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Square’s EMV Chip Card Reader Unboxing And Review

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Tom DeSimone
Based in New York’s Hudson Valley, Tom has written for Merchant Maverick since 2013. His work is cited by publications including TechCrunch, Washington Business Journal, and Bank Advisor. He currently serves as Partner Marketing Manager, where he works to connect exceptional brands with the readers they serve best.
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    Natalie Dansey

    Hi Tom,

    We have been using the chip ready for over a year. I’ve had to replace mine just recently. I have a galaxy s6, my husband has the iPhone 6. He has no problems. The square app or reader for the galaxy seems to have a lot of issues. The chip reader constantly disconnects, even when I keep them within 10 ft. However the biggest problem is the app/ reader freezing in the middle of a sale. The phone vibrates to show the payment went thru, then nothing, the whole app is frozen. The payments have not gone thru. I have to close the app and restart. Sometimes is works most times it does not. The app/ or reader refreezes? This has become extremely irritating for us and our customers. We are mobile vendors, mostly selling at outdoor festivals so a monthly payment plan for a chip reader is not our best option. Any suggestions?

      Chloe Bahal

      Hi Natalie,

      Thank you for your inquiry. Based on the information provided, I would recommend Spark Pay and PayPal Here.


        I wonder if this card reader works internationally. We a are operating a highly mobile scooter rental business in various tourist locations and we don’t want to localize it each time. In a word, we need a truly international payment solution (being able to accept card reader payments, not just online payments!). Any ideas?

          Chloe Bahal

          Hi Misha,

          You can accept international payments as long as you are located in the country you signed up in, so unfortunately you won’t be able to travel and use Square. Here is more information. I hope this helps and if you have further questions please let me know.

            Mr. Blueberry

            I DARE the reviewer to go into the field and swipe over a 7 hour period. Sure the square readers and chip reader work at home in a nice sedate environment but they wear out quick. I have three readers and three chip readers. JUNK after several hours.
            Worst part–last year the readers worked fine…our cash customers got used to using credit cards. This year…square readers junk, chip reader junk after 2-3 hours. So SQUARE hurt our business because now customers don’t bring cash since they expect square to work. So I key in the data and they add insult to injury by charging more. I lose eye contact with customers while entering data. Absolutely HATE square for having such lousy equipment that lasts for what this farmer considers to be a short time.


              after you order the reader does square send junk mail to you

                Tom Billone

                No junk mail and I have one reader for over a year.

                  Paula Zahn

                  I haven’t purchased one yet. My question is how long will these last? The regular readers I had to keep ordering because they stopped working. So I have like 6 of them. I have had that happen to other friends. I can’t afford to keep buying the new ones over and over at $49 a pop.


                    Just revived my chip reader and mag stripe reader in one. Charged it. Did a transaction for a dollar using the chip reader and one for a dollar using the mag swipe. Moth went through without a hitch. Had one receipt texted and one emailed. Both arrived immediately. Now to see how quickly the funds come in. I have a Samsung note. All good.


                      How long did it take for the funds to be in your bank account? I have just purchased mine and am excited to use it.


                        I have not used it but most that have said that the funds are usually in your bank account the next day. Some are saying the next morning.

                          David E. Roy, Ph.D.

                          Up until this week, this would have been 5 stars. BUT, after several weeks of nearly effortless service for cards with a chip, the reader stopped working. Plugging it in to charge, no charge light came on. It was under warranty and is being replaced … but there is no rush on their part (5-7 days before arrival). In the meantime, all charging will be done manually at a higher rate. This is short term gain for Square (higher fees and lower customer service expenses); long term, this approach undermines loyalty, boosting the frustration level above the inertia barrier of seeking another company instead of staying.

                            Tom Billone

                            I am glad I have a backup reader.

                              David E. Roy, Ph.D.

                              Yes, I agree … I finally found one that would work. But my concern is if these chip readers are prone to failure, after the deadline my understanding is that charges made via swipe are not backed in the same way. This is not a huge deal in my case at this point, but changes I want to make could up the importance of this.

