- Block executives revealed how they plan to make Cash App a super app at an investor event on Wednesday.
- Block’s Cash App integrates with Afterpay, the recently acquired buy-it-now, pay-later service.
- Part of that: prequalifying the 80 million Cash App users for Afterpay’s Buy Now, Pay Loans Later.
Ambitions to become a super app and exactly how it plans to achieve its goals became clearer on Wednesday during an investor day hosted by Block, its parent company.
Block executives as they announced plans to more fully integrate buy now, pay later provider Afterpay into the company’s “ecosystem of ecosystems” and dramatically expand Cash App capabilities as it grows beats against other payment providers to become a super application.
Brian Grassadonia, co-creator of Cash App, outlined plans to significantly expand the app’s shopping and discovery features alongside Afterpay co-founders and co-CEOs Nick Molnar and Anthony Eisen, as well as Square manager Alyssa Henry. Jack Dorsey then joined for a Q&A session with Nick Molnar.
“Afterpay can help turn Cash App into a great app,” Molnar said.
The first stage of integration will allow Afterpay to immediately expand its reach to millions of users – Cash App will pre-qualify its 80 million active users for an Afterpay account. The bloc estimates that only about 6% of current Cash App users are also Afterpay users, meaning that more than 75 million Cash App users are potential new Afterpay customers.
Other significant developments include the addition of Afterpay shopping and browsing functionality to Cash App and the integration of Afterpay account management capabilities into Cash App. Users will be able to view Afterpay orders, check their balance and transaction history, and make Afterpay payments directly from the Cash App.
Since February, Block executives have hinted at using Cash App to help Afterpay find more customers. On Wednesday, Grassadonia said a lead generation feature in Cash App has found more than 350,000 potential customers since its launch in December. But there’s still room to grow – Afterpay currently generates over a million leads from its app and website every day.
Cash App and Afterpay integrations will extend to e-commerce checkout, where Afterpay sellers will now be able to accept Cash App Pay as a method of payment. Grassadonia also announced the development of a single API that sellers can use at checkout that will power both Afterpay and Cash App Pay transactions. The rollout of Cash App Pay as an e-commerce payment tool for Afterpay sellers is currently underway, with retailers like Shein, ASOS, Dick’s Sporting Goods and ThredUp already offering the service.
Grassadonia highlighted the appeal to consumers and retailers. For shoppers, multiple payment methods will provide additional flexibility, while retailers can leverage lead generation, advertising and targeted offers to drive demand. “We believe our biggest differentiator is the breadth of our ecosystem,” he said.
There are other ways the two companies can work together. Eisen said more than 90% of Afterpay customers make payments with debit cards, which means Cash App could promote the use of its Cash Card, which currently has 15 million active users.
The slides from the Investor Day presentation also outlined the longer-term goals of integrating Afterpay into the Block ecosystem. Eventually, the company aims to launch Cash App internationally and expand the app’s advertising capabilities. Block also hopes to leverage existing Afterpay enterprise customers and potentially convert them into Square sellers as Square aims to increase its number of midsize and enterprise customers.
The super app arms race continues to escalate
One March 2022 PYMNTS report found that nearly 62% of Americans want to use some sort of super app that combines multiple digital activities such as banking, budgeting, shopping, and trading stocks and crypto in one place. The question is which company will provide it – and Block and Cash App is playing in a crowded field.
When Block first announced its $29 billion acquisition of Afterpay, many pundits viewed the move as a threat to PayPal, which has often been Block’s closest payments competitor, and an attempt to replicate the global reach of the payments giant.
PayPal revamped its app last fall in an effort to bring more of its services together in one place. The relaunched app offers payment, crypto and buy-it-now, pay-later (BNPL) functionality, as well as banking, shopping and rewards functionality.
Meanwhile, BNPL supplier Klarna launched its own improved app in November last year, allowing users to shop anywhere with Klarna through the app’s browser, although the retailer has no no current partnership with the supplier BNPL. The app also offers in-app budgeting, delivery tracking and returns management tools, and said it plans to develop additional features such as live shopping and money-saving tools. money like price history trackers.
Other budding super app makers include fintechs SoFi and Chime, whose apps allow users to manage money, take direct deposits, pay bills and track expenses. SoFi’s app also offers access to consumer loans and stock and crypto trading. Other players like Walmart also have super app ambitions but have been less clear about their plans. At the beginning of 2021, Walmart announced the hiring of Omar Ismail, the former boss of Goldman Sachs.
division, and David Stark, who helped the bank launch Apple’s credit card.
Despite fierce competition in both the BNPL space and the race for a super app, Block executives remain convinced that the combination of a payment product and lead generation platform will provide a crucial advantage over competitors.
Molnar said in a Q&A with Block Head Jack Dorsey after the presentation that while the benefits of the acquisition may seem apparent, many Afterpay sellers were surprised by the opportunities presented by Cash App.
“Many of them were surprised by the scale of Cash App,” Molnar said of Afterpay sellers. “When you illustrate Cash App’s active numbers which are very many multiples of Afterpay’s numbers, when we can send a million leads a day, the mind stretches quite far on how Cash App can contribute as a true customer acquisition channel to our retail partners.”