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Home>Taking Payments On A Mobile Device

Why Did My Payment Fail?

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 us for help about a specific transaction. 

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. This change will take effect on 26 March 2019. 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, expiry 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 details.

For manually entered transactions, be sure the information entered matches that of 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 app or your payment history within the Square Dashboard. If a transaction is not completed, it will appear in your Transaction Status report.

Note: A transaction is not complete until you’ve passed the PIN entry or signature screen and received notification that it 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.

Keep in mind that declined cards may result in pending charges on your customer’s bank statement, which should disappear in a few business days. 

Credit Card Numbers Are Turning Red

While entering credit card details manually, the credit card numbers will turn red if the details entered are 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’re entering is valid. 

You’ll also need to make sure that 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 > International > Calendar. Be sure that the Gregorian calendar is selected. Once you’ve done that, log out and log back into Square Point of Sale.

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 3G or 4G). 

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 (3G or 4G.) You can prevent your device from using mobile data in Settings.

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

  • 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, 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 working 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.

A good way to confirm that transactions have completed is by checking your Transactions within the app or your online 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.

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.

  • 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’).

Learn more about: Point of Sale