Square Launches Gift Cards That Anyone Can Redeem, Even If You Don't Use Square

The payments company adds gift cards to its mobile wallet app to make gift giving both meaningful and simple.

Square has just launched a new service that lets anyone receive gift cards good for one of the more than 200,000 businesses in the U.S. that use Square's mobile payments system.

To send a gift card, you have to first be a user of Square Wallet, Square's mobile wallet app. Users can pick a business, select an amount between $10 and $1,000, and send a gift card along with a note to anyone they'd like--all you need to send a gift card is the recipient's email address.

One nice feature of the gift cards is you don't need to set up a Square Wallet account to use it. If you already have Square Wallet, your gift card will automatically be saved to your Wallet. Square also offers Apple Passbook integration for iOS 6 users. And for everyone else, there's a QR code option that you can use either by having a merchant scan the code on your smartphone, or by printing it out and taking it with you to the store.

Square COO Keith Rabois tells Fast Company the service is a win-win for both merchants, who get a seamlessly integrated marketing product for no additional cost, and busy customers, who don't necessarily have the time or means to get meaningful gifts for friends, especially if they live far away.

"You can sit on your sofa and go through your address book for all the people who are important to you and instantly provide them with an amazing experience," he says. "That's never really been done before."

Rabois won't share how many people are currently using Square Wallet, but says we're "seeing mainstream adoption taking hold," adding that the company's partnership with Starbucks back in August provided a "major" value proposition.

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