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Square’s new e-commerce play: helping businesses process payments in their own apps

Square’s new e-commerce play: helping businesses process payments in their own apps
Jack Dorsey, shown in 2015, is the chief executive of Square. (Richard Drew / Associated Press)

Square Inc. is rolling out a feature that enables developers and sellers to process payments within mobile apps, deepening the company’s push into online commerce and increasing its competition with rivals Stripe Inc. and PayPal Holdings Inc.

Known for helping small bricks-and-mortar businesses accept credit cards, Square’s system now will expand to enable businesses to accept payments in their own mobile apps, the company said Wednesday.

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The new software tools are part of Square’s move into a one-stop-shop for businesses that helps with payroll, loans, accounting, inventory tracking, website building and other services. And in October, the San Francisco company rolled out its offering of consumer loans for people to pay for goods and services from merchants that use its payment platform.

Square is operating in an increasingly crowded market for payments technologies that work across platforms.

The new feature is targeted at large merchants such as multi-store retailers and restaurant chains that create their own apps for buyers to order food or make purchases. It’s also targeting online-only companies that are prime customers of payments processors that already offer mobile services, such as Stripe, PayPal and Adyen.

Square’s shares almost tripled from the beginning of 2018 to a closing high of $99.01 on Sept. 28. The stock dropped sharply along with the shares of most tech firms in the fourth quarter and finished the year up 62% at $56.09. Shares rose $2.81, or 4.5%, to $65.93 on Wednesday.

The in-app payments software development tools are available in the United States, Canada, Britain, Australia and Japan and accept most popular payment types, including Apple Pay and Google Pay.

Companies that have been testing the feature include PepperHQ, which creates customized mobile apps for hospitality companies, and Brushfire, a ticketing and registration platform, Square said.

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