Home>Taking Payments On A Mobile Device

Payment Failure Troubleshooting

If you’re having trouble processing a payment, make sure you’ve updated the Square app and you’ve tried these app troubleshooting tips. After troubleshooting the app, review the following topics to resolve the issue. If you’re still having trouble, contact us for help with a date, amount, and last 4 digits of the payment card of the specific transaction.

Important to Note

  • Your Square account will not be activated to accept payments until you have linked your bank account to Square, and the bank account has been verified. Learn how to link and edit your bank account.

  • For security reasons, and to ensure PCI compliance, Square will no longer process chip card or contactless payments on devices running versions of the Square app that are older than 90 days.

Declined Cards

Error Messages

If a card is declined in the Square app, you’ll see one of the following errors:

  • “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, expiry date, CVV and postcode.”

Why was a Card Declined?

We’re not given an exact reason a card is declined. If your customer has confirmed their card is valid and the transaction still declines, they should contact their card-issuing bank for more information.

For manually entered transactions, Square requires 100% accuracy. The information entered must match the payment card exactly. If your customer has recently moved, the billing postcode entered may be out of date.

Note: It can take some card issuing banks up to 30-days to update the customer’s billing postcode within their system. If you’re manually entering a third-party gift card, the customer may need to contact the card issuer to register the card with a billing postcode, which is required to manually enter any card.

If your Apple device is set to the wrong calendar, it can result in declined cards. Follow these steps to check your calendar:

  1. Tap Settings > General > International > Calendar.

  2. Select the Gregorian calendar.

  3. Log out and log back into the Square app.

Note: Declined cards may result in pending charges on your customer’s bank statement. Square immediately sends the void notification, but it may take the bank a few business days to remove the pending charge or release reserved funds.

Red Debit and Credit Card Numbers

A card’s numbers will turn red if the information entered is incorrect. Verify with your customer that the information you’re entering is valid.

Cancel Transactions

You can cancel a chip and pin/ signature payment by tapping the X on the PIN screen. If you accidentally charge the wrong amount for a contactless payment, you can issue a refund.

Internet Connectivity Disruption

Square requires an active Internet connection to process card payments. This can be either a Wifi connection or a data service (such as 4G, 5G, or EDGE). Choose Wi-Fi instead of your cellular network for a faster processing experience with Square.

To do so:

  • Mobile devices display a list of Wi-Fi networks in range. Tap a network and, if necessary, enter the password to join. Note: Tap “forget this network” to remove any default or unsecured networks from your menu.

  • If no Wi-Fi networks are available, your device may connect to the Internet over a cellular data network (such as 4G, 5G, or EDGE.) You can prevent your device from using cellular data in Settings.

Always check that you have a strong network connection before attempting to process a payment. A good way to test the speed of your network is to open a new mobile browser and confirm the speed at which the page loads. Payments can fail if the connection is not strong enough.  If you lose internet connectivity, you can enable Offline Mode to accept card payments.

Note: If you do not have cellular data on your phone and would like a backup for internet wherever you are, you may want to consider getting a Mobile Hotspot. This is a device that hotspots a network for your phone to connect to on the go. You can buy one from your local provider or online.

If you accept Cash or Other Tender without an internet connection, you may see a list of uncompleted payments in-app. The payments will be recorded and synced to your online Square Dashboard when Wi-Fi or data service is restored. This only applies to Cash or Other Tender.

Partial Transactions

If you process a payment with a prepaid gift card and the balance doesn’t cover the full amount of the sale, you’ll need to click Done from the signature screen to continue on to process the remaining sale amount. If you don’t process the remaining balance, the sale will be voided and funds will be returned to the pre-paid gift card.

Pending Charges

If payment is cancelled, interrupted, or declined, your customer may see a pending charge on their card statement. It may look like the charge has been posted to their account, but it should fall off after a few business days. Square sends a void notification to the bank as soon as a payment becomes voided. It’s then up to the bank to release any hold on the cardholder’s funds.

