Why is my transaction being declined?

Currently Square is only able to accept contactless debit payments under $100. If you are attempting to process a debit transaction over $100 or through chip, swipe or manually entered your transaction will be declined.

My Reader won’t accept Credit Cards

If you are having trouble accepting EMV or tap transactions, try the following steps:

  • Ensure that your reader is fully charged.
  • If the reader and device are more than ~3 metres apart, the reader will have trouble maintaining a consistent connection. Move your reader and device closer when in use.
  • Verify that your reader is connected:
    • Tap the three horizontal lines in your Square App.
    • Tap Settings > Card Readers.
    • Check that the four numbers in your setting match your reader’s serial number.
  • Make sure you see a single green light on the reader before you ask your customer to hold their device over the reader to make the payment.
  • Double check the chip on your customer’s credit card is facing up.
  • Keep your customer’s credit card in the reader until prompted on your device’s screen to remove the card. If your customer is inserting an American Express card, they’ll need to enter their pin directly on your screen to complete the transaction.

My Reader won’t pair with my device

Before you attempt to connect your reader, make sure your reader is ready to be connected.
* Check that Bluetooth is turned on in your device settings.
* Ensure that your reader is fully charged.

Once your reader is ready to be paired, you’ll want to open up the Square App.

Note: the reader pairs to your device through the Square app – not through your device’s Bluetooth settings. To do so:

  1. Go to the Square app and tap the three horizontal lines.
  2. Tap Settings & Card Readers.
  3. Tap Connect a Reader. If you are using an iOS device you will need to select Contactless + Chip Reader.

Verify your reader can go into pairing mode. To put the reader into pairing mode, press the reader’s power button for 3-10 seconds until you see 4 orange blinking lights. Immediately release your finger when you see these orange lights. If you see red lights, you’ve held the button too long and you can try again.

To get a full walk through of pairing your reader, watch our video on connecting your reader and device wirelessly.

My Reader won’t charge

Please try the tips below – they usually fix most charging issues sellers encounter with the reader:

  • Make sure the reader is firmly plugged into the USB hardware hub of your Square Stand or into a grounded AC outlet.
  • Try plugging the power adapter into a different outlet.
  • Force shutdown your reader. To do so:
    • Plug in the reader for at least 20 minutes to be sure it’s charged.
    • While the reader is charging, use a small object like a bobby pin, pen cap or paper clip to firmly press and hold the button on the reader for 20 seconds.
    • After 20 seconds, release the button and wait 10 seconds.
    • Press the button again to turn the reader on and observe any lights on the reader.

If the reader lights turn on, you’re all set. If the lights don’t turn on, please try again and make sure to firmly press and hold the reader’s button for a full 20 seconds.

My Reader keeps disconnecting

Your reader shouldn’t have any issues staying connected, but there are a few quick tricks that can help you get back up and running right away. Give these a try and you should be all set:

  • Make sure Bluetooth is turned on from your device settings. If it’s on, try turning it off and back on.
  • Make sure your reader is within ~3 metres of your device. Beyond that distance, the BLE connection will be out of range and become disconnected. You’ll also want to double check for bluetooth interference, check out this Apple resource for more information.
  • Double check your reader is fully charged.
  • If you are using a dock for your reader, plug the dock’s power cord into a grounded AC outlet.
  • Delete and reinstall the Square app. If you’ve recently accepted payments while in Offline Mode and haven’t uploaded them, don’t delete and reinstall the app or you’ll lose these transactions. Connect your mobile device to the Internet to complete these payments before deleting the app.
  • Check your internet connection, a weak connection can cause your reader to disconnect.
  • Turn your mobile device off and back on.

Keep in mind that your reader will enter sleep mode after 2 hours of inactivity, simply press the power button once to wake your reader back up.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why doesn’t the Reader connect wirelessly with my iPad 2?

The reader connects wirelessly with the iPad 3 or higher. If you have an iPad 2 with a Square Stand, you can connect the reader directly to the Stand’s hardware hub via USB.

The USB hub on my Square Stand is full. Can I use a splitter to connect my reader?

We don’t officially support splitters or third-party USB hubs, but you can connect the reader wirelessly to your iPad via Bluetooth Low Energy.

Can I use the contactless + chip reader in Offline Mode?

No, Offline Mode supports magstripe credit card payments only, so you’ll need to use the Magstripe Reader or the Square Stand.

Why does my Reader disconnect when I turn on Airplane Mode?

Airplane Mode disables Bluetooth on your device. If Bluetooth is off, your reader will disconnect. If you’d like to take magstripe payments in Offline Mode and keep your Bluetooth connection, disable Wi-Fi only.