Foursquare starts charging merchants for instant verification

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Merchants looking to skip the line and get instant access to Foursquare’s business tools need only grease the wheels with a sawbuck.

The location-based discovery service, which offers merchants free access to analytics and admin tools, is now enabling businesses to claim and verify their locations instantly for a one-time $10 fee.

U.S. merchants who fork over the $10 fee will get immediate access to the administrative tools for offering Foursquare specials, tracking real-time data about patrons, and editing their page information.

“We rolled out the new claim flow to give business owners the option to instantly verify their listings,” a Foursquare spokesperson told VentureBeat. “They can still verify listings for free via mail, but this typically takes several weeks, so instant verification is much more efficient. You can claim your listing and be looking at real-world analytics within a matter of minutes.”

Tuesday’s surcharge is a relatively minor addition that should remove a bit of friction from the business sign-up process — don’t expect it to bring in any substantial revenue for the startup.

Foursquare, which has 20 million users, says it now has 750,000 businesses already using its complimentary merchant services. The merchant figure is only a smidgen higher than the 500,000 number the startup touted in July of last year.

Photo credit: zoomar/Flickr

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