                                Tom Billone

                                The backup I have is the first chip reader sent by square. I had problems at first. Would not connect to my iPad/Square Stand but upgraded the iPad OS and it now works fine. Have not tried the new white one that is touchless to take Apple Pay. That will come at the end of the month when I do an Art Show. It connects to my stand OK but the truth will come when it is time to charge something.


                                  I have tried to activate new Chip reader, I tried everything square support suggest, Uninstall app/reinstall force close app.. Problem, when I open Square tap line scroll down tap on setting it will not open, all other drop down tabs open.. I’m afraid Square is going to lose my account, I have, a, Samsung 5S phone, it’s a, good Android

                                    Dave King

                                    The wireless square register reader is a piece of junk which frustrates and annoys my clients as much as it aggravates me. Worse, square doesn’t stand behind it. So I have a $50 paperweight that isn’t even heavy enough to work as a paperweight. Square was once a viable and encouraging alternative to merchant accounts offered by financial institutions. Now they sell garbage which renders their service worthless. I quit using square after they pulled this stunt. There are far better alternatives.


                                      I feel your pain Dave. Square’s hardware/software fumbles lost them our acct, and we processed over $650,000 annually through them over three locations. I can only imagine their internal panic as merchants leave them in droves. We just completed a transition to Dharma, and guess what? Trouble and delay-free transaction every time! 🙂 (And easier receipts, quicker chip transactions, NFC capable–ApplePay, Samsung etc.)

                                        Tom DeSimone

                                        Hi Dave,

                                        So glad to hear that things are going well with Dharma!


                                          I can’t sync my reader to my iPhone. I have blue tooth turned on. When I try to select a reader in the pairing directions, no available readers show. The circle keeps rotating…looking for readers.


                                            The new Square Bluetooth compatible NFC /chip reader blows balls! It’s Bluetooth, and as far as I’m aware, that’s the only way it can connect; since the package came with minimal instructions that are vague and give only instructions on how to pair the reader with your device. So it’s impossible to tell if the reader is turned on or off as there is no indicator other than a string of lights that blink in either green or yellow anytime you push the little button beside it… what’s the button for? I dunno… what does green light/yellow mean? I dunno… how can I tell if the reader is turned on, in pair mode, connected, operable, not a clever way to monitor every piece of sensitive information in or around my device at any time without any notification? I dunno… BECAUSE THERE’S NO INTERFACE AND NO INSTRUCTIONS BEYOND HOW TO PAIR IT. Furthermore, once you enable the new reader, which you will undoubtedly need to troubleshoot, you can no longer swipe chip cards with the old reader. HIJO DE PERRRRA!!!

                                              Amy W

                                              I have a question…… I just received my chip reader. Can I sink that reader to my tablet to run my salon sales and my also sink to my phone to run my personal clients. Salon sales and personal client sales deposit to two different bank accounts. Please let me know if I need two readers?

                                                Leonard Himes


                                                Thanks for your useful review of the Square Chip reader. I have used the old swipe card reader successfully for years at trade shows.

                                                I use an Otter case and had problems plugging the reader in. It took less that 5 minutes to trim the case opening with a sharp blade so that the reader goes in all the way. That fixes the issue.

                                                I’m a bit confused on on the compatibility of the chip and swipe readers. Will the swipe reader work normally once the chip reader has been installed? I will carry both with me in case the chip reader fails.

                                                  Tom DeSimone

                                                  Hi Leonard,

                                                  The swipe reader integrated into the chip reader should eliminate the need for a separate swipe reader, but the old swipe reader will continue to work as it has in the past even after you being to use the chip/swipe reader. It never hurts to carry it as a back up!


                                                    Tom. I forgot to thank you for the review–and apologize for the frustration permeating my earlier comments–although not directed at your review of course.

                                                    It’s worth clarifying that there are three distinct Square readers out in the wild. Whether using the larger dual-channel plug-in swipe/chip reader or the older swipe-only in conjunction with the newest blue tooth chip card reader, users will be forced to use the chip function on a card with the chip. You cannot swipe a chipped card if there is an option to “chip-read” the card. In fact, if you develop issues with your new blu-tooth reader you’ll have to uninstall the reader through Square app settings before you can swipe a chipped card.

