Why Can't Square Support All Businesses?
We’re always looking to give businesses the extra edge they need to fully participate in the economy. Square is a toolkit that empowers businesses to thrive—after all, your success is our success.
As we grow and add more kinds of businesses to our platform, it’s important that we take time to pause and make sure we’ve built the systems that keep Square safe for businesses that use our platform. There are certain types of businesses and products we’re not able to support on our platform due to the nature of the regulatory system in which we operate. Details of what types of businesses and products cannot be supported are listed in our Terms of Service, and we monitor all activity on our platform to ensure compliance with those Terms.
This article offers a general overview of how we evaluate the different businesses that use Square, a few examples of unsupported products or businesses, and some of the reasons why we are not able to support a particular product or business.
Why Some Industries Are Unsupported
In order to operate, we must abide by a number of different laws, policies, and agreements made to banks and other card networks. Many of these commitments are reflected in what is and isn’t supported in our Terms of Service, and as referenced above, we have to take action when we come across any violations. Below are a few of the most common examples of what we can’t support, though it’s by no means an exhaustive list.
Illegal or Infringing Products or Services
This is pretty self-explanatory. Square must comply with state and federal law, so if there’s a product, service, transaction or related activity that’s illegal, it won’t be allowed by Square. This includes items which might be related to illegal activities, like counterfeit goods, paraphernalia, etc.
For example, though marijuana and marijuana-derived products are legal in some areas, they’re not currently legal at the United States federal level. As result, we do not allow sellers to sell marijuana or related items on our platform.
Age-Restricted Products or Services
Certain age-restricted products, like cigarettes, require that a card be present for the transaction to be processed. As result, our terms state the products may only be sold with a card-present swipe, insert or tap payment. Selling certain age-restricted products over telephone, mail-order or the internet is a direct violation of our Terms, and we have to take action as result. So please make sure a card is present for these types of sales, and appropriately check ID.
Transactions that Do Not Reflect Bona Fide Sales
Our integrated point of sale and payments solutions were designed, explicitly, for the sale of goods or services. They were not designed to process person-to-person transfers, to facilitate payments between companies owned by the same people, to facilitate payments within companies, or to be used as a cash advance-type service. In fact, transactions of that nature violate many of the partnership agreements we have with different providers in the financial services industry, and put our entire business at risk.
As result, sellers cannot use their own card to process a transaction with their Square account. We do allow for the occasional test swipe for a reasonable $1 to ensure the reader is working as expected, but otherwise using Square for self-payments is not okay. Payments taken from family members can also fall into this category.
Why Your Business Might Be Unsupported
We regularly monitor all transactions on the platform to keep all of our businesses safe, and will take action on any account that violates our Terms of Service, regardless of when the infraction is identified. It’s what we have to do to ensure our service remains available for as many businesses as possible.
In the event we notice something out of the ordinary with your account, we’ll reach out to you to verify additional details, and will place a hold on any upcoming transfers. You will be notified via email (sent to the email address associated with the primary account holder), as well as by a banner that appears when the primary account holder is logged in to both Square Dashboard and Square’s Support Centre. Depending on the concern, we may need to review different information, but typically we’re looking for signed receipts, bank statements or other forms of verification.
The information you submit helps our Account Services team better understand your business and its transactions as a whole. Regulators require Square to understand the kinds of businesses using Square, and the products being sold. When you respond to a request for more information, the information you provide helps us understand what you do and puts us in a better position to help you avoid prohibited activity.
As mentioned above, and in our Terms of Service, transfers can be suspended until we can fully verify an account or transaction to ensure it complies with the law and Square’s Terms of Service. Our review process typically takes less than one business day, so the sooner you can get us the requested verification documents, the sooner we’ll be able to complete the review. For more information on suspended transfers, please see our Suspended Transfers FAQ.