Square Inc. on Thursday announced a new debit card for small-business owners, a move that enables the fintech company to further participate in the economics of payment transactions.
With the Square Card, which is free to obtain and use, business owners will be able to spend their Square
balances immediately in stores and online. Previously, those who used Square for payment processing had to wait several days for their funds to transfer to their banks accounts, or else they could pay a small fee for instant access to their money.
Square earns transaction fees at the time sellers make their purchases with the card.
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Alyssa Henry, Square’s seller lead, said on a media call earlier this week that she expects the card to prove helpful with cash-flow management, “a big pain point for sellers.” The company gave the example of a man who manages a roofing-supply business and is able to immediately buy supplies for a project as soon as he’s received payment from the customer.
Henry also discussed how many small-business owners co-mingle personal and business expenses, which can make it difficult to determine the profitability of an enterprise. The Square Card will have tools that allow business owners to classify their various expenses as either business-related or personal.
Square will give cardholders a 2.75% discount when they use the Mastercard Inc.-branded card to buy items from another Square seller, a nod to the standard payment-processing fee that sellers have come to know from Square.
The company is no stranger to offering stored-value debit products, having launched the consumer-focused Cash card in 2017. Consumers don’t pay to use the Cash card, but Square generates revenue from it via transaction fees.
Instinet analyst Dan Dolev wrote in a November note to clients that the Cash Card is the fourth largest revenue component within Square’s software and services segment, based on his recent chat with the company’s investor-relations team. The various software and services components together are expected to have brought in $253 million during 2018, according to FactSet estimates. Square said in its second-quarter investor letter that Cash App customers spent $250 million with the card last June, almost triple the amount spent in December 2017.
The new business-oriented Square Card limits cardholders to only spending their Square balances; users can’t add funds to the card, which isn’t FDIC insured. Square is working with Ohio-based Sutton Bank to enable ATM access through the card.
Square shares are up 4.7% in Thursday trading, and they’ve gained 23% so far this year, compared with a 4.5% rise for the S&P 500
in that time.