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Payment Failure Troubleshooting

If you’re having trouble processing a payment, review the following topics to resolve the issue. If these tips don’t resolve your issue, contact Square Support for help with a specific transaction. 

Live updates about our services can be found at au.issquareup.com - You can also view a status timeline of any scheduled maintenance, performance issues/outages, or incident histories here.

If you’re having trouble with the app, be sure you’ve updated the app and give these troubleshooting tips a try.

Note: For security reasons, and to ensure PCI compliance, Square will no longer process chip card or contactless payments on devices running versions of the Square app that are older than 90 days. Learn how to update the Square app.

You can view uncompleted transactions in your Transaction Status report on your Square Dashboard. This includes declined and cancelled transactions.

The information below outlines several reasons a payment may not complete:

Declined Cards

If a customer’s card fails to authorise, you’ll receive one of the following messages:

  • “Declined. Card has expired. Please use a different card.”

  • “Declined. Please use a different card.”

  • “Declined. Please have cardholder call issuer before retrying transaction.”

  • “Declined. Please verify the card number, expiration date and CVV.”

We are not informed of the exact reason a card is declined. If your customer has confirmed the card is valid and the transaction still results in a decline, they will need to contact their card-issuing bank for more information.

For manually entered transactions, be sure the information entered matches the payment card. If the numbers turn red, the card number is invalid. If the transaction is successful, it will appear as a completed transaction within a few minutes. You can confirm a transaction was successful by checking your Transactions within the Square app or your payment history within the Square Dashboard. If a transaction is not completed, it will appear in your Transaction Status report.

Important to note

  • A transaction is not complete until you’ve passed the PIN entry or signature screen and received notification that the payment was successful.

    • If you are unable to process the card in question, we recommend seeking another form of payment and having the cardholder contact their issuing bank for more information.

  • Declined cards may result in pending charges on your customer’s bank statement, which should disappear in a few business days. 

Card Numbers Are Turning Red

While entering the payment card information manually, the card numbers will turn red if the information entered is invalid or incorrect. This is likely to be due to a typo, but you’ll want to verify with your customer that the information you are entering is valid. 

You’ll also want to make sure the time, date and year on your device are correct. If your device is set to the wrong calendar, it may result in declined cards. If you’re using an Apple device, follow these steps to check your calendar:

Tap Settings > General > Language & Region > Calendar. Be sure that the Gregorian calendar is selected. Once you’ve done that, log out and log back into Square POS app.

Cancelled Transactions

If you accidentally charge an incorrect amount, you can cancel the payment by tapping the “X” in the top-left corner of the PIN entry or signature screen. If you have Passcode Access enabled on an iOS device, you can also require a passcode to cancel transactions.

Internet Connectivity Disruption

Square requires an active Internet connection in order to process payments. This can be either a Wi-Fi connection or a data service (such as 4G or 5G). 

For best results, choosing Wi-Fi over your mobile network will result in a faster processing experience with Square.

Supported devices connect to the Internet using either a Wi-Fi network or a mobile data network. Devices will do the following until connected:

  • Connect over the last Wi-Fi network you used that’s available.

  • If no previously used Wi-Fi networks are available, mobile devices display a list of Wi-Fi networks in range. Select a network and, if necessary, enter the password to join. Networks that require a password show the lock icon next to them.

  • If no Wi-Fi networks are available or you choose not to join any, these devices connect to the Internet over a mobile data network (4G or 5G.) You can prevent your device from using mobile data in your device settings.

  • If you are experiencing network errors or outages, check that you have a strong network connection before attempting to process a payment. Any payments attempted could fail if the connection is not strong enough.

  • If you are processing payments with Square Terminal or Square Register, learn more about processing offline card payments.

  • If you accept Cash or Other Tender without an Internet connection, you may see a list of uncompleted payments in-app. The payments will complete recording when Wi-Fi or data service is restored. This only applies to Cash or Other Tender processed with Square.

Review any uncompleted card transactions on your Transaction Status report.

Pending Charges

If a payment is cancelled or interrupted, this may mean the transaction was voided—meaning your customer may see a pending transaction on their card statement. It may look like the charge has posted to their account, but it should disappear after a few business days. Square sends a void notification to the bank as soon as a payment becomes voided. This notification informs the bank that Square will not be capturing the funds in question. Once this notification has been sent, it is the bank’s responsibility to release any hold on those funds in the cardholder’s account. You will need to contact the customer to process the payment again.

Confirm Payments

Poor network connection, software or hardware glitches can occasionally get in the way of accepting payments. To double-check the success of a payment:

  • Make sure you’ve passed the PIN entry or signature and confirmation screens. A payment is not completed until it’s gone through these screens.

  • The payment must appear in your Transaction history. You can check your transactions via the Square app or your online Square Dashboard.

  • If you’ve enabled notification emails from your Square Dashboard, visit your email inbox. If your payment was successful, we would have sent you a notification email (e.g. “Square Payment #123456”).


How do I know if a payment is a voided or cancelled?

A good way to confirm that transactions have completed is by checking your Transactions within the app or your online Square Dashboard. If the transaction does not show up in your history but appears on a customer’s card statement, this is a sign that your customer is seeing a pending transaction and not an actual charge.

If I have lost my Internet connection, can I take payments in Offline Mode?

If you’re using Square Terminal or Square Register, processing offline card payments is now available to capture payments within 24 hours of restoring Internet connection. When operating in Offline Mode, there is additional risk with any payments you accept.

Note: This is not yet available for payments taken on Square Stand or Square Reader.

What do I do if payments are down and customers don’t have cash?

Unfortunately, sometimes outages happen. Your Internet could go down or there could be an issue with the major card networks. To monitor all live performance statuses, you can check au.issquareup.com.

Regardless, we know what it means for your day-to-day when things don’t work as they should.

In the rare instance you are unable to take card payments through Square, and a customer doesn’t have access to cash, we encourage you and your team members to try any of the following:

Ask customers to try another card

Sometimes there may be issues with specific card networks. If your customer is trying a Visa, Mastercard, JCB or eftpos card, ask them to try an American Express instead, if they have one. If they’re using an American Express, see if they can use a Mastercard instead.

Use your Square app to create tabs

If you’re at a fast service venue like a restaurant, cafe or bar, you can use Square’s open tickets to create tabs that your customers can settle up at the end of the night, or when your payment system is back online.

You can also save your customers’ cards on file from the Square app and settle up without the customer needing to stay at your venue until the payments system is back online. Card on file transactions have a processing fee of 2.2% per transaction.

Learn more about using open tickets with Square and how to save a card on file.

Accept direct payments

One way around network outages could be to accept payments directly as a bank transfer via your customers’ banking app.

Utilise Square Invoices to bill your customers

You can choose to send Square Invoices to bill your customers at a later time or date and save their card on file to process the payment automatically Invoices paid online or via a saved card on file have a processing rate of 2.2% per transaction.

To send an invoice from the Square POS app:

  1. Tap ≡ More > Invoices.
  2. Tap Create Invoice.
  3. Fill out all of the invoice details, including customer details, amount, any applicable discounts, and when the invoice is due.
  4. Change the Due timing from ‘Upon Receipt’ to a point in the future.
  5. If your customer agrees to have the card saved, you can add it by tapping ‘add a card on file’ in the Payment method section. This will automatically charge the saved card on the invoice due date.
  6. Tap Continue to complete the payment flow.
  7. Once the information is complete, tap Send. Your customer receives an emailed invoice and you get a copy in your inbox.

You can also download the free Square Invoices app on a compatible device to create an invoice with ease.

Learn more about: Point of Sale

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