Square Cash, the payments company’s mobile money app and competitor to Venmo, has today rolled out a new update that lets users send cash by way of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). Called “Nearby Payments,” this new feature works on devices running iOS 8, the company says, and offers an alternative to its previous means of sending money by way of text message, mobile number or email.
Cash users can configure their nearby visibility in the updated app so that they’re visible only to their contacts, or to everyone. The latter would make sense in larger groups – like when you’re splitting the bill at a table where you don’t have all the parties in your own address book, for example.
The Cash app for peer-to-peer payments originally grew out of the way some portion of Square users were interacting with the company’s flagship application and card reader. That is, they were using to to split tabs or for paying back friends after large group purchases of some kind. But with Cash, users can transfer money back and forth for free, instead of incurring the charges associated with credit card payments.
Square Cash formally launched a year ago as a product that allowed anyone to send money to contacts via email. With Cash, you can get your account set up in just a minute and then funds you send are automatically deposited into any U.S. bank account. (Most of these deposits happen instantly, too.) Last year, the company also acquired a Venmo competitor called Evenly.
The app is highly ranked in the Finance category on iTunes, where it currently sits at #18.
Square Cash is available for both iOS and Android, but only the iOS app (so far) is receiving support for Nearby Payments.