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Square's new gift card initiative includes support for Apple's Passbook

Mobile payment pioneer Square on Sunday introduced a new gift giving service, allowing users of the company's free Square Wallet app to send and receive digital gift cards which can be stored in Apple's Passbook iOS app.

Square Wallet

Source: Square

Square's system leverages it entire installed base of over 250,000 participating merchants nationwide to let Square Wallet, formerly Pay with Square, users search for, pick and buy gift cards that can be sent via email to anyone, even those who aren't yet part of the program.

The setup is much like existing gift card purchase-and-redemption services, such as Apple's own Apple Store cards, allowing customers to buy and send the digital assets without have to physically swipe a credit card. For example, the recipient of a Square Wallet gift card can simply store the certificate in the dedicated app, print out the QR code or store it in Passbook.

On the merchant side, an update to Square Register was also rolled out on Sunday to allow business owners to accept and process the gift card transactions.

It should be noted that Square's initiative is cross-platform, meaning owners of iPhones and iPads can buy and send gift cards to Android users, and vice versa.

Square first introduced QR code payment integration when it partnered with Starbucks in August.

The new initiative comes less than a week after credit card company Discover released an iOS app update that allows customers to turn their Cashback Bonus rewards into eCertificates, which can be stored in Apple's Passbook.

Both Square Wallet and Square Register are available now as free downloads through the App Store.