Square’s new product “Cash” can now hold a balance

By Matthew Lynley for Techcrunch,

Square Cash, the peer-to-peer payments app that aims to replace cash by offering instant deposits, rolled out another feature today that better positions the app to challenge competitors like PayPal and Venmo: the ability to maintain a cash balance.

That is, users can now choose to switch on an optional “Cash Drawer” to hold onto money in the app, similar to other digital wallets. The addition will make the app more useful to merchants who prefer to maintain a cash balance in their accounts, as they would on PayPal or elsewhere.

But the addition is also a bit of an odd one for Square Cash, which has marketed itself as the faster alternative to services like PayPal. It focused on the fact that it was both simpler and speedier, and wasn’t bogged down with extraneous features like a full-service digital payments platform would be. The introduction of a Cash Drawer option changes that a bit.

However, the company has been moving to cater more to its business users in recent months, as with the launch of Cashtags early last year when the company opened up its platform to business customers — the first to also see transaction fees on the service.

The Cash Drawer could encourage other small-time merchants to give the app a shot, as they’ll be able to use Square Cash like they could PayPal or Venmo.

Notes a company spokesperson, “a business may wish to turn on the feature so that they can easily track and manage their business payments in one place, rather than have them stream into their bank account.” They added that individuals can also store money in their Cash Drawer, making it easier to set aside funds for future costs like dinners out with friends, or upcoming payments like monthly rent.

However, for those who don’t care for holding money in Square Cash, it’s worth noting that the new Cash Drawer feature is optional — that means it’s in your control whether you want to slow down the payments process or not.

To enable the Cash Drawer, there’s a toggle switch in the app you can tap that will then direct Square Cash to keep all your incoming funds “in Cash.” When you’re ready to withdraw those funds, you tap the “Cash Out” option to move the money to your bank.

 To Square Cash’s advantage, the feature will also mean that the company will see lower transaction fees following the launch of Cash Drawer, given that users who keep their cash on hand instead of extracting it each time will actually perform fewer transactions on the platform.

Cash Drawer is live now on both the Square Cash iOS and Android applications, via today’s update.

The article first appeared in Techcrunch.com