Recently Square, the people who made it easy for anyone with an iOS device to accept credit cards, came out with Square Cash. It's a service that allows you to send and receive money to anyone for FREE. All you need is their email address. It's really an incredibly easy and fast service. You can go to their website right now and put in your email to receive a dollar and see how it works. The first time you use the app you put in an amount of money and then say send, then you put in the persons email address. If it's your first time sending money they will ask for your debit card from which the funds will be withdrawn. When the person on the other end receives it (if it's their first time) they'll be asked for their debit card to which the funds will be credited. The next time you simply send it and they receive it in their account 1 to 2 days later. You transfer up to $2500 per week so it's really amazing if you want to split a dinner check, pay a babysitter, or even in some cases, pay an outsource provider. It gets even easier when you realize that you don't need the app to use the service. My friend Nick of the calendar app Calvin recently showed me this and it blew my mind. All you do is pull up a new email, put in the person's address, then in the CC field you write firstname.lastname@example.org if you are sending them money and email@example.com if you want to request money from them. Then you put the amount in subject line (ie $80) and whatever you want in the email body itself.
If you think about it, there are certain events which trigger the necessity to pay someone or for you to be paid. For example, every time you write an article for a particular website you get paid, or every time someone cleans your house, they get paid. If there is a common and repeatable trigger than you can now automate the payment using Square Cash. As usual this is one of my hacks and not an in-built feature of the service.
First comes the trigger and this really could be anything that Zapier offers such as a blog post hitting an RSS feed, a Tweet with a coded hashtag, or even a password protected contact form on your site where people can submit "invoices." If you want to get really tricky you could play around with some of the home automation aspects of IFTTT and make it so, for instance the person who waters your plants every week simply flips a light switch on their way out and that triggers them to get paid.
The payment part is easy, set it up in Zapier so that it sends an email through Gmail to the person, CC'ing firstname.lastname@example.org and the subject can be the amount or it can be derived from the trigger. There you have it, you've now automated the process of paying people and if you're lucky, getting paid, so you can just sit back and watch the money go into your account.
What payments can you automate using this method?