Don’t Be Square

You 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. CardPaymentOptions.com, 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.