Square Contactless + Chip Reader FAQs

Review common questions about the Square contactless and chip reader.

Top Frequently Asked Questions

When will I receive my Square reader?

Once you place an order, your reader will arrive in 5 to 7 business days. When your reader is shipped, you’ll receive an email with tracking information to follow your order.

What is the liability shift and why do I need to accept chip cards?

A detailed overview on the liability shift and what it means for your business can be found in Square’s liability shift guide.

What is the difference between the chip card reader and the contactless + chip reader?

Great Question. Here are the key differences:

Square chip card reader

  • Accepts both magstripe and chip cards
  • Does not accept contactless (NFC) payments like Apple Pay
  • Plugs into the headset jack of your mobile device to accept payments

Square contactless and chip reader

  • Costs $49
  • Accepts chip credit and debit cards and NFC payments like Apple Pay and Google Pay
  • Works with the magstripe reader (included in your order) to accept magstripe cards
  • Works with Square Stand – plug it into the USB hardware hub for instant setup
  • Connects to your supported device wirelessly with Bluetooth LE
Seller Community: See how other Square sellers prepare their employees to use the Contactless + Chip reader.

How do I return my reader or order a replacement?

You can return your contactless and chip reader within 30 days of the purchase date. If your reader isn’t working properly, and you’ve tried the troubleshooting tips, you can submit a warranty claim to receive a replacement. Make sure to review our warranty and return policy before getting started.

Where can I find general information about this reader?

You can read a product overview, find tech specs, and pricing info here.

What devices can I use with the contactless and chip reader?

You can use most Apple iOS devices and many Android devices with built-in Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). Check if your device is supported.

What types of payments can I accept?

The contactless and chip reader accepts chip cards (EMV) and contactless (NFC) payments. In addition, the contactless and chip reader works alongside the magstripe reader to swipe chip cards and magstripe-only cards.

Keep in mind: Transactions up to $100 can be processed with tap debit. For debit transactions over $100, customers will be prompted to insert their debit card and enter a PIN.

For more information, check out these resources:

Note: If your customer is not physically present, use Square Invoices or Virtual Terminal to process their payment rather than keying in their card information through the Square app.

How do I pair the reader to my mobile device?

Learn more about pairing your reader and getting set up.

I’m having trouble with my reader. Where can I get help?

Review these troubleshooting tips – they solve the most common issues people have with the reader.

Order Questions

How much does the Square contactless and chip reader cost and where can I purchase one?

The reader is $49. Learn where you can purchase one.

Are discounts offered for the reader?

At the moment, discounts aren’t available for the contactless and chip reader, but you can pay for the reader in weekly installments instead of a one-time charge with Square’s hardware installment plan. Learn more about the installment plan.

Device Compatibility Questions

My device doesn’t support BLE. Can I use the reader?

Devices without BLE aren’t currently supported with the contactless and chip reader. 

What if I already have a Square chip card reader?

You can continue to use your chip card reader, but you won’t be able to use the contactless and chip reader at the same time, as they don’t work together. To process magstripe cards, you can use the Square magstripe reader alongside your contactless and chip reader.

Can I connect my reader to multiple devices at the same time? 

The reader can be used with multiple devices, but it only connects with one device at a time. To connect your reader to another device, make sure to disconnect it from its current device. To do so, visit your in-app Settings > tap Card Readers > select your reader from the list > tap “Forget this Reader.”

You can also disconnect the reader by holding down the button on the reader for 20 seconds, until the red lights stop flashing.

Can I use this reader if my business is mobile?

Yes, just make sure you have a strong Wi-Fi or cellular data connection to process payments and that your reader is fully charged before use. 

Is there a dock or stand for the reader? 

Yes! Check out the Dock for the Square contactless and chip reader.

Can I use any USB cable to charge the reader?

Yes, you can use any standard micro-USB to USB cable, but the reader comes with one for this purpose. 

Settings and Pairing Questions

How do I connect the reader to my mobile device?

You can connect your reader wirelessly or by using the included USB cable to plug directly into the hardware hub of the Square Stand. Keep in mind your device needs to have an internet connection to pair your reader, you are unable to use your reader in Offline Mode.

How do I connect my reader to a new device?

You can connect your reader to any device that supports BLE bluetooth connections. Remember, you’ll need to forget the reader from your old device before you attempt to pair your reader with a new device. If you have any trouble connecting your reader to a new device, check out our troubleshooting steps.

I’d like to connect my reader to the hardware hub of my Square Stand, but the three USB hubs are being used by other devices. Can I use a splitter?

We don’t officially support splitters or third-party USB hubs. We recommend connecting the reader wirelessly to your iPad via Bluetooth LE.  
Note: The iPad 2 doesn’t Support Bluetooth LE, so If you’re using Square Stand with the iPad 2, you’ll need to connect your reader via USB.

How do I turn the reader on and off?

To power it on, push the button on the reader. Once it’s on, you don’t need to worry about turning off the reader. The reader will automatically go into the appropriate mode when not in use to save battery.

What do the lights mean?

The four LED lights displayed on your contactless + chip reader will tell you all you need to know about your reader, check out the guide below:

Connecting your reader

Four orange lights flashing Reader is in pairing mode
Four green lights Reader has successfully paired
Four red lights Reader failed to pair

Accepting a payment

One green light Reader is ready to take a payment
Moving green lights Reader is processing a payment
Four green lights Payment was accepted
Four red lights Payment was declined

Note: If you don’t see one green light to initiate a payment after 30 seconds, please tap “Re-enable Apple Pay and Contactless” in the app.

Checking your battery

Four green lights Battery is fully charged
Three green lights Battery is 75% charged
Two green lights Battery 50% charged
One solid red light Battery 25% charged
One blinking red light Battery is low and charge immediately

If your reader is completely out of battery, you will see two scrolling red lights when you reconnect your reader to power and it initiates charging.

Charging and Battery Questions

How do I charge the reader and how long will it take to charge?

You can charge the reader by connecting the included USB cable to any power source. Charging will take roughly 2-3 hours, but this will vary depending on your power source.

How long will the battery last?

Battery life will vary depending on usage, but the reader should stay powered through a full day of sales.

How do I check the battery level of my reader? 

Learn how to check your reader’s battery level.

Payment Questions

How do I take a contactless payment?

It’s easy! Watch this video to learn how:

What are contactless payments, and how are they different from NFC?

Contactless payments describe the act of paying without touching anything. NFC (Near-Field Communications) is a technology that allows for contactless payments. Using radio frequency, NFC allows devices (e.g. smartphones) to wirelessly communicate at close range to do things like process payments. Apple Pay and Android Pay are both forms of NFC and types of contactless payments.

Are contactless payments secure?

Yes, they’re just as secure as accepting chip cards. In some cases because of additional verification methods (like Touch ID with Apple Pay), contactless payments can be even more secure. Learn more in Square’s comprehensive guide to Apple Pay.

How long does it take to process a chip card?

Chip card payments require additional security steps to transfer and verify chip data. It takes around 2 seconds to complete a chip card transaction when it’s inserted into the reader’s EMV card slot.

Do I leave the chip card in the reader’s chip card slot while taking a payment?

Yes, you’ll need to leave the chip card in the reader until the transaction is complete. You’ll get a confirmation message in the app and see 4 green lights on your reader when it’s time to remove the card.

Can I take test contactless payments with the reader?

Not currently, but you can practice taking contactless payments by completing a $1 sale and immediately processing a refund.

Can I use the reader while my mobile device is connected to other Bluetooth devices?

Yes, you can connect to other devices without impacting your connection to the Square contactless and chip reader.

Learn more about: Contactless and Chip Reader

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