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Launched in 2009, San Francisco-based Square reportedly has about 3 million merchants, mostly small businesses and part-time sellers, and it also processes for Starbucks Corp. Merchants already using Square Register can easily add the e-commerce service and view all sales data through a single dashboard, Square says.

“I’ve been wondering how long it was going to take them to get into e-commerce, because clearly that’s been a gap for some time,” says payments consultant Todd Ablowitz, president of Centennial, Colo.-based Double Diamond Group. “This is clearly a big step forward for Square in being a small-business enabler.”

Rick Oglesby predicts Square will raise Square Market’s pricing, but not before enough merchants are using the service and attracting sufficient “consumer eyeballs” that they would tolerate a price increase.

“At their current pricing, I don’t see how they can make any money over the long term,” he says. “My expectation is that in the long term they’re going to be charging more than they’re charging today.”

Digital Transactions, June 26, 2013