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Square Reader FAQ

Review common questions about the Square Reader.

When will I receive my Square Reader?

Once you place an order via Square Shop, your reader will arrive in 2 to 7 business days. You can also opt-in for paid expedited shipping where your order will arrive within 1 to 4 business days. When your reader is shipped, you’ll receive an email with tracking information, which you can use to follow your order. If you need your hardware more urgently, Square hardware may be available at a store near you.

How do I return my reader or order a replacement?

You can return your Square Reader, purchased through the Square Shop, within 30 days of the purchase date. If your Square Reader was purchased at a local retailer, please refer to the retailer’s return policy for details. If your reader isn’t working properly, and you’ve tried the troubleshooting tips, you can submit a warranty claim to receive a replacement. Make sure to review our warranty and return policy before getting started.

Where can I find general information about this reader?

You can read a product overview, find technical specs, and learn about pricing on the Square Reader page. To learn more about the differences between first and second generations of Square Reader, visit our Square Reader Identification guide.

What devices can I use with the Square Reader?

You can use most Apple iOS devices and many Android devices with built-in Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). Check if your device is supported.

What types of payments can I accept?

The Square Reader accepts chip cards (EMV) and contactless (NFC) payments such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, and contactless cards.

I’m having trouble with my reader. Where can I get help?

Review these troubleshooting tips – they solve the most common issues people have with the reader.

Order Questions

How much does the Square Reader cost?

You can purchase the Square Reader and an optional dock together or separately on the Square Shop.

Can I purchase a reader in a retail store?

You can buy a Square Reader from a retail store. We suggest you contact your nearest retail location prior to visiting to ensure they have Square hardware in stock.

Are discounts offered for the reader?

At the moment, discounts aren’t available for the reader, but you can pay for the reader in instalments instead of a one-time charge with Square’s hardware instalment plan. Learn more about the instalment plan.

Note: First payment will be due at checkout. Available plan lengths vary from 3, 6, and/or 12 instalments based on purchase amount. All plans subject to credit approval.

Device Compatibility Questions

My device doesn’t support BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy). Can I use the reader?

Devices without BLE aren’t currently supported with the reader.

What if I already have a Square magstripe reader?

You can continue to use your magstripe reader to process magstripe cards alongside your Square Reader. Note: The magstripe reader no longer comes with the Square Reader and is not sold separately.

Can I connect my reader to multiple devices at the same time?

While the reader can be used with multiple devices, it can only connect with one device at a time. To connect your reader to another device, make sure to disconnect it from its current device.

To disconnect your reader:

  1. Navigate to ≡ More > Settings.
  2. Tap Hardware > Square Reader.
  3. Select your reader from the list and tap Forget this Reader twice to confirm.

You can also disconnect the reader by holding down the button on the reader for approximately 20 seconds, until you see four solid red flashing lights.

Can I use this reader if my business is mobile?

Yes, just make sure you have a strong Wi-Fi or mobile data connection to process payments and that your reader is fully charged before use.

Can I use any USB cable to charge the reader?

Yes, you can use any standard micro-USB cable for Square Reader (1st generation) or USB-C cable for Square Reader (2nd generation). While we can only guarantee that the chargers we provide are supported, many sellers have had success charging with other cables.
In addition to the cable that comes with the Square Reader, you can purchase an extended 2 m cable in the Square Shop.

Settings and Pairing Questions

How do I connect the reader to my mobile device?

You can connect your reader wirelessly or by using the included dock to plug directly into the USB hardware hub of the Square Stand. Keep in mind your device needs to have a strong internet connection to pair your reader. You are unable to use your Square Reader offline.

How do I connect my reader to a new device?

You can connect your reader to any compatible device that supports BLE bluetooth connections. Remember, you’ll need to forget the reader from your old device before you attempt to pair your reader with a new device. If you have any trouble connecting your reader to a new device, check out our troubleshooting steps.

How long does the reader stay connected?

