Workers lost out on hundreds in tips after a payments system glitched

·2 min read
Cafe employee processes credit card payment with Square
Florida, Orlando, Little Saigon, Sticky Rice Lao Street Food, employee processing Square credit card reader, remote payment Jeffrey Greenberg/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
  • An update to Square's point of sale systems removed tipping functionality for several hours.

  • The removal happened over the weekend and reportedly cost workers hundreds of dollars in tips.

  • "Their customer service wasn't available, and it's our biggest paycheck day," said one impacted barista.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

An hours-long error in Square's point-of-sale software cost workers hundreds of dollars in tips across the US over the weekend.

The system's tipping screen, which appears after a customer has inserted a card or tapped their phone, disappeared on Saturday morning after a software update, workers in restaurants and small shops in various cities told The Washington Post, which first reported on the issue.

Saturday is one of the busiest times of the week for many restaurants, cafes, and shops. Workers in San Diego, New York, and Miami told The Post that other parts of Square's systems also became unresponsive on Saturday.

"Their customer service wasn't available, and it's our biggest paycheck day," one Houston-based barista told The Post. "The timing of it all was just awful."

Square posted updates about the glitch on its website on Saturday. The updates showed that it took the company about four hours to resolve the issue.

"For about 3 hours on Saturday, Sept. 18th, our systems experienced an issue that prevented some sellers from being able to sign into their accounts or accept tips," a Square spokesperson told Insider in an email. "We understand how important it is to never miss a sale and how critical tip collection can be for our sellers' teams."

The spokesperson said that Square apologized and is set to share more information on stopping similar issues from occurring in the future.

Andrew Sinclair, owner of Mad Lab Coffee in Hollywood, told The Post that his employee lost out on an estimated $150 to $250, and plans to pay him back, but hoped that Square would reimburse him the money.

Meanwhile, Trina Perez, owner of Buzzed Coffee Truck in Salt Lake City, told The Post that she estimated that her employee missed out on about $150 in tips because of the glitch. It is unclear if Square plans to reimburse its clients.

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