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Square's new 'Square Cash' takes on PayPal with payments over email

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Not long after Square announced a card reader meant to replace cash registers, it appears to have another new service in the wings: Square Cash, a service that apparently allows users to email funds directly to someone's bank account. According to a landing page and help page spotted by TechCrunch, using the service is simple: you send an email to a friend with a dollar amount in the subject line, copying a Square email address on the message. The recipient will be asked to associate a debit card with the transfer, after which the money will be sent directly to the bank account linked to it. The sender, meanwhile, will be charged a $0.50 fee.

The tool is apparently in an invite-only testing phase, and it arrives only a few days after Google unveiled its own email-based cash system. Gmail recently added the option to send funds through Google Wallet as an attachment, charging a 2.9 percent or $0.30 fee from a debit or credit card. So far, Square has mostly targeted small businesses, though its Square Wallet app offers gift cards and payment options to consumers. There's no word on when Square Cash could become widely available, but we've reached out for more details.

Update: Square has acknowledged the service to us in a statement: "We're excited to share Square Cash with our friends. We'll continue to invite others to try it out in the coming weeks."