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Don't Be Square


square credit card readerYou had a dream. You put all of your hard work, money and faith in to your business with every hope that you would get the return on your investment. You sign up for the trendy new Square credit card reader to accept payments.  Business is booming, customers are happy; then one day you realize the numbers aren’t adding up. Square is not funding you on your credit card sales. Something is wrong you say to yourself and immediately call their customer service. Voicemail?! How can such a big company only have a voicemail?! Their website directs you to a twitter support page…and meanwhile your bank account is still not getting funded. Guess you should have read the fine print…

This was the experience for merchants that conducted business using Square in their early days. It seems they had a $1,000 weekly limit on transactions that they failed to clearly advertise. In October 2011, they smartened up and changed their policy to a $2,002 (Why the $2?) weekly limit on manually entered transactions.

It seems, however, that a change in written policy makes no difference., a credit card processing watchdog group dedicated to helping business owners navigate the credit card processing industry has given Square a grade of C- and has a lot to say about their shady policies on funding merchants.”Merchants are reporting in great numbers that Square has randomly and without explanation, or notification, placed lengthy holds (exceeding 30 days) on their funds – even with swiped transactions.”

They continue, “Square appears to rely on undisclosed algorithmic “risk factors” to place automatic holds on transactions that it deems suspicious.  Square’s policies regarding these types of holds are murky at best and make the service highly undesirable for higher volume merchants. Since fund holding can greatly impact a merchant’s operations, the grade for this section will remain low until Square improves the system.”

No worries, you will get your money, eventually…

Fancy new pricing options, edgy looking dongles (nickname for the white square card reader) and futuristic fonts are all very cute – until the murky policies and fine print leaves your bank account empty.

Oh yea, and then there are the 231 complaints that have been filed with the better business bureau (133 for products and service issues, 73 for billing and collections issues, 19 for delivery issues, and 6 advertising and sales issues). Does this sound like a company who you want handling your hard earned money? Do you have questions about any of this information; perhaps you can call their customer service line… and leave a message.

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My company typically processes about 300,000 per year in credit card transactions and I was getting tired of all the fees and fluctuations in the rates when I first saw the square it was at a fair and the vendor selling 3-5 dollar items kept swearing by it I thought well if it's a fixed rate while I'm at a customers house I can easily swipe the card know the rate and wow I'm like a cool modern salesman with the gadgets. I loved it. My first problem came when a larger client had a big balance with me so before I would accept the charge I went onto the square site to read the rules and verify the limits. I completely followed their guide lines and did the charge for 22,000. At that point square sent me the typical auto response regarding the charge and that my account would be credited. At this time I had probably ran about 500 charges and they were perfect. The next morning no money was in my account so I waited. Ok it's a large number so maybe there's a security feature and It will take another day. The next day nothing. Now I email square only to find out a 2nd charge is now not come through either for a standard dollar amount. Now I'm furious cause I have none to speak to then finally I get an email telling me my account is on hold than they request info regarding big sale. I provide all back up and at least one week passes when I finally get an email telling me to refund the client the 22,000. Once I do that I get an email telling me square is processing the refund that I have requested. I requested ? They told me to do it. My next nightmare which I am going through right now started when a customer called her credit card company to start a chargeback against my product which she didn't understand. Once we spoke and I rectified her concerns the chargeback was reversed. When it first occurred I was notified by square of the disputed amount and than they immediately took 1900.00 out of my account. So I sent back to the client who called her credit card company right in front of me and they verified the charge was valid. Square has been holding this initially disputed amount now since July 02. After sending many emails to them I actually got a call from square to ask my permission to refund the client(nick from square) I told him the client no longer wanted the funds reversed but nick explained I would have to refund the monies and redo the charge again. So Inhad my office issue a refund through the square site and the refund status started out as pending refund switched to its current position of refund rejected. Now my emails are not being returned so I go back to my client for help. My client by this time has read so many bad reviews about square that she thinks it's a scam and refuses to permit me to do a refund or charge her card again. Her attitude is I paid you, I disputed the amount but than I removed the dispute and her credit card on line statement clearly shows she was charged and never refunded the monies. So where ate the funds ? I don't have them nor does she? No one to speak to at square and emails not responded to. Is this the way to conduct business in an age where everything goes vital in minutes. I now truly believe square is designed for yard sales and do it yourself type scenarios that require very small transactions not for running a bigger business. I hope my problem resolves itself because if it's not by Wednesday I am going to have to sue my client and this could make headlines.
Posted @ Sunday, August 26, 2012 8:52 AM by Steven young
Thank you for your comment Steven. Working in this industry, it's frustrating to hear that someone is having this kind of experience. Please keep us posted on how this issue is handled and what further action you will need to take to receive your funds.
Posted @ Tuesday, August 28, 2012 9:55 AM by Rachida Essadiq
That's the question of the decade. "So where are the funds"? I don't have them nor does my client. No one answers the phone at Square and emails are ignored, except to quote their own policy that they are breaking. Unbelievable!!!! 
Is this the way to conduct business in an age where everything goes vital in minutes?
Posted @ Monday, September 24, 2012 6:12 PM by Jessica Norene
Hi Jessica. We hope that your account is being resolved and that Square works on their issues with customer service soon, for the sake of its customers. This kind of thing is disappointing for us to see because it reflects poorly on those of us working hard to provide good customer service and support in the payment processing industry.
Posted @ Tuesday, September 25, 2012 3:25 PM by Rachida Essadiq
This is EXACTLY what happened to us last year. Everything went smoothly for a few months then BAM! $2000 worth of charges never hit our account. I went to call customer service and guess what? NO PHONE NUMBER, Really? A billion dollar company with no phone number? I did some searching and found a number for their finance department. Not sure why but that was the only number I was able to find, after some button pushing I finally got accounting on the phone and "Margaret" refused to help or even refer me to someone that could. " You must email" I was told over and over like a broken record. I got a better response from the companies that outsource to India. So, ok. phone calls didn't work, emails got generic replies so let me try writing. hah! They hide their address very well. I only found it by looking at the articles of incorporation filed with the state of California. ( public records ) Now I'll get somewhere, nada, not even a response. My last contact with them was when I received an email telling me my account was closed and "IF" they decided I was due any monies I would receive them in get this "180 DAYS". Are they crazy? Well its now going on a year and nothing. So now I have to sue them. They have some stupid disclaimer in their " agreement" that states all suits must be filed in a San Francisco court. ( to be convenient for them ) Guess what? The law says bullcrap I can file right here in MY hometown. Let them hire a lawyer licensed to practice in MY state to defend them. Even if I don't win it will have cost them a grand to hire a lawyer. If we all did that maybe the added expenditure would make them consider their acts of theft. Because when it comes down to it, that is what they are doing. Theft by Deception.
Posted @ Sunday, October 20, 2013 12:49 PM by Limo Operator
Hi Limo Operator - Such poor customer service is inexcusable in the financial world and I am sorry to read about your terrible experience with Square. Not all companies in payment processing treat their customers in such a poor manner, and I hope you find a company who can assist your business in a professional manner.
Posted @ Monday, October 21, 2013 9:19 AM by LBorek
So the question is - does anyone have a reliant alternative to the Square for business owners? The concept of this type of wireless payment if fantastic. However, I need a reliable company. Thank you! - Brooklyn, NY
Posted @ Thursday, November 21, 2013 11:58 AM by Mia
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