Square Cash for Business is a mobile payment application that allows you to receive payments from other Square Cash users and set up your own custom payments page. It is free to download and only charges a 2.75% per transaction fee. However, Square places limitations on what you can use the app for, and how much money you can receive in a given time period.
Paying using your phone is becoming increasingly popular, and major payment processors are taking notice. Consider PayPal’s acquisition of the mobile payment service Venmo in 2013. That same year, Square launched Square Cash and, later, Square Cash for Business—a rival to PayPal and Venmo that aims to be the easiest way for consumers and business owners to get paid via mobile.
Like all of Square’s products, Square Cash for Business is a very tech-forward platform. So let’s deconstruct it and learn what it can offer small business owners looking to keep up with the mobile payments trend. We’ll also provide a few alternatives so you can get a full picture of the mobile payments market.
Square Cash for Business is a mobile payment software application for iOS and Android devices. More specifically, it’s the business version of Square Cash—a consumer product that allows users to link their debit and credit cards to their account in order to transfer money to other Square Cash users. The difference with Square Cash for Business is that you can use it to set up a page to receive payments for your business.
In that sense, it helps to think of Square Cash for Business as a pared-down version of Square Point of Sale: It gives you a mechanism for receiving payment and managing transactions, but it comes with fewer bells and whistles. For some small business owners, it will be an extremely simple and easy way to get paid. For others, it will fall woefully short of what their business needs to run transactions.
Let’s figure out if this payment software is a suitable option for your business by breaking down exactly how it works.
Getting started with this payment software is as simple as downloading the Square Cash app onto your mobile device or signing up via the Cash.app website. When you first sign in, you will be prompted you to provide your phone number or email address and link a debit card.
That’s really all you need to do to start sending and receiving payments, but to use it for business purposes you’ll want to take some additional steps.
The first thing you’ll want to do to start using Square Cash for Business is go into your app settings and mark that you are using your Square Cash account for business purposes. This will change what you’re allowed to do within the app. Next you’ll want to link your business bank account to the app so that you have somewhere to deposit your funds. Deposits usually take 24-48 hours, although you can opt for an instant deposit for a 1.5% fee.
The next thing you’ll want to do is create a username, which Square calls a “cash tag” or “$cashtag.” This is a unique handle for your Square Cash account that is preceded by a “$” sign (i.e. cash.app/$yourcashtag). We recommend making a cash tag out of your business’s name. Your cash tag links to your own unique Cash.me page—a payments page where customers can submit payment to your business. The great thing about your Cash.me page is that, unlike the consumer version, customers don’t need to have a Square Cash account to send payment to your account.
You can embed your Cash.me page in your website, and direct customers there when they are ready to pay.
When users land on your Cash.me page, they will be prompted to enter a dollar amount and credit or debit card information. If they have their own Square Cash account, they will also have the option to log in to complete payment there. If they don’t have a account, they’ll enter their name and email or phone number to receive a receipt for their payment.
Note that if the customer already has the app on their phone, they can simply search your cash tag, phone number, or email to complete payment within the app, without having to use your Cash.me page. If the customer does not have the app, you cannot send them a request for payment. Instead, they will have to submit the correct payment amount via your Cash.me page.
For every payment you send or receive, you will be charged a 2.75% processing fee—same as the processing fee for Square Point of Sale. You can also attach notes to each payment to help you keep track of what the transaction is for. Every payment you receive is available as a balance in your Square Cash app, and you can opt to transfer it to your business bank account at any time for no additional fee.
There are a few things to keep in mind when using this payment software. The first is that there are limits on how much money you can receive in your account. According to Square Cash terms of service, the current maximum amount you can receive in any 30 day period is $1,000. If you want to accept more than $1,000, Square will ask for additional information about you and your business in order to verify your identity.
In addition, when you sign up, you are also agreeing to Square’s terms for payments and general user accounts as well. This means you give Square the right to hold funds or terminate your account for any reason. This is a common stipulation amongst payment aggregators (services that process payments for multiple clients via a single merchant account) to protect themselves from fraud.
Also note that you should not use your Square Cash for Business account for personal use, or vice versa. If Square suspects you are using your account (which has a lower per transaction fee) for business purposes, it will automatically switch your plan.
Since mobile wallets like Square Cash aren’t an accepted form of payment everywhere yet, Square offers users a free virtual and physical Visa debit card that they can use to pay for goods and services from their app balance. This debit card can be used at ATMs, and even has its own rewards program. However, this card cannot be used with Square Cash for Business accounts. According to the terms of service, Square may close your account if they determine you’re using the card for business expenses.
We said Square Cash was tech-forward, and what could be more tech-forward than being able to buy and sell cryptocurrency? Through your app you can buy and sell bitcoin at no additional charge. However, this is another feature that does not work with Square Cash for Business.