If the transaction does not show up in your recent Transactions 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. Pending charges are typically displayed within parenthesis or within the Pending Transactions section within your customer’s online statements.

Confirm Successful Payments

To double-check the success of a payment:

  • A payment is not completed until you’ve passed reached the “Thanks. You’re all Done” screen.

  • If your payment was successful, Square will send you a notification email (i.e., “Square Payment #123456”).

  • Confirm a successful transaction by checking Transactions within the app or your payment history in your Square Dashboard. If a transaction is not completed, it will appear in your Transaction Status report.

  • For split bill, if there is a remaining balance on a bill, the remaining balance due must be processed in full for the entire sale to be successful (e.g., if you’ve split a bill in half and completed half the sale by card and issued a receipt for the payment, but fail to collect the remaining balance due and cancel the transaction, you’ll manually void the first transaction. If you’ve failed to complete a split bill in full and the customer is no longer present to complete the sale, you can record the remaining due as ‘Other Tender’ and add a note record the loss funds and complete the sale. Be sure to tap New Sale after a split bill to confirm you’ve processed the split bill in full.

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

Failure Charging Customer

If your customer has an invalid payment card or insufficient funds, you will receive a “Failure Charging Customer” error message within the Square app.

If you receive this or a similar message, you will need to ask your customer for a different payment method.


How do I know if a payment is a voided or cancelled?

A good way to confirm that transactions have completed is by checking your Transactions 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.

What do I do if payments are down and customers don’t have cash?

How do I know if a payment is a voided or cancelled?

A good way to confirm that transactions have completed is by checking your Transactions within the app or your online Square 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.

If I have lost my Internet connection, can I take payments in Offline Mode?

If you’re using Square Terminal or Square Register, processing offline card payments is now available to capture payments within 24 hours of restoring Internet connection. When operating in Offline Mode, there is additional risk with any payments you accept.

Note: This is not yet available for payments taken on Square Stand or Square Reader.

What do I do if payments are down and customers don’t have cash?

Unfortunately, sometimes outages happen. Your Internet could go down or there could be an issue with the major card networks. To monitor all live performance statuses, you can check au.issquareup.com.

Regardless, we know what it means for your day-to-day when things don’t work as they should.

In the rare instance you are unable to take card payments through Square, and a customer doesn’t have access to cash, we encourage you and your team members to try any of the following:

Ask customers to try another card

Sometimes there may be issues with specific card networks. If your customer is trying a Visa, Mastercard, JCB or eftpos card, ask them to try an American Express instead, if they have one. If they’re using an American Express, see if they can use a Mastercard instead.

Use your Square app to create tabs

If you’re at a fast service venue like a restaurant, cafe or bar, you can use Square’s open tickets to create tabs that your customers can settle up at the end of the night, or when your payment system is back online.

You can also save your customers’ cards on file from the Square app and settle up without the customer needing to stay at your venue until the payments system is back online. Card on file transactions have a processing fee of 2.2% per transaction.

Learn more about using open tickets with Square and how to save a card on file.

Accept direct payments

One way around network outages could be to accept payments directly as a bank transfer via your customers’ banking app.

Utilise Square Invoices to bill your customers

You can choose to send Square Invoices to bill your customers at a later time or date and save their card on file to process the payment automatically Invoices paid online or via a saved card on file have a processing rate of 2.2% per transaction.

To send an invoice from the Square POS app:

  1. Tap ≡ More > Invoices.
  2. Tap Create Invoice.
  3. Fill out all of the invoice details, including customer details, amount, any applicable discounts, and when the invoice is due.
  4. Change the Due timing from ‘Upon Receipt’ to a point in the future.
  5. If your customer agrees to have the card saved, you can add it by tapping ‘add a card on file’ in the Payment method section. This will automatically charge the saved card on the invoice due date.
  6. Tap Continue to complete the payment flow.
  7. Once the information is complete, tap Send. Your customer receives an emailed invoice and you get a copy in your inbox.

You can also download the free Square Invoices app on a compatible device to create an invoice with ease.

Learn more about: Point of Sale

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