Last week, Square
With its 24 million small business customers, Square hopes that it can deliver enough convenience to leech market share from traditional business lenders. The announcement of "Square Banking" comes on the heels of the launch of Square Financial Services in March.
"This was an almost inevitable next step in terms of Square's effort to increase engagement with small businesses," Matt Palmer, an analyst at BTIG, told Barrons. "The advantage that Square has is that they've got an embedded base of customers in the small business areas, who are already using many of their services."
Both the checking and savings accounts will be FDIC insured, have no monthly fees or overdraft charges, and require no minimum balances. In a release, Square described both accounts as "high yield," with both offering a competitive 0.5% APY.
Square is leveraging the fact that it manages its customer's sales through its payment products. For example, checking accounts will come linked to Square Debit Cards, meaning any income earned through Square can be used immediately without a separate bank transfer. However, routing numbers will also deliver business owners another level of convenience when it comes to sending or receiving money.
Users of Square Banking can also automatically set aside a portion of their daily sales into separate "Square Savings" folders allowing them to create different funds for their different business needs.
Square Banking could also be a breakthrough opportunity for credit-deprived business owners. For instance, the service will offer loans without credit checks, basing eligibility instead on sales data tracked by Square. Loans will be paid back based on a fixed percentage of card transactions, meaning business owners will pay more when their sales are high and pay less when their sales are low.
In a release, Square cast the launch of Square Banking as a significant milestone in the company's mission to expand the number of financial services available for its underbanked customers.
"Small businesses are the heartbeat of our communities and our economy," said Christina Riechers, head of product at Square Banking in a press release. "Historically, small businesses have had to contend with numerous hurdles...With Square Banking, we've reimagined the financial system for small business owners with their cash flow needs at the center."
Square has also made bold steps in the crypto space, so it's not hard to envision a future where Square's banking and crypto offerings could intersect. The company is working on "decentralized financial" applications to facilitate Bitcoin transactions. Since March, the company's consumer-facing Cash App has allowed users to buy cryptocurrency with a pre-linked debit card.
Perhaps in the future, Square Banking could automate turning Bitcoin into fiat currency, allowing more merchants to accept the crypto as a form of payment. Square already operates its very own crypto exchange. Who knows in time, Square Banking could be the reason Bitcoin comes to a corner near you.