I don’t usually write about services that I use, but one that I really have been excited about is Square Cash.

Square Cash is an application by Square that uses email to do secure cash transfers. I have been using it for a while now, mostly to send money to friends when I need to pay them back for buying lunch (or when they need to pay me back). It is extremely simple to use, and is free.

It is extremely simple to use, all you need is a bank debit card, and you can start texting your friends money (or asking for money from them.

And right now, if you follow this link https://square.com/cash/D28b8Q, both you and I will get a buck deposited in the bank.

I’ve worked hard (as many others have) to eliminate credit cards, stay away from large fee charging banks, and generally protect my money, so when I recently learned that the EDD is paying people with debit cards, I got a bit angry (see: http://www.sfbg.com/2011/09/13/banking-misfortune?page=0,1.)

Debit Card

Now I think the idea of giving people an option other than a check or direct deposit is commendable, and I hope that the EDD at least did this to save some money (although I can’t imagine how this could possibly be more cost effective than an EFT, since somebody has to pay all those bank fees that B of A loves to charge). And maybe I’m just being old fashioned, like a generation ago when the move from cash to paychecks first happened, or again when direct deposit became the norm.

But I don’t think this is really the same, because when a check (or a direct deposit happened), you weren’t an involuntary customer of Bank of America. You were a customer of whatever bank you wanted to be. And if you weren’t a Bank of America customer, they couldn’t count you on their customer roles.

Overnight, B of A has a huge influx of people they can market to. They have an additional revenue stream as well, since these are debit cards, so if you use them at a merchant, that merchant has to pay fees to get their money.

Will the next step be elimination of paychecks ? Maybe the IRS would like that: your money would pass through B of A, they could directly pull taxes from there since it is the Bank of America ….

This just feels plain wrong to me.