What happened

Shares of Square (NYSE:SQ) were rising this morning after the company announced yesterday that it was launching an early-access program for merchants in France. 

The tech stock had gained as much as 3.3% during early trading and was up about 1% as of 10:37 a.m. EDT on Wednesday. 

So what 

Yesterday's announcement marked the first time that Square is opening up its payment processing services to merchants in France, and it's the start of what could be a bigger push into Europe by the company.

A cashier in a store with a Square-type payments system.

Image source: Getty Images.

Before yesterday, Square's merchant services were mainly limited to the U.S., Canada, Japan, Australia, and the United Kingdom. But the company has indicated lately that it wants to move into new markets, and CEO Jack Dorsey said on the third-quarter 2020 earnings call that he wants to make sure his company is "expanding around the world in a smart way."  

Square's launch of its merchant solutions in France adds to the company's increasing focus on the European market. Last year, the company purchased a peer-to-peer (P2P) company called Verse, which is in Spain, to learn more about how P2P works in the country. 

Square says that a limited amount of merchants will be able to sign up for the service right now, and that its merchant payment products will be generally available in France later this year.  

Now what 

The stock has been on a tear over the past year, rising more than 100%, and investors are likely hoping that expansion into Europe could mean more growth for the company. 

They should keep in mind that while Square's stock has experienced some volatility in 2021, the company's long-term prospects remain intact.

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