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Square brings mobile payments to Canada

The service, which lets almost anyone accept credit cards, is now available to Canadians, in English and in French.

Twitter and Square founder Jack Dorsey at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco in September. Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Square, a red-hot mobile payments service that allows nearly anyone to accept credit cards, is now available in Canada.

The service works on iPhone or iPad and Android devices, and aims to upend the traditional credit card system -- which has usually required a merchant account -- by charging a flat 2.75 percent fee and letting users take Visa or MasterCard with a dongle that attaches to their mobile devices.

The San Francisco company is building a roster of merchants that accept its service, with Starbucks joining forces next month. That should get Square in front of a very wide audience and, the company hopes, make the notion of paying via its service natural to millions of new people.

In addition, its Square Wallet service allows users to pay for things like coffee and other goods without bringing out their credit card. That works by having them register their card with the Square Wallet app on their mobile device and having certain merchants' computers automatically detect the device when it comes through the door.

Square was founded by Jack Dorsey, who also co-founded Twitter.