Square Horror Story

I am in my second year of art fairs and have been using square since the beginning. This weekend in Chicago at the Highland Park Fine Art and Craft show I had a disaster happen. I had a $510 sale which looked like any good sale I've ever had. The payment authorized. The signature line was given,  the people signed, they declined to give me an email and they accepted a paper receipt. I pressed the "no thanks " for the receipt page and continue, and we were done. Off they went with the art. That evening I went thru my square payment activity and the sale wasn't there. I thought maybe because it was after a certain hour on a Sunday. I called square to ask about it, as it never appeared, and the reality is the horrifying part. The sale was voided apparently during the authorization process. Square said it could be an incoming call, a text or questionable wifi which may have faded for a brief moment and that's all it takes. The authorizing process failed but you won't know that until long after your buyer has left. I didn't do a good job on my end getting the buyers info which I should have done as a part of doing good business, but I didn't get contact info and now I have no recourse. There is no way to tell when a payment is voided. Square does not notify you. This is a truly sickening live and learn experience . I hope this information saves someone else a lost sale in the future. 

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  • Thank you for sharing this. I will be more vigilant because of your warning!

  • No documentation.  This is what I have heard from customers that are hesitant to give us their email addresses.  That's why I referenced it as such.  Square categorically denies it.

  • @Alan "Many folks suspect that one of Square's revenue streams is selling those emails and phone numbers...."  Link please.

  • New note on SalesVu.  No limits OR surcharge on keyed transactions.  2.7% on all but Amex.

  • Don, those rates you have are the amount in ADDITION to the Exchange (which is about 1.3%, I believe).  Still, very good rates.

    Note to anyone using the old knuckle busters (click clack) or manual receipts with card info on them - if those docs are not kept under lock and key and unavailable to be walked off with (a little box with a cheap lock sitting on your workspace is NOT unavailable), you can be subject to a $1,000 fine PER CARD NUMBER!!  It's called PCI Security Standards, and it's no joke.  It would ruin any of us.

  • Folks, I wrote a sizable blog last year about Credit Card Processing.  I was in the Retail Software business for years and am not associated with any processor.  The hands down leaders in this space are SalesVu and Shopify.  I have used SalesVu for 2 years without any hiccups at ALL.  This would never happen with SalesVu.  Their Customer Service is first class.  They actually listen to their customers (us).  They provide a FREE shopping cart website integrated with the app.  The app is constantly being upgraded.  They offer high-end add-on features (that you probably don't need) for very reasonable rates.  When you capture an email address, you get it.  You don't with Square, so even if you did get the email, you cannot download it.  Many folks suspect that one of Square's revenue streams is selling those emails and phone numbers....  To top it all off, Square is so anti 2nd Amendment it is shameful.  Can you tell I don't like Square?   Shopify is a high-end product with a cost but very powerful tools.  Probably only an option for anyone doing a six figure annual sales volume....

  • Don,
    No, I did not know that. Thank you for telling me! I will revise my form.
  • Hi Edna. Just a heads up it is against regulations to write down or store ccv code in any way. If you are caught you can be fined and have your mechant/square account closed. Also as a smart consumer I would not let you write down that information.

  • Thanks for the heads up Sharon.  I changed my offline Square settings and will definitely look for that email ding signifying the transaction is complete.  

    Ryan Tischer, you inspired me to design a form of my own.  I looked at vintage french receipts for design ideas and had fun with it.  I had a small batch of 50 duplicates for $5.00 made at my local Office Max as a first run.  i have a little spot on the form for expiration and ccv code so I don't forget to note them.  Years ago I would use triplicate sales books and take a rub of the credit card then check to make sure the digits were clear.  I would give the customer the middle copy and i would keep the top original and third page carbonless with card rub.  I noticed you have fine print at the bottom and I'm curious if it is your policies and if so what points you cover.  Something i need to hammer out for myself very soon.


  • I had a similar situation, not with Square but my bank's technology.  Because the sale did not go all the way through, no information was stored.  It was for $245, was the first sale of the show, one of my all-time favorite pieces and it was just gone.  I like the form that Ryan suggested but do you ask for picture id?  If someone were dishonest, they could just write down anything. People have at times seemed reluctant to give a phone number or email address for a receipt.

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