Banking solutions for an under-served community
Squire’s CEO and Co-founder, Songe, was a corporate lawyer in New York when he left that world to start a barbershop. While running that shop, Songe along with his co-founder, Dave, learned firsthand that better tools were needed for running their business and that many barbers lacked bank accounts and financial services.
Dave and Songe saw the financial struggles of barbers firsthand and realized that this was a problem they needed to solve for the 135,000 barbershops in the United States. They started by solving the basics of the trade with a booking and scheduling platform, then turned to the Point of Sale (POS) software and payments.
Offering financial services was the natural next step, because barbers often have mismatched cash flows and lumpy earnings which can lead to financial challenges.
The pandemic accelerated their thesis that this industry deserved modern software and financial tools. Unfortunately, many barbershops were forced to close permanently due to the pandemic and among those that remained, most no longer received cash tips. With most customers preferring to use touchless mobile wallets or credit and debit cards, those tips ended up going on barbers’ paychecks instead of in their pockets, making their cash flows less predictable.
Advanced access to earnings
The Squire Card allows barbers to get advanced access to their earnings, so barbers can use their funds when they need them most. With the Squire Card, they have instant access to tips and commissions which significantly improves cash flow for these small businesses. The Squire Card gives flexibility and freedom back to barbers who were once so cash-based, bringing them into a more modern way of interacting with finances through software.
Embedded finance is now playing a key role in helping barbershops operate efficiently while giving barbers more financial flexibility. Leveraging Bond's fintech infrastructure platform, Squire is delivering everything barbershops need on one unified platform.
Debit cards and money movement
Built directly into Squire’s mobile app, the Squire Card allows barbershop owners to immediately transfer funds from their account to their employees, so a barber can walk out of the shop with their money instantly available on their debit card.
Shop owners can also use the Squire Card for purchases for their store or to pay bills, such as rent. Similarly, barbers can pay their shop owners for the monthly use of their chair via the Squire Card’s integration into the same app they use to schedule appointments with clients and accept payments from them.
In Q1 of 2021, Squire decided to offer their barbers banking solutions to better serve their needs and build tighter customer relationships. Squire chose to start by offering barbers a debit card as a way to enter the market quickly.
“The Squire Card transforms our ability to serve our community of barbers,” said Songe. “We can lower their costs, cut their fees, and save them time — plus give them rewards and drive loyalty for using our card.”
While Squire manages critical point-of-sale technology, the missing piece they had to fill was banking products. Squire had an extensive selection process for platforms that can support this solution - from large fintech unicorns to early stage startups.
Squire selected Bond to create its fintech solutions because of Bond’s highly compliant and scalable architecture, deep bench of domain experts, and white-glove approach to building the product. By partnering with Bond, Squire was able to introduce the new card in a few months, compared with 18-24 months had they built it directly with a bank themselves. With Bond, they're able to offer a wide range of banking services a barber or barbershop owner needs in one place.
"We chose Bond as our partner because we had strong conviction and confidence they could launch our Squire card quickly and successfully, and be a long term partner with us for years to come," said Dave. "For instance, we have our eyes on a credit card in the near future and we know that Bond can support that for us when we’re ready."