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Square Deepens E-Commerce Push With Payments Processing in Apps

Square Inc. is rolling out a feature that allows 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 brick-and-mortar businesses accept credit cards, Square’s system now will expand to let businesses accept payments in mobile apps, the company said Wednesday in a statement. 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. The San Francisco-based company is operating in an increasingly crowded market for payments technologies that work across platforms.

The new feature is targeted at large merchants such as multistore 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 like Stripe, PayPal, and Adyen NV.

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 technology companies in the fourth quarter and finished the year gaining 62 percent to $56.09. Shares rose 4 percent to $63.12 at the close Tuesday.

The in-app payments software development tools are available in the U.S., Canada, U.K., 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.