Block Inc., the digital-payments firm run by Jack Dorsey, is expanding its small-business loans service to Canada, bringing it into more direct competition with the country’s big banks.

The program, known as Square Loans, will make offers to eligible users and deliver funds as soon as the next day, the San Francisco-based company said Thursday. The loans come with one upfront fee, and borrowers pay the money back over time as a set percentage of daily card sales with Square.

The move sets up Block’s Square as a competitor to Canada’s major banks by moving it further beyond payments technology and into the business of providing capital. Square in September introduced a card that gives sellers instant access to funds they processed through Square, giving the company a way into customers’ cash-flow management systems.  

“From our earliest days, Square has focused on building easy-to-use tools and services to empower entrepreneurs to succeed on their own terms,” Alyssa Henry, head of Square, said in a statement.

Square entered Canada nine years ago and has increased the number of larger business clients -- those with multiple locations -- by an average annual rate of 44 per cent since 2016. The firm doesn’t disclose how many total sellers it has in Canada.

While some merchants already have been beta-testing the Square Loans program, resulting in about $33 million (US$26 million) in financing, the loans will become more widely available in the country starting Thursday. 

Square Loans was introduced in the U.S. in May 2014 and Australia in April 2021. During that time, Square has provided more than US$9 billion in loans to more than 460,000 businesses, with an average loan size of US$6,750, according to the company.