Square Cash is Another Way to Get e-Paid; How Does it Stack Up?

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By William Peacock, Esq. on October 17, 2013 3:52 PM

I don't know about you, but I really, really hate paper checks. Clients "put them in the mail," though they rarely arrive on time (if at all). When they do, you have to make a trip to the bank, or try a wonky cell phone app, to deposit the check in your account. You've got better things to do, as do I.

We were excited when Google announced that they would allow users to attach cash to emails. Finally, a paperless payment solution that is as simple as attaching a file to an email -- something nearly every person has done over the last two decades or so. Alas, it was months before that little $ sign was rolled-out to my account, and to date, I still haven't received an electronic payment.

Revolutions take time, I guess. Maybe Square Cash will be the catalyst of that change.

Square Cash: Does 'CC:' Stand for Cash Copy?

Want to send someone cash? If your Gmail lacks the "$" feature, or if you aren't a Gmail user, try sending an email to the payee, with cash@square.com added to the CC line, plus "$(amount)" in the subject line.

You'll get an email minutes later, with a link to Square's website, where you enter your debit card information. Your payee will receive a similar email, asking for her debit card information. The money is then transferred, fee-free.

It's simple. It doesn't require intermediate PayPal or Google Wallet accounts (with their ethics-triggering fees, or PayPal's monthly limits on withdrawals). There are also apps which take the amount to be paid, and auto-fill the email for you.

The cons? Users can only send $250 per week, or $2,500 if they verify their identities via social security numbers or Facebook account linkage. Also, though Square assured The Verge blog that the system is "100 percent secure," does this scream spoofing and phishing to anyone else? How can we be sure that the incoming email isn't from a scammer asking for my debit card information?

(Sidebar rant: is linking with Facebook really now akin to providing the last four digits of your SSN? Really?)

Compared to Google Wallet's Money Attachments

Here's where Google beats it: a Google Wallet account, because of its separate website and interface, is harder to spoof. The limits are also higher, at $50,000 per five day period. Wallet is also fee-free, so long as the payor users their bank account, but if a debit or credit card is used, there is a 2.9 percent fee, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The cons? To receive the money, you'll have to sign up for a Google Wallet account (which is not a particularly arduous task), and once the money is received, you have to manually transfer it to your bank accounts (an extra step beyond Square's system, plus it takes up to two days to process).

One more con? You have to verify your information with Google (including the last four digits of your SSN) before you can send money. Higher limit? Sure, but with a privacy cost.

Ever tried these newfangled electronic payment systems? Do they terrify or titillate you? Tell us more on Facebook at FindLaw for Legal Professionals.

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