Payment company Square earnings beat, boosted by higher transaction volume

  • Square beat Wall Street's adjusted revenue and EPS expectations for the second quarter.
  • The fintech company missed analysts' expectations for third-quarter adjusted EPS guidance.
  • Square is best known as a credit card processor but also offers payment hardware, a peer-to-peer Cash App, small-business lending and cryptocurrency trading.
Jack Dorsey, co-founder and CEO of Square and Twitter.
Louis Ascui | Fairfax | Getty Images
Jack Dorsey, co-founder and CEO of Square and Twitter.

Payment company Square reported second-quarter results that beat Wall Street estimates, thanks in part to higher transaction volumes, but the company came up short on forward guidance.

Here's how the company did compared with Thomson Reuters consensus estimates:

  • EPS: 13 cents per share vs. 11 cents expected.
  • Adjusted revenue: $385 million vs. $367.6 million expected.

Square's stock fell more than 1.3 percent in after-hours trading.

Adjusted revenue grew 60 percent year over year, compared to Wall Street analysts' expectations of 52.9 percent. Transaction-based revenue surged 30 percent to $625.2 million in the second quarter. Gross payment volume, the amount of payments processed by sellers, topped $21.4 billion and rose 30 percent in the quarter.

Square missed expectations for adjusted EPS guidance — it predicted between 8 and 10 cents for the third quarter, below analysts' expectations of 13 cents. Square issued adjusted revenue guidance between $407 million and $412 million, which was above the $350.1 million to $408.2 million range Wall Street was expecting.

Square's Chief Financial Officer Sarah Friar said the miss on third-quarter EPS guidance was a result of "putting dollars back into the business."

"If we build remarkable products, it will drive momentum on the top line," Friar said on a call with reporters.

Dan Dolev, executive director and analyst at Nomura Instinet, said the guidance miss was more than offset by the massive revenue beat, and strength in Square's Cash App.

"Investors will give the company a pass because there's no weakness, they're just reinvesting," Dolev said. "As long as you continue to get that revenue growth, the stock will continue to work."

Shares of the fintech start-up, which is run by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, have surged more than 140 percent in the past year and 88 percent this year alone.

The San Francisco-based company is best known as a credit card processor but also offers payment hardware. Its peer-to-peer Cash App is growing faster than PayPal's Venmo, according to a recent Nomura report. The company has also increased its presence in small-business lending, most recently with an eBay partnership announced in July.

Square's Cash App had a breakout quarter. Customers spent a total $250 million with Cash Card, nearly triple the amount they did in December, representing $3 billion on an annualized basis.

Square launched bitcoin trading through its Cash App in January. While it generated $37 million in revenue from bitcoin, it spent $36.6 million to offer the volatile cryptocurrency on its app. As a result, the company made a total $420,000 on bitcoin.

For now, Square is not "trying to push on the monetization of bitcoin today," Friar, the company's CFO, said.

On the call with analysts, Square CEO Jack Dorsey highlighted strength in the company's food-delivery app Caviar, which doubled its revenue year over year. Revenues from subscriptions and services were also a bright spot, increasing 127 percent year over year to $137 million in the second quarter.