System updates

We’re experiencing issues that may affect your Square services. We’ll continue to update our status page with more information.

Home>Troubleshooting

Square Reader for contactless and chip & PIN cards Troubleshooting

If you’re having trouble with your Square Reader connecting to your mobile device or tablet, check out our helpful video walkthrough of the most common troubleshooting steps.

You can also find the best troubleshooting guidance by error below.

My Square Reader keeps disconnecting

  1. Your Reader may have entered sleep mode To wake up your Square Reader, press the button on your Square Reader once and wait a few seconds for it to reconnect. To conserve battery, your Square Reader will automatically enter sleep mode if it hasn’t taken a payment for two hours and the message Press Button on Reader - Learn More will appear in the Square App. Press the button on your Square Reader once and wait for it to reconnect. You should see one to four green lights flash depending on your Square Reader’s battery level.

  2. Close and reopen the Square App on your device.

  3. Update the Square app.

  4. Turn on Bluetooth from your device’s settings. For iOS devices, this can be found in Settings → Bluetooth. Try turning Bluetooth off and back on.

  5. Your Reader must be within three metres of your device. The Bluetooth connection may be out of range and could disconnect.

  6. Check that your Square Reader has adequate battery. Low battery may increase disconnections between your device and Square Reader. Press the button on your Square Reader once to see the battery level. If you see a blinking red light, that means your Square Reader battery is low and should be charged immediately. If your Square Reader is in a dock, plug the dock’s power cord into an AC outlet.

  7. Restart your phone, tablet or other electronic device. You can also first try briefly putting your device into Aeroplane mode.

  8. Reset your Square Reader. Hold down the power button for approximately 20 seconds. The lights on your Square Reader will flash orange, then red, and then they will stop flashing. Do not let go of the power button until after the red lights have stopped flashing.

  9. Bluetooth will automatically turn off when your Square Reader is in a dock connected to a Square Stand by USB cable. Disconnect the USB cable from the Stand or dock and then attempt to pair.

  10. Move your Square Reader away from sources of Bluetooth interference such as microwave ovens, cordless phones, fluorescent lights or using your Reader on a metal table.

  11. Clear your Bluetooth cache if you have an Android device.

  12. See Apple’s article on Bluetooth interference for additional information.

My Square Reader won’t pair with my device

Pairing your Square Reader for the first time

Before you attempt to connect your Square Reader, make sure that your Square Reader is ready to be connected.

  1. Turn on Bluetooth in your device settings.

  2. If you’re using an iPhone or iPad on iOS 14 or later, ensure Bluetooth permissions for the Square app are enabled. To do so, head to Settings > Privacy > Bluetooth and enable permissions for the Square app.

  3. Fully charge your Square Reader.

  4. Check that your device is connected to the internet or 3G/4G.

  5. Force-shutdown your Square Reader:

    • Plug in the Square Reader for at least 20 minutes to be sure it’s charged.

    • Use a small object like a hair pin, pen cap or paper clip to firmly press and hold the button on the Square Reader for 20 seconds or after the four lights stop blinking red. Do not let go of the power button until after the red lights have stopped flashing.

    • After 20 seconds, release the button and wait 10 seconds.

    • Press the button again to turn the Square Reader on and observe any lights on the reader.

  6. If the lights on the Square Reader turn green, you’re all set. If the lights don’t turn on, please try again and make sure to firmly press and hold the Square Reader’s button for a full 20 seconds. Do not let go of the power button until after the red lights have stopped flashing.

Once your Square Reader is ready to be paired, open the Square App.

To pair your Square Reader through the Square App:

  1. Go to the Square App and tap More from the navigation bar at the bottom of your screen.

  2. Tap Settings > Hardware > Card Readers.

  3. Tap Connect a Reader.

Verify that your Square Reader can go into pairing mode. To put the Square Reader into pairing mode, press the Square Reader’s power button for 3-10 seconds until you see four orange blinking lights. Immediately release the power button when you see the four orange lights. If you see red lights, you’ve held the button too long and need to try again. Do not let go of the power button until after the red lights have stopped flashing.

Check out our video on Accepting Chip and PIN Card Payments with the Square Contactless and Chip and PIN Reader for additional help.

Pairing your Square Reader with a new Device

If you’re attempting to pair your Square Reader with a new device or switching the Square Reader to a different device, you must first have your reader forget it’s connection to the previous device. To do so, head to the Square App on the device previously connected your Square Reader and follow the steps below:

  1. Tap More from the navigation bar at the bottom of your screen.

  2. Tap Settings > Hardware > Card Readers

  3. Select your connected Reader > Forget This Reader

You can also reset your Reader to disconnect it from all previous devices:

  1. Charge your Square Reader for at least 20 minutes.

  2. While the Square Reader is charging, use a small object like a hair pin, pen cap or paper clip to firmly press and hold the button on the Square Reader for 20 seconds, or after the four lights stop blinking red. Do not let go of the power button until after the red lights have stopped flashing. Press the button again to turn the reader on, observe any lights on the reader.

  3. If the lights on the Square Reader don’t turn green, firmly press and hold the reader’s button for a full 20 seconds. Do not let go of the power button until after the red lights have stopped flashing.

If you see a ‘Failed to Pair’ error while pairing your Reader:

  1. Force quit the Square POS App (swipe up on your screen and close the app).

  2. Go to Settings > Bluetooth on your device.

  3. Find your Square Reader and click ‘Forget’.

  4. Reopen the Square App and re-pair at Settings > Card Readers.

My Square Reader won’t accept cards

If you’re having trouble accepting chip and PIN or contactless transactions:

  1. Ensure that your Square Reader is fully charged and that you have a strong Wi-Fi or cellular data connection.

  2. If the Square Reader and device are more than three metres apart, move your Square Reader and device closer when in use.

