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In Crunch Time, Square Considers Giving Capital to Businesses

Square is moving further beyond the swipe.

The payments company has begun testing a way to give Square merchants thousands of dollars to help them grow, according to three people familiar with the effort. The early-stage test is part of the startup’s push to diversify beyond processing credit cards for small businesses, a competitive and low-margin business.

Square has also been considering raising another round of funding that would put an initial public offering off beyond 2014, these people say. Earlier this year, Square authorized a tender offer to allow employees to sell some stock at a $5 billion valuation. The company is waiting a bit longer before deciding whether to proceed with another fundraising round, one of these people said. A number of media reports have said Square was considering going public this year.

A Square spokesman declined to comment on future products and fundraising.

The moves come at a crunch time for the five-year-old company.

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