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How Does Square’s Instant Deposit Work?

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Honestly, every time I turn around Square has introduced something new. (As I’m the person who maintains our Square review, you can see why I might find this just a tad frustrating.) On the one hand, it is absolutely amazing that Square is so committed to rolling out new features for merchants. On the other, just trying to keep up with what Square offers makes me want to tear my hair out a bit! Square’s Instant Deposit feature has been around for a while now, but the company is still making the occasional improvement to its funding options for merchants. That includes the Square Card, which allows merchants to spend their Square balance instantly without needing to transfer the funds to their bank. (Though you can still use standard, Same-Day, or Instant Deposit options if you prefer.)

This is good because being able to get your funds as soon as possible is a major consideration for merchants.

Looking for information on the Square Cash App for sending money with your phone? Check out our in-depth Square Cash App review.

So how does Square’s Instant Deposit work? What’s up with the new Square Card? How does Square’s payment schedule compare to other mobile payment services? And finally, is the trade-off for instant access to your funds worthwhile?

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How Does Square’s Deposit Schedule Work Normally?

If you opt to send your money straight to your bank account, Square does pretty well at delivering your funds quickly. Your money will typically reach your bank account within 1-2 business days, depending on when the transaction is processed:

If you swipe the transaction before 5 PM Pacific time (8 PM Eastern), your funds will be transferred over to your bank account the next business day. If you swipe a transaction after that cut-off time, you’ll have your funds in 2 business days. This standard deposit schedule doesn’t allow for deposits on weekends or holidays.  

That means that if you accept a payment at 4:30 PM Pacific Time on a Tuesday, you’ll have your funds on Wednesday morning. If you accept a payment at 6:30 PM Pacific Time on that same Tuesday, the funds from that transaction will be available on Thursday. If the transaction happened at 4:30 PM on a Friday, you’d see the funds Monday morning; for a transaction at 6:30 PM, you’ll have your money on Tuesday morning.

However, Square allows merchants to adjust their official “Close of Business” times and to group all the transactions from one day into a single deposit. This means if you set your close of business to 6 PM Pacific (9 PM Eastern), and select “Next Business Day” as your standard deposit schedule, all your transactions from that day will be deposited in two business days (rather than everything before 5 PM being deposited in 1 business day and anything after that being deposited in 2 business days).

What Is Instant Deposit?

With Instant Deposit, you can move funds from your Square account to a linked debit card in a matter of minutes rather than wait the standard 1-2 business days.

Want more information on quick credit card processing payouts? Check out our post on how to get your funds fast

That said, using Instant Deposit comes with a few requirements:

  • The sum must be at least $25.
  • The maximum amount is $10,000 (but you can set up multiple instant deposits).
  • Individual transactions exceeding $10,000 are not eligible for Instant Deposit and will be sent using the Next Business Day schedule.
  • New sellers are limited to one Instant Deposit per day for up to $500; this limit increases over time.

The biggest thing you need to know about this feature is that Square will charge you 1% of the deposit amount (so 1% of the sum after Square’s fees are taken out). That sounds like a lot in the world of payment processing, but not a crazy fee when you look at the actual cost in dollars.

Let’s say you process $575 in Square transactions in a day. After Square’s fees (assuming every transaction is swiped, not keyed in), you would have $559.47. Deduct 1% ($5.59) and you could transfer $553.88 to your bank account that evening.

If you plan to make use of this feature regularly, you don’t actually need to go in daily and request your funds. You can set up Same-Day Deposits (formerly called Scheduled Deposits) in Square that will automatically transfer the funds for you based on your Close of Business time. It’s also possible to mix deposit types, so if you prefer to have your funds from Friday right away, but can wait for next business day deposits on Sunday-Thursday, that’s entirely within the realm of possibility.

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What Is The Square Card?

In January 2019, Square announced a major addition to its funding options for merchants: the Square Card. With the Square card, merchants can spend their account balance right away anywhere that accepts MasterCard — that means in stores, online, and even ATMs.

If you choose to order a Square Card — which is not mandatory, I must add — it will automatically reconfigure any of your deposit settings (including Same-Day and Instant Deposits). When that happens, all of your funds will accrue in your Square balance by default and you will need to initiate bank transfers manually. Essentially, Square has created a mobile wallet for its merchants, but instead of being able to spend the balance online directly or send funds to each other, all payments are made with the Square card.

To reiterate: You can still send funds to your bank account with the Square Card. And you don’t even have to get a card if you don’t want to. If that’s the case, your deposits will continue according to whatever settings you’ve indicated — including the use of Instant or Scheduled Deposit.

It’s a slick little card, with a customizable signature and laser etching. Square doesn’t really believe in original names, but it always rocks the design element of a product.

