How To Use A Square Reader For Mobile Payments
To accept payments with Square, youll need a Square reader, a smartphone, and the Square app.
- Step One: Download the Square app. After you have downloaded the Square app, its effortless to accept payment with your reader.
- Step Two: Open the app on your device. You will already be on the screen that you need to make a charge. No fumbling required!
- Step Three: Find the item. If you have entered inventory into your Items list, find the item and click what you need. The total will automatically update.
- Step Four: Tap the charge button. Tap the Charge button when youre ready.
- Step Five: Read your customers card. Swipe or insert the card or tap your connected reader. You can also manually enter the card number if necessary.
- Step Six: Ask your customer to sign. Your customer will sign their name, and the sale is complete!
Dont have a connection? Are you suffering from a spotty connection? Squares offline mode helps you avoid losing the sale. The app securely saves your customers data, and the transaction will process when you connect your device to the internet again . You must reconnect within 72 hours, though, or the transaction will cancel.
Its that easy. To see how Square stacks up next to other mobile credit card processors, check out our Mobile Credit Card Processing Comparison table.
What Are The Benefits Of Using A Portable Card Reader
Portable card readers have tons of benefits to offer your business. First, you don’t have to worry about waiting in long lines anymore. Customers can use their credit or debit cards to pay at the point of sale and then swipe out when they’re done.
The other major perk is that a portable card reader makes it easy for customers to pay with a variety of payment options. If they don’t have cash on hand, they can easily use their credit card. And if their credit card has expired, they can use their debit card instead!
This is especially helpful for businesses that are looking to get new customers on board with them quickly.
How To Accept Card
There may be some situations when you need to take a payment from your customer, and you cant swipe, dip, or tap the card. Maybe you dont have your reader with you, or you want to take an order over the phone. Whether the card is physically present or not, if you manually enter the card information, its considered a card-not-present transaction.
In the next section, we will lay out the payment processing costs for such transactions. But first, lets discover the ways you can process a card with Square if you dont have your reader in hand.
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Do Debit Cards Work With Square
Square can accept payments from debit cards out of the box. You dont have to do anything to make your Square Reader compatible with debit cards.
One thing to note is that debit card transactions will process like a credit transaction. Not all debit cards support this functionality.
For debit cards that do, theres one major difference. Instead of the money being immediately deducted from the customers checking account, it will be deducted a couple days later.
What Cards/payment Types Are Accepted Through Square
Square accepts a huge variety of cards including:
As a bonus, Square charges the same fee for purchases, regardless of what type of card is used. Since swipe fees can vary by the card provider, this can make it easier to predict your transaction costs.
Some merchants don’t accept certain credit cards, such as American Express, because the processing fees are too high.
Square can even accept international credit cards, though youll need to enter their details manually. These transactions incur slightly higher fees.
If youre paying a health care provider, the Square reader can also accept payment from FSA and HSA cards.
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Required Information For Manual Entry
We require all of the following information for transactions entered manually:
Complete card number
Note: most card issuers also require a billing postal code. If any piece of information is entered incorrectly, the card will be declined. If the card numbers entered turn red, review Squares payment troubleshooting.
Where Can I Pay With Square
If youre a consumer, there are many places that you may encounter a Square POS terminal.
Because Square targets small business owners, youre most likely to use one at a small business. Common places include:
- Food trucks
- Pop-up shops
- Small restaurants
Square is ideal for these types of locations because they dont require large hardware, just a phone or tablet and a way to keep it charged.
In reality, paying for something through Square is no different than using your card anywhere else. Swipe your card or insert it into the chip reader.
Youll then have the option to add a tip and, depending on the transaction size, be asked to sign for the purchase. Finally, you can ask for a receipt to be e-mailed or texted to you.
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Square & Payment Security
Right out of the gate, we need to take a quick minute to cover payment security. Its that important. Regardless of how you accept a payment keying in a card, swiping with a magstripe reader, a dip or tap, etc. Square provides secure and PCI-compliant payment transactions. Square is fully compliant with the latest Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard . And that also means you wont have to pay additional PCI fees or hire a team to manage ongoing compliance, either.
This out-of-the-box payment security is just one reason why Square is such a powerhouse for the millions of small business owners who trust it.
Lets take a look at the Square reader options next.
