Merchants who use Square to process payments online and in-person were out of luck on Thursday after an outage hit the service. Square communicated with sellers on Twitter, tweeting about 4 hours into the outage, “We are currently experiencing issues with multiple Square services. We understand how important it is for your business that our services be up and running, and we are actively working toward a fix. We’ll keep you updated at http://issquareup.com as we learn more.”
On Friday morning, Square posted that sellers had been unable to access accounts or process payments due to the system outage within Square that started around noon PT on Thursday, and it apologized.
TechCrunch said the outage also impacted Cash App, a mobile payment service owned by Square’s parent Block, “leaving users unable to make or receive payments.”
NBC picked up the story, speaking to small businesses who were devastated by the outage, such as a Pennsylvania business owner who runs three ice cream shops. He told NBC, “Everything we process is through Square, even online. As an ice cream business we’re about to enter our winter season, so every sale matters.” He estimated he lost $8,000 to $10,000 in revenue due to Square’s outage.
Merchants discussed the issue on a thread on the Square seller community pages. An update on Friday morning advised sellers that some of them would see a delay in transferring funds from their Square account to their bank accounts on Friday morning. “We will be communicating this delay with the impacted sellers. If this is you, the funds that were scheduled to be transferred from your Square Balance to your linked bank account in the morning will now be sent to you later this afternoon.”
Square said it planned to publish a full review of the issue once it had fully investigated the outage and would determine what steps it could take to prevent it from happening again. “We know that you trust us with your business, and these types of situations add challenges to running your operations. For that, we are truly sorry.”
Sellers also turned to DownDetector to get updates from other users of the Square service. At least one seller wondered if Square would waive fees for users who were impacted by the outage.
Sellers weren’t the only ones impacted. A software developer who sets up clients with Square wrote on Reddit on Friday afternoon, “Did we ever find out what the heck happened? A nearly 24 hour global outage, and nothing on their socials. No details on the emails they sent out. Nothing on issquareup.com on what happened. Nothing in the official forums. My clients aren’t exactly thrilled with the realization of higher risk than previously thought. And the best solution I can come up with is to switch Square to some other lower perceived risk merchant, mainly because there are no other answers and zero information coming from Square.”
Jack Dorsey, who co-founded Twitter, also founded Square (later renamed Block) and is Chair of Block’s Board of Directors. He was tweeting on Friday evening, but not about the outage – he tweeted a video and link promoting a bitcoin platform.