Mobile

The Future of Mobile Payments: Will Google Acquire Square?

With a famous CEO and founder in Jack Dorsey and over $200 million in venture capital from some of the largest VC firms and companies, Square has been in the limelight since its inception.

If you're not already familiar with Square, the mobile payments company first came onto the scene offering its small, square credit card reader that transformed credit card payments, especially for small businesses and merchants, and allowed anyone to accept credit card payments right from their smartphone.

Square has grown to be a robust mobile payments business with products that also include a digital cash register, a digital marketplace, a mobile wallet, and Square Cash, a wire transfer service to send money to friends and family.

With the surge in popularity of connected products and the Internet of Things, many have started to question the future of mobile payments in our connected world and Square's future as an independent company.

According to Re/code and the Wall Street Journal, both Apple and Google have considered acquiring Square. Representatives from all companies are denying these talks took place, but it does bring up an interesting question around the future of Square and mobile payments and the impact Square would have on a company like Google's offerings.

With potential acquirers like Apple, Google, Amazon, PayPal, American Express, and many others all having significant value from an acquisition of Square, their future is bright. Who's also to say that an IPO is not in the Square's future, either?

I believe, though, that Google will have the most to gain from acquiring Square and might be the one to take the risk. Here's my reasons why:

Enhanced Data & Targeting
Purchase information through Square would be invaluable for Google, giving Google even more data at its disposal for targeted ads, Google Now, and predictive ads. Bridging the gap between online and offline behaviors is a major challenge for most brands, but has the opportunity to bring valuable insights and data. Square would help Google bridge those behaviors in a way where Google Wallet fell short.

Google Wallet
Acquiring Square would bring enormous opportunity for Google to reinvent Google Wallet and enhance payment options with Google Wallet. As I said, Google Wallet was intended to help improve Google ads and better target ads itself, but it has not taken off for in-store payments with consumers. Square, though, also has their own "Square Wallet" for consumer mobile payments. Merging Google Wallet and Square Wallet along with Square merchants would bring major gains for Google's payments business.

Digital wallets, though, have lagged in consumer adoption. They haven't brought significant value in terms of time saved or number of integrated stores and merchants. In order for mobile payments to gain significant traction among consumers, it will take more innovations like Coin.

Integrating Google Ads
Google could also be looking at ways to somehow integrate ads and offers with real-time, offline purchase behavior through Square, furthering the reach, impact, and relevancy of advertisements and Google search ads.

Complete a Robust Small Business Package
With services like Google Apps, and programs like Get Your Business Online with Google, Google has tailored an entire package for small businesses and merchants. A company like Square would bring that package full circle, offering services to help businesses get online as well as improving offline efficiencies in payment processing.

The rumors are, though, that Jack Dorsey is not fond of selling to Google and would lean more toward an Apple acquisition. At the end of the day, these are all simply rumors, but the future of Square, mobile payments, and connected shopping devices will certainly be a bright one.

Images: Square Media Resources

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