The payments company Square, which allows merchandisers to use the app for payroll, is ramping up its bet on small businesses by offering major company benefits. The fintech firm, managed by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, announced on Wednesday it would give small businesses that utilize its payroll platform the option to offer perks such as health insurance and retirement savings to employees.
“It’s a new enhancement to the Square platform and a powerful solution that has historically been cost-prohibitive to small businesses,” Alyssa Henry, head of Square seller and developer business units, said on a call with reporters.
The San Francisco-based company partnered strictly with “technology-focused” firms, including SimplyInsured, Guideline 401(k), Alice, and AP Intego. The new available benefits range from health insurance, retirement savings, pre-tax spending, and workers’ compensation.
“With Square Payroll we are able to simply and affordably provide employees with the benefits they need and reduce administrative time in the process,” said Shatisha M. Wilson, LPC, RPT, the owner of Wilson’s Garden of Hope. “Options we looked at before had employee minimums that prevented us from qualifying, but with Square Payroll the benefit plans are designed to meet the needs of businesses my size.”
Square Payroll became available nationwide last month, while businesses that use the product are able to choose one or all of the benefit options for their employees. According to the company, these benefits will sync with Square Payroll and automate deductions and business contributions, which also helps with tax compliance.
Square’s new move follows a recent company survey, which showed 42 percent of Square users desired benefits as the top new product request. “That confirmed what we’ve been hearing anecdotally,” said Caroline Hollis, head of Square Payroll. “Offering access to benefits was the most difficult thing we hadn’t solved for in the space.”
Square significantly expanded its small-business product suite since the company launched in 2009. First, it began with credit card processing and payment hardware. Now, it includes payroll services, and loans through Square Capital, while CNBC notes it also launched a payment installment option in October.
Square is also well-known in the payments sector for its popular Cash app, which CEO Jack Dorsey said customers are now using as a traditional bank in many cases.
“We do see people use the Cash App fundamentally as you would expect them to use a bank account,” Dorsey said on an earnings call last week. “They store money with us, it’s accepted anywhere Visa is accepted. They can send and receive money from friends and family.”