- Cash App wants to be ‘the most sought-after payments network in the US,’ according to recent job postings.
- It’s hiring for roles to build out new payments flows, which could cut out networks like Mastercard and Visa.
- Cash App Business is already growing fast, accounting for 8% of Square’s total volumes as of Q4 2020.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
For Square, 2020 was, in many ways, the year of Cash App.
The payment giant’s personal finance offering saw 440% growth last year. And while a large portion of that was a result of the resurgence of cryptocurrency, Cash App’s non-Bitcoin related revenue still grew by 137% year-over-year in 2020.
Meanwhile, on the seller side of Square, where it’s known for its white cash registers and card readers popular at coffee shops, revenue grew just 2% year-over-year.
Now, Square is looking to build on the momentum of the past year as it hires for a slew of positions at Cash App focused on turning the app into much more than just a peer-to-peer Venmo rival.
Of the more than 500 job postings on Square’s website, nearly 100 are for Cash App. And while many are engineering and product roles for existing offerings, a few are focused on new Cash App tools and features that indicate ambitious plans Square has for the growing app.
Cash App is building “the fastest, most reliable, and easiest to use payment network,” according to the job postings. And in some use cases, that could position it to compete directly with traditional payments networks like Mastercard and Visa.
Part of the strategy includes a push to get more merchants using Cash App Business, where consumers pay businesses via Cash App’s peer-to-peer network. That means Square doesn’t have to pay fees to payments networks for credit and debit-card transactions.
“It’s not only the opportunity to merge the seller and the Cash App ecosystems and potentially dramatically increase margins on those transactions,” Maximilian Friedrich, an analyst at ARK Invest, told Insider. Square would likely earn the majority, if not all, of transaction revenue in cases where money is moving within the Square and Cash App ecosystems, Friedrich added.
“It’s also opening up the Cash App platform, which has 36 million users, to merchants more broadly,” Friedrich said. “Those, for us, are very interesting value propositions.”
Cash App is hiring to build the ‘most sought-after payments network in the US’
Cash App, launched in 2013, is led by Brian Grassadonia, a 10-year Square veteran who joined the company as its first product manager in 2010. The app started as a way for users to send and receive money, but has since evolved to include banking and trading features.
It has over 36 million monthly active users as of December, up 50% from the end of 2019. Square says that its average customer acquisition for Cash App is less $5 per user. It’s growth is largely driven by the network effects of its P2P offering.
In 2021, it plans to increase marketing spend in an effort to re-engage the 80 million consumers that have used Cash App in the past, but aren’t currently active, CFO Amrita Ahuja said during Square’s fourth quarter earnings call.
But Cash App isn’t just focused on consumers. It’s starting to lure businesses, too.
The payments giant is looking to turn Cash App into its own payments network that expands beyond P2P to include merchants, based on recent job postings. Offering Cash App as a payment method with merchants would put Square in direct competition with card networks like Amex, Mastercard, and Visa, as well as other payments players like PayPal.
For one, Square is searching for someone to lead network business development and sales for Cash App. They’ll be tasked with turning Cash App into “the most sought-after payment network in the US,” according to the job description. This person will work with Cash App’s network team. Square declined to provide more details on the job postings.
Square is also hiring several senior software engineers focused on “new product” within the Cash App network product team, which is “all about finding new ways to pay and get paid,” according to the job descriptions.
The team, which is relatively new, is led by Austin Broyles, who worked at Square as a staff engineer from 2011 to 2013. He returned to the company in October 2020 as an engineer for Cash App, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Cash App for businesses is growing quickly
Square’s push to lure merchants on to Cash App Business is part of the company’s strategy to create a so-called closed-loop payments network.
Through Cash App Business, Square is able to cut out intermediaries, moving money internally between Cash App consumer and business accounts via its existing peer-to-peer framework.
Payments between consumers and sellers all occuring within the Cash App ecosystem mean Square stands to earn more on each purchase, as opposed to giving up fees to credit and debit-card processors like Visa and Mastercard.
Square monetizes Cash App Business transactions at 2.75%, Ahuja said during Square’s third quarter earnings call last year. And while profit margins on Cash App Business transactions haven’t been disclosed, the closed-loop nature of the payments could mean Square’s earning more than the overall 1.23% transaction-based profit margins Square reported for 2020.
“From our understanding, those transactions should be very profitable for Square,” Friedrich said.
For Square, by cutting out credit and debit cards, the entire transaction happens inside the Cash App ecosystem, meaning it earns more on each transaction.
“That’s a very different picture to the rest of Square’s business,” he added in regards to how Square normally facilitates purchases made with debit and credit cards by giving up a slice of revenue to those card processors.
And Cash App Business is growing fast. Total volumes grew 216% year-over-year in 2020, accounting for 8% of Square’s total volumes as of the fourth quarter last year (up from 3% at the end of 2019).
Cash App Business’ transaction-based revenues were up 221% year-over-year at $234 million in 2020, accounting for about 17% of Cash App’s non-Bitcoin-related revenue, according to its fourth quarter earnings report.
The value proposition to merchants is simple: With 36 million active users and marketing tools like rewards platform Boost, Cash App could help sellers win more sales, Friedrich, said.
To be sure, Visa and Mastercard still maintain massive market share as two of the largest payment networks in the world. In the US alone, the two companies processed 87% of the more than $6.75 trillion in credit and debit-card transactions in 2020, according to Nilson.
To be sure, Square is still focused on its bread-and-butter seller ecosystem. It’s also hiring a senior software engineer focused on new products for Square Capital, its business lending offering. The hire will be focused on building a new set of financial offerings for sellers, according to the job posting.
It’s a new team that’s building an “unreleased product that is expected to ship in Q2 2021,” the job posting says. “This new product will redefine the future of financial services for small businesses on Square.”
Cash App is also hiring for its own commerce offering
Last December, Cash App released a line of branded merch, like sweatshirts and hoodies, offered at a discount if consumers paid with Cash App. The rollout was something of a beta test for a closed-loop retail network, whereby Cash App users shop and pay all within the app.
Now, it’s hiring engineers focused on building a commerce experience.
Cash App’s checkout is powered by an OAuth 2.0-based API, an industry standard in authorizing purchases and a function usually owned by card networks and banks. By using this API, Cash App is looking to “empower the consumer in what is traditionally a merchant and bank-controlled world,” according to the job descriptions.
Cash App’s merch line is linked in the job description as a demo of what the commerce team is building.