How Does Cash App Work?

Cash App is a popular option among the many options in the crowded world of financial apps. If you’ve ever been asked by a friend or family member to split a cost, there’s a good chance they asked if you use Cash App. Just like Venmo, Zelle, and PayPal, this app makes it a breeze to send and receive money to just about anyone.

It also offers numerous other features you may find useful. Let’s take a closer look at what the Cash App is and how it works so you can decide if it makes sense for your unique situation.

woman holding phone

What is Cash App?

Created by Block, Inc. (formerly Square, Inc. and Cash App’s parent company) in 2013, Cash App is a peer-to-peer payment app. It’s available on both iOS and Android devices and has 44 million monthly active Cash App users and over 100 downloads to date.

Each user has its own unique identifier known as a $Cashtag. The $Cashtag automatically generates a shareable URL so that they can make private and secure payments.

Cash App is just one of the many cash management products Block offers for individuals and small business owners. It has revolutionized the way people bank and earned a solid reputation, thanks to its affordability, ease of use, and intuitive design.

How Cash App Works

Cash App has seven main functions, including sending money, receiving money, mobile banking, investing, payments, taxes, and business. You can use a few of them or all of them as much or as little as you’d like. Here’s an overview of what you can expect from each one.

Sending Money

To send money with Cash App, all you need is the email address, phone number, or $Cashtag of the recipient. As a reminder, the $Cashtag is the unique identifier or name that each Cash App user sets up for themselves.

Once you enter the recipient’s information, the app will ask you where you’d like to withdraw money so you can make the payment. You can choose your Cash App balance, bank account, or credit card, such as Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover.

Keep in mind that if you use your Cash App balance or bank account to make money transfers or send Cash App payments, you won’t have to worry about any fees. But if you opt for credit card payments, you will be on the hook for a 3% transaction fee.

Cash App lets you send up to Cash App lets you send up to $250 within any seven-day period. This limit may increase if you confirm personal information, like your name, date of birth, and the last four digits of your Social Security number.

When you send funds with Cash App, they may be in the form of cash, stock, or even Bitcoin. Note that you don’t need to own stock or Bitcoin, or have an investing account as Cash App will pull the USD from your Cash App balances and allow the receipt to use it to buy stock or Bitcoin.

Other Cash App users may send you stock or Bitcoin as well and you can accept or reject it. You’ll need to open a brokerage account in the app to accept stock and verify your identity to accept cryptocurrency. If you do decline the sender’s stock or Bitcoin payments, you’ll receive cash instead.

Receiving Money

To receive money, you’ll need to sign up for a Cash app account. As soon as someone sends you funds, they will go directly into your account. To withdraw them or “cash out”, you’ll need to connect to a bank account or debit card.

While a standard deposit will appear in your bank account within one to three business days, an instant deposit will show up instantly in exchange for a rush fee ranging from 0.5% to 1.75%.

Cash Card

If you don’t want to transfer money to a bank account, you may request a Cash Card, which is essentially a Visa Cash App debit card. You can choose a custom design and make your Cash Card stand out from other credit cards you have. You can also add it to Apple Pay and Google Pay using the card details on the Cash Card tab.

If you’d like to deposit money onto your Cash Card, you may do so at popular retailers, such as Walmart, Walgreens, 7-Eleven, Dollar General, Family Dollar, Sheetz, and StopNGo.

The Cash Card will let you make a variety of online or in-person purchases at participating retailers. Keep in mind that you will have to pay a $2.00 to $2.50 fee if you use the Cash Card at an ATM. The ATM provider might charge you a fee as well.

The main benefit of a Cash Card, however, is access to Cash Boosts or Cash Boost discounts. Cash Boosts are exclusive discounts that can help you save money on everyday purchases at places like retail stores and restaurants. You may choose a Boost you’d like to use, and the app will apply it the next time you make a purchase at that retailer.

Mobile Banking

Cash App is a mobile app that offers financial services. However, it is not a bank. Banking services and debit card are provided by Cash App’s bank partners, Sutton Bank or Lincoln Savings Bank.

Through Cash App banking, you can deposit other funds, like your paycheck direct deposit or tax refund check. But to take advantage of this feature, you’ll have to order a Cash App card.

If you sign up to receive direct deposits into your Cash App account, you can get your paycheck up to two days faster than you would if you choose to direct deposit to another bank.

Your Cash App account balance, linked to your Cash Card, is FDIC-insured up to $250,000 per customer through Cash App’s bank partner in case of bank failure. This FDIC protection is known as “pass-through” insurance.

