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.

You can view uncompleted transactions in your Transaction Status report on your Square Dashboard. This includes declined, cancelled, and uncompleted transactions in which a customer’s card was swiped (or manually entered) but not charged. Learn more about your Transaction Status report.

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

Declined Cards

If a customer’s card fails to authorize, 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, CVV and postal code.”

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 that of the payment card. If the numbers turn red, the card number is invalid. If your customer has recently moved, the billing postal code entered may be outdated. If you’re manually entering a third-party gift card, be sure your customer has contacted the card issuer to register the card with a billing address and postal code. This information is required to accept any supported card via manual entry.

If the transaction is successful, it will appear as a completed transaction within a few minutes. You can confirm a transaction was successful from 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 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 card holder 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 working days.

Credit Card Numbers Are Turning Red

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

Incorrect card numbers will turn red

You’ll also want to make sure the time, date, and year on your device are correct. If you have incorrect setting, it may confuse the current year and 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 the Gregorian calendar is selected. Once you’ve done that, log out and log back in to your Square Point of Sale 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 signature screen.

Signature Screen on iphone: X to cancel payment, tipping options, signature line, clear signature, done signing

Payments Types

Depending on the type of card you are attempting to process, you may need to try a different method of acceptance. To make sure you are processing cards correctly, check out this list:

Interac debit payment is only accepted with tap, up to $100
Credit payment (all major brands) is accepted with tap and will prompt for additional verification like signature or thumbprint over $100. In some cases, the card may prompt you to insert instead of tap, depending on the card.
Amex credit payment is accepted with insert and will prompt for additional verification like PIN or signature for all transactions.
Visa, MasterCard and Discover credit payment is accepted with insert and may prompt for additional verification like signature. In some cases, if the card does not accept signatures, the issuer may decline the transaction.

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, 4G or EDGE).

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

Supported devices connect to the Internet using either a Wi-Fi network or a cellular 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. Tap 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 cellular data network (EDGE, 3G or 4G.) You can prevent your device from using cellular data in Settings.
  • If you are experiencing network errors or issues, 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 your internet connection becomes interrupted or temporarily unavailable, you can enable Offline Mode to accept swiped card payments. Any transactions you accept while in Offline Mode will be processed if you regain internet connectivity within 72 hours. If you do not reconnect within 72 hours, you will not be able to process 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 on the Square Point of Sale App.

When operating in Offline Mode, there is additional risk with any payments you accept. Square is not responsible for any loss due to declined cards or expired payments taken while offline or for chargebacks. In addition, Square is unable to contact any customers on your behalf should a payment be declined or expire when taken in Offline Mode. Keep in mind, you won’t be able to take payments on your Square Contactless + Chip Reader in Offline mode.

Review any uncompleted 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 fall off 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 from your Transactions tab 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 confirmation screens. A payment is not completed until it’s gone through these screens.
  • Check your Transactions within the app or in Transactions in your Square Dashboard. If the payment is successful, it will appear as a completed transaction.
  • 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”).

If you have questions about deposits, check out these troubleshooting tips.

Failed Payments in Offline Mode

Card issuers do not provide Square with specific details as to why a card is declined. Before swiping a card while offline, we recommend you verify the name of the cardholder as well as the expiry date to ensure it’s a valid card. You can also limit your risk for payments failing in Offline Mode by setting an individual transaction limit. Review guidelines for safely accepting credit cards to further reduce failed payments.

Keep in mind, you won’t be able to accept payment on your Square Contactless + Chip reader in Offline mode, including debit tap.

If a payment doesn’t complete, it’s documented as expired in your Transaction Status report. For accurate reports, check that the date and time on your device are correct.