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Square's new APIs expand merchant access to processing, hardware features

The 'Build with Square' APIs allow businesses to incorporate various aspects of the Square ecosystem without committing to the whole package.

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Square has decided to unshackle its software and hardware platforms in a bid to boost its payments processing volume.

The San Francisco-based company announced on Wednesday the launch of Build with Square, a set of APIs that will enable sellers (and the developers who work for the sellers) to incorporate various aspects of the Square ecosystem into their business without committing to the whole package.

For instance, brick-and-mortar merchants who require custom payments software can now use the Register API to process payments through Square and use some piece of the company's hardware.

Previously, merchants had to sign up for Register, Square's point-of-sale software, in order to have access to the processing and hardware features. It's worth noting, however, that the Register API will only work for an iOS-based point-of-sale.

Square is also offering an e-commerce API, which allows merchants operating a self-hosted website to process online payments through Square. This could come in handy for merchants already using Square in-store but not online, as it will enable them to consolidate metrics from both their online and physical footprints into one place.

Up till now, Square required online merchants to use its own online store product, or work with one of Square's third-party partner companies, in order to use Square for checkout.

For Square, the APIs reflect a broader shift taking place within the Jack Dorsey-founded company. Square initially launched in 2009 as a hardware company pushing technology to enable mobile payments, but its portfolio has broadened over the years to include a range of revenue-generating software and services.

These APIs mark a big step in the revenue department, as they could help convince larger companies, online stores and retail chains with complex software requirements to use Square as an alternative to other payments processing providers.

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