                                                    Summary? You do not get to choose whether to swipe or insert a chipped card once you start accepting EMV cards–you will be directed to insert any and all chipped cards. Carry an extra reader for insurance.

                                                      Tom DeSimone

                                                      Hi Dave,

                                                      That’s interesting. My experience was different, but I’ll have to retest. With the chip/swipe headphone jack reader, I was able to swipe the mag stripe of a chip card effectively. According to the card network guidelines, this type of “fallback” is allowed. Yes, you are (and should be) encouraged to dip the chip when available, but you should not be forced to.

                                                      Thanks for the heads up. I’ll look into this further. I just received the Bluetooth NFC and chip reader today, so will be testing that shortly as well.

                                                        Tom Billone

                                                        I have a Square Stand which has a swipe reader. I also have the thrid party chip and swipe unit from Miura also the new chip and dip reader from Square. I am happy that the swipe reader in the Square Stand still worked since at an Art Show the Miura froze on me when trying to process a payment. Just cancelled the payment and reentered and swiped the card. Have not yet tried the chip and dip reader yet. Not sure if it is compatable with the stand. Will let you know.


                                                          Where to start? We have three locations, and have been sufficiently happy with Square for a few years now. Then come the CHIP nightmare. We dutifully plan, order units, and implement at the Oct 1 date. The plug-in dual readers from Square absolutely suck! Apart from adding significant time onto every transaction which ties to a chip-read card, the units themselves are very delicate. This is not a good quality for a commercial application. We had six readers on day one, and we had “broken” five of them within eight weeks of use; absolutely not ready tech–including battery life issues.
                                                          Then there’s the bluetooth readers. They seem just as glitchy–frequently not detecting that a card has been inserted and screwing up the entire process. We basically had to remove the bluetooth reader from square and revert to the old-school swipe only reader.
                                                          We’re about to bolt from Square over this extremely poorly handled roll-out; we’re busy and professional (and well over $1,500,000/sales annually) and I nor my customers have time for this bullshit amateur hardware.
                                                          Square? Are you listening?

                                                            Tom DeSimone

                                                            Hi again Dave,

                                                            Have you run the numbers on other POS and processing combinations? I’m not sure what rates Square has you set up with at that volume, but I’m pretty confident that you could find a more reliable and advanced option for less money or at least break even. Check out our POS finder and merchant account finder, or send us a message and we’ll help put you in the right direction.


                                                              Thanks for the note. Square wouldn’t budge on rates for us last year even with our volume–which is only large when compared to your average square user. We are negotiating between Dharma and Helcim, and I agree with your assessment. I suspect that Square’s hardware rollout has lost them more than a few customers if folks had experiences anything let me ours.

                                                                James McAllister

                                                                No issues with the od reader.

                                                                Today I got an email ‘invoice’ for $50 for the new reader!

                                                                I never authorized this!

                                                                To me, this is a sleazy way of doing business. I’ll be looking at the PayPal option tomorrow.

                                                                  Tom DeSimone

                                                                  Hi James,

                                                                  Did you pre-order the NFC reader? That’s what the $50 charge is for. If this is a mistake (or even if it’s not), simply send it back (there should be a return shipping label included with it) and you’ll get a refund.

                                                                    Tom Billone

                                                                    I have had several readers sent to me an none had a return label included. I had to go to the website and try to find how to return. Their customer service part of the site really needs work. I got the third party dip and swipe unite to work fine. Now I have to try the new contactless one and see if that works.

                                                                      Tom DeSimone

                                                                      Hi Tom,

                                                                      You’re right, the label is not included in the package. But the prepaid return shipping label can be printed from the Square site after filling out the return form.

                                                                        Dan Morse

                                                                        Question. Are the Square EMV card readers compatible with any Android device? I have a Nexus 7 second generation tablet. Will it work with that?


                                                                          Chloe Bahal
                                                                          Seema G

                                                                          In general, Square has been a huge hassle for us every since we got it. I feel like the amount we are saving per transaction (as opposed to a regular credit terminal) is not worth the headache. As far as the new chip reader goes, it’s complete junk. I’ll use an example from today. The chip reader was charging all night using the wall outlet charger. We had a customer at 9:30 AM and I unplugged the reader and put it in our tablet to take the transaction. At 12:40 PM I tried to use it (my first and only transaction of the day was at 9:30) and… oh look… it’s dead. So, to sum it up, it was fully charged when unplugged, used once, and died almost 3 hours after initial use….

