Is Cash App the Best Payment App?

Square Inc (now Block, Inc) launched Cash App back in 2013 for one purpose: to be an app. For cash. It wasn’t a guaranteed win at the time. Their biggest competitor, Venmo, had already been on the market for four years, and Cash App had a lot of ground to cover if it wanted to supplant Venmo as the leader in the peer-to-peer payment game.

But here we are, ten years later, and Cash App is neck-and-neck with the biggest players in the space.  

Over 70 million people use Cash App on a regular basis. What started as a simple electronic payment app has grown by leaps and bounds, accumulating feature after feature along the way. Now you can receive direct deposits and ACH payments, use a Cash App debit card for purchases and ATM withdrawals, and even buy and sell stocks (and Bitcoin, if you’re into crypto).

Block, Inc has negotiated for discounts and special deals for users of Cash App card. It’s built social media-like features into the app and turned it into a pseudo social network. 

Cash App does a lot of things for a lot of people. But how well does it do those things?

It’s An App. For Cash 

Cash App was originally built to be a peer-to-peer payment network, so let’s start there. 

There’s a reason Cash App is one of the most popular payment apps: It’s good at what it does, and that’s making it simple to send and receive money.

If you’ve used Cash App you already know how easy it is to use. If you have someone’s phone number, email, or $cashtag (i.e. username) you can just punch it in, select the amount to send or request, and bam. Done. Cash App also generates QR codes that you can scan if you don’t feel like typing. 

You can hold any money you receive or deposit into the app indefinitely, transfer it to your bank account, use it to pay other people, or use it as a sort of checking account for use with a Cash App debit card. It’s all pretty simple and seamless. 

Oh, and speaking of debit cards…

Cash or Debit 

Cash App isn’t limited to digital purchases. You’ve always technically been able to pay businesses using the app, but now you can actually get a physical Cash App card linked to your account.

You can also use the QR code feature to make payments IRL from your Cash App balance, but you might as well go for the Cash App card. 

Not only does the Cash App card function exactly like any other debit card, it also comes with the chance to earn discounts on all kinds of different stuff.

The “Boosts” (discounts) are always being updated and added to, and some of the deals can be pretty appealing. The only downside is that you can only have one cash Boost discount active at a time, so you have to actually manually swap them out if you want to get discounts at different establishments that partner with Cash App. 

Pro Tip

When you sign up for Cash App and refer your friends, you get a CASH bonus deposited to your Cash App account.

Banking (Sort Of)

Cash App partners with a handful of banks to offer rudimentary banking services. You can basically turn your Cash App balance into a sort of checking account. It’s a free service with no monthly minimums or fees associated with it, and it comes with a bunch of features you’d normally only find at an actual bank. 

A Cash App account isn’t just a place to park your money. You can set up direct deposits straight to your Cash App account, pay bills, use any ATM (with automatic fee reimbursement if you direct deposit more than $300 a month), and even enjoy the same FDIC protection as a bank account at a major bank.

You can even choose to round up to the nearest dollar on every purchase and direct the extra cents to a Cash App savings or investment account. 

The savings accounts that you can open on Cash App aren’t as impressive as their checking-type accounts, unfortunately. Sure, you can set up automatic deposits and set personalized savings goals that track how much money you need to pay for a phone or a vacation or something, but that’s pretty much it.

As far as we can tell, the Cash App savings account doesn’t pay interest, it isn’t FDIC-protected, and it doesn’t have any other features you’d expect from an actual savings account. Still, though, it’s nice to have the option if you don’t feel like opening a savings account with a real bank.  

Investing on Cash App

You can do some basic investing on Cash App, though it’s limited to trading Bitcoin, stocks, fractional stocks, and ETFs. The investing functionality is fairly barebones, but it’s pretty clearly meant for novices, not veterans.

You can start a Cash App investing account with just a few taps, for one, and you can start investing with as little as $1 in your account. 

Cash App isn’t bad as far as basic investing platforms go. There are no commissions, the interface is easy to use and understand, and there are (primarily picture-based) tutorials available to help people of all ages and levels of sophistication understand how the stock market works. 

You may not find in-depth research or interactive charts with customizable metrics and technical indicators on Cash App, but you will find all the basics a newbie would need to start getting into investing.

The app will show you lists of the top movers of the day, collections of stocks by industry and general category, a small collection of relevant news stories, and a list of the stocks that Cash App users have traded the most that day. 

The stock data itself is similarly basic. Charts with a few different time frames, some fundamental information like market cap and earnings, and a few other tidbits.

There’s some analysis and very general opinions available, and you can set up alerts for price surges etc, but that’s about it. It’s pretty basic stuff. That said, Cash App does have a few interesting stock-related features going for it. 

First: Cash App is one of the few platforms of its kind that lets you buy fractional shares of stock. That means you can buy bits and pieces of really expensive stocks without having to shell out hundreds (or thousands) for the pleasure of buying into the business. 

Second: You can set up automatic purchases on a schedule, when the stocks hit a certain price, or even when you round up on a purchase using your Cash App debit card. 

Finally: You can send stocks to other people using the app. You can send stocks as gifts (if you’re one of those weird uncles/aunts), transfer them to another account, or even buy things using stocks or ETFs instead of money. 

Oh, and you can also trade Bitcoin (and no other cryptocurrencies). It follows all the same rules as stocks and ETFs. Not a whole lot more to say about that. 

Pro Tip

When you sign up for Cash App and refer your friends, you get a CASH bonus deposited to your Cash App account.

Pay Your Taxes on Cash App

The last big feature we should cover is the—kind of bizarre—ability to pay your taxes using Cash App. Cash App Taxes is a free service, it includes free audit defense, and has some neat features like being able to populate the information using pictures of W-2s.

Cash App Taxes also has something called a “Max Refund Guarantee,” which is exactly what it sounds like.

Finally, you can also have Cash App Taxes deposit your refund directly into your account up to six days earlier than you’d get it if you didn’t use the app. 


Cash App is a great payment app.

It’s streamlined. It’s easy to use. It’s packed with features that help get un- and underbanked people engaged with the financial system.

If you’re someone who already has a bank account and an investment portfolio you probably won’t even bother with most of Cash App’s secondary features, and that’s fine. The important thing is that those features are there for people who want or need them. 

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