Jack Dorsey Fields Q’s On Square’s Future

Square continues to grow outside its payments box as the company, despite the challenge's its faced this year, looks towards its future.

Square has had a tough year, with profits dipping and cash dwindling, and there's been reports its looking for an acquirer. It's also faced immense competition in the mobile payments space from Apple, Amazon and PayPal that have launched their own payment initiatives. Regardless of the hurdles, its also made movements forward in payments as its acquired the food-delivery company Caviar, created Square Capital and partnered with Snapchat to join the social payments space.

CEO Jack Dorsey sat down with The New York Times following news of its $100 million single-shopping day.

"[The $100 million day is] pretty significant. It signals that we’re still growing very fast. We’re still reaching out to the farthest ends of small businesses and independent sellers and the mobile folks."

Despite the heightened competition, Dorsey doesn't think the payments business hasn't changed dramatically in the year.

"It’s funny because five years ago we saw [mobile payments] as extremely competitive," he said. "Has it changed dramatically in the last year? Not in my viewpoint. There’s definitely more attention paid to it, and there’s definitely more options for buyers. We talk a lot about sellers, but we need to make sure they provide a great experience to their buyers."

That starts with NFC, he said, which Square will adapt to as needed.

"It's going to change. We have committed to making sure our sellers are empowered to make every sale. As we see more attention on NFC in this country, that will be more and more the case."

Dorsey addressed questions on the company's earnings loss report from last year, saying that the word "loss is is an interesting word," because of how its interpreted and reported in the industry. He said the company has had many expectations placed on it, and said Square will  meet expectations and even exceed some.

"You can consider it a straight loss, or you can invest in the company to grow the company so you can grow the network and the base of people using the service. We’ve chosen to spend money to grow the business," Dorsey said. "Payments is always reported as a dirty, low-margin business. ...At any point, we can decide that we want to have a profit from our payments business and slow down the growth of our business. That’s not the choice we’re making, because we want to grow into a global business."

He also took the chance to squash any rumors about Square selling.

"First and foremost, we have never been in any talks about an acquisition with anybody for our nearly six years as an idea and over five years as a company. That has never occurred. Second, we have never had any plans of any substance about an I.P.O. We’ve had no plans to engage the market and investors, no plans on when. We believe right now that being a private company is best for us."

He wrapped up the interview by fielding a question about if credit cards are going away. The Times suggested Dorsey has changed his vision from wanting to eliminate paying with credit cards, or "building an elegant payment solution that was invisible," as the interviewee phrased the question.

"I guess my question is, does it have to happen? Why does it have to happen? Checks are still used today. I think our philosophy has always been it doesn’t matter what the payment device is, it’s just that the seller should be able to accept it," Dorsey said. "I think that is the manifestation of what we want, that we want to use everyday and everywhere. But I don’t think we can only build for that. We need to make sure that our sellers are set up to make every sale."



The September 2020 Leveraging The Digital Banking Shift Study, PYMNTS examines consumers’ growing use of online and mobile tools to open and manage accounts as well as the factors that are paramount in building and maintaining trust in the current economic environment. The report is based on a survey of nearly 2,200 account-holding U.S. consumers.

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