                                                                            ray flower

                                                                            Does not hold a charge long at all. 14 hour day, needs to charge twice. Takes too long to connect. Not a fan of this reader.


                                                                              Well square chip card reader #3 is being replaced due to malfunction but I found if I use wall plug instead of extension cord it is working properly. Perhaps that had been the problem of other two? Hope it is that simple a fix


                                                                                Returning my second chip reader with problems. Does not hold charge. Bought new iPhone 6s and when I put chip reader in microphone jack it gave me red triangle could not proceed, This product is poor quality and very disappointing if number three acts the same guess I will have to go to another credit processing company. I have always liked square ????


                                                                                  I ordered two readers at one time. One did not work, or so it seemed. I had to take my phone case off, completely. Now they work fine. Perhaps, Square need to extend the jack length. I am now quite happy with my readers. Just need to find a thin case. Was using an Otter Box.

                                                                                    Tom Billone

                                                                                    Glad yours worked. I received a Miura 10 and it did not work. They sent a replacement which was supposed to have a return label to send the first one back. Did not. Finally got someone to email me a fedex label and sent it back. The second one doesn’t work either. Anyway they charged me around $130 for equipment that I cannot use. I tried to send the second one back and it says I was not charged for it. I am starting to get concerned about Square and their customer service.

                                                                                      Stella B

                                                                                      I ordered both the Square chip card reader and the Miura M010 and was told by the Square Rep that the Miura M010 worked for Square AND other apps, like PaypalHere… it doesn’t connect to PayPalHere, so I’m guessing it won’t work.
                                                                                      I sell at Street Festivals and Holiday Boutiques and have found that PayPalHere works better at some venues and Square best at others for this reason I need a chip reader that will work with both apps, is there such a reader?

                                                                                        Amad Ebrahimi


                                                                                        Unfortunately, chip readers are exclusive to their software providers. Maybe someone will come out with a compatible one soon, but for now you’ll have to use PaypalHere and Square’s own readers.



                                                                                            Richard Sohanchyk

                                                                                            This reader is garbage. I have yet to get it to read a chip or process a strip.

                                                                                              Jude defusco

                                                                                              My first chip card reader never worked right so I sent it back got new one. How long does it hold a charge? I charged new one, saw it load software but next day it didn’t work same as other one. Needed to be charged up again. What am I doing wrong ????

                                                                                                Leo Strauss

                                                                                                Sometimes it works and sometimes It doesn’t. If the reader connects to my I phone, which it only does about 40% of the time, then it doesn’t always have connectivity. This product has not lived up to my expectations. I really thought that Square would have done better.

                                                                                                  Tammy Kimble

                                                                                                  I am questioning as to the importance of ordering the updated square card reader to the contactless and chip card reader at this time. I have a small business with small $$$ sales and it mostly used for festival sales, etc. In reading the reviews, it appears that Squares have several issues to work out as in any new product. My understanding is that the old square card will still suffice.

                                                                                                  I do not use Square on my Shopify website.

                                                                                                    Tom DeSimone

                                                                                                    Hi Tammy,

                                                                                                    The only problem you could run into with the old reader is with counterfeit card fraud. If a buyer purchases with a counterfeit card and you don’t have a chip card reader, you will likely be liable for the money lost on the sale. Other than that, the old reader will continue to work, because the new chip cards will also have a mag stripe.


                                                                                                      Hey there,
                                                                                                      I ordered my new chip reader but have not recvd yet. The price on the square site is $49 per additional unit which seems pricey, especially since others like Shopify or intuit are chasing this business. I thought I saw that you paid $29? Is that right?

                                                                                                        Tom DeSimone

                                                                                                        That’s correct. The chip/mag stripe reader should only be about $30, while the chip/NFC reader is about $50. If you don’t expect to see much NFC traffic (most won’t), there’s not really any need for the more expensive reader.

