With 7M Customers (And Bitcoin Support) Is Square Cash App a Real Venmo Competitor?


EXCLUSIVE–Is Square quietly building the P2P app that will take Venmo’s crown?

With seven million active monthly users in December 2017, according to its fourth quarter earnings yesterday, the company’s Square Cash app—launched in 2013—is more popular than one might have thought; In any case, Square has not previously released usage numbers for the mobile P2P application.

Recode notes that the best estimates put Venmo at about 10 million active monthly users.

Users also seem to be moving a steady volume of payments through the app and accompanying Square services; customers also spent over $90 million in December 2017 using the company’s Cash Card, a Visa debit card connected to that user’s Cash app.

Square CEO Jack Dorsey said of the app during the company’s earnings call yesterday:

An individual can set up the app in minutes and send peer-to-peer payments, store money, receive their paycheck and buy and sell Bitcoin.

Cash Card is also useful spending tool, and in December of 2017 customers spent over $90 million with a Cash Card, representing an annual run rate of over $1 billion. In the same way we empower businesses with fast and increase of tools, we’re building a similar ecosystem of services for individuals through the Cash App.

In addition to its growing userbase and payment volume, Square’s decision to support bitcoin on the app—a decision that has its detractors—further opens the app to a new segment of customers. Furthermore, Square does not plan to leave the functionality as is; bitcoin, Dorsey said on the earnings call, is “not stopping at buying and selling” for the company.

Dorsey said:

So we’re going to have a learning mindset [on bitcoin] and make sure that we are learning and leading here and starting with something that gives us a most information the fastest, but also is consistent with how we see people using Cash App. We have seen people buying and selling Bitcoin with the app and we want to make that step a little bit easier, but also at the same time learn and create some future optionality for us as we think about the future industry and especially the relationship between a buyer and a seller.

In addition to its Square Cash app, the company continues to see strong growth from its lending arm, Square Capital, reporting a 23% growth in loans year-over-year, representing 47,000 business loans totaling $305 million, according to company documents.

This makes up the majority of the revenue from Square’s “subscription and service-based revenue,” said the company, which was up 95% from 2016 for a total of $253 million.

Square shares are hovering at $45.91 as of 9:30am ET.

To learn the latest developments in P2P payments and business lending, join us on March 5-6, 2018 at the Parc 55 in San Francisco for Bank Innovation 2018. Click here to register.