About i360’s Consumer Pulse: The Consumer Pulse asks 1,000, of the 2.5 million US adult panelists, over 150 questions daily. Questions center around key topics such as economy, lifestyle, real estate, automotive, shopping, employment, political opinions, and more.
In March 2023, investment research firm Hindenburg Research (HR) published a detailed report accusing Block (formerly Square) and its payment app, Cash App, of both public and private fraud. The extensive report, spanning nearly 16,000 words, highlighted various damning claims against Block, including allegations of facilitating consumer and government fraud, evading federal regulations, obscuring user numbers, and involvement in widespread criminal misuse. In response, Block denied the accusations and threatened legal action against HR.
The rise of payment apps like Cash App, driven by the smartphone revolution, have enabled consumers to send and receive money conveniently from anyone, anytime, anywhere. These services have been particularly beneficial for the 4.5% of unbanked Americans, granting them access to a payment app with a linked debit card.
Cash App’s “frictionless” financial approach specifically targets lower-income Americans. Despite fluctuations, app’s user base remains predominantly composed of low-income individuals. Let’s take a closer look at what Consumer Pulse has to say about payment apps demographics:
Interestingly, Cash App’s user base deviates from industry norms, with a higher proportion of female users (+7.6% over men). Additionally, Cash App’s user base predominantly resides in the American South, an area with a higher concentration of underbanked and unbanked residents. By targeting underserved communities, Cash App’s user demographics are influenced by certain geographic factors.
Following the release of HR’s report, Square’s stock experienced an initial decline but has since rebounded to pre-report levels. The swift response from Block likely contributed to this recovery.
As short sellers continue to explore opportunities, Consumer Pulse remains vigilant in monitoring changing sentiments. So far users have continued to stick with Cash App but only time will tell. By examining various aspects of the US economy, this ongoing research aims to provide valuable insights for investors across all levels.
Disclosure: The information in these blog posts, based on i360’s Consumer Pulse, is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as investment advice on any matter.