July 18, 2013

Minneapolis-based U.S. Bank announced today that it has added Square to its digital wallet options available to customers via their iOS and Android smartphones.

The announcement comes during a time when many in the financial services industry look at the San Francisco-based Square as a potential competitor. The company made waves last fall when it announced it was partnering with Starbucks to offer its card reader and mobile payments technologies at Starbucks locations nationwide. And some banks have tried to hone in on Square's territory, such as Bank of America, which last year announced it was rolling out its own mobile card reader as an alternative to Square's card-reading device.

But U.S. Bank, while acknowledging that Square does compete in some areas, felt that this offering would ultimately be a convenience for their customers, Dominic Venturo, chief innovation officer for for U.S. Bank Payment Services tells Bank Systems & Technology.

"Square is a multi-faceted company that, in some cases, does offer products that appear to compete with products we offer and that's fine, we welcome competition," he says. "They also offer many consumers the convenience of the Square Wallet and the ability to pay with that wallet. We see that portion of their offerings as complementary to our payments business and desire to enable our customers to pay where, when, and how they would like to with our products."

The bank said customers can now link their U.S. Bank credit, debit, or prepaid account to the Square application to make purchases from their smartphone.

Square's technology automatically manages the transaction from the customer's U.S. Bank payment account to the merchant. Transactions are then completed without the cashier ever having the customer's account number and other sensitive data, the bank said. U.S. Bank added that its customers can choose to register with one or more wallets and shop at any store that displays the wallet's logo.

"We share a strong commitment with U.S. Bank to helping local businesses thrive," said Chuck Kimble, head of strategic partnerships with Square, in a prepared statement. "Square Wallet gives U.S. Bank customers an easy and engaging way to discover and pay at great businesses in their neighborhood - all from their phone."

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bryan Yurcan is associate editor for Bank Systems and Technology. He has worked in various editorial capacities for newspapers and magazines for the past 8 years. After beginning his career as ...