top of page

Insights and Advice from the Recent Square Outage

a man paying for something with his phone and a woman in an apron taking the payment. Illustrative elements are added

Recently, there was a surge of reports and online chatter pointing to a major issue - Square and its subsidiary, Cash App, were experiencing a significant outage. This glitch in the system left many users stranded, unable to access their accounts or finalize transactions, spotlighting a vulnerable moment for the popular payment service platforms.

The outages underscored the pivotal role of stable and reliable payment systems for small business operations. Amidst this chaos, a change has occurred in the higher echelons of Square's management, which is expected to reverberate in various ways for the small business owner community.

As we venture deeper into the insights of this recent event, it becomes increasingly apparent why having your own payment system on your business website can be a lifeline in turbulent times. Taking payments on the go is practical, yet this incident serves as a stark reminder of the uncertainties that come with dependency on third-party platforms. Crafting a secure payment gateway within your website not just offers you autonomy but builds a fortress of trust with your clientele, promising them uninterrupted service despite the hurdles third-party services might face.

Let’s analyze the recent happenings and contemplate strategies that anchor stability in the dynamic world of digital transactions.

What Happened?

On September 7, 2023, small business owners found themselves grappling with a sudden outage of Square and Cash App services, a pivotal tool in their operations.

Business owners were not shy in voicing their concerns online, especially on platforms like Twitter (X), where they shared the adverse impacts of the Square and Cash App outage in real-time. The overwhelming sentiment was one of frustration and apprehension about potential financial losses. Many emphasized the risk and inconvenience of processing unverified card transactions, and how turning away customers due to payment processing issues could lead to substantial losses.

A retweet from NattyCat saying "Square is down NATION WIDE right now and not one single news outlet is covering it?? Small business really mean nothing to mainstream media I stg *crying emoji*" Underneath is a quoate from Square saying they are working on the issue

Some sought updates anxiously, underscoring their reliance on Square for their business needs, using the trending hashtag #SquareDown to find and share the latest updates. There was a significant concern over how Square planned to compensate the small businesses that lost money due to the outage.

Notably, there were voices that used this event to question the centralized nature of such services, suggesting a decentralized approach might be a way to avoid a single point of failure.

As the outage extended throughout the day, concerns grew, with business owners unable to view online orders, essentially flying blind and having to find alternative ways to keep their operations running, including reverting to cash transactions or directing customers to call their stores for orders.

The Response from Square and Cash App

During the incident, Cash App quickly acknowledged the issues that disrupted essential services like adding cash and making purchases with the Cash Card. These interruptions extended to a more severe extent where users were unable to access their accounts and process payments for a large part of the day.

The slow response from Square didn't help in calming the nerves; in fact, it drew criticism and stirred anger among small business owners who felt left in the lurch during critical business hours. The anxiety among the user community intensified as many small business owners heavily rely on these platforms as their primary or sole means of payment processing.

However, by the morning of September 8, the platforms started sharing promising news, conveying that they were gradually regaining functionality. The communication was cautious, urging users not to reattempt transactions to dodge potential complications and hitches.

Square tried to mend fences with a heartfelt apology, acknowledging the trust businesses place in them and expressing regret for adding challenges to the already complex landscape of running small businesses. Despite this, the resentment lingered as many felt that the apology couldn't fully compensate for the tangible losses and the hit to their daily operations. The following segment will explore the broader implications of this incident and what it means for business owners going forward.

Impact on Small Business Owners

The outage not only disrupted services but shed light on the fragility of over-reliance on a single service provider, especially for critical business operations. Small business owners found themselves grappling with an unexpected hurdle, pondering over the significant role that these services play in their daily transactions. Many voiced their dismay over the breakdown in communication and the sudden disruption in service, pointing out the pivotal role that these platforms hold in the smooth running of daily operations.

A tweet saying "My square is down! Had to close early who has cash! Get it together Square!"

Our engagement with the community through an Instagram poll revealed a substantial impact, with 78% of our followers affirming that they were affected by the outage. This high percentage underscores the widespread reliance on these platforms and the pressing need for having contingency plans in place.