                                                                                                          Tom Billone

                                                                                                          I received the Square Miura 010 or 355 depending upon which display your device returns. I cannot get it to work. I have it attached to a Square Stand via the USB port since it will not sync with an iPad2. Called support and was on with them for at least half an hour and they could not figure out what is wrong. I did note here that you need to fully charge so maybe that is the issue. I let it charge overnight but that might not have been long enough. Instructions with reader were lacking at best. Not impressed. Let me see how things go and will get back to you if the issue gets resolved. At this point I have to rate the new dip reader very low.

                                                                                                            Tom DeSimone

                                                                                                            Hi Tom,

                                                                                                            I haven’t had a chance to see that device in person yet. Please keep us posted.

                                                                                                              Tom Billone

                                                                                                              I was on the phone with support for about 45 minutes last night and they could not help me. I finally received an email on how to return the device. Was not able to do so through regular warranty return/repair since the Square site asks for an 14 digit serial number and the Miura has only 9. The email directed me to a page specific to the chip card. Will let you know if it works when I get the new one.

                                                                                                                tom billone

                                                                                                                Well my first Miura reader did not work so I got a replacement and that does not work. I am using square stand with an additional stand for the reader that connects to the usb port on the stand power cord. This is insane. Apparently you cannot bluetooth to an iPad 2 so you need to use the usb. If you try to connect directly to the iPad using and adaptor you get a message that you cannot use it because it takes too much power. This is JUNK. i am sorry but that is all I can say. i am sending BOTH back and not expecting to get my money back. Just annoys me. Stand works fine without the added hardware.


                                                                                                                  Just a couple of corrections. Amex, MC and Discover will issue up to 30% of chip cards this year that will require PIN numbers. If there is no pin, it will simply refuse the card. Square will not accept a pin. In terms of restaurants being low risk to fraud. While this is true, anyone can claim their card was stolen, if it is a chip card, and the location is non EMV then the merchant will lose. If a consumer wants to perpetrate fraud, they will claim all sales that day were made when the card was stolen. Not just the high value sale. People who are in the know, will search for non EMV. Anyone with a large ticket should become compliant ASAP

                                                                                                                    Karis Martinez

                                                                                                                    HI, I am currently opening a new online business while using social media and home parties to sell things. I have been looking at different pos opportunities I could use such as paypal, choppily and square. So far square is my top choice but I am having concerns such as with websites. I am currently working on a wix website so i wanted to ask if you knew that square would be compatible with other website builders besides there own “mkt domain”. As well as if square is appropriate for a small business like open house orders and not much of big business.

                                                                                                                      Tom DeSimone

                                                                                                                      Hi Karis,

                                                                                                                      Square integrates with Bigcommerce, which might help you out. But it doesn’t connect to Wix. You can see a list of Square integration “apps” here. You can also copy and paste HTML from Square to produce payment buttons. It sounds like Square could be a good option for you.


                                                                                                                        Can you tell me where to find the option and/or directions for “copy and paste” hamlet to create Square payment buttons for website? I have been unable to locate that information.


                                                                                                                          I have the new Square chip card reader. I am able to process payments using the chip card slot, but when I try to use a mag strip I receive the error message that “Chip Card must be inserted”. What’s up with that?


                                                                                                                            Not sure if this helps in your situation, but if you try to swipe a chip card it will not work. The reader knows it is a chip card and will only let you process payment through the chip slot of the reader.


                                                                                                                              Love my old reader, I have had nothing but difficulty with the new chip reader. This morning it tried to connect, failed, and would not try to connect again. This has happened every time i have tried to use the reader, anyone have any suggestions, please. Yes Square will send you a new one, but there technical support is lacking.

                                                                                                                                Domonick Falkenstein

                                                                                                                                Good Day Tom,
                                                                                                                                Iam a large restaurant that seats 458 do you know of any restaurant my size using Square One software as there pos?

                                                                                                                                  Tom DeSimone

                                                                                                                                  Hi Domonick,

                                                                                                                                  You’ll find that Square lacks the features necessary to run a restaurant of that size effectively. I’ve heard from many restaurants smaller than yours that couldn’t get by with Square. The extra cost of a restaurant POS system will pay for itself in terms of increased efficiency and saved time. Many systems work via tablets like Square does and are equally intuitive and easy to use.

