CashApp

As unusual as it may sound, many African countries have already replaced cash with phone payments for most regular day-to-day interactions. The same is also true in China, where tech giants AliExpress and WeChat operate rival services, which, when combined, made up over 83 per cent of all payments made in the year 2018. The trend continues to grow year on year, with over 92 per cent of payments made in China’s first-tier cities being made by Wechat Pay or Alipay the same year.

So why have we not seen the same thing happen in the United States and Great Britain? The prevalence of credit and debit cards in most Western countries has meant there hasn’t been the same rush to find a convenient replacement for cash like there was in China and much of Africa. In those countries, vast sections of the population do not have access to banking facilities the same way people in Western countries usually do.

Phone payments have flourished In places where credit/debit cards are unlikely to be accepted, or cash has suffered horrific inflation as it has in Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, and Kenya. The means to make a payment using nothing more than your phone has been a lifeline for millions of people in these countries.

Some of these people previously had no choice but to travel for hours to find the nearest ATM, or even spend more than a day travelling by bus just to hand over some of the cash they had earned from working in the city to family and friends who still lived in the countryside.

Definition

Although Google Pay and Apple Pay have found favor with some people in developed nations, they are primarily used as a convenient alternative to credit and debit cards. These services require such a card to function, unlike China’s Alipay or M-Pesa in Kenya.

It is these services that CashApp seeks to emulate by facilitating payments between businesses and individuals using nothing more than a phone number, email address, or a unique tag chosen by each user.

CashApp can also use the barcode-like QR codes that have become prevalent throughout much of Western society, which is the fastest and most convenient method of using the service for day-to-day transactions. If you wish to make a payment in a store, for example, you enter the amount you wish to send, and the app will generate a unique barcode that an employee of the store can scan.

In the United States, topping up your CashApp account can be done at Walmart, Walgreens, Rite-Aid, 7-Eleven, or  CVS stores. In the United Kingdom, the same service is offered at any retailer with a PayPoint terminal on-site, including most large and small supermarkets, post offices, and many smaller newsagents and convenience stores.

Both of these options are relatively common in their respective countries, but in the West, CashApp is most likely to find use with parents giving pocket money to children, those who don’t want to use their debit or credit card directly at a specific store or website, and other niche or specific scenarios where, for example, you don’t happen to have a bank card on your person.

In all of the above scenarios, the money used to fund CashApp wallets is likely to come from debit or credit cards, and this fact makes it hard for e-wallets to find widespread adoption in Western nations. People are simply already happy using the cards or services they have for most of their day-to-day transactions.

Skrill and Neteller succeeded by targeting the online gambling market directly, but both of those e-wallets have begun to struggle in recent years. Particularly in the United Kingdom, where online gambling websites have been fully regulated for many years, and card transactions can now be made instantly in both directions – is there a need for services such as CashApp in such nations?

CashApp certainly hopes so; They are trying to appeal to everyday users but certainly wouldn’t complain about picking up a share of the lucrative online gambling market as well. They hope to do this by offering lower fees for most types of transactions than Skrill and Neteller and began offering Cryptocurrency services, much like Revolut, in 2018.

History

A little-known fact about CashApp is that it is a side project of Jack Dorsey, most commonly known for creating the Twitter social media app frequently used by media outlets, politicians, and celebrities. The service was previously named Square Cash and has been around in the United States for a long time now; the first version of the software was released for iOS all the way back in 2013.

CashApp quickly expanded onto Google’s Android platform before launching in the United Kingdom the following year. Despite being available for almost a decade, the service is still relatively unknown among the general population, although they have managed to sign up over 36 million unique users.

That’s not bad considering Skrill has been around at least twice as long, is available in 200 countries, and still only has around 40 million unique users. On the other hand, it is dwarfed by PayPal who currently has around 400 million active user accounts – roughly equal to the entire populations of the United States and Great Britain combined.

How to deposit using CashApp

I was sent a referral code for CashApp by a friend some time ago but never bother signing up at the time. Taking another look at the message earlier today, I realized that using this friends code would bag us both a free $10 – not bad simply for signing up, I thought. There was a catch, though (isn’t there always?) as it turns out you don’t receive the free $10 until you have sent $50 using the app first.

After discovering this, I decided to give CashApp a try by depositing at a casino and was amazed at how simple the process was – I wasn’t asked to complete any KYC, send any documents, or take any selfies or videos of myself – nothing at all. I entered the amount I wished to deposit, and a QR code appeared on the screen.

