For years, a major advantage online retailers have wielded over their bricks-and-mortar brethren is an ability to save their customers’ payment information – until now.

Today, San Francisco-based Square Inc., a financial services, merchant services aggregator, and mobile payment firm, released Card on File, a new point-of-sale (POS) service that allows Canadian retailers to save their customers’ credit card information – with their permission, of course – for later use.

The service dovetails nicely with Customer Directory, also introduced today, which allows Square customers to store customer information online, where it can be accessed at any time from any platform.

“Not only are these two new tools great for business owners, but for the consumer too,” Square Canada communications manager Leslie Jackson told ITBusiness.ca. “Customers love going where everybody knows their name – it establishes familiarity and comfort that instills trust in a business.”

Card on File screenshot, courtesy Square.

Customer Directory is straightforward, allowing small business owners to create unique customer profiles that keep track of contact information, service preferences, and preferred payment information (i.e. Card on File).

Card on File, which requires customer permission to activate, allows retailers to securely store payment information on Square’s servers. Merchants can then charge their customers – in person or online – through the Square app, the company’s Invoices platform, or its eCommerce application program interface (API). Customers added to a Square client’s directory then receive an email confirming the retailer has a file for them.

The retailer, in turn, can now use the Card on File tool to charge their customers in the future, with the customer automatically receiving an email receipt each time their card is charged, and free to use their e-receipts to unlink their cards at any time.

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