Why are fees higher for manually-entered transactions?

One of the most important things to know when getting started with your credit card processor is what you’ll be charged. I don’t blame you, you deserve to get the best deal in town! When you take your first payment without using a reader or the Square Stand, this higher fee of 3.5% + 15 cents may cause some confusion. The last thing we want is for you to be confused – which is why we’re explaining Square’s fee structure, and getting into the nitty-gritty details to clarify why the fee is higher for manually-entered transactions. Let’s get started.


What are Square’s fees?
For manually keyed-in transactions, fees are 3.5% + 15 cents. Some sellers who have spoken to our Sales team have custom pricing, but our standard pricing applies to most sellers.



Why the higher fee for manually-entered transactions? 

The short answer: manually-entered, keyed-in transactions are at higher risk than swiped transactions. Therefore, credit card providers charge Square more in order to protect against fraud.


If you swipe or dip a credit card, the cardholder is assumed to be standing in front of you, and you can easily verify their identity by asking to see their ID and checking their signature. With manually-entered transactions, you could be entering the card information over the phone or Internet, making it harder to verify that you’re accepting payment from the owner of the card. This riskier situation makes credit card networks nervous, so they put measures in place to protect against such transactions, including higher fees.


Let’s cover what goes into that 3.5% + 15 cent fee:

  1. Fees from credit card networks - These fees are set by credit card networks and vary by card brand. The four main card networks are Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and AmEx. These networks charge Square a set amount to process payments through their channels. For more information about network fees, you can take a look at Square’s payment terms available here: Square Payment Terms.
  2. Processor fees - This is the fee Square charges for the services we provide you, including connecting you to the credit card networks. We do our best to keep this low so that we can pass along savings to you. For a comprehensive look at how this plays out with Square's fees, have a look here: Understanding Our Fees | Square PaymentsOr this informative video below the graph!

    Data in figure based on illustrative exampleData in figure based on illustrative example


From your Square Dashboard you can always check your recent deposits and get a clear outline of the fees included for the transactions associated with your deposit.


I know this is a complicated topic, but hopefully this helps you better understand why Square charges more for manually-entered payments. Let me know if you have questions or if I can help clarify any other part of our pricing structure.

[This post was edited by a moderator on August 26, 2020 to include an infographic and offer more visibility into Square's pricing.]

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1 Best Answer

Best Answer

Thanks for sharing, @Kpay. It's really cool to hear more about the nuts and bolts/ behind the scenes! 

View Best Answer >

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Best Answer

Thanks for sharing, @Kpay. It's really cool to hear more about the nuts and bolts/ behind the scenes! 

Message 2 of 46

What about stored card charges? Are they considered manual? I tried using the square card reader yesterday and for some reason it wasn't registering. But the client had the card stored in square. So we did it that way. Now I'm seeing that the estimated fee is going to be the 3.5% + .15 cents. 

Message 3 of 46

@Rgalla1212, thanks for the question! You're right that the fee for Card on File is 3.5% +15 cents. You can read more about Card on File in our Support Center. Also, if your Square Reader isn't working, we'll want to make sure to get it fixed for you. Here are some troubleshooting steps, but you can also order a new one for free from your dashboard

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Customer tried swiping multiple times on plug in reader so had to manually enter, they should have to enter pin and avoid this concern. Reader is brand new so not a god excuse.

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Hey there @Deli - thanks for making your first post to the 👥 community.

I'm sorry to hear that you had trouble with the Magstripe reader. Make sure to check out the troubleshooting guide for your reader and try a $1 test payment to make sure everything is running fine. 


If you need more help, let us know. 😎

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This wouldn't be so galling if you made a Square reader that actually worked. 

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Hi @DLT52 - you should be able to use a card reader for every payment in which your customer's card is present.


It is important to make sure your device and Point of Sale app are up to date. You should also review the troubleshooting steps to make sure you are ready to take payments. 


Please let me know, I am happy to help make sure your business is ready to take payments every day. 

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Sometimes the swipe does not work, and you enter the number manually.  Works out to 19% on a dollar transaction!  It stinks.

Message 9 of 46

Hi @gmura - you're totally right, the fee taken from a $1.00 transaction does end up being comparatively steep. I can definitely see where you are coming from. Each seller needs to make the best decision for their business, it may not be the best for you to manually enter low dollar transactions. 

The swipe for the Magstripe reader should work every time unless your customer's payment card is work out or your Point of Sale app is not up to date. Please make sure to work through the troubleshooting steps for the Magstripe reader - doing this should get you more familiar with using the card reader so you have more successful swipes. 😎

Message 10 of 46

I was not able to swipe, app told me to key in info., how can I fix this?

Message 11 of 46

I am having the same problem and have posed the question for two days now. I would like to know the answer as well.

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What about invoice transactions?  What is the fee?

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Hi @rlenchanko - You can find the fee for invoices on its main page


It says accept invoice payments are 2.9% + 30¢ per invoice paid online.

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I do not want to pay to manually enter a credit card, but my reader will not read a swipe and it is brand new. Please help! I would like to keep a bit more of my money in my pocket and not spend it on manually entering card information.

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@jennrawlings did you see @VanKalkerFarms' note and the picture below? "most of the time the issue is that the reader isn't plugged all the way in like a case is stopping it. It may seem like it is in all the way but needs just a tiny bit more."


Can you confirm that the reader is plugged in all the way? Also, if you'd like to walk through troubleshooting one-on-one, please feel free to call our support team

Message 16 of 46

Thank you for your response. Yes, I removed the Otter box from my phone, pushed the reader until I heard a click and then pushed a bit more, just to be sure. It still will not read a swipe. Suggestions?

Message 17 of 46

What is the limit for the 3.5% fee?  19% is outlandish.  If I charge $50.00 will it be 3.5%?  $25.00?  I need to know.

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Super Seller

the only limit to charges is $50,000.  manually swiped charges will always be 3.5% + 15¢, the lower the amount charged the more that 15¢ will add up to as a percentage of the sale.

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Question about manually entered transactions....I had to manually enter because the electrical charge on the square was dying and I couldnt recharge without disconnecting from my phone because the location of the charging cord is not accesible when plugged in to the phone and the show that I was working at was not over and  had incoming sales...any suggestions for the future on how to avoid this  issue.  Charger was fully charged at the beginning of the day and seems to hold charge for 4-5 hours. Thanks!  Margot G

Message 20 of 46

I knew of the higher price for manually keyed in sales, but my reader will ONLY allow this method. I tried endlessly to get it to take a swipe sale and it will not. What should I do? I would like to keep more money in my pocket if possible.



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