And clearly, the mobile payment company Square doesn't want to be left behind. Within the past week, founder Jack Dorsey has announced several major moves. Whether or not any of it can make a dent in what Forrester Research expects to be a $142 billion industry by 2019 is up for debate, but nonetheless, Dorsey continues to prove that he's a pro at working the media circuit when he wants to make noise. Here are three interesting announcements:
1. Vanishing Money
Last week, Square partnered with Snapchat to power mobile payments within the hot social app. The new "Snapcash" feature lets users store debit card information in the app and send money to friends.
It's unclear how much cash will actually flow through Snapchat, but the move singles out millennials as the key to making mobile payments more common. While Snapchat has a massive audience, other players like Venmo and Facebook are also singling out younger consumers with their own social media mobile payments.
"The product you're seeing today is fast, fun and incredibly simple," Snapchat said in a blog post about the new function last week.
2. Cozying Up to Apple
Dorsey told CNN last week that his company plans to accept Apple Pay in 2015.
Traditionally, Square and Apple have been seen as competitors since each requires separate point-of-sale equipment, which retailers have to invest in.
But Dorsey wants Square to become an all-in-one processor that can accept any kind of payment, from credit cards to mobile transfers. "We're not building a credit card. We're not building a payment device. We're building a [cash] register, and this register accepts all these forms of payments," he told CNN.
3. Going Old School With Digital Payments
One of the biggest hurdles for mobile payments is that people are used to swiping credit cards—it's an ingrained behavior.
So, Square started letting its merchants sell physical gift cards to customers earlier this month. For $1.50, retailers can choose from templates or design their own gift cards. Then, they can sell the cards from their Square Register.
Plastic gift cards are still a lucrative market for retailers during the holidays, and Square's move gives merchants an incentive to use Square’s payment technology. Plus, the retro cards may actually appeal to nostalgic millennials.