Last week we learned that Square, best known for their small business credit card processing service, is getting into the consumer loan business. Lending is not new to Square, they launched Square Capital in 2014 to help their small business customers get access to capital. But they have never offered a financing option direct to the consumer until now.
While the typical transaction on Square is small they had more than 36 million transactions larger than $250 in the past year. And these are the transactions they are going after with their new Square Installments product.
Loans will range from $250 to $10,000 and will have terms of three, six or twelve months. Interest rates will range from 0% – 24% APR. The application process is fairly simple with applications able to be completed in store on the customer’s own phone and most applications will be approved or rejected instantly. Square takes on the credit risk as the customer pays the loan back to Square directly and the merchant receives the full amount of the sale.
The way it works is that the customer, once approved, is given a virtual credit card number to provide to the merchant to process the transaction and trigger the loan. It is interesting that they quote APRs starting at 0%. Given that Square will be making significant income on the merchant processing fee I could see how offering a super prime customer a 0% loan could make sense for them in certain situations. [Read more…]