What is Cash App? A Complete Guide

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Katherine Gustafson is an author and personal finance expert from Portland, Oregon. She writes about investing for Wealthsimple as well as having written for Forbes, Business Insider, TechCrunch, and LendingTree. Katherine is a past recipient of the Izzy Award for outstanding achievement in independent media. She has a BA from Amherst College and an MA from Boston University.

Sending and receiving money has never been easier. No longer do we spend time scrawling our signature on checks or even initiating transfers from our bank accounts. Instead we have the option to shoot money to anyone we want using just a username or a phone number. It’s a matter of clicking a few buttons on an app. One of the mainstays in this peer-to-peer (P2P) payment landscape is Square’s Cash App, which goes toe-to-toe with other options like Venmo, PayPal, and Zelle. Cash App defines itself via a few differences, such as enabling users to buy and sell stocks and bitcoin, and issuing debit cards that draw on users’ app balances to allow purchases at online and brick-and-mortar retailers.

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What is Cash App?

Cash App is an app that allows users to send and receive cash. Owned by Square Inc., Cash App describes itself as “the easiest way to send and receive money with friends and family.” You don’t have to restrict yourself to friends and family, though. You can pay your barber or your babysitter, tip your server or your massage therapist, donate to a charity, or support your favorite artist. A free account lets you instantly zip funds to others without paying fees. Cash App links to your bank account, from which you can transfer money to use via Cash App or to which you can withdraw funds you’ve accumulated in Cash App. Unlike other similar peer-to-peer payment apps, Cash App provides users the option of getting a Cash Card. a free Visa debit card that you can use to pay for things online or at brick-and-mortar stores and to make ATM withdrawals. Payments and withdrawals made via the Cash Card are deducted from your Cash App balance. The Cash Card comes with “Boosts,“ discount offers for places you are likely to frequent. You can also use Cash App to invest in stocks (with as little as $1) and to buy and sell bitcoin.

How do payments on Cash App work?

Once you’ve downloaded the app, you set yourself up on the system by choosing a username, called a $cashtag. You can send a payment to someone on Cash App by entering their $cashtag, or the phone number or email address associated with their account. You can also send someone money by scanning a QR code associated with their account. Once you’ve initiated the payment, money will transfer instantly from your Cash App account to the recipient’s. International use is very limited: US users can send and receive payments only from those in the UK with Cash App. When you send a payment to the UK, the app automatically converts the funds from dollars to pounds. There are no fees for this service. Cash App can also receive payments of other kinds. Each Cash App account has a routing and account number, just like a bank account, and therefor can receive payments by direct deposit, such as paychecks and tax returns.

Can I buy and sell Bitcoin with Cash App?

Cash App users can use the app to buy and sell bitcoin, the most popular cryptocurrency, and these trades happen in seconds, faster than on many other apps. To buy bitcoin with Cash App, you simply have to have a balance of money to buy it within your app. You can sell bitcoin directly from your app. You may have to pay fees to buy or sell bitcoin on Cash App. The app charges a service fee for each bitcoin transaction and might also levy an extra fee that is pegged to bitcoin price on US exchanges. Once you have some bitcoin in your Cash App you can transfer it to an external bitcoin wallet. You can withdraw a minimum of 0.0001 bitcoin, a process that usually takes 30–40 minutes.

Is my money secure?

The app is owned by Square, a prominent and trustworthy financial technology brand that has been operating since 2009. Square applies the same up-to-date encryption and fraud detection technology to Cash App transmissions as it does to the millions of transactions shoppers make daily via its point-of-sale systems. Any data you submit via Cash App is encrypted before it is sent to the servers, even if you’re transacting via a public Wi-Fi connection. Security features include LocksPIN entry, Touch ID, or Face ID verification. Cash App is PCI Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) Level 1 compliant. One risk in using Cash App is operator error: If you make a mistake in entering your payment recipient’s information, you may end up sending money to the wrong party. Unfortunately, there’s usually no effective way to get it back aside from asking for it. While you might be able to cancel a pending payment in some circumstances, most of the time you’ll just need to depend on the recipient’s good will.

Is Cash App in Canada?

At the moment, Cash App is only available to users in the US and the UK, so Canadians are out of luck. But luck is on their side in other ways: Wealthsimple Cash provides a way to transact with the click of a button. Once you set up your Dollar $ign username on Wealthsimple Cash, you’ll be ready to send and receive funds right away through the simple and elegant app. There are no account minimums, no fees, and no limits on how many transactions you can make.

Last Updated April 29, 2021

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