It's becoming increasingly less common for people to carry cash. We're all so used to flashing our phone for contactless payments, or simply handing over a piece of plastic whenever we need to make a purchase. In 2013, PayPal purchased the mobile payment service, Venmo, to help it take the next step into payment future. In the same year, competing transaction company Square launched their own “Square cash” solution, followed quickly by Square Cash for business.
The Square cash app is designed to help people accept payments quickly and manage money with their friends. It's also one of the easiest ways for today's versatile merchants to accept payment via mobile.
Like most of the products in the Square portfolio, Square cash is a simple, tech-focused platform intended to make life just a little bit easier. If you think it might be the best way to upgrade your transaction strategy, read through our Square cash review to find out more.
Square Cash Review: Introduction
So, what is Square Cash, first of all?
Well, in simple terms, it's a mobile payment software for both Android and iOS devices. In the consumer world, the basic version of Square Cash ensures that people can send crucial payments to their friends and family members with ease.
The slightly more advanced version of Square Cash, Square Cash for Business, adds eCommerce and transactional tools into the mix so that you can accept payments specifically for your company. Square Cash for Business is basically a reduced version of Square POS, giving you the mechanisms you need to receive payments, but without most of the bells and whistles.
Square Cash is better suited to smaller companies without many payments to deal with. If you're a consumer just using the standard app or a small merchant who frequently sells their wares at market stalls and pop-up events, then Square Cash could be ideal for you.
- Physical card available
- Protect payments with passcode, Face ID and Touch ID
- Payments made within minutes
- Sending money costs nothing
- Payments deposited into bank account in seconds
- Simple User Interface
- Business features available
- Cash app allows users to buy bitcoin
Square Cash Review: Pricing
The chances are that before you download any application, for business or otherwise, you're going to need to check the price. After all, no-one wants to pay a fortune for their tech. Fortunately, Square Cash is 100% free to use, whether you're an individual, or you're using the business option.
You can download the app from the iOS or Android store and start using it for free immediately. If you're using the business version, then you'll be charged a per-transaction fee of 2.75% – but that's it. All payment processing solutions for business come with some kind of processing fee – so that's entirely normal.
One thing to note is that Square Cash will also take a 3% fee if you're linking a credit card to the app to use as payment, as it's more expensive to process this kind of transaction.
Square Cash Review: Usability
Once you know how much your new app is going to cost, the next step is learning how to use it.
Getting started with the Square Cash for Business solution is as simple as downloading the app onto your phone. You will need to create an account on the Cash app website too – but that's pretty much basic for any payment app.
When you sign in, Square Cash will ask for your mobile number and email address, so that the team can get in touch if necessary – or provide you with lost password details. You'll also need to link a debit card.
The interface itself is very similar to what you would see on something like the PayPal app. Everything is clean and straightforward, so you can send and receive payments in no time.
If you're planning on using Square Cash for business payments, then you'll need to link your business bank account and mark in the settings that you're using your account for business purposes.
Using Square Cash, either for business or personal transactions is quick and simple. You can receive deposits within 48 hours – which is quite good compared to some competitors. Additionally, if you need to get cash instantly, you can ask for an instant deposit for a fee of 1.5%
Sending payments is as simple as entering someone's details into the application and choosing the amount that you want to send. You can also visit a person's “Cash Me” page to send them money. We'll go into this functionality below.
Square Cash Review: Cashtags and Payment Pages
Square Cash takes a unique approach to managing transactions by allowing you to set up specific web pages and “cashtags” if you want to receive money. If you're using Square for personal reasons, then you can simply send and receive payments using a phone number or email address.
However, cashtags and “Cash.Me” websites are generally a more professional approach if you're accepting money as a merchant.
So, how do you use both of these features?
Well, Cashtags are very similar to hashtags, except they use a dollar sign instead of a hashtag. You don't necessarily need to know a person's cashtag to send them money, but it's a good way to set up an extra avenue of payment if you're running a business.
Importantly, keep in mind that if you do set up a cashtag, Square will be vetting you to make sure that you're not using any offensive terms. Additionally, Square will only allow a few edits to your cashtag. This means that you can't go back and keep changing it all the time. Wikipedia's Cashtag, for instance, is $Wikipedia, and its site is Cash.me/$Wikipedia.
The cashtags and Cash.me features is an impressive and very easy to use element of the Square cash environment. Particularly for businesses and merchants, it means that you don't have to mess around with adding buttons to a website or creating special landing pages.
Of course, PayPal has something very similar to offer with their Paypal.me offering, so Square haven't precisely become pioneers in this environment. With PayPal, you can also send custom URLs that business contacts and friends can use to send you money at their leisure.
Additionally, it's worth noting that there's no way to store the money you collect in Square Cash on your account. Instead, your funds go directly to your bank account. That means that the application is useless if you've been on the hunt for a digital wallet.
