Square launches web directory to find local merchants

Square is turning its website into more of a consumer-facing local discovery tool with the launch of Square Directory, which highlights stores that take Square and Pay with Square payments. Users who visit Squareup.com/directory can view nearby businesses on a map or organized in a list. There’s a search function that lets people find particular businesses.

The directory has more than 200,000 venues, but it’s still far less than the 2 million people that Square says can accept payments. That’s probably because many Square merchants are not tied to a single place or business address. The directory is similar to the one found in the Pay with Square mobile app, with business information and menu items listed. And it continues Square’s move toward being more of a consumer-facing service: Square’s website used to be focused much more on merchant services.

The Square Directory won’t be taking down Yelp (s yelp), Google or Foursquare anytime soon. There are no reviews though businesses can advertise special offers through their listings. But as the directory grows, it can be a better resource for its merchants who want to drive more traffic and another tool for people looking to find local services. That’s one of the opportunities for payment services such as LevelUp, PayPal (s ebay) and Google Wallet (s goog): they can become local discovery engines for people who start their searches via a payment app.