When I scanned this code using CashApp, I was asked where I wanted to fund the payment from, chose my debit card, and that was it – all done in less than a minute.

I can imagine some online casinos being horrified by this situation. I checked the terms and conditions page, and as expected, I found that new customers cannot use either Skrill or Neteller if they wish to claim the new player bonus. CashApp was not mentioned on that same page and has seemingly slipped under the casinos’ radar for the time being.

CashApp may have used another method to confirm my identity, as I’ll admit to not reading every page of the terms and conditions while signing up. I decided to look around the web, where I discovered that my experience was not unusual, and many other users also expressed surprise at not being asked to confirm their identity when creating their new accounts.

I’ve fired off an email to support asking them about this and plan to update this article if and when they respond.

My response from CashApp:

We use several methods to confirm the identity of our users, which are listed in our terms and conditions. You agreed to these conditions using a checkbox while completing our registration procedure on […]. If we change the methods used to confirm your identity, you will be notified via email before such a change comes into effect. […] In your case, I can confirm that your identity was confirmed automatically using the name, address, and date of birth you specified during sign-up. If you have any further questions about this, please do let me know.

Enjoy your day!

How to make a withdrawal using CashApp

Withdrawing using CashApp was just as simple as making my deposit; I was asked to enter my CashApp email address and the amount I wished to withdraw, and that was it – no need to scan a code this time around.

I received an email less than half an hour later telling me that I had received a payment, but I was disappointed to learn that the funds were not immediately available in my CashApp account.

I wondered how long it would take for the payment to clear – when you receive a payment to an e-wallet, it is usually available to spend right away. It seemed especially strange to receive an email telling me about the money and being able to see it in my wallet, but that it was still marked as “pending.”

And thus, a saga began that I definitely had not seen coming. Everything had been so straightforward up until this point. I’m unsure if what follows is indicative of the general user experience of using CashApp, but I feel it is only fair to write about it exactly as it happened.

Trying to spend my CashApp withdrawal

After around two hours of checking my CashApp account and the payment continuing to show as “Pending,” I ended up forgetting about it that day and didn’t check again until the following morning. When I had a look this time, the payment was showing as “Cancelled,” and pressing the “I” button for more information said that the payment had been cancelled/stopped for my protection and to contact the sending party.

The casino didn’t know why this would happen but asked me if I was currently at home. I inquired as to why or what they meant; it was pointed out that I was currently using a VPN. Oops! However, I wasn’t using a VPN when signing up to CashApp as I did this using my mobile phone, and the VPN was running on my computer.

The casino assured me I was not using the VPN when I played the previous day or when I requested the withdrawal, as they log IP addresses on “key events” such as opening a game or requesting a withdrawal. The problem was, the casino had not received the money back yet, so I could not request the withdrawal a second time.

Later that same day, around 3 pm, I logged into the casino again. The funds were now showing in my casino account, so I requested a withdrawal a second time. The same thing happened once again – email received in less than ten minutes, funds appeared in CashApp, withdrawal to bank account was unavailable.

This time I contacted CashApp, who also didn’t seem to know what was going on. Roughly four hours after the payment was received, it was once again cancelled. I was getting frustrated now, mainly because CashApp couldn’t even tell me the reason why they were refusing to accept my winnings “for my own protection.”

I felt I had no choice but to take to the web again, where I found numerous cases of players experiencing the same thing. CashApp’s website had some advice, shown in the screenshot below (Fig. 1):

I ended up having to ask the casino if there was any other way to get my winnings. They use a system known as a “First In First Out Payment Method” to prevent money laundering, and this prevents you from using any other withdrawal method than the one you used to deposit except in particular circumstances. On this occasion, I was allowed to withdraw to my linked bank account, and the funds were available to spend less than half an hour later.

I never could get to the bottom of why I hadn’t been allowed to withdraw via CashApp. I did receive my referral money, which I sent to a friend as a test to find out if that would work. This same friend had no problem receiving or spending the money, and she also used my own referral link to sign up. She sent me her own free $10 when she received it, which I also received without any problems whatsoever.

