For digital payments giant Square, every day is a new opportunity not just to grow its brand and boost its profits — which it is doing — but to expand its commerce capabilities through a growing suite of integrated products for businesses and consumers.
To hear Co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey tell it, Square’s namesake business model that started in 2009 with a quirky little credit card reader that plugged into a cell phone has blossomed into a full-fledged omnichannel commerce machine.
“Those efforts have enabled us to attract and retain larger sellers while also helping our existing sellers grow up market,” Dorsey said during the company’s third-quarter investor presentation before rattling off a list of products that are taking deeper root with its growing base of over 40 million monthly active users, to a full-fledged global rollout, most recently in France.
“…including Square Point Of Sale, Square For Restaurants, Square Online, Square Terminal, Square Stands, Square Reader and more,” Dorsey said, before pivoting to questions about the burgeoning consumer side of the business — not least of which involves CashApp, the company’s peer-to-peer payments answer to PayPal’s Venmo.
Only hours after news broke that Square was making CashApp available to 13- to 17-year-olds, Dorsey detailed the plan, positioning the move to capture young users that Venmo blocks as a way for families to help teens learn how to manage the money they earn from allowance, jobs or chores with “appropriate protections in place.”
“By lowering the age barrier of CashApp, we help expand access to the financial system for 20 million teens in the U.S.,” Dorsey projected, “and equip them with the tools they need to participate in the capitalist economy, which is especially important now as transacting in physical cash becomes less relevant in an increasingly digital world.”
Specifically, teens will now be allowed to send and receive money instantly on a network that has more than 40 million monthly transacting active customers, get a Cash Card Visa debit card that allows balance checks and linkage with Apple Pay and Google Pay wallets, as well as participate in rewards, direct deposit and ATMs.
Burgeoning BNPL Play
Not to be outdone or overlooked, Square’s “other” new endeavor — its $29 billion August acquisition of pureplay BNPL provider Afterpay — was officially blessed by shareholders Thursday, again, just moments before Square’s management team released their quarterly earnings.
With Afterpay, Square outlined plans to further integrate its installment plans into its massive point-of-sale network of merchants. Still, again — in Dorsey-world — it’s all about connected commerce and building seamless relationships pretty much everywhere.
“Fortunately, we have another ecosystem at scale that focuses on sellers in omnichannel commerce, so it’s easy for us to test a lot of these theories out and actually scale them up over time,” Dorsey said. “We do believe that having these software systems is also a nice superpower and differentiator so you have both ends of the counter, and two different audiences of sellers and individuals is really important.”
In particular, Dorsey said he felt “Afterpay represented the largest potential for connecting ecosystems,” noting that as each cog in the commerce wheel gets stronger, the overall value of a broader ecosystem improves too.
Bitcoin, Not Crypto
Square’s Q3 update would not be complete without an update on cryptocurrencies, as the billionaire CEO of Square and Twitter also wears the mantle of one of the world’s most unwavering supporters of digital currencies — as long as they are Bitcoin — as Dorsey said he had no plans to expand into any other cryptos at this point.
“Our focus is on helping Bitcoin become the native currency for the internet so we have a number of initiatives towards that goal, and CashApp is just one,” Dorsey said.
In fact, he said, Square will be building a Bitcoin hardware wallet, exploring Bitcoin mining as well as a consumer device to mine it at home or in a business.
“We believe this focus [on Bitcoin] is important. We believe it’s right. And a lot of it has to do with resilience, the fundamental principles that Bitcoin offers.”
For the record, Square’s third-quarter gross profit was up 43% to $1.1 billion, led by a 48% year-on-year increase in its Seller ecosystem profit and a 33% annual gain in its Cash App profits.