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Square goes international

The international expansion begins: Square announced today that it will begin providing its mobile point-of-sale to merchants in Canada.

Square has been planning to take its mobile POS solution international for some time, hiring Alyssa Cutright away from PayPal in March to lead the effort as vice president of international.

With its move into Canada, the company is entering a mobile POS space that is as crowded and fractious as the U.S. market. Companies like Intuit and Payfirma have been offering a mobile point-of-sale solution for some time.

That's not to say Square is an underdog in Canada – or any other market for that matter. The company has raised more than $340 million in funding, most recently a massive Series D round worth $200 million.  It now boasts over 2 million customers using its service processing more than $8 billion in payments on an annualized basis. It also signed a deal with Starbucks recently agreeing to process credit and debit card transactions for that coffee chain's stores beginning in November.

Earlier this week, the company announced it has signed a lease on new office space in San Francisco and expects to expand its workforce to 1,000 employees by the end of 2013.

"We are focused on making commerce easy for everyone. Square builds free tools for local businesses of all sizes and types to thrive," said Cutright in a statement. “We’re thrilled to introduce Canadian businesses and their customers to the most seamless and enjoyable way to do business.”

Pricing in Canada will remain the same. Merchants pay 2.75 percent of every transaction with no monthly fees or minimums. Funds are available in merchant accounts by the next business day.

Square Register, the mobile POS product, offers merchants a free, fully functioning point-of-sale system that works on both Android and iOS smartphones and tablets. The Square Register not only processes payments but also gives companies a number of reporting and analysis features. Square Register also offers the ability to create rewards programs and puts them in Square's directory of businesses.

Being showcased in Square's directory of companies may become a bigger perk for companies as Square becomes more integrated with Starbucks. The agreement between the companies includes Starbucks putting Square's directory in its mobile application so that patrons at the coffee chain can search for nearby local businesses. 

The announcement didn't mention whether merchants will be able to get Square's distinctive card reader through its U.S. retail partners like Radio Shack and Walmart. For now, it looks like the dongles are only available online through Square's Canadian site.

For more stories like this, visit the POS research center.

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