Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I would like one Square of Mint please…

I think Square is perhaps the coolest thing I have seen since Mint with respect to personal finance management. Square is a new service aimed at helping both the payer and the payee. As someone making payments, with a Square account receipts are instantly at your fingertips through either email or a mobile device. As someone taking payments, with a Square account the payer can swipe their card on a dongle that fits onto a mobile device. This enables virtually anyone to begin accepting credit card payments. Think of the possibilities.  No cash but want to buy a hot dog from the street vendor, no problem.

Here is a pic of an example receipt. Note the location of the purchase, the number of times the payer has been there, the signature, and how the transaction will appear on an actual credit card statement.


(Copyright Square, Inc)

Much more can be learned about Square at the website. What I think would be very cool is if Square and Mint joined forces. As an active Mint user I want to see my Square account and Square receipts in the Mint user interface. No more having to track down what some cryptic restaurant or bar is.

If Square really takes off it could be much larger than Mint would ever be. It is disappointing that Intuit purchased Mint in what I considered an early part of its initial product offering. Mint has a long way to go at becoming the end-all-be-all of personal financial  management. A scenario can be imagined where Square takes off and needs an intuitive UI to manage users’ payments – that is Mint’s strength. Unfortunately Mint is no longer a private entity.

Hopefully some of the innovations Square is pioneering will find a way to be integrated with Mint in a first-class solution. Basically I want my Mint^2.

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