Today, September 7, 2023, a nationwide outage crippled Square’s Point of Sale (POS) system, affecting over 2 million businesses that depend on its services.
The outage started around 11:00a.m. EST. Initially, payments faced delays, but by 3:00 p.m., the system had completely shut down.
Small Businesses Feel the Impact
Tim Davis, who operates a small business in Middlebury, VT, recounted the escalating issues. “Square is down, we had to try customers cards multiple times to get it to process at first, then once that didn’t work we had to resort to cash or check only.”
In the initial hours of the outage, customers who tried to reach Square’s customer service were met with an unexpected hurdle.
Calls were directed to a voicemail recording that vaguely mentioned “unexpected closures” without providing any additional details. The message made it clear that customer service was not taking calls at that time, adding to the frustration and confusion of already beleaguered business owners.
By 7:00pm. EST. Square acknowledged the outage on social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter).
“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,” the company announced.
They also directed users to issquareup.com for updates. The latest update, timestamped at 18:32 PDT, thanked users for their patience and promised a resolution as soon as possible.
Despite these assurances, the system remained down as of 10 p.m. EST, leaving businesses scrambling to find alternative payment methods.
Users vented their frustrations on social media, complaining about everything from lost business to error messages when trying to process credit cards. “Thanks, Square, we had to close early today,” one user lamented on platform X.
Some users offered temporary fixes to help others navigate the outage. “Alright everyone, turn on offline payments and turn off your wifi or disconnect your Ethernet.
You’ll be able to run transactions and then authorize them later when the system is back up, ensuring you don’t lose business,” advised one savvy user.
The Bigger Picture
Given that Square services more than 2 million businesses, the scale of this outage is undoubtedly significant.
The disruption affects not just individual transactions but also appointments and other scheduled services, adding another layer of complexity to the problem.
As businesses nationwide await a resolution, this outage serves as a stark reminder of the vulnerabilities inherent in relying on centralized systems for essential business operations.
Square has yet to announce when they will fully restore services.