Square Cash Review: The “Boost” Feature
One particularly interesting feature of Square Cash is the unique “Boost” feature.
When you're exploring your Square interface, you'll find that tapping the balance on the center of your screen will show you a digital version of the card that you use in real life. There's also a function to add something called a “Boost.
There are a few things that you can choose to add Boosts for. However, it's important to remember that you do need to opt into the boost before you'll be able to take advantage of it. You can't simply buy things and discover the benefits later.
Cash card boosts on Square Cash allow you to take advantage of any current offer immediately, without opting in. You can scroll through the different options and swap between boosts as much as you like before you start using them. However, once you've started to take advantage of offers, it will be locked onto your card for a full 24 hours.
Another thing to note about Boosts is that the offers can come in a lot of different forms. If you choose a boost for a food store or restaurant, for instance, you might get a percentage off your total purchase. On the other hand, other boosts might simply send you cash straight back into your bank account.
The Boosts feature is just a very easy way to make sure that you're getting the most out of every payment you make, which is excellent regardless of whether you're looking at this Square Cash review for business or personal reasons. We all like to earn a little bit back from whatever we spend, after all.
Square Cash Review: Other Payment Specifics
As we noted above, using Square Cash either for business or personal transactions is a very simple and straightforward process. If you're a company that's using the Square Point of Sale app, you can also combine both functionalities to get even more features to tap into.
The great thing about this application is that it works particularly well for mobile services and business, like consultants and make-up artists. Importantly, you don't get a full store with an inventory like you would if you were using the full Square for Business experience, but you do get just about everything you might need to take and send payments.
One exciting feature of Square cash is the fact that it also permits buying and selling bitcoin. These days, as more people explore the opportunities of cryptocurrency, the Square cash app ensures that you can buy and sell bitcoin with no additional cost. However, this feature doesn't work with Square cash for business. You can only use the Bitcoin features if you're using Square specifically for personal payment reasons.
There are a few other things you'll need to keep in mind when it comes to understanding Square Cash for Business. For instance, there are limits to the amount of money that you can receive in your Business account through Square Cash. According to the terms of services laid out by Square, the current maximum amount for a single month is $1,000 – which isn't a lot of if you're using this tool to fund your entire business operation.
You can accept slightly more money if you go through the full checks with Square and prove that your company belongs to you. Additionally, it's worth noting that when you sign up to use Square Cash for Business, you'll also be agreeing to the terms of payment and general user accounts too. This means that you give Square the full rights to hold onto funds or terminate your account whenever they see fit. This is a bit of a problem for some companies. Square also has a bit of a reputation for terminating accounts seemingly without reason.
Finally, remember that if you seem to be using your Square Cash for Business account for personal transactions, or the other way around, then Square will automatically switch your account to the correct service.
Square Cash Review: The Physical Card
Mobile wallets are growing more common around the world today.
However, you won't be able to use your mobile wallet everywhere yet. That's why Square Cash provides a physical and virtual debit card that you can use to make payments from your balance. This card is available to use at ATMs, so you can withdraw money with it if you need to. Additionally, the system comes with the unique rewards program that we mentioned above, Square Boost.
Crucially, the Cash Card available with Square is only there for use with your personal account. You cannot use this service with your Business account, and if Square thinks that you're using the card incorrectly, they can close your account or switch it.
Although it's disappointing that you can't use your Square cash card as a business user, it does make sense. Remember that with the business app, all of your payments will go directly to your bank account anyway, which means that there's nothing to pull money out of that's separate to your existing bank account.
Of course, the fact that you have no virtual wallet as a business is a big contrast to PayPal, where you can use a debit card for personal and professional use. Additionally, it's worth noting that you can't integrate your Square account with Square cash, which means that the best thing you can do is send all of the funds from both applications to the same bank.
Square Cash Review: Customer Service and Fine Print
Whether you're investing in a new POS, software solution, or mobile app, it's always good to know that there's going to be a little extra support there when you need it. We all need guidance sometimes, but unfortunately, Square doesn't have the best reputation when it comes to offering that help.
Square Cash gives no phone number for users to call when they need support. Instead, you're forced to reach out to the company via the app, or by submitting a request on the Help Centre website built by Square. If you're in a rush, your best bet will usually be to see if you can find an answer to your question already published in the Help Centre.
There's also the option to reach out to Square Cash on social media if you can catch one of their support or service team members online.
On the plus side, when it comes to figuring out what's going on behind the scenes at Square cash, it's worth noting that there aren't any hidden catches to using this app. The customer service might not be great, but Square does give you a very straightforward experience when making and receiving payments. There's no need to even enter a lot of information until you pass the threshold for receiving more than $1,000 at a time.