Square Reader (1st generation) will go into a low power state if it hasn’t taken a payment for awhile and will remain connected to your device for 8 hours. Any interaction with the reader through Point of Sale will wake it up from this low power state as long as the reader is within 3 metres of the device. The reader will power off completely after 8 hours of inactivity. After this point, you will need to press the button on the reader to reconnect.

Stay Connected is a feature built into Square Reader (2nd generation) to maintain connectivity, improve reliability, help save battery, and eliminate the need to press the power button to re-pair the reader after a period of inactivity.

Square Reader (2nd generation) will go into a low power state if it hasn’t taken a payment for awhile and will remain connected to your device for 30 days. Any interaction with the reader through the previously paired Point of Sale will wake it up as long as the reader is within 3 metres. of the device. The reader will power off completely after 30 days of inactivity. After this point, you will need to press the button on the reader to reconnect.

Note: Stay Connected only works if the Square Reader(s) have been paired to the device already. If the reader has never been paired to the device, you’ll need to go through the initial pairing process.

Not sure which Square Reader you have? Learn more about identifying your Square Reader.

Can I use Square Reader while my mobile device is connected to other Bluetooth devices?

Yes, you can connect to other devices without impacting your connection to the Square Reader.

How do I turn the reader on and off?

To power it on, push the button on the reader. Once it’s on, you don’t need to worry about turning off the reader. The reader will automatically go into a low power state when not in use after 2 hours to save battery.

What do the lights mean?

The four LED lights displayed on your reader will tell you all you need to know about your reader, check out the guide below:

Connecting your reader  
Four orange lights flashing Reader is in pairing mode
Four green lights Reader has successfully paired
Four red lights Reader failed to pair

Accepting a payment  
One green light Reader is ready to take a payment
Moving green lights Reader is processing a payment
Four green lights Payment was accepted
Four red lights Payment was declined

Note: If you don’t see one green light to initiate a payment after 30 seconds, please tap “Re-enable Apple Pay and Contactless” in the app.

Checking your battery  
Four green lights Battery is fully charged
Three green lights Battery is 75% charged
Two green lights Battery 50% charged
One solid red light Battery 25% charged
One blinking red light Battery is low and charge immediately

If your reader is completely out of battery, you will see two scrolling red lights when you reconnect your reader to power and it initiates charging.

Charging and Battery Questions

How do I charge the reader and how long will it take to charge?

You can charge the reader by connecting the included USB cable to any power source. Charging will take roughly 2-3 hours, but this will vary depending on your power source.

How long will the battery last?

Battery life will vary depending on usage, but the reader should stay powered through a full day of sales.

Payment Questions

What are contactless payments, and how are they different from NFC?

Contactless payments describe the act of paying without touching anything. NFC (Near-Field Communications) is a technology that allows for contactless payments. Using radio frequency, NFC allows devices (e.g. smartphones) to wirelessly communicate at close range to do things like process payments. Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay are both forms of NFC and types of contactless payments.

Are contactless payments secure?

Yes, they’re just as secure as accepting chip cards. In some cases because of additional verification methods (like Touch ID with Apple Pay), contactless payments can be even more secure. Learn more in
Square’s comprehensive guide to Apple Pay.

How long does it take to process a chip card?

Chip card payments require additional security steps to transfer and verify chip data. It can take around 6-7 seconds to complete a chip card transaction when it’s inserted into the reader’s EMV card slot.

Do I leave the chip card in the reader’s chip card slot while taking a payment?

Yes, you’ll need to leave the chip card in the reader until the transaction is complete. You’ll get a confirmation message in the app and see 4 green lights on your reader when it’s time to remove the card.

Can I take test contactless payments with the reader?

Not currently, but you can practice taking contactless payments by completing a $1 sale and immediately processing a refund.

Can I use the reader while my mobile device is connected to other Bluetooth devices?

Yes, you can connect to other devices without impacting your connection to the Square Reader.

Learn more about: Contactless and Chip Reader

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