Home>Taking Payments On A Mobile Device

Why Did My Payment Fail?

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

If you’re having trouble processing a payment, make sure you’ve updated the 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.

Note: For security reasons, and to ensure PCI compliance, Square will not process chip card or contactless payments on devices running versions of the Square app that are older than 90 days. Learn how to update the Square app.

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 If your customer has recently moved, the billing postcode entered may be out of date.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 payment by tapping the X on the PIN screen. You can require a passcode to cancel transactions. 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 3G or 4G). Choose Wifi instead of your mobile network for a faster processing experience with Square.

To do so:

  • Mobile devices display a list of Wifi 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 Wifi networks are available, your device may connect to the Internet over a mobile data network (such as 3G or 4G.) You can prevent your device from using mobile 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 in which the page loads. Payments can fail if the connection is not strong enough.

Note: If you do not have mobile data on your phone and would like a back up for the 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 sync to your online Dashboard when Wifi 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 payment 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 a payment is cancelled, interrupted, or declined, your customer may see a pending charge on their card statement. It may look like the charge has posted to their account, but should be removed by their card-issuing bank 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 typically display within parenthesis e.g., (€10.00) 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 passed 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. Learn more about troubleshooting payments.

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