Build Basics: Square Data Model

Customers and Cards on File

To manage customers and save payment information for recurring payments, you must understand how the Square API models customer information.

Customers API

This section walks you through the Square API concepts of manual and instant customer profiles, and saving a card on file.

Customer profiles come in two flavors: manual and instant.

  • Manual customer profiles are created using Square APIs, the Square Dashboard, or official Square Point of Sale applications. Manual customer profiles store customer information and can be tied to transactions processed through Square.

  • Instant customer profiles are unique profiles that are created automatically when a transaction is processed through Square without linking it to a manual profile. Instant profiles can be merged with a manual profile through official Square applications or the Square Dashboard when merchants are confident the instant and manual profiles refer to the same customer.

One of the benefits of creating manual customer profiles is the ability to store credit card information at the time of purchase as a card on file. Cards on file are encrypted tokens that represent credit card information in Square systems.

Customer profiles and card on file tokens let customers make future or recurring payments without having to re-enter their payment information.

Did you know?

Customer profiles and cards on file can simplify customer management by making it easier to retrieve transaction histories and pay for ongoing services.

To save Customer information and work with cards on file, use the Customers API.