However, note that Bitcoin and investment balances are not FDIC-insured. Brokerage services are provided by Cash App Investing LLC, member FINRA/SIPC. Cash App also encrypts fraud detection technology to ensure your data and funds are secure.


If you like to invest, you may use Cash App to invest in stocks and exchange-traded funds or ETFs for as little as $1 without paying any commission fees. You may take advantage of this feature if you’re a U.S. resident that is at least 18 years old and sign up with your full name, date of birth, Social Security number, address, and employment details.

Cash App also allows for cryptocurrency investing as you can use the app to buy or sell Bitcoin to and from an external wallet.


If you make purchases at places that use Square for payments, like a local boutique or salon, for example Cash App Pay may come in handy. Cash App lets you pay them directly via your account balances.

All you have to do is scan their QR code with your phone and follow the prompts to make a payment. You may also use Cash App Pay on the websites of participating small businesses, online stores, and other vendors. Simply go to checkout and choose “Cash App Pay.”


In 2022, Cash App has partnered with Credit Karma Tax to help you file your taxes for free online or through the app. If you have a fairly straightforward tax situation or even one that’s a bit more complex and involves business income and itemizing deductions, this feature can be useful.

You may file a federal and state tax return for free and request the refund to get deposited directly into your Cash App account. Just like most tax software solutions, Cash App Taxes offers a guarantee for accuracy and a maximum refund.


If you’re an entrepreneur or small business owner, Cash App Business should be on your radar. You can use the app to create an account and get paid for your products and services.

Unlike a personal Cash App account, which limits daily transfers, a Cash for Business account offers unlimited daily transfers. Cash for Business accounts are designed to meet the higher volume transaction your business is likely to have.

If you’d like, you can send your customers payment links to request credit card or debit card purchases. While it’s always free to send money, you will be charged a 2.75% transaction fee every time you receive money.

You’ll find that Cash App Business is a solid choice if you’re a startup or small venture. However, as you grow, you may be better off with Square or a different, more robust payment processor.

Cash App Fees

Fortunately, Cash App doesn’t charge too many fees so you can use it even if you’re on a budget. You can open an account without a minimum deposit or minimum balance. Plus there is no service fee and the app doesn’t charge monthly fees or overdraft fees.

If you have insufficient Cash App funds, the app won’t charge you a fee. Instead, it will simply decline your transaction.

Furthermore, Cash App doesn’t charge investing commissions or foreign transaction fees. In addition, it will reimburse you for up to three ATM fees per month, as long as you have a minimum of $300 per month in direct deposits or Square cash deposits. Here’s a list of the fees you can expect to pay.

  • ATM withdrawal fees: If you withdraw cash often, know that Cash App will charge you $2 for out-of-network ATM withdrawals but you’ll get up to three free ATM withdrawals per month if you meet certain requirements.
  • Investing fees: If the investment you wish to buy has any government or regulatory fees, the app will inform you.
  • ETF expense ratios: In most cases, ETFs and mutual funds come with fees ranging from 0.5% to 2%, which will go to fund managers, rather than the app itself.
  • Bitcoin fees: You might have to pay a fee if you buy or sell Bitcoin, depending on the market price of the cryptocurrency. Expedited Bitcoin withdrawals will cost you as well.

Cash App Customer Service

Cash App was designed to be user friendly so you should be able to use it with ease, regardless of tech savvy you consider yourself. You can set up an account quickly and jump around to its different features without any issues.

The app has earned a high rating of 4.8 stars in the iOS App Store and 4.7 stars in the Google Play Store. While you may reach out to customer support directly through the app, you have other options as well. Go online to, call 800-969-1940, or reach out via Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

Cash App Safety

While Cash App is generally safe to use, scams do exist. To reduce their risk, Cash App recommends that you only send payments and request money from people you know and trust. Ignore any transfer requests from those you don’t recognize.

Additionally, before you send money, double-check the recipient’s information to make sure it goes to the right place. Keep your Cash App password and PIN confidential.

In the event that you adhere to these safety measures but still fall victim to a scam, block the account and report transactions to Cash App directly. Even though you can’t cancel most transfers, you may dispute a fraudulent credit card transaction.

Who is Cash App for?

Cash App is a solid choice for those who reside in the U.S. or U.K. and face challenges opening a traditional bank account. It offers a seamless solution for money transfers and is ideal for those who frequently send and receive money from friends and family. It’s also ideal for those who want to dip their toes into stock or cryptocurrency trading.