If you do exceed the payment limits, then the Square team will reach out and ask you whether you will verify your identity with them. This is a very simple process for consumers doing basic transactions online. However, Square might need to collect more information about you if you're a business owner, to make sure that it complies with the guidelines laid out by the IRS.
If you read through the Terms of Service for using the Square Cash for business application (which you should), you'll find that you'll also need to agree to the Square terms for general user accounts and payments. This means that Square has the right to hold onto funds you receive and terminate your account when required. Although this is a bit of a nerve-racking concept, it's also very common with third-party processes like Square and competitors like PayPal.
Square Cash Review: Verdict
Ultimate, if you're looking for a simple and affordable way to make and receive payments online, then it's hard to go wrong with Square Cash. It might not be ready to unseat PayPal for the mobile commerce throne quite yet, but it still has plenty to offer.
Square doesn't give you options like a mobile wallet where you can maintain and manage your funds, and there are a lot of limitations in what you can do. Additionally, it's worth noting that Square has a history of shutting accounts down when it suspects even the slightest chances of fraud. When you sign up for a Square account, you have to agree that the company can shut down your business account or personal account at any time and hold onto your funds.
Another issue to keep in mind about Square Cash is that there are processing limits, which means this option isn't ideal for high-ticket transactions. What's more, there are no options available for highly detailed invoicing if you want to use your Square cash app for managing receipts. Square Cash also struggles when it comes to accessing any form of support or guidance. There's no live phone support, which is a nightmare – mainly if you can't find essential funds because they've been lost in transit for some reason.
The good news is that even with limited support options, Square is pretty good at clearing up issues and getting you back on track as quickly as possible. Additionally, although Square might not be the best electronic wallet on the market, it's great if you just want to accept and send payments with ease. The app is incredibly convenient and easy to use, and customers don’t need to create a dedicated account to send you money.
Square is also particularly beneficial if you run a mobile business. Makeup artists and landscapers will be able to receive payments much more easily than they would with other tools. Additionally, the fact that the payment processing app doesn't cost anything is a huge bonus for most people too.
Square Cash Review: Alternatives
If you've read through this Square Cash Review and you're not convinced that this is the best application for your needs, don't panic. There are still plenty of other electronic wallet and transaction applications out there to choose from. Here are 3 common alternatives you can consider.
The Square POS
As we noted above, the Square Cash app is a light version of the full Square POS experience. Both of these tools are free to use, so if you're looking for something more advanced and designed specifically for business users, then you might as well try the POS instead. You also get a free card reader sent out to you when you sign up with Square for a POS account – that's a handy extra if you want to take in-person card and mobile payments.
Other features available with the Square POS in full include inventory and customer management tools, employee management, and analytics into your sales performance. There's also the option to buy additional hardware to support your Square POS experience if you want to.
PayPal Merchant Services
If you like the simple and straightforward approach that Square Cash brings to accepting and sending payments, but you're not a fan of the Square brand, try PayPal instead. The PayPal merchant services come with a range of solutions to help you enhance your payment options online. When you get your business account, you'll be able to tap into things like payment processing, invoicing, payment gateways, and even your own debit card. There's also a pretty small fee for every in-person transaction of only 2.7%.
The fees (lower than that of Square Cash) and the range of features that come with PayPal make it an excellent choice for any customer. Additionally, PayPal has a dedicated app which allows merchants to accept cash from their phone or mobile devices, which makes it attractive for businesses that move around a lot and need plenty of flexibility.
The Venmo App
Finally, while Venmo might be officially owned by PayPal, the Venmo app is very different to just using PayPal merchant services. Venmo is an app designed to help you send money to family and friends. There's a social aspect built-in too, which makes Venmo more appealing to younger customers. While you can access your account on the web using just about any device, the experience is mobile-first, and built specifically for use, on the go with your smartphone.
Venmo has emerged as a very popular choice for managing payments for young people. There are a lot of younger people that rely on the app today to reimburse friends and family members when they don't have cash-on-hand at the end of a meal, so they don't have to worry about splitting the check. However, it is possible to use Venmo to pay for transactions with a range of businesses too.
Square Cash Review: Is It Right for You?
If you're a business looking into an electronic wallet so that you can accept payments from clients, then Square Cash might be great for you – depending on how much money you generally earn. Those earning less than $1000 are well-suited to the application. However, you might need to have a backup means of payment available too if you want to be able to use complicated things like invoicing and payment management, for instance.
However, Square Cash hasn't invested enough into the business side of the application for it to be the ultimate solution on the market. For that reason, you might not want to use it if you're running a growing company that's accepting a lot of payments. This isn't intended for big retailers or people with brick and mortar stores.
That being said, there's no cost for setting up a Square Cash application account, and you're not obligated to continue using it for any period. With that in mind, if you're curious about Square Cash might be right for you, there's always the option to set up an account and have a look around yourself. You may be pleasantly surprised by what you can accomplish.