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Square Reader FAQ

Review common questions about the Square Reader.

Square Reader Questions

When will I receive my Square Reader?

Once you place an order via Square Shop, your reader will arrive in 5 to 7 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.

What can the Square Reader do?

Your Square Reader:

  • Accepts chip credit and debit cards and tap payments like contactless cards, Apple Pay and Google Pay.
  • Works with Square Stand – plug it into the USB hardware hub for instant setup
  • Connects to your supported device wirelessly with Bluetooth LE

You can read a product overview and find tech specs and pricing info from the Square Reader page.

How do I return my reader or order a replacement?

You can return your Square Reader purchased through 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.

Which devices can I use with the contactless and chip 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?

Square Reader (1st and 2nd generations) accepts chip cards (EMV) and contactless (NFC) payments.

Keep in mind: Tap (NFC) transactions can usually be processed up to a limit of $250. For card transactions over $250, customers will be prompted to insert their card and enter a PIN.

For more information, check out these resources:

Note: If your customer is not physically present, use Square
or Virtual Terminal to process their payment rather than keying in their card information through the Square app.

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.

Reader Order Questions

How much does the Square Reader cost and where can I purchase one?

You can purchase the Square Reader and an optional dock together or separately from the Square Shop. Learn where you can purchase a reader.

Are discounts offered for the reader?

At the moment, discounts aren’t available for the Square 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.

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 card reader?

You can continue to use your magstripe reader, but you won’t be able to use the Square Reader at the same time, as they don’t work together. To process magstripe cards, you can use the Square magstripe reader alongside your Square Reader. Note: The magstripe reader no longer comes with the Square Reader and is no longer 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 and then Settings.
  2. Tap Hardware and then 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 6–15 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. A fully charged battery will provide enough power to last you a full business day of transactions.

Can I use any USB cable to charge the reader?

Yes, you can use any standard micro-USB to USB cable for Square Reader (1st generation) or USB-C to USB 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 cable in the Square Shop.

Settings and Pairing

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 eight 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 three metres of the device. The reader will power off completely after eight 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 three metres. of the device. The reader will power off completely after 30 days of inactivity. After this point, you’ll 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 sleep mode 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

How do I take a contactless payment?

It’s easy! Watch this video to learn how:

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 and Google 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.

Can I accept payments if I don’t have an internet connection?

Yes, the Square Reader 2nd generation and 1st generation v3 are able to accept chip & PIN and tap payments without an internet connection. You’ll have up to one hour from when your device goes offline to accept offline payments and up to 24 hours from when your device goes offline to upload offline payments. If you do not reconnect within 24 hours of the start of your offline session, any offline payments taken will not be processed. A notification banner at the top of your device will alert you when you go into an offline session and count down how much time you have to process payments.

Note: INTERAC cards, Square Gift Cards, e-gift cards and manually entered cards do not work with offline payments.

Offline payments must be enabled while connected to the internet, prior to going offline.

To enable offline payments:

  1. From the navigation bar at the bottom of your screen, tap ≡ More.
  2. Tap Settings > Checkout > Offline payments.
  3. Toggle Allow Offline payments to on.
  4. Review the information and then tap Allow.
  5. To set a limit for card transactions taken offline, enter an amount next to Per Transaction Limit.

Please refer to the Offline Payments section of the Payment Terms for terms and conditions that apply to this feature. Learn more about offline payments specifics for offline session duration, Square hardware, connected hardware and acceptable payment types.

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