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Square wants its logo to be synonymous with mobile payments
Following Square's Portland campaign, the city has a higher penetration of mobile wallet payments than the national average.
Square wants you to pay with your phone. The company is in the process of making a big push to make Square and mobile payments synonymous.
In Portland, over the past several months, Square has been educating consumers with signage as it rolls out the company’s new chip-card and NFC-based payments hardware. Apple has also been supporting the effort to help educate users about mobile payments.
The value proposition, as the signage indicates, is “pay faster.” According to Square’s head of marketing Kevin Burke, consumers appear to like and be getting the message. Square now reports that Portland has higher penetration of mobile wallet payments (e.g., Apple Pay) than the national average.
The company added that consumers using mobile payments tipped more often than those paying with cash or a traditional card swipe.
Square referred me to local Portland restaurant RUA to discuss the merchant experience with mobile payments and its new contactless reader. I spoke with owner Jason Myers.
Myers told me that RUA started using the new Square reader in February of this year. He said that at first he had to tell people what the new hardware was, although Square provided signage that included Apple Pay logos.
Now more people appear to be catching on. Myers explained, “When we’re busy it moves people through the line quicker. Also, a couple people have forgotten their wallets. Instead of them leaving they paid.” So he’s happy with the new system, which is still used in a minority of transactions — although it’s growing according to Myers.
“We’ve been pitched a lot of chip-card readers and NFC devices,” said Myers. “The Square reader is the most recognizable easy to use.” A big fan of Square, Myers also touted the benefits of Square Capital, which he has used to finance an expansion of his restaurant. “It was pretty awesome.”
Among the distribution of mobile payments at RUA, Myers says that about 90 percent are Apple Pay and about 10 percent Android Pay. However a recent consumer survey from PR firm Walker Sands found that Android Pay was more widely used than Apple Pay. Security and privacy concerns were the reasons most often cited for consumers not trying mobile payments.
Despite these (largely unfounded concerns), the rise of mobile and in-app payments is inevitable, given substantial evidence that Millennials and younger users prefer them (or their idea) to traditional plastic cards.