A Fairly Indirect Process

Thursday, February 3rd, 2022

Long-time readers know of my affinity for Square Block’s “Cash” app, a useful tool for transferring money to and from folks you know. If you don’t already have multiple ways to do that, or even if you do, you can get $5 with this very blatant referral link: https://cash.app/app/SDMRNHB. I use the service frequently, and I find it vastly less awful than the needlessly “social” Venmo.

Recently, the Cash app showed me this screen, which left me flummoxed for at least half a second:

An ad that says “Deposit paper money into Cash App. Deposits are available instantly. Find a participating store near you.”

My thought process was something like “OK, so I scan the bill’s serial number, and then…”, before I realized the absurdity. What am I going to do, write “VOID” on the front of it, hold it for 7-10 days until it clears, and then rip it up?

While that would be pretty neat, and also an amusingly on-the-nose way for a startup company to (nearly literally) burn venture capital funding, Square Block is a publicly traded company.1

I just don’t think it would fly, because no amount of volume can make that profitable. Instead, it’s the last line of this little ad that betrays how this will really work. I think I get it, and this whole “store” thing sure makes it seem like I’m going to need to go somewhere. Worse, I’m probably going to have to talk to someone. That sounds awful.

As you might imagine, I quickly tapped “Dismiss” and moved on with my life.


  1. As of this writing, Block’s stock symbol is still “SQ”. ↩︎

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