San Francisco-Based Square’s Temporary Outage Was Handled With Precision By CEO Jack Dorsey On Thursday, All Systems Are Back Up


San Francisco based payment processing company Square experienced a widespread service outage Thursday morning that impacted users’ ability to take electronic payments for a few hours.

While the problem was swiftly resolved, it underscored how much merchants rely on the 8-year-old company, and how it can inconvenience small businesses whose daily transactions may be few and far between.


“Even if (small businesses) are just losing a couple of transactions, that could be a huge deal,” said James Wester, a payments analyst with the research firm IDC. “Payments really do need to be 24/7 and be completely dependable.”


Square, which went public two years ago, allows businesses to accept credit card payments through a payment terminal or an attachment on smartphones. The service is commonly used by small businesses, or at places like food trucks and farmers’ markets that aren’t normally equipped to process credit card transactions.


The company, which was co-founded by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey experienced multiple outages of various Square services Thursday morning. It recommended that its clients switch to “offline mode” while the problem was being fixed, though many users were unable to access the feature if they were not already logged on to the app.


Jess McCarter,  co-owner of Easy Creole, a Berkeley restaurant, told SFGate  her stores all of his business’ financial information on the Square website, which was also down Thursday morning.

He was working with his accountant to pull information from the website to prepare his yearly taxes when the site went down.


“Having all of your financial data in one place is great, but the downside is that once it goes down, you’re stuck until it’s working again,” McCarter said.


McCarter said his restaurant was able to process payments using Square by early afternoon.


Square said the outage was caused by a change it made to one of its back-end systems, which resulted in “capacity issues.”


“We take outages extremely seriously. Our sellers depend on Square to run their businesses, and we sincerely apologize for the disruption to both our sellers and their customers,” a spokeswoman said in a statement.


However, Jack Dorsey and his company quickly handled the outage, which actually impatient media outlets looking for a story on a slow Thursday/news day decided to hype the issue far beyond what happened.


Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy:  AP; Square
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