When faced with adversity, small business owners showcased resilience and quick thinking. Many resorted to alternative solutions to keep their businesses running, adapting to the situation by accepting payments through other mediums like Venmo, Zelle, and good old-fashioned cash payments.

This incident paints a vivid picture of the potential vulnerabilities in the current payment landscape and brings to the fore the necessity for robust and diverse payment solutions. To this end, we at Zoek Marketing champion the integration of diverse payment systems in your business strategy, a feature pivotal in our ecommerce packages.

Diversifying payment methods can indeed be a safeguard against unforeseen disruptions, helping to ensure business continuity in trying times. In our next section, we will explore more into the lessons that can be derived from this incident and the steps that business owners can take to fortify their operations against similar issues in the future.

The Freedom of Having Your Own Payment System

Having your own payment system isn't just about convenience, it's about securing your business against unexpected setbacks like the recent "Square is down" incident. When you run your own system, you break free from the constraints of third-party services, ensuring that your business can keep moving no matter what. It puts you in control, allowing a steady flow of transactions even when other popular platforms hit a snag. This autonomy not only gives you peace of mind but builds a stronger bond with your customers by offering them reliable and consistent service.

That's where Zoek Marketing steps in, offering packages that put the power back in your hands. We've got the tools to either kick start a new payment system on your website or integrate with your existing merchant account, giving you a secure and personalized setup. Picture this - automatic local tax calculations, diverse shipping options, and hassle-free invoice setups, all working together to create a smooth payment process for both you and your clients.

And the perks don't end there. We've teamed up with Affirm/Klarna to bring you features like "Buy Now/Pay Later," a feature that not only makes life easier for your clients but can enhance their overall experience. Plus, we're here to guide you every step of the way with a 30-minute session with an e-commerce expert, who will help you navigate all the awesome features available to you.

Investing in your own payment system doesn't just safeguard your earnings; it helps to bolster your business reputation by offering an uninterrupted, professional service. Let's take the learnings from the recent outage and use it as a springboard to more secure, reliable business operations. It's more than a solution; it's a strategy for sustained success.

Leadership Change at Square

During the turbulent times following the outage, Square also navigated a change in its leadership ranks. The capable Alyssa Henry, who has been steering the ship at Square, made the decision to step down from her role. It's a significant shift, given her impactful tenure in the company, where she wore many hats, overseeing important departments and influencing the strategic direction of Square.

A pick of Jack Dorsey with illustrative elements

Stepping into her shoes is none other than Jack Dorsey, a name synonymous with innovation and forward-thinking in the tech world. Dorsey isn’t a new face in the Square ecosystem; in fact, he's one of the founders. His return to a more hands-on role signals a sort of homecoming and instills a renewed sense of leadership rooted in deep understanding and a foundational vision for the company.

This move could mean a variety of things for Square and its vast user base. With his vast experience and innovative approach, Dorsey might steer Square towards fresh horizons, potentially bringing in new features and focusing on heightened user security, especially considering the recent outage. His return could signify a reinforcement of trust and a promise of more robust, user-centric solutions in the days to come

While changes might not be immediate, with Dorsey at the helm, Square is expected to weather this storm and come out stronger, with strategies focused on empowering small business owners, and ensuring smoother sailings ahead. It’s a beacon of hope, a sign of steady and experienced hands taking the wheel to guide Square into its next chapter. Let's keep a close eye on the developments as they unfold, with a hopeful eye on a future brimming with potential.

Key Takeaways

The recent events surrounding Square and Cash App have brought to light the crucial role of reliable payment systems in ensuring smooth business operations. Small business owners found themselves in a tight spot, unable to process transactions and facing potential losses. The situation underlined the importance of having a backup, showcasing the vulnerabilities that come with relying solely on third-party platforms.

Beyond the outage, the leadership change with Jack Dorsey stepping up as the guiding force at Square signals potential growth and stronger security measures aimed at preventing such disruptions in the future.

As a business owner, these events can serve as a learning curve, highlighting the need for a dependable personal payment system to sidestep such roadblocks. By having your own system, not only do you foster trust with your customers, but you ensure that your business remains uninterrupted, come what may.


bottom of page