System updates

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

Home>Square Reader

Square Reader for Contactless and Chip and PIN 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 Square 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 1–4 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 Square Reader must be within three metres (approx. 10 feet) 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 the Square Reader. Press the button on your Square Reader once to see the battery level. If you see a blinking red light, it means that your Square Reader battery is low and should be charged immediately. If your Square Reader is in a dock, plug the dock’s power cable into a mains socket.

  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 or fluorescent lights, and avoid using your Square 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, make sure that 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 of your Square Reader:

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

    • Use a small object like a hair grip, pen lid or paper clip to firmly press and hold the button on the Square Reader for 20 seconds or until 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 for 10 seconds.

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

  6. If the Square Reader lights turn green, you’re all set. If the lights don’t turn on, please try again and make sure that you 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 for additional help to Accept Payments with the Square Reader.

Pairing your Square Reader with a new Device

If you are attempting to pair your Square Reader with a new device or are switching the Square Reader to a different device, first you must make your Square Reader forget its connection to the previous device. To do so, head to the Square App on the device previously connected to 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 Square Reader > Forget This Reader

You can also reset your Square 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 grip, pen lid or paper clip to firmly press and hold the button on the Square Reader. Press and hold the button for 20 seconds or until 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 Square Reader on and observe any lights on the Square Reader.

  3. If the Square Reader lights don’t turn green, 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.

If you see a ‘Failed to Pair’ error while pairing your Square 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 in Settings > Card Readers.

My Square Reader won’t accept Payment Cards

If you are having trouble accepting chip & PIN or contactless transactions:

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

  2. If the Square Reader and device are more than 3 m (approx. 10 ft) apart, move your Square Reader and device closer together 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 Square Reader's serial number.

  4. Make sure that 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.

  7. Confirm that your customer’s card has a chip, meaning it’s enabled for chip and PIN.

My Square Reader won’t charge

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

  1. Make sure that the Square Reader is firmly plugged into the USB hardware hub of your Square Stand or into a power socket.

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

  3. Force shutdown of your Square Reader:

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

    • Use a small object like a hair grip, pen lid or paper clip to firmly press and hold the button on the Square Reader for 20 seconds or until 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 for 10 seconds.

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

  4. If the lights on the Square Reader don’t turn on, try again and make sure that you 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.

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

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

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

If the Square Reader lights turn on, you’re all set. If the lights don’t turn on, please try again. Make sure that you 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.

Charging and Starting up 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. Inserting wet payment cards can also cause water damage. 

  • If your Square Reader gets wet, immediately turn off the device by holding down the power button for at least 15 seconds. Remove moisture by allowing the 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 and PIN by avoiding damage to the hardware. Certain attachments and environments can cause damage to the 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. Inserting wet payment 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 the Square Reader. Use of third-party accessories not tested by Square to secure the Square Reader to surfaces can add tension or pressure to the device, which can cause damage.

  • Move the Square Reader away from sources of Bluetooth interference, such as nearby microwaves, cordless phones or fluorescent lights, or placement on a metal table.

To protect your Square Reader from everyday wear and tear, we recommend using the compatible cases 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 and 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 reader?

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

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

Aeroplane Mode disables Bluetooth on your device, which will cause your Square Reader to disconnect. Once you go into Aeroplane 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 and PIN. Visit the Square Shop to learn more.

Can I stabilise my Square Reader on my countertop?

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