  3. Verify that your Square Reader is connected:

    • Tap More from the navigation bar at the bottom of your screen.

    • Tap Settings > Hardware > Card Readers.

    • Check that the four numbers in your settings match your Reader’s serial number.

  4. Make sure you press charge in the Square App. You should see a single green light on the Square Reader before you ask your customer to make the payment.

  5. Check that the chip on your customer’s card is facing up.

  6. Keep your customer’s card in the Square Reader until prompted to remove the card.

My Square Reader won’t charge

The tips below usually fix most charging issues customers encounter with Square Reader:

  1. Make sure Square Reader is firmly plugged into the USB hardware hub of your Square Stand or into a grounded AC outlet.

  2. Try plugging the power adapter into a different outlet.

  3. Force-shutdown your Square Reader:

    • Plug in Square Reader for at least 20 minutes to be sure it’s charged.

    • Use a small object like a bobby pin, pen cap or paper clip to firmly press and hold the button on Square Reader for 20 seconds or after the four lights stop blinking red. Do not let go of the power button until after the red lights have stopped flashing.

    • After 20 seconds, release the button and wait 10 seconds.

    • Press the button again to turn Square Reader on and observe any lights on Square Reader.

  4. If the lights on Square Reader don’t turn on, try again and make sure to firmly press and hold Square Reader’s button for a full 20 seconds. Do not let go of the power button until after the red lights have stopped flashing.

Reset your Square Reader

If you continue to have trouble with your Square Reader after trying the above steps, you can reset your Square Reader:

  1. Charge your Square Reader for at least 20 minutes.

  2. While Square Reader is charging, use a small object like a hair pin, pen cap or paper clip to firmly press and hold the button on Square Reader for 20 seconds.

    • After 20 seconds, release the button and wait 10 seconds. Do not let go of the power button until after the red lights have stopped flashing.

    • Press the button again to turn Square Reader on and observe any lights on Square Reader.

If Square Reader lights turn on, you’re all set. If the lights don’t turn on, please try again. Make sure to firmly press and hold Square Reader’s button for a full 20 seconds. Do not let go of the power button until after the red lights have stopped flashing.

Charging and Powering Your Square Devices Safely

Square cables and wall chargers are tested thoroughly and adhere to government standards. To keep you safe and your devices working properly, we recommend you follow these guidelines:

  • Always charge your Square products with the included cable and certified USB charging sources.

  • Store your devices and cables in a safe place away from moisture, extreme temperatures and debris as these can cause fire, electric shock, injury or damage to your Square product.

  • Always charge your devices in a dry environment away from all sources of moisture.

  • Inspect your cables and devices for any damage or debris that could interfere with the proper performance of your Square products. If you see any debris or damage to a cable or any connectors, discontinue use and contact Square Support for a replacement.

  • Make sure all connections are fully engaged before charging your device.

  • Always plug and unplug your cables and chargers by holding onto the end of the cable.

  • Keep the connectors free of foreign objects and debris.

  • Always charge your device in a well-ventilated area.

  • Avoid using Square Reader in wet environments, and avoid getting water or liquid in the insert slot. Taking insert payments with wet credit cards can also cause water damage. 

  • If your Square Reader gets wet, immediately power off the device, holding down the power button for at least 15 seconds. Remove moisture by allowing Square Reader to dry out with the insert slot facing down.

Protect Your Square Reader

Get the most life out of your Square Reader for contactless and chip & PIN cards by avoiding damage to the hardware. Certain attachments and environments can cause damage to Square Reader over time and shorten the lifespan of your device. To protect your device:

  • Avoid using Square Reader in wet environments, and avoid getting water or liquid in the insert slot. Taking insert payments with wet credit cards can also cause water damage. 

  • Do not use strong magnets, hook-and-loop fasteners (like Velcro), adhesive or mounting hardware not tested by Square to frequently mount and unmount Square Reader. Use of third-party accessories not tested by Square to secure Square Reader to surfaces can add tension or pressure to the device, which can cause damage.

  • Move Square Reader away from sources of Bluetooth interference, such as near microwave ovens, cordless phones, fluorescent lights or on a metal table.

To protect your Square Reader from everyday wear and tear, we recommend using the compatible cases, mount and charging dock featured in Square Shop. These cases fit a variety of mobile phones and tablets. Keep your Square Reader for contactless and chip & PIN charged and in place for quick, seamless countertop transactions by attaching it to the Dock for Square Reader.

Frequently Asked Questions

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

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

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

Airplane Mode disables Bluetooth on your device, which will cause your Square Reader to disconnect. Once you go into Airplane Mode, turn your Bluetooth back on to be able to use your Square Reader.

Why does my app say ‘Account Ineligible’ when connecting my Square Reader?

Square hardware can only be used in the country where it was originally purchased. If you see Account Ineligible, your Square Reader may have been purchased in a different country.

Can I attach my Square Reader to my mobile phone or tablet?

Yes. We offer several compatible phone and tablet cases that hold both your device and your Square Reader for contactless and chip & PIN cards. Visit Square Shop to learn more.

Can I stabilise my Square Reader on my countertop?

Yes. We offer a compatible Dock for Square Reader that will charge your Square Reader while you take payments.

Learn more about: Square Reader

Can't find what you need?