Find it hard to even get out of bed without a cup of coffee? Square, the mobile payment company, has an answer for you.
The payment firm with the little white card readers announced it's branching out Wednesday and trying its hand at placing orders for some coffee-lovers in New York and San Francisco, through a deal with Blue Bottle Coffee and other participating coffee shops. Just download the new Square Order app -- which will need to be able to read your location -- and place your request with your local barista. Square's app will let the store know when you're nearby and they should start making your order.
Is it a little goofy? Sure. But the app starts to offer a glimpse of what consumers have been told for years about the promise of mobile payment. In theory, at least, this should be a painless, happy transaction where there's no staring at menus and annoying the people behind you, no wallet-fumbling and no surprises over what your name's morphed into during the ordering process.
And, because this is a payment company, Square will charge your coffee for you as you leave the store, so you really won't have to do much at all before you've downed your daily dose of caffeine. The app will also let you save orders so you can make this part of your daily routine.
It also steps up Square's game in the mobile payment world, which is getting very competitive indeed. Apple Pay has the potential to make millions of iPhone users into mobile payers overnight. PayPal, soon to be liberated from the rest of eBay, will be focusing even more on tapping the buying power of smartphones in stores and out. Actually, nearly everyone --- tech giants Google and Amazon, carriers such as AT&T, banks, retailers such as Walmart -- has their own ideas and, in some cases, their own products to crack the mobile payment world.
So it may start with bi-coastal coffee shops, but don't think for a second that it will definitely end there. Square spokeswoman Semonti Stephens said that the firm definitely wants to expand the service over time to "many other cities," including Washington, D.C.