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Identify Customers at Your Counter with QR Codes

As you work your business location, you can increase your line speeds and reduce cashier mistakes by adding a customer to a sale with a QR code or barcode. All you need are the items listed below:

  • Customer reference ID in Directory.

  • A supported barcode scanner that can scan QR codes on screens (e.g. Honeywell Xenon 1900). Note: Test your scanner for on-screen scanning first.

  • Square POS on iOS tablet, Android tablet, or Register.

  • Square for Retail on iOS and Register.

Note: This feature is not available on Square for Restaurants or Square Appointments at this time.

If the above items are met, you can scan the QR code and add it to a sale. When the scan is successful, the customer’s name will appear in the cart, and a notification will appear your POS. If the scanning is successful, the customer will be automatically added to the cart.

If a customer is not found, there will be an error message shown on your POS. 

If multiple customers are found, the first customer (sorted alphabetically by their name) is automatically chosen.

Note: To avoid matching multiple customers, it's important to keep reference IDs unique for each customer in your Directory.

Populating Reference IDs

Customer profiles in Customer Directory have a Reference ID field which can be used to store a custom/external identifier for the customer (e.g. a member ID for a membership program, a third party system customer ID, etc.). This Reference ID field must be populated for a customer to be looked up and added to sale. You can populate this field for existing customers via bulk importing, manual addition, or API.

By import

To add a reference ID to new customers, simply include the field in your imported CSV, and map the column to the Reference ID field.

  1. From your online Square Dashboard, go to Customers > Directory.

  2. Select Import / Export > Import Customers

Continue to the data upload screen, add your CSV, then map the fields in the file. You should map at least the name, phone or email field, along with the Reference ID. Learn more about importing customers online.

If you are trying to add a reference ID to existing customers, it’s best to export your customer list first. Open your exported file in Excel, and add the reference IDs for each customer. Once you’ve done so, import your customer list back into Customer Directory. Follow the same instructions as above. 

By manual addition

If you have an edit to make for a customer, or you just want to test the lookup for a small number of customers, you can add a Reference ID manually from the customer profile. You can add your customer's Reference ID to their profile by following the directions below:

  1. From your online Square Dashboard, go to Customers > Directory

  2. Select a customer.

  3. Under Personal Information, select Edit.

  4. Edit the Reference ID as needed, and select Save when finished.

Note: If you don’t see the Reference ID field listed, go to Customers > Settings > Configure Profiles, and toggle the visibility of the Reference ID field.


Note: The following is an advanced technique.

Using the update customer endpoint, you can iterate through your customer list and add a reference ID for each customer. Use this method to keep your customer list in sync with Square Customer Directory. Learn more about the update customer endpoint in our Developer Support Center.

Generating Codes

Display a code on the web or in-app

Generate a QR code with a generator of your choice, and dynamically insert your customer’s reference ID in the data section.

Try using the tool below, which can generate a QR code with your reference ID string in the URL:

You can also try using:

Print a code

Generate a QR code with a generator of your choice, and dynamically insert your customer’s reference ID in the data section. Copy the image, and add it to your document for printing.

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