The casino I was playing at is one of the largest and most trusted in the UK, so I find it hard to believe the problem would be with them. They did tell me they don’t have many customers using CashApp, but that could mean anything – not many to them could mean dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of transactions! My friend successfully deposited and withdrew at a different casino using CashApp, so as the saying goes, “your mileage may vary.”

cashapp payment cancelled

Fig 1. CashApp’s Information Page regarding Canceled Transactions

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is CashApp safe? I haven’t even heard of the company before.

I see no reason to distrust CashApp. The software is created by Square, Inc, whose Chief Operating Officer Jack Dorsey is also the CEO of Twitter. The two companies are run as entirely separate concerns, but I believe this association alone gives CashApp plenty of credibility.

Does CashApp offer a payment card of any kind, like Skrill and Neteller?

CashApp offers a pre-paid Visa debit card linked to their wallets in the United States, but as far as I can tell, that part of the service is not currently available in the UK. I couldn’t find any way to apply for the card, and the parts of their website concerning it list the fees only in dollars.

If you are located in the US, you should be able to apply for a free “customizable” debit card connected directly to your CashApp balance. As I understand it, you can upload an image file that is printed onto the surface of your CashApp card. Revolut has been talking about offering this feature for a while but has yet to launch it. If I lived in America, I would be grabbing one of these straight away, just for fun!

Is it legal to use CashApp to participate in online gambling in the United States?

This depends on which state you currently live in. Some states have already legalized online gambling and now have their own local online casinos. Right now, only New Jersey, Nevada, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, have done this, although many more states have plans to introduce legal online gambling in some capacity during the next 12 months.

Some states will only allow online sports betting, whereas others may extend this to poker too. Online casino gambling is the most divisive issue and may not ever become widely accepted in the US unless federal laws are passed.

If your state is entirely against online gambling – say, you live in Utah, for instance – then you will be limited to playing at offshore online casinos that are willing to accept US players. CashApp allows customers from all fifty states to sign up for an account but may prevent you from depositing at online casinos that fall foul of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA).

In short, the legal situation is complicated, but the United States has been retreating from the harsh stance introduced during the Dubya years on the whole. Using a service such as CashApp puts an intermediary between your bank account and the casinos, which is definitely desirable for American players worried about dubious legalities.

How much does it cost to fund your CashApp wallet using your debit card? I have no problem depositing at my favorite online casinos already, is there any point in using this?

There are many benefits to using an e-wallet such as CashApp, and these companies are always keen to follow emerging trends such as adding Cryptocurrency services to their platform in 2018. CashApp does not charge you anything to add to your wallet either in a store or using your debit or credit card.

Most e-wallets are the same in this respect, but where CashApp differs from its more established competitors in the online gambling world is that they will not charge you for sending your money back to your bank account either. This distinction raises the obvious question of where DOES CashApp make their money?

I’m confident that CashApp makes money from their debit card and cryptocurrency services, but apart from that, I would just be guessing.

Suppose you live in a jurisdiction where online gambling is fully legalized – Nevada, New Jersey, or the United Kingdom – and you already have online casinos that you play at directly using your debit card. In that case, I guess there isn’t much point in switching to using CashApp at this stage.

On the other hand, if you live in a state where online gambling is currently a grey area within the law or have had some of your deposits declined when trying to play online casinos, then CashApp be just the kind of service you are looking for.

Many players do not feel comfortable using their primary bank account to play online gambling sites. Some US banks have been known to close the accounts of those who play at online gambling sites, so I can understand why these players might be concerned.

Considering that CashApp doesn’t charge anything to deposit and withdraw from your e-wallet, I would recommend using their service if you have any concerns at all. Take a look at Revolut, Skrill and Neteller, too, to see if any of these wallets would be more suitable for your needs.

You mentioned that CashApp has Cryptocurrency functionality, too – does this mean I can play at Bitcoin-based casinos using CashApp?

Yes, this would be one perfect use case for the services they offer. Many of the largest online casinos that use Bitcoin were created specifically to target American players, and these sites are one of the only ways for some US players to play some of the best online casino games from providers like NetEnt and Microgaming.

Be aware that the per-transaction charge is currently very high for Bitcoin and doesn’t look to be coming down any time soon. If the casino you are playing with accepts alternative cryptocurrencies such as Litecoin and Monero, I would consider converting your dollars or pounds into one of these currencies and using that to deposit at your chosen online casino.

The cost of depositing via Bitcoin has been above $5 consistently for more than two years now, whereas both Litecoin and Monero will cost you just a few cents instead. That’s a significant saving in anybody’s book!

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