Dedicated Solutions For Many Business Types
Nearly every type of merchant can use Square. In addition to mobile merchants that ring up sales and services on the go, online businesses and those with physical locations can use Square. It has dedicated solutions for different industries and business types, such as retail, food and beverage, service providers , health and fitness, organizations, and entertainment. However, before signing up with Square, you’ll want to check its list of prohibited goods and services to make sure it supports your business type. If it doesn’t and you sign up anyway, the company may freeze your funds and cancel your account without notice.
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The Benefits Of Square Payment Processing
Wondering if you really need a PSP? Customers who carry large amounts of cash are a rarity. And the risk of losing a sale is higher with big-ticket products. Normally, you have to set up a merchant account with a bank to process debit and credit cards. But getting approved takes time, and the equipment and processing costs quickly add up.
Square Get Started Guide
Getting set up to accept credit cards on Square only takes a few minutes but dont miss out on our entire suite of products that can help you run and grow your business.
This 5-step guide can help you take payments faster, significantly reduce your teams training time, generate robust sales and inventory reports, and cut your administrative time in half. Watch the video below for an overview of how to get started with Square:
What if I get stuck? Get in touch with our Support team anytime by email, or, and if youve successfully created an account, you can Monday through Friday between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. PST, or reach us in theSeller Community.
Use this guide for reference or share it with your team by saving or printing this page. Right-click anywhere on this page to save or print.
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How Credit Card Processing Works
Heres what happens behind the scenes once a customer wants to make a purchase from your business and scans or dips their credit card, smartphone, or contactless card to pay.
Square Pos App Features & Tools
The free Square POS app has a full array of services. Features and functions include:
- Detailed reports and insights, such as what sells best, customer spending trends, and sales comparisons.
- Track each employee’s time cards, breaks, and overtime.
- Grant different levels of access to employees.
- Send custom invoices .
- Update inventory, run reports, and receive low-stock alerts.
- Quick deposits within 2 business days. Instant Deposit will cost 1% per deposit.
- Sell and accept gift cards.
- Installment plan for customers, but you are paid upfront.
- Create and manage up to 300 locations under one master account.
- Integrates with many third-party apps and software.
Currently, you can only use the app on iOS and Android devices. It is not available on Windows, Blackberry, and Amazon Fire.
- Printing physical receipts
- Printing physical kitchen tickets
- Displaying kitchen orders
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But What Do Square Users Think
Here at PCMag, we do everything we can to thoroughly test products, but without a small business collecting payments on a constant basis, our experience only goes so far. Long-term customer Josh Kulp is the owner and chef of Honey Butter Fried Chicken, a Chicago-based counter-service restaurant, and has used Square since Sept. 2013. He told us that Square is very responsive.
“When we started two years ago, I had a list of about 20 things Square couldn’t do. You don’t know what you need until you’re actually doing it. It couldn’t split checks, it couldn’t distinguish between to-go and in-house orders,” Kulp said. “I was about to leave Square. I talked to them, they asked me for one more chance, and talked about the roadmap. They’ve added 19 of the 20 things I wanted two years ago.”
Samir Idnani on the other hand, praised Square’s ease-of-use and fast employee training. Idnani is the co-owner of NaanStop, which has two Atlanta quick-service Indian restaurants.
“New employees get a flash course in using Square and it takes 15 minutes. By end of their first day, they’re really up to speed,” Idnani said. His favorite part of the Square experience is the simplicity. Square is “easy to use, easy to set up. Employees can clock in, keeping tabs on sales and analytics. I can do customer campaigns. And the fees can’t be beat.”
A New Way To Accept Credit Cards Alongside Ebt
Square credit processing is now integrated with the TotilPay point-of-sale app. EBT-authorized merchants now have the option to use their existing Square merchant account to also accept credit, debit, SNAP, WIC and loyalty cards using the TotilPay app.
TotilPay and Square merchants can now process EBT, credit and debit transactions all within the TotilPay app however, EBT processing is not yet available on the Square app so merchants will need to use the TotilPay app to process EBT transactions.
We understand that point-of-sale software and EBT processing can be complicated so if youd like a TotilPay expert to explain our solution and how Square credit processing works within the TotilPay app, then contact our Sales Team.
One app, multiple benefits
Use the TotilPay app to process debit or credit card transactions using your Square merchant account and access more features and flexibility that improve cost, efficiency and customer experience.
TotilPay & Square Hardware
The TotilPay solution with Square integration requires merchants to have two card readers the TotilPay card reader and the Square Contactless Chip Reader.
