Roughly 64 million small businesses rely on Square to process credit card transactions, generate sales reports, evaluate profit percentages and manage their inventory. When the system goes down, so does the business itself.
During the outage, which occurred midday on September 7, businesses that rely on Square were stuck unless customers paid in cash. Since so few customers pay with cash these days, there was very little business taking place that day at Square-run businesses.
"We are currently experiencing issues with multiple Square services," the company tweeted later in the evening on Thursday after forcing confused businesses to wait all afternoon for a response.
"We understand how important it is for your business that our services be up and running, and we are actively working toward a fix."
(Related: The eventual plan is for global finance to create a "super app" that combines digital identification and financial data into one ultimate control tool, claims a leading UK banker.)
At no point did Square offer any explanation as to why its systems went down for all that time, nor did the company provide any indication as to when its engineers might have things back up and running as normal.
When asked by the independent media for a statement, Square provided nothing but a link to a website that offered practically no information whatsoever about the interruption other than to say that the company was working on a fix.
Pretty much all day and well into the late evening on September 7, small business owners were still locked out of their Square sign-in portals and business accounts.
"We are actively observing the recovery of all Square systems and will continue to post live updates here," the company tweeted in an update in the morning hours on the following Friday. "Thanks again for your patience."
Strangely, numerous other transaction companies suffered similar outages that very same day, including Apple Pay, Venmo, PayPal, Visa, Zelle and Cash App. All of these platforms saw customers lodging complaints about not being able to access their accounts.
"We're aware of an issue that's affecting multiple features of the app and are actively investigating," Cash App Support tweeted that day about its outage.
While Square and the others promised restoration of service as soon as possible, many small businesses and other transaction customers were unable to do any digital or card-based transactions going into the busy weekend.
"The increasingly cashless economy in the U.S. means some small businesses may be forced to shut their doors until the issue is resolved because their customers won't be able to pay digitally," reported Jordan Boyd for The Federalist.
Many agree - when the world ran on paper rather than computers, there was no such thing as an outage. And even when it was just the occasional internet outage in the early days of the web, there was still that blueprint machine for credit card and debit card transactions, and of course good old-fashioned cash (and checks).
Nowadays, though, many businesses are posting signs saying "no cash" while relying entirely on transaction systems and services like Square that when they go down leave a business helpless and bleeding revenue until the problem gets resolved – which depending on the issue and how long it takes, could make or break a business.
All it would take to shut down the world is for the internet to go down indefinitely. Learn more at Collapse.news.
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