On Sunday, Square CEO Jack Dorsey announced via Twitter that Square now offers the ability to give and use gift cards via iOS's Passbook. The gift card announcement is a unique approach to the industry. Traditional gift cards (electronic or physical) require stores to actually offer a gift card. However, Square's implementation lets any Square Wallet user create a gift card for any retailer that uses Square Register to process payments.
To create the gift card, the user simply selects a business that uses Square Register from the Square Wallet app, taps the "Gift Card" button, selects the amount of the gift card and sends it to anyone in their contact book. The recipient will get an email with a link to add it to iOS 6's Passbook.
The advantage to consumers is the ability to buy and send gift cards right from their phone. However, the biggest advantage is for businesses. Traditionally it was costly and time consuming for small businesses to offer gift cards. Now any small business that uses Square Register will be able to do so, thus increasing its sales and potential customer base.
The Square gift card system can be used on iOS or Android via Google Wallet.