Square launched a free service Tuesday that lets anyone send money via email to anyone else.
The service, known as Square Cash, was previously available only in an invite-only beta. For now, at least, it is only available in the United States.
Square Cash doesn't require either person in a transaction to have a Square account, and there are no fees, said product manager Brian Grassadonia. In order to send money, all that's required is for the sender to address an email to the recipient, with a CC: to firstname.lastname@example.org, and the amount in the email's subject line. The body of the email can contain any information the sender wants.
Although users don't need a Square Cash account, both the sender and the recipient must link their email address to a debit card, Grassadonia explained. That step takes place after the email is sent. Once a recipient has gone through that process, that person can then send someone else money without having to re-enter their debit card number. The funds are deposited directly in the recipient's bank account, and not in a stored balance account.
For Square, the service is a way to raise brand awareness -- and a way for it to further take on competitors like PayPal, which today dominates the digital payments business. Square is mainly known as a mobile payments company that allows any merchant to accept credit cards. It also has a service known as Square Wallet that lets users make wireless purchases at thousands of merchants.
With Square Cash, users can send up to $2,500 per week, and the money should arrive in the recipient's bank account within a day or two, Grassadonia said. He also said that Square is committed to providing the service for free, although he did say that if the company adds new features in the future, it might consider a fee.
And while Square Cash was designed to work entirely via e-mail, the service is also available through either an iOS or Android app. The app, however, is really just a front end for sending an email, Grassadonia explained.
This article originally appeared on CNET under the headline "Square Cash lets anyone send money by e-mail -- for free."