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Offline Credit Card Processing - Accept Credit Cards Offline

Square
Editorial Team

Offline payment processing lets you take card payments anywhere, anytime, even if there’s no Wi-Fi. With Square’s Offline Mode, you can take secure, offline credit card transactions that are automatically processed when you have connectivity again. It’s easy to set up offline credit card processing with Square, and once it’s switched on, you can automatically take offline payments any time your signal goes down. There’s no additional cost to use the feature, and all offline credit card transactions are charged at our standard rate of 2.6% + 10¢ per swipe.

When would you need offline credit card processing?

Offline payment processing is a great to have up your sleeve so you can keep taking card payments if the Internet goes down. And of course, a lot of businesses take payments in places where there is no connectivity. Think outdoor festivals; markets; events in remote places; mobile sales like tow trucks, locksmiths, and plumbers; and other spots where there’s no Internet connection.

Offline Mode.

Swipe cards without a connection.

How to accept offline credit card transactions:

  1. Download Square Point of Sale, our point-of-sale app, and set up your account. Square Point of Sale’s POS software is free and works on both Apple and Android devices.

  2. Log in to your Square account on the Point of Sale app and tap the menu icon.

  3. Tap Settings, then Offline Mode.

  4. Toggle Allow Offline Mode on.

  5. Review the info and then tap Allow Offline Mode.

  6. To set a limit for offline credit card processing, enter an amount next to Per Transaction Limit. The default amount is $100 and the maximum is $25,000 per offline credit card transaction.

  7. After you’ve enabled Offline Mode, if you lose connectivity, you’ll see a red banner in your Point of Sale app, which means the app has automatically switched into Offline Mode.

  8. When you’re ready to take an offline credit card transaction, swipe the card through Square Stand or the Square magstripe reader. (Credit cards must be swiped rather than dipped for offline payment processing.)

Who can benefit from offline payment processing?

Offline credit card processing is ideal for festivals, open-air fundraisers, onsite ticket sales, and other times when you’re in a remote location without connectivity, or the network goes down from overuse. It’s also a lifesaver when the Wi-Fi goes down in your brick-and-mortar store. With Offline Mode, you can still keep your business up and running.

Important things to remember with offline credit card processing

When you take offline credit card transactions, you take on the risk of any expired, declined, or disputed payments. Basically, Square Point of Sale can’t talk with the banks during offline payment processing, so when you use Offline Mode, you’re responsible if any cards are declined. While offline payments are automatically processed when your device has connectivity again, it’s important to note that transactions expire if they’re not processed within 72 hours.

If no payment goes through, Square doesn’t charge a transaction fee, but you would unfortunately be out of pocket for the cost of goods or services you sold and didn’t receive funds for. And unfortunately, Square isn’t able to contact any customers on your behalf or supply their contact info if an offline credit card transaction is declined. So to reduce risk for offline payment processing, we recommend you:

  • Check the name and expiration date on cards to make sure they’re valid.

  • Set a per-transaction limit.

Please note that Offline Mode is only for card-present transactions made with magnetic-stripe cards. Manually entered payments as well as chip card and contactless payments aren’t currently supported. Lastly, it’s good to keep in mind that offline credit card transactions can’t be canceled while they’re pending. Instead you need to connect to the Internet, allow the pending payment to complete, and then issue a refund. You can learn more about offline credit card processing here.

“Having the ability to process payments offline was an absolute essential when we chose to implement a POS system for our 50+ events a year. We’ve been able to process more than $5 million in offline payments this year without the burden of setting up a Wi-Fi network at each location. So whether it’s a cattle ranch in rural Texas or an Air Force base with spotty reception, we’re there using Square.” – Red Frog Events, producers of Firefly Music Festival

Offline credit card processing PCI compliance

Some sellers are concerned about whether card data is safe during offline payment processing. Rest assured, whether you’re taking payments normally or are processing an offline credit card transaction, Square always encrypts and protects the card information.

Square Reader and Square Stand encrypt cardholder data at the moment of swipe. The data can’t be decrypted until it reaches Square’s PCI DSS–compliant environment. During offline credit card processing, Square Point of Sale further encrypts cardholder and transaction info so it can’t be decrypted until it reaches our environment. These offline credit card transactions are transmitted for authorization and securely deleted from the mobile device as soon as the device is back online. Also, Square never displays full card numbers or security codes to sellers in any form, whether you’re online or in Offline Mode.

The Square Editorial Team is dedicated to telling stories of business, for business owners. Our team comes from a variety of backgrounds and share a passion for providing information that helps businesses to start, run, and grow. The team is based in San Francisco, but has collaborators all over the country.