There is no phone number to call when you need customer support. Instead, you must either reach out via your app or by submitting a request on the Square Cash Help Center website. We’d recommend browsing the Help Center first to make sure you can’t find the answer to your question there. Alternatively, you can reach out to Square through one of their social media channels.
Square Cash for Business is entirely free to download and start using. You will only ever be charged a per transaction fee of 2.75%. Note that Square Cash also assess a 3% fee if you link a credit card to your app to be used as payment (credit cards are more expensive to process than debit cards).
The key benefits to using Square Cash for your business are as follows:
If you need a way to accept payments, it really doesn’t get easier than Square Cash. Simply download the app, link your business bank account, and you are ready to roll. There is no worrying about finding a payment processor or setting up your point of sale. For merchants who are looking for a quick and easy solution, this is it.
The only fees Square will ever charge you will be assessed on your sales, meaning you can’t lose money using this payment software. When it comes to payment processing, costs can add up quickly, so it’s nice to see that there is a service that will allow you to receive payments without charging you an arm and a leg.
We said Square Cash for Business would fall woefully short for some businesses. Here’s why:
Most serious businesses can’t get by only processing $1,000 in revenue per month, but that is the threshold Square has established. To process more, Square requires you to take additional steps. Furthermore, Square Cash for Business isn’t exactly a sophisticated way to track your sales. There’s no reporting tools or inventory tracking, meaning you can’t really gain any insight into your business using Square Cash. For businesses that are growth-minded, this option won’t provide a long-term solution.
This payment software would be a little more business friendly if it allowed users to take advantage of the Square Cash card—which could essentially serve as a prepaid business debit card. However, this feature is not available for business accounts. Neither is the ability to buy and sell bitcoin. We’d like to see the full range of Square Cash features available for business users.
Here is what users had to say about the product on major review websites:
Here are what small business owners who have experience using the product have to say:
“Our company relies heavily on the Square Cash app. We use it to pay third-party towing services that work with our company. What we like about the app is the ability to pay our independent contractors easily. Our operators can payout the tow truck drivers we work with immediately upon job completion. Plus, it’s easy for individuals who are not tech savvy to use. The tow truck drivers have no problem working with the app. The only negative that I see is that our company runs into a ‘Square Cash is currently experiencing high volume. We’ll notify you when this request is sent’ error every so often. This usually resolves itself fairly quickly, but sometimes we’ll see 20 minutes of downtime before we can send a payment.”
—Sean Pour, SellMax Cash For Cars
“I use Square Cash to accept payments from my clients because it’s cheap, easy, and links directly to my business checking account! Gone are the days of 3% credit card processing fees. Plus, every time I refer a client to download the app for payment, I get a $5 cash referral bonus. It’s ease of use, user-friendly format, and the fact that it’s free make it a great option for my business.”
—Melisa Celikel, Make SHT Happen
If you’re looking for something that provides a little more functionality, here are two alternatives we recommend:
We mentioned that Square Cash is a more pared down version of Square POS. The thing is, both are free to use, so if you need something more advanced, it costs you nothing to go with Square POS. You’ll even get a free card reader when you sign up for Square POS, allowing you to take in-person credit card payments. Other features you can expect include inventory, customer, and employee management tools, and sales analytics. Note that, depending on your business’s needs, you may need to buy additional POS hardware to use Square POS.
If you’re just looking for a straight up payment processor with more functionality than Square Cash, we’d recommend PayPal. We’ve talked about PayPal as a Square competitor before. When you sign up for a free PayPal business account, you’ll gain access to a suite of payment solutions, including processing, invoicing, a payment gateway, and your own PayPal debit card. Plus, the fee assessed for every in-person transaction is 2.7%, which is slightly lower than Square Cash. Furthermore, PayPal has their own mobile app, PayPal Here, that allows merchants to accept payments from their phone. All in all, PayPal surpasses Square Cash in almost every area.
Square Cash is a suitable option for very small businesses that want payment processing to be as simple as possible. Examples of business situations that would work well with this option include one-on-one services and small time vendors. Think personal trainers, home cleaners, or farmer’s market produce sellers, to name a few examples.
If you want to keep tabs on your business’s transactions, or if your average purchase amount is relatively high, Square Cash isn’t a good option for you. But for the small time entrepreneur just starting out, things don’t get much easier than Square Cash for Business.
Matthew Speiser is a former staff writer at Fundera.
He has written extensively about ecommerce, marketing and sales, and payroll and HR solutions, but is particularly knowledgeable about merchant services. Prior to Fundera, Matthew was an editorial lead at Google and an intern reporter at Business Insider. Matthew was also a co-author for Startup Guide—a series of guidebooks designed to assist entrepreneurs in different cities around the world.