suggest that Square is working on its own breed of debit card, which though something of a step back, will be valuable for Square users going forward.

The reports suggest that Square’s debit card will connect to the Square Cash system, giving it access to more “bank-like” operations. Square Cash started life as a way to engage in some of that peer-to-peer (P2P) mobile payment operations that many users wanted, but few platforms were willing to engage in. With a debit card for Square Cash, though, it becomes a complete mobile payments mechanism.

This isn’t a big step forward for Square; it had already presented a prototype debit card back in 2014, though the program never went live. Additionally, Square already boasts a virtual debit card for online purchases, one that CEO Jack Dorsey uses as his own default payment mechanism.

Square’s stepping up its overall role regardless; soon, small businesses will be able to process over $12,000 of Apple Pay payments every year before fees even get started, and by getting involved with Apple Pay, individual businesses will get $350 worth of savings as well as marketing kits and other incentives to add Apple Pay to current operations.

It’s clear that Square is pulling out all the stops to get users interested and running with Square, from wildly reduced costs to greater usability. It’s interesting that the company’s kind of going backwards on the tech tree, bringing in a debit card to supplement operations, particularly as it already had a virtual debit card operation to offer. Yet at the same time, the older methods do still have a lot of appeal, particularly for older users.

Whether Square’s just covering its bases or actively seeking new business, the key takeaway remains: Square is going to continue to do what it can to make itself a force to be reckoned with in mobile payments. On that front, it’s doing an excellent job.