Direct deposit recipients and small business owners who seek a straightforward and budget-friendly mobile POS system will also find Cash App valuable.

However, those residing outside the U.S. or U.K. may want to consider alternative options. The platform may not be the best fit for businesses seeking a bank account or access to additional financial products such as credit cards and loans.

Additionally, Cash App is not designed for passive investment via a robo-advisor or for exploring cryptocurrencies other than Bitcoin.

Pros and Cons of Cash App

Just like any personal finance app or online bank account, Cash app comes with benefits and drawbacks you should keep in mind, including:


  • Easy to sign up and use: You can sign up for Cash App quickly without any hassle or documentation. Once you do, you’ll find it a breeze to navigate and perform your desired functions. However, if you do need some assistance, there are multiple support options at your disposal.
  • Minimal fees: Cash App is affordable to use. You can sign up without a minimum deposit or minimum balance. Plus there are no fees for foreign transactions or Cash App investing commissions.
  • Countless features: Cash App has no shortage of features, making it an attractive choice for people from all walks of life. You can use it to send and receive money, make payments at your favorite retailers or vendors, invest, file taxes, and more.
  • Access to Bitcoin: If you’ve always wanted to trade in Bitcoin, Cash App can allow you to do just that. It’s a great way to test the waters and find out if it makes sense for your particular goals.
  • Excellent customer support: While Cash App is intuitive, you may come across questions and concerns as you use it. The good news is there are multiple ways to contact customer support, including in-app support, email support, phone support, and social media support.


  • Only available in the U.S. and U.K.: Unlike other apps like PayPal, Cash App only works in two countries, the U.S. and U.K.
  • Limited stocks and ETFs: Cash App is a great tool if you’re a newer investor. But if you’d like to select from a wide range of stocks and ETFs, you may want to look elsewhere as the app only supports a small selection.
  • No paper checks: There is no way to order or write paper checks with Cash App. This may be a drawback if you depend on that strategy to complete various personal or business tasks.
  • No interest: No matter how much money you keep in your Cash App account, you won’t earn interest. If growing your funds is your primary goal, you might want to explore high-yield savings accounts, cash management accounts, or traditional bank accounts instead.

How to Sign Up for Cash App

If you decide that Cash App is a good fit or would like to try it out to pay friends or retailers, follow these simple steps to sign up.

  • Go to the Apple App Store or Google Play Store to download Cash App for free. You can also scan the QR code from the website.
  • Enter your name, zip code, phone number, and email address.
  • Select your $Cashtag so you can send and receive payments. Note your $Cashtag must include at least one letter and be no longer than 20 characters.
  • Link your bank account or credit card account to take advantage of most of the app’s features.
  • If you’d like to apply for the Cash Card (the Visa debit card), confirm your account with your full name, date of birth, mailing address, and last four digits of your Social Security number.

Bottom Line

If you’re on the lookout for an easy-to-use financial app, Cash App may check off all your boxes. It can give you the chance to send and receive money, invest in basic stocks and EFTs, try Bitcoin trading, file taxes, and more.

However, if you’re hoping for a more complex app because you’re a larger business owner or experienced investor, it’s in your best interest to explore an alternative investing app, like Webull or Robinhood.

Cash App Frequently Questions

Is Cash App legit?

Cash App was created under the reputable Square, Inc. brand and is legitimate, as long as you use it with caution. Be sure to double-check your recipient’s information before you send money and never reveal your personal Cash App information to people you don’t know.

How much money can you send through Cash App?

You may send up to $1,000 within 30 days. But if you share some information about yourself, like your name, date of birth, and the last four digits of your Social Security number, this value may increase.

Does it cost money to send money with Cash App?

It’s free to send money from your Cash app balance or linked bank account. If you use a credit card, however, you will be charged a 3% fee.

How does Cash App compare to PayPal?

While Cash App is very similar to PayPal, it’s more customer focused. PayPal may be a better fit if you’re a business owner looking for something more robust.

Do you need a bank account for Cash App?

A bank account is not required to use Cash App. You can send money from your Cash App balance or use a credit card, as long as you don’t mind paying the 3% transaction fee. Plus the Cash Card is available if you’d like to make online or in-store purchases.

Anna Baluch
Meet the author

Anna Baluch is a freelance personal finance writer from Cleveland, OH. She enjoys helping people make smart financial decisions.