Company allows customers to 'pay by face'

SEATTLE -- It's called "pay by Square," and companies big and small think it's the wave of the future.

Thanks to Square -- a wireless payment system -- customers no longer need cash or checks or even credit cards to pay for items.

Businesses like Seattle's Café Lieto are using the unusual system, which uses a customer's face as currency. At Café Lieto, owner Kimmie Spice needs only to see a customer's face on her iPad -- which is running the Square app -- to process a transaction.

"And that looks like you, I push yes and it charges you," Spice said.

Because it's a quick and easy way to buy things without cash or credit card, and because it has lower merchant fees, Square is picking up steam throughout the country.

"It's super easy all you need is your phone," Spice said.

Merchants can't charge an account unless they see the customer's face and the phone with the app running is in the store. Customers simply add any credit card to the Square account and that's what gets charged.

Café Lieto customers like Stephen Fairweather like the simplicity and speed of the app.

"They actually know I'm coming because I guess within a couple of blocks away, my face will pop up so sometimes they even have the drink ready before I come in," he said.

It's so easy that Starbucks has made an investment into the company. Customers can now pay using the Square wallet app and a barcode on their phone. Starbucks will adopt the wireless option soon.

"I think that the pay with name and face is becoming something that is really prevalent in the future, but even before that getting people to pay with their phone is going to become much more mainstream," said Adam Brotman, chief digital officer with Starbucks.

Starbucks started selling the the Square reader at 7,000 of its stores, and it's free after the first time it's used. Starbucks and the major credit card companies say they are satisfied with the security measures behind square.