Square has officially announced a new cash advance program

Payments company Square officially announced a cash advance program Wednesday that could help its existing merchants, and its own company, increase the money they make. The program, called Square Capital, lets merchants borrow a lump sum from Square and pay it back through a set percentage of their sales over time. Unlike a loan from a bank, the money has no interest fee or set payment schedule. Square is only offering the program to select merchants, based on their sales history and other financial information.

While it has been rumored to be in the works for a while already, US payments startup Square has officially announced it’s getting into the merchant cash advance game with a new service called Square Capital. The program is designed to help businesses grow by serving up quick and easy access to funds “in a way that’s easy to understand”, as the San Francisco-based startup puts it. In short, Square is looking at ways to help smaller, independent companies access capital without months of paperwork and complex application processes. So why would Square wish to do this? Well, so it can sell the retailer its own core service. Founded in 2009 by Jim McKelvey and Twitter cofounder Jack Dorsey, Square’s software and hardware products are designed to make it easier for merchants to accept credit and debit card payments through their mobile devices (Square Register). But if a would-be retailer doesn’t have the funds to expedite growth, well, Square’s products will have a pretty limited reach.

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