- Block’s merchant business, Square, has made all of its approximately 35 products available in Spanish for customers in the U.S., according to a Sept. 13 press release.
- In addition to releasing its commerce, banking and other tools in Spanish, users can now access customer support and resources in Spanish, according to the release. Square also has hired Spanish-speaking employees across its customer support, account management, communications and sales staff.
- When asked whether Square has plans to add more languages, such as Mandarin, Korean, Vietnamese or Arabic, a spokesperson said the business has no such plans to share at this time.
Citing data from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) and Stanford University in its press release, Square appears to be targeting the fast-growing segment of Hispanic business owners in the U.S., including those who are unbanked or struggle to obtain loans.
“As Hispanic-owned businesses continue to contribute enormously to the economy, these entrepreneurs have looked for solutions like Square to make their lives easier,” said Alyssa Henry, head of Square, in a statement. “Because Square succeeds when our sellers succeed, we’ve made an important effort to ensure that as we expand globally, our entire ecosystem is available in Spanish here in the United States.”
The move is also a way for Square — which launched in 2009 to serve small merchants with its white card reader — to set itself apart in the crowded point-of-sale market. Some of the offerings now targeted to this segment of business owners include Square’s banking tool for increased access to financial services, and its restaurant software to facilitate bilingual communication between staff from the front-of-house to the kitchen, per the release.
The decision to hire more Spanish-speaking employees arrives as the lack of diversity within the financial technology industry has come under the microscope with members of Congress.
In June, the House Committee on Financial Services’ task force on financial technology held a hearing titled “Combating Tech Bro Culture: Understanding Obstacles to Investments in Diverse-Owned Fintechs.” Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA) called out venture capital firms for investing in cryptocurrency companies such as Celsius instead of founders of diverse backgrounds with more solid business ideas.
Some fintech companies are attempting to boost venture capital and financial services firms that serve underrepresented communities. Last year, PayPal said it would invest $50 million in 11 Black- and Latinx-led VC funds, including Kapor Capital, Interlace Ventures and Collab Capital.
The fintech giant also said it would deposit $135 million into management funds and financial institutions that serve communities of color, including One United Bank, Self-Help Credit Union and Hope Credit Union.