To get your Square Card, just log into the latest version of your Square app and go to the Deposits tab. Once there, select “Square Card” and you can order your card. The card arrives within 7 to 10 days, and your Square balance will accumulate in that time unless you transfer the funds to your bank account manually.

Square Card Spending Limits

Square doesn’t charge any fees to apply for or use the Square Car — not even overdraft charges, which is nice. However, you will have spending limits, which are pretty reasonable given the regulations and limitations put on Square by its financial partners.

Your spending limits for the Square Card are as follows:

  • $10,000 in a single transaction
  • $25,000 in a day
  • $50,000 in a week
  • $150,000 in a month 

You also have limits on the amount of cash you can withdraw via an ATM. Those limits are as follows:

  • $250 in a single transaction
  • $1,000 in a week
  • $2,500 in a month

Also, it’s important to know that even though Square doesn’t charge you an ATM fee for a withdrawal, you will still have to pay any fees charged by the ATM provider, which could be as much as $4 per transaction.

How Does Square Compare to Other Payment Processors for Funding Times?

There’s really only one other processor that offers you access to funds almost right away: PayPal. Similar to Square, your funds go straight to your PayPal wallet so you can spend them online — or anywhere that accepts MasterCard if you have the PayPal business debit card. If you want to transfer your PayPal funds to your bank account, it’s free, but it could take up to two business days or longer if your bank happens to be very slow. (In my experience, it only takes 1 business day, but your mileage may vary.) PayPal also offers instant deposits for 1% of the transfer sum.

(However, I do want to mention that Square offered instant transfers first.)

So how long is it before you get your funds using other processors? Let’s take a look:

  • Square: Instant availability with Square Card; bank transfers 1-2 business days
  • PayPal Here: Instant availability in PayPal; bank transfers 1-2 days
  • Stripe: 2 business days
  • Shopify: 2 business days (in the US; other locations vary)
  • Fattmerchant: 2 business days (next-day deposits also available)
  • Most Merchant Accounts: 24-48 hours

Are The Square Card & Instant Deposit Worth It?

So is paying an extra 1% for Square’s instant deposit actually worthwhile? That’s entirely up to you. If you’re in a position where waiting 1 to 2 business days is perfectly okay, you certainly don’t have to use Instant Deposit. But if you find yourself in a pinch, in sudden need of an extra bit of cash, it’s certainly a nice feature to have available. Square has even put a bit of thought into the option, allowing you to schedule recurring instant deposits.

And of course, Square offers an even more convenient way for merchants to access funds right away with the Square Card. If you struggle to separate out business expenses from the rest of your finances, the Square Card could be a lifesaver. There’s just a peace of mind that comes from knowing your money is yours to spend right away, and most merchant account providers can’t even offer that kind of convenience.

Typically, the best merchant accounts include next-business-day deposits, meaning that after closing time (usually anywhere between 5-7 pm), the funds are in your bank account the morning of the next business day. Others offer 24-48 hour turnaround, which is fairly standard and comparable to Square’s standard deposit schedule. At no point should you work with any processor that regularly takes longer than 2-3 days to process payments.

What do you think about Instant Deposit and the Square Card? Do you like them? Let us know how they help your business in the comments!

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Melissa Johnson

Melissa Johnson

Melissa Johnson has been writing about payment processing and mobile payments since 2014, and has been quoted in articles for Credit Karma and The Next Web, among others. She graduated from The University of Kansas in 2010 with bachelor's degrees in English and journalism.
Melissa Johnson

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17 Comments

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the vendor or bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the vendor or bank advertiser. It is not the vendor or bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

    Sheldon G

    Do you know if Square allows apps to use their API for your own app to allow end-users (clients) to send payments directly to your sub-merchants (barbers/stylists/etc) rather than requiring you to be a middle-person and delay the receipt of their payment?

      Jessica Dinsmore

      Hi Sheldon!

      As far as we are aware, Square doesn’t currently support onboarding of users as sub-merchants or any other marketplace-like setups, and there’s nothing mentioned in the documentation. You would be best reaching out to Square directly to confirm. If you’re looking for alternatives, Braintree and Stripe might be up your alley.

        Ashley R Williams

        Hello
        My name is Ashley, I took my first payment before my debit card was linked. It says my card is li le now, but does that mean I can use it to spend my square balance?

          Jessica Dinsmore

          Hi Ashley!

          Once your bank account is linked, Square will start transferring funds to the account automatically (by default Square takes 1-2 business days to deposit funds depending on when the transaction is processed). If you order the Square Card (which is not the same as linking your bank account/debit card to Square), Square will start accumulating your Square Balance and once the card arrives you can spend it anywhere that accepts MasterCard. I hope that answers your question!