                                                                                                                                  Hope this helps!


                                                                                                                                    I was a little nervous about pre-ordering since every swipe reader I’ve ever ordered from Square has arrived non-functional (all of our working readers came from BestBuy @ $10 a pop, but worth it for the lack of hassle). True to form, I also had a defective reader on the first chip reader – and the warranty function worked well, new reader was delivered 4-5 days later. Second chip reader (we bought 3 originally) updated & connected, but wouldn’t read my test card. At that point, i put it all away until another day when i had more patience for it. As I’m reading your review today, I see for the first time that Discover isn’t supported for chip reader? (guess what card I was testing with! lol). I’m pretty thorough with reading up before leaping, but I don’t recall that little tidbit being ANYWHERE in the Square docs. Suppose I’ll try it all again this weekend, but considering we run 5-6 transactions / minute during rush-hour (we’re in a train station after all) per register, I’m dreading even a 3 second delay with those chips. On the bright side, we’re already telling the regulars to think about switching over to our gift/pre-paid cards so they can still zoom through with the chip-reader issues. And the Square giftcard program works great for us (just be sure you keep your own record of the full card #, as Square only tracks the last 4 digits unless you know a receipt # for that card).


                                                                                                                                      It is good that the US is finally moving towards chip cards, however, my stance is you will not see it widely used come Oct for many reasons. Trying to accept chip cards at the table for full service restaurants brings up a slew of issues and hurdles to address. Tip adjustments later will become a thing of the past.

                                                                                                                                      There is a lot of misconceptions floating around about this. There is no law, no fines, etc. Come Oct 1st, most merchants will not be affected if they can’t process chip cards. The only thing that changes is the liability shift on chargebacks for stolen/fraudulent credit cards. Thieves don’t risk it by going to a restaurant, they go buy high dollar electronics, so most retailers and restaurants can go months or years without ever seeing one. So it really isn’t going to affect them much. So I tell my prospective merchants, don’t worry about. The industry is using it to make an opportunity for a sale.

                                                                                                                                      Lastly, many card issuers have yet to give out chip cards, mainly all of your smaller banks. Plus, many of the big processors still cannot support chip cards! They should within the months but not as of today.


                                                                                                                                        Skip W

                                                                                                                                        I have been a Square fan for sometime. I use mine on an iPhone and am always in different locations. I am located near San Francisco (right by YouTube HQ). I ordered my chip reader almost as soon as they started accepting pre-orders. When my first chip reader arrived, I was thrilled. I charged it and when I inserted it to test it the app almost immediately displayed an error message saying “Reader Defective – Insert a Different Reader”. I went to the Square site and they had a section for defective reader returns. This implies that I was not the only one. My replacement arrived within 3-4 days. I opened the box and there were really nicely printed instructions that apologized for my issue and gave me clear instructions on returning the reader. Again, the glossy printed documents inserted into a box that included return labels implies to me that mine was not an isolated issue.

                                                                                                                                        The second reader has been a little glitchy. On my first few tries using it with real customers it either wouldn’t process the transaction or it failed and required re-authorizing the card. One transaction took 3 tries. On my third customer, I finally was able to process. It seems like the chip process requires a better data connection than the old swipe readers. I know this is new stuff, so some issues are almost inevitable. I still carry my old swipe reader just in case. I’m interested in knowing if others have had similar issues.

                                                                                                                                          Tom DeSimone

                                                                                                                                          Hi Skip,

                                                                                                                                          Thank you for the insights. I’m glad to hear that Square is providing good support in cases of defective readers. Keep us posted with any new developments.


                                                                                                                                            I am interested in getting the Square app. I have a concern though. Can it be used to make on line payments with a pay buttons on social media like Facebook, or would I have to get a separate website. Do I have to have iPad or can I use the Verizon ellipsis 8?

                                                                                                                                              Tom DeSimone

                                                                                                                                              Hi Lynn,

                                                                                                                                              Square does have online selling tools, as does Flint Mobile. I preferred Flint’s in tests, but both performed pretty well. The Ellipsis 7 is listed as compatible with Square, but the 8 is not listed officially. It might work, but there is no official endorsement currently.

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