Accessible payments and banking with Cash App
by Karl Belanger
There are a variety of apps that one can use for sending money to friends and family, and another whole selection that can be used for banking. These apps can vary widely when it comes to accessibility, not to mention the products and services they offer. Cash App is a solid, accessible app that has a nice blend of payment and banking features that will appeal to many people. Signing up for an account is free, and most of its features are free of charge. Nearly all of the features of the app are accessible. The main features of the app are:
- Payments: send money to friends and family, businesses, etc.
- Cash balance: add cash through a variety of ways.
- Stocks and bitcoin: buy stocks or bitcoin in amounts as little as $1.
- Cash card: get a debit card for use with your Cash App balance.
You can download Cash App from the App Store or Google Play. You can also go to https://cash.app to access the service via the web. Signing up requires your phone number and email, and a debit card which is used to link your bank. You will also be asked to create a cash pin, which is a four-digit number that the app will ask for in certain circumstances. You can also set up logging in with your fingerprint or face depending on your phone. After the initial sign up, you can access the profile to add additional information, a referral code, or verify your identity. To take advantage of more than just the payment features, you’ll need to verify your identity. The app will ask for some personal information, including the last four digits of your social security number. This information is not saved within the app and is simply used to make sure you’re who you say you are. Once you have created your account and added a bank, you are ready to get started.
The cash app interface
The app is broken into five tabs which are along the bottom of the screen. The first tab is Money, which shows your balance if you have one as the tab label. Here you can transfer cash in or out, set up direct deposit, buy stocks and bitcoin, and use Cash App’s tax features. The next tab is Card, where you can optionally sign up for the cash card, which will be discussed later. Third is the Payment tab, where you can send or request money between people and businesses. Fourth is the Discover tab, which shows recent people you’ve paid or requested payment from, discounts available at some businesses, and offers for your cash card if you have signed up. Last is the Activity tab which shows your transaction history. In the top right of most screens in the profile button, which was discussed earlier.
Sending and receiving payments
The default tab of the app, and its original feature, is the Payment tab. This tab contains a keypad to enter an amount, a button to scan a QR code, as well as pay and request buttons. Simply enter the amount you want, then press either the pay or request button depending on what you want to do. The keypad here is not the standard iOS or Android keyboard, so you must double tap on the numbers to activate them. If you are sending a whole dollar amount, you don’t need to enter cents, as it will handle just the number properly. Once you press either button, you are taken to the next screen. You can search for someone by name or number, and any recent contacts will be shown here as well. The first time you use this feature, the app will request permission to access your contacts to see who is using cash app, but you don’t have to grant this if you don’t want. You have the opportunity to enter a note with your payment, then hit the send button. Be very careful that you have the right person if you are sending money, once you hit the send button the payment is done and cannot be recalled. Once the process is complete, you are returned to the initial payment screen.
The Money tab is where you put money into or out of the Cash App system. If you have a balance, the label will change to the balance rounded to the nearest dollar. The main two buttons are to add cash and cash out. Add cash brings up an interface which offers several amounts between $10 and 200 dollars. There is also a more options button which brings up the payment keypad where you can enter the exact amount you want. Just select or enter your desired amount, hit the add cash button, enter your pin or use your fingerprint, and the cash is added instantly. Your new balance will be reflected at the top of the tab, as well as, in the tab’s label. Cash out, as its name implies, lets you send cash out to your linked bank. It defaults to your current balance, but double-tapping on the amount lets you change it. You then have the option to send standard, which takes a couple days and is free, or instantly, which costs a small fee depending on the amount you are sending. After you select your desired options, the money is deducted from your balance and sent out to your bank.
The next two options let you buy stocks or Bitcoin. These require you to verify your identity. If you own either of these, the value you own will be shown on the button to buy them. Stocks lets you search for companies, and either follow them or buy stocks. You don’t have to buy in full share increments, you can spend any amount you want and will buy partial shares. I have not used the Cash App tax features, but they are also accessible from this tab. Lastly, if you have received a cash card, this will enable banking features. The account and routing numbers will become accessible by tapping on the balance at the top of the tab. You can then set up direct deposit or use bank transfers to add money. Lastly, you can add paper money by depositing at a partner store. This is the only part of the app with a major accessibility issue. There is no list view to show nearby stores where you can make deposits, and the map pins aren’t accessible. However, the button to show the barcode to make the deposit is accessible, so if you find a store that does cash app deposits, the process itself is accessible.
The Card tab is where you can request and manage your cash card. The cash card is a debit card linked to your Cash App balance. Setting up the card also enables banking features. If you don’t yet have a card, the tab will give you information about the cash card and offer to set one up. You can choose either a regular card for free, or a metal one that costs money. You can then customize your card by adding icons or pictures to the card. The process of adding things is accessible, but you may want a sighted person to verify how your card looks if you want to customize it. After selecting your card, you can confirm it and will get notified your card is being prepared. After a week or two your card will arrive. The app prompts you to verify the card by scanning the QR code on the paper above your card. I was easily able to do this accessibly by positioning my phone’s camera just above the card on the paper, pulling back slowly and moving it around a bit. After verifying the card, all the relevant information, including card number, expiration and security code are displayed at the top of the card tab, and are accessible. This makes it possible to receive and activate the card, and get all necessary information, without relying on sighted assistance at all.
Once your card is active, the tab gives you a few options. Boosts are discounts at specific stores that you can add to your card. Round Ups let you round each purchase to the next dollar and invest the difference in either a stock or bitcoin. So, if you choose to round up into Bitcoin, and make a purchase of $19.43, your card will be charged 20 dollars and .57 cents will be bought in bitcoin. Lastly, there is a toggle which will immediately block the card if it is lost or stolen, an option to get support, and you can request a new card.
The Discover tab combines information accessible from various other screens into one place. Here you can find the list of recent people you’ve paid, a list of cash pay, and card boost discounts, and announcements about other new features that the app has.
The activity tab shows your transaction history. It will show the business and the amount of the transaction. If the transaction included cash back or a tip, this will also be noted. Pending card transactions will also be shown, and you will receive a notification if they are updated, such as to include tip. Activating a transaction will show more details as well as information on the business.
Cash App accessibility
Cash App is very accessible overall on both iOS and Android. Everything is labeled nicely, and aside from the map for depositing at a store, all features are fully usable. The way it provides easy access to the account and card numbers is especially nice if you’ve ever had to ask a trusted sighted person to read off the new information for your latest credit or debit card. I also find it a nice feature that the Activity tab specifically calls out when a transaction includes a tip or cash back. Unfortunately, there are more issues on the web. The web interface doesn’t accessibly indicate which transactions are pending. The controls on the settings screen also aren’t given proper roles, and just appear as text. Because of these issues and the site’s very limited capabilities in general, I definitely recommend sticking with the mobile apps.
Cash App is a solid service that provides many accessible banking features. Whether sending money to friends, buying stocks, or using it as a bank account with a debit card, you can look forward to a fully accessible experience. Since most activities in Cash App are free, there’s really no downside to giving it a try. Cash App is available from the iOS App Store, and the Android Google Play store. You can access Cash App on the web at https://cash.app.