            Gerrit Lettinga

            I just bought a square reader for $49 in nanaimo bc Canada at best buy. How do I know when someone pays me on the app on my mobile phone, that the person actually has the funds in his or her bank account, just to make sure the person didn’t write me a rubber cheque. The box says all debit cards only charge $.10 if it less than $100. I don’t want to get scammed by dishonest people. If it takes 2 business days to appear in my bank account, could this person have the money in his account at the point of sale and then shortly thereafter take the money out of his account, so that I wouldn’t receive the money? I have 90 days to return this to the store. Can I get ripped off?

              Jessica Dinsmore

              Hi Gerrit,

              Square should be able to tell you right away if a transaction has been approved or declined. You may want to check out our in-depth Payment Processing Guide to learn a bit more about how processing works. I hope that helps!

                Mark Damon

                I made a sale and now it just says sending and i just changed my bank account. How long will it take to recieve my money. It has been saying sending for 2 days. Plus they stll are reviewing my my instant deposit. Why?

                  Jessica Dinsmore

                  Hi Mark,

                  Hopefully your issue has been resolved by now, but if not, I can say that the first deposit usually takes the longest. I’d definitely suggest reaching out to Square directly for any future delays. Thanks for your question and best of luck!

                    Kevin

                    but… HOW do they do it? pre-funded funds??? running a RETURN credit card/debit card transaction still pends on the merchant to cardholder business transaction. if Square is only utilizing your DEBIT card information.. (i can see if there were WIRING information .. but I never gave my account information for incoming WIRE…. how do they get special faster treatment to access an increase in my available funds in my bank so quick?

                      Jessica Dinsmore

                      Hi Kevin!

                      Square uses your debit card number and same-day ACH transfers to provide its Instant Deposit service (your debit card is linked to your bank). It’s not a wire transfer. Standard ACH transactions take anywhere between 3-5 days to pay out, normally, but the infrastructure for instant transfers does exist. It’s just not the default option yet. I hope that helps clear things up for you! Best of luck!

                        John

                        Can people “bounce” cash app payments for insufficient funds? Can people close their bank account or take out thier money before it arrives in your bank account?

                          Jessica Dinsmore

                          Hi John,

                          To be honest, this isn’t something we’ve ever encountered before, so it may be a bit outside of our expertise. I’d rather not give you an answer that I’m not too certain about, so I’d suggest reaching out to Square directly; they should be able to answer both questions quickly and easily.

                            Will

                            Hey Melissa I recently opened my account with square and set up scheduled deposit for close of day at 2pm. So say if i got 2 or 3 deposits for 2,500 at 1:55 pm will they be available to me 15 minutes after the close of day time still?

                              Melissa Johnson

                              Hi, William!

                              Unfortunately, there’s a lot of information I don’t have about your account, nor am I a Square employee. So I can’t tell you anything definitively. I can, however, say this with confidence: if you accept multiple payments at 1:55 p.m. that total $2,500, yes, you should be able to move them to your bank account 15 minutes after close of day (so 2:15 p.m.). You’re going to pay 1% of the sum transferred — so $25 on a $2500 transfer. Also, if any single payment exceeds $2,500, you can’t send it via Instant or Scheduled deposit at all, and if your total daily amount exceeds $2,500, it’ll be sent in multiple deposits.

                              I also need to caution you that any suspicious looking activity — a bunch of last-minute, high-volume transactions right before close of day, for example — could trigger a red flag with Square and lead them to freeze those funds while they investigate your account (which, in turn, could lead to an account termination and those funds being locked up for up to 180 days). Square also puts limits on new sellers using Instant Deposit. It doesn’t mention the same limitation on new sellers using Scheduled Deposit, but since it’s the same technology powering both deposit options, it’s worth taking note of.

                              If you have questions about deposits and when funds are available, you should go directly to Square. They’re best equipped to help you, since they’ll have you account information!

                              Hope that helps!

                                Jim Shanahan

                                Good article Melissa! Do you happen to know how the Square Cash service works behind the scenes?
                                For example, does Square receive the senders payment on the ether debit card through the MasterCard/Visa network as if they are a retailer? If so, do they need to pay an interchange fee of about 2% to the senders bank since it is a card not-present transaction?
                                And on the receiving end, is it process via ACH or perhaps a credit to the receivers debit card account even tight its not refund.
                                Thanks!
                                Jim Shanahan

                                  CAROLYN LEAR

                                  What if I closed my account and open up a new account with a different account number and debit card how do I register my new account

                                    Melissa Johnson

                                    Hi, Carolyn!

                                    Information can be found here for changing your bank account in Square.

                                    https://squareup.com/help/us/en/article/3896-link-and-edit-your-bank-account#editing-your-bank-account-information

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