Square Review: Fees, Complaints, Lawsuits & Comparisons

Square Alternatives

We recommend Helcim as the top alternative to Square’s processing system. Both services offer an easy to use mobile payment processing device that works with most mobile devices and tablets. The company also offers a month-to-month contract, no monthly or annual fees, customer support phone line, next-day funding, extremely low processing fees, and QuickBooks integration. Helcim has also been consistently reviewed as one of our top-rated processors since we first reviewed it almost ten years ago. We feel that the company provides all the functionality that Square offers with a much smoother customer experience. For more information please read our full Helcim Review.

Where Square Falls Short

Another area that Square comes up short in this review is its customer service. For a company that has only been around for a few years, Square is racking up a lot of complaints (more than 2,300 just in our comment section below). The majority of the complaints fall into three areas: virtually nonexistent phone support, confusion regarding its hold policy, and reports of random fund-holding or account deactivation exceeding 30 days with no explanation or communication from Square.

Square Lawsuits

In 2018, Square settled a class-action lawsuit filed against its food delivery service “Caviar”. The company was alleged to have withheld money from delivery workers left by customers as gratuities from 2012 to 2015 and agreed to pay $2.2 million dollars under the settlement.

We have found evidence of multiple other lawsuits from the last few years. In 2019 Square was accused of mishandling the way it dealt with information concerning payments for medical procedures. The suit was dismissed with prejudice later that year.

In another class-action suit, Square faces charges of holding large amounts of funds from merchant accounts that it deemed high risk. Square has received numerous complaints relating to these charges over the years, and this case is ongoing.

A 2021 class-action suit has been brought against Square and other major credit card processing companies over what the complainants call price-fixing over the use of the interchange fee.

A potentially major suit was brought against Square CEO Jack Dorsey in 2021, in which a Twitter shareholder claims that Twitter gives “broad access” to user data to advertisers and that Square, Dorsey’s other company, has “benefitted wildly from this disregard for privacy.” The suit has wide-ranging implications for Square if it succeeds, as it seeks to remove Dorsey from Twitter and force both companies to undergo major reforms.

Square Customer Support Options

The company appears to rely too heavily on customer service provided by email, its support forum, and social media. This is a big drawback for many, especially for those who are not willing to wait for a response through email, Twitter, or other social media channels. The company does have a customer support phone number that operates from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PDT (see How to Contact Square), but merchants and business owners must request and receive a code from the Square website in order to actually reach a representative.

Only Active Accounts Get Real-time Help

Phone support codes are only provided to active Square merchants, meaning that any Square user who has had his or her account deactivated will still be unable to reach the company by phone. It is our position that deactivated merchants are the merchants who have the greatest need for phone support, so this customer support line is only a minor step forward for Square. Business owners who prefer to have access to full-time, in-house support staff are better off choosing a conventional merchant account provider.

Long Wait Times

Regardless of whether they contacted the company by phone or email, merchants are reporting wait times of up to several days before getting a response from Square. Numerous users have also reported that Square has failed to respond to their support requests in a satisfactory manner. For many reviewers, it seems inexcusable for a financial services company this large to not have readily available live support for all of its users.

Beware Square Phishing Scams

At the time of a previous update, we heard from a number of non-Square users who claimed to receive emails from Square regarding non-existent accounts. These emails typically state that Square is having trouble depositing some amount into the user’s account and that the user will need to supply account details to receive their payment. These emails are very likely to be Square phishing scams.

These scams are designed to trick you into providing personal information, and they do not have any connection to the actual company Square. If you receive an email regarding your Square account, and you are sure that you do not have a Square account, forward that email to spoof@squareup.com so that the company can investigate the source of the scam.

Square could greatly improve its rating in this section by allowing all merchants to access its customer support phone line and by better communicating its hold policies.