Square Capital automatically verifies Paycheck Protection Program loans with Persona

With a huge small business customer base, Square resolved to support its sellers by facilitating these Small Business Administration loans through its lending arm, Square Capital.

At the end of March, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES” Act) introduced the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) as a way to set aside almost $350Bn – later expanding to $670Bn – to aid small businesses that had been and would continue to be hit hard by COVID-19. These forgivable loans would make funding accessible to many small businesses and help them cover payroll and other costs to help keep the lights on.

We strove to automate as much of the PPP process as we could, from payroll documentation to identity verification, to ensure we could quickly and accurately submit sellers’ loan applications, and not be bottlenecked by manual reviews. Behind the scenes, Persona was invaluable in helping ensure tens of thousands of small businesses could have a smooth, transparent, and efficient PPP funding process through Square Capital.
Audrey Kim
Head of Product at Square Capital

In the first phase of PPP, hundreds of billions of dollars were set aside for loans to be granted on a “first come, first serve” basis, and that funding ran out within just a few days. Though PPP was re-funded by Congress, in order to maximize the odds of success for their sellers, the Square Capital team had to ensure that accurate applications meeting the SBA’s requirements were sent to the SBA as fast as possible as soon as the fresh round of funds was made available.

Verifying that the applicant was indeed who they said they were was a critical step to ensuring the application was accurate and ready to be sent to the SBA. Square Capital needed a way to verify identity accurately as fast as possible -- there was little room for error given the time sensitive nature of the program. Persona’s fully automated solution stood out -- it was the only way to verify applicants’ identities within seconds instead of waiting hours that could cost applicants their shot at a PPP loan. Moreover, once Square Capital implemented Persona, the data made evident that Persona was also outperforming other potential options on accuracy of identity verification.

Once Square Capital made the choice to go with Persona, the Persona team jumped in and partnered extremely closely with them to ensure the best outcome for the Square Capital team and their sellers. Persona’s team worked around the clock with Square Capital to automate a critical requirement that allowed them to be fast, accurate, and compliant in supporting their sellers and getting them much needed relief.

Square Capital, LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Square, Inc., d/b/a Square Capital of California, LLC in FL, GA, MT, and NY. All loans are issued by Celtic Bank, a Utah-Chartered Industrial Bank, Member FDIC, located in Salt Lake City, UT. The individual authorized to act on behalf of the business must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and at least 18 years old. Valid U.S. bank account and Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number are required. All loans are subject to credit approval and the terms of the SBA Paycheck Protection Program.