The TotilPay card reader is used to process EBT-only transactions. You will not be able to process credit and debit cards through your Square merchant account with the TotilPay card reader.
The TotilPay Sales Team can assist new merchants with hardware requirements and options for using TotilPay and Square. Contact .
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What About Prepaid Cards
Square can process payments from prepaid cards just like payments from any other card. Theres no hassle, just swipe the card and youre good to go.
If you run into trouble with a prepaid card, you may have to enter the cards details manually.
Prepaid cards must be registered to be compatible with manual entry transactions. That means the customer must have provided a billing address and zip code to the card issuer.
Most cards have information on how to register them on the back of the card.
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Types Of Credit Card Readers
There are types of card readers you can choose from:
Portable card readers
These are credit card reading devices that attach to your smartphone or tablet. They’re easy to use, have a rechargeable battery, and the best part is the price.
Mobile credit card readers
Mobile credit cards offer a more traditional payment option for your business. The devices are designed with a slot for swiping cards and they include an LCD screen so customers can review their purchase before signing.
How To Swipe Card Payments
Open the Square app and firmly plug the card reader into the devices headset jack or Lightning connector until you hear a click.Note: You may need to remove your device case or cover to fully connect the reader.
Note: At least $1.00 needs to be charged to process a card payment.
Swipe the card smoothly and quickly through the reader with the magnetic strip facing the thick side of the reader. To split a payment between multiple payment methods, use Split Tender.
If you have signatures enabled, have your customer sign with their finger. Your customer can also leave a tip if tipping is enabled. To cancel the payment before its been processed, tap the X icon or the back arrow to return to the previous screen.
Tap Done Signing, and pick the customers preferred receipt option. With a supported receipt printer, you can also .
After a payment completes, the final screen will read All Done.
If you have trouble swiping with your reader, try these troubleshooting tips.
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Square Pos Hardware Costs & Transaction Fees
As always, Square pricing is very straightforward. Below, weve listed prices for the hardware and what it will cost you to process payments.
- Square StandFor Contactless & Chip: The cost for this one is $199. If you want to add an iPad, you can do so for $329. Note that the stand is only compatible with an iPad , iPad Pro 9.7, or iPad Air . Youll pay 2.6% + $0.10 per swipe, dip, or tap transaction with the Square Stand so long as you are running the free Square POS or Square For Restaurants. Merchants using Square for Retail process transactions at a different rate 2.5% + $0.10.
- Square Terminal: To get your business a Square Terminal, youll pay $299, shipping included. Your payment processing fee is 2.6% + $0.10 per swiped magstripe card, swiped or inserted chip cards, and contactless payments.
- Square Register: Square Register costs $799 to purchase it outright. Shipping is free, and it arrives in seven business days or less. Its ready to start processing payments right out of the box, so theres no fuss when it comes time to launch. Square charges a processing fee of 2.5% + $0.10 for contactless payments, swiped or inserted chip cards, and swiped magstripe cards.
If you add on specialized software, such as Square for Restaurants or Square for Retail, you will have an additional monthly charge . Both of these premium POS systems are geared towards specialized businesses and include features such as advanced reporting and table mapping .
Square Transaction Fees & Mobile Reader Costs
As stated at the start of the post, Square offers very transparent pricing. If you use Square Point of Sale on a smartphone or tablet with a mobile card reader, youll pay the standard processing fee of 2.6% + $0.10 per swipe, dip, or tap. And keep in mind that no matter what type of card your customer hands you, Square charges the same fee per transaction. If for some reason you need to key in the credit number, you will pay the 3.5% + $0.15 rate for manually-entered transactions. We will revisit the types of card-not-present transactions later in the post.
Lets talk a little more about the Square Reader because you do have some choices that go beyond the free magstripe device. The good news is that Square readers work with nearly all Android or iOS devices running the latest updates. If youre in doubt, Square offers a compatibility tool, so you can look up your device and see for yourself.
After signing up for a new Square account, you can choose which free Square reader you would like and Square will ship it directly to you for free. Depending on your device needs, you can choose between the lightning adapter for iOS or the standard 3.5mm headphone jack reader. The other option you have is to shell out $49 for the Contactless + Chip Reader.
The free magstripe card reader is great for getting started, but I recommend considering the upgraded Contactless + Chip Reader for improved payment security in processing.
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