Take a Payment

Link to section


Payments in the Mobile Payments SDK are handled by the PaymentManager and must conform to the PaymentManagerDelegate protocol. The PaymentManagerDelegate is called when a payment starts and finishes successfully, fails, or is canceled. Your application should include logic to handle each of these scenarios. To learn about error messages produced by the Mobile Payments SDK and ways to resolve them, see Handling Errors. If the payment completes successfully, a Payment object is returned, describing details of the payment.

Link to section

Requirements and limitations

Before taking a payment with the SDK in a production environment, ensure that you've done the following:

Link to section

Create payment parameters

To begin a payment with the Mobile Payments SDK, you create a PaymentParameters object, which includes the payment amount, idempotency key, optional tip, application fee (if applicable), and the processing mode, which is used if you want to take payments while offline. For the complete list of payment parameter values and details, see the iOS technical reference.

Link to section

Idempotency keys

The PaymentParameters must also include an idempotency key. An idempotency key is a unique string identifier that accompanies an API operation, allowing Square to recognize potential duplicate calls. Using an idempotency key ensures that an operation can only occur once, protecting against unintended outcomes like charging a customer twice for the same transaction.

If a payment creation request doesn't receive a response due to network failure or any other error, you might be unsure whether the payment was processed. By providing a unique idempotency key in your PaymentParameters, you can recover by using that idempotency key in a call to CancelPaymentByIdempotencyKey to cancel an incomplete payment and continue with a new payment using a new idempotency key.

Link to section

Key generation and utilization

The Mobile Payments SDK requires that you create and manage idempotency keys for each payment created with your application. An idempotency key can be any unique string value. Don't reuse an idempotency key for a new payment. Doing so results in an error.

Along with an idempotency key, include a unique referenceID value in your PaymentParameters for each payment. This persists with the payment and can be used to identify the payment if you need to reference it later. You shouldn't use the referenceId as the idempotency key, because sometimes a payment requires multiple attempts (for example, when the first attempt is declined for expiration or insufficient funds or for any other reason).

If you don't receive a server response from a payment made with the Mobile Payments SDK, you should check the status of the payment to determine whether to retry. Use the ListPayments endpoint and query by location ID, total payment amount, or other fields to filter the list. You can use your unique referenceID to identify the correct payment and check its status. You might need to retry the payment with a new idempotency key if the prior payment exists, but cannot be completed.

The following is an example of payment parameters created for a payment of $1 USD. The parameters include a unique idempotencyKey, referenceID for that key, and an optional orderID that allows you to associate a payment with an itemized Square order.

Link to section

Create prompt parameters

Each payment must also have a set of PromptParameters configured. The PromptParameters contain a promptMode and a set of AdditionalPaymentMethods. PromptParameters.mode determines whether your application uses the default Square-provided payment prompt UI or a custom payment prompt where you build your own UI. The default UI provided by Square is presented on top of the viewController passed to PaymentManager.startPayment and presents buyers with the payment options available from PaymentManager.availableCardInputMethods.

PromptParameters.additionalMethods specifies a set of additional payment methods available to use for this payment. The current option is keyed (a manually entered credit card payment). When used with the default promptMode, the Square payment prompt includes these alternative payment methods as options presented to buyers. If you create your own custom promptMode, you should use the additionalPaymentMethods available from the PaymentHandle to render these options for buyers in your own payment prompt UI.

A graphic showing the Square-provided payment prompt screen for the Mobile Payments SDK. The screen shows a 24 dollar payment and prompts the buyer to swipe, tap, or insert in card reader to pay.

Link to section

Start the payment

To begin processing a payment, call PaymentManager.startPayment() with the PaymentParameters and PromptParameters you previously created. During the payment, Square takes control of the screen display to ensure that buyer information is handled securely and that the final confirmation of the payment is correctly shown to the buyer. You must conform to the PaymentManagerDelegate to handle results and errors from the payment flow.

When the payment begins, the Payment Manager provides a PaymentHandle as a way for you to interact with the ongoing payment (for example, if you need to cancel the payment). When the payment completes, regardless of whether it completed successfully, control is returned to the user interface and your application is notified of the result using PaymentManagerDelegate. Your application can display receipt or error information to the user and continue other processing.


Only one payment can be in process at a given moment. If you make a second call to startPayment before the first has completed, triggering the PaymentManagerDelegate, the second call fails immediately with a paymentAlreadyInProgress error. The first payment call continues.

Link to section

Delay the capture of payments

As part of your application's workflow, you might want to authorize a customer's transaction but delay the capture of the payment (the transfer of funds from customer to seller) for a period of time. For example, in a restaurant with a kiosk ordering system, you might want to authorize a customer's credit card when they order, but not complete the payment until they receive their food.

While creating PaymentParameters for a payment, set the autocomplete value to false if you want to delay the capture of a payment. By default, autocomplete is true, meaning the payment is authorized and captured immediately.

By default, card reader payments that don't autocomplete are canceled after 36 hours and manually entered credit card payments are canceled after 7 days. While the payment is delayed, use the Payments API to complete or cancel the payment. You can also update the payment to add a tip using the tip_money parameter.

For more information about delayed payment capture using the Payments API, see Delayed Capture of a Card Payment.

Link to section

Canceling payments

The PaymentHandle provided by the Mobile Payments SDK during a payment can be used to cancel that payment. Note that only a payment where autocomplete is set to false can be canceled during processing. You can first check the value of PaymentHandle.isPaymentCancelable. If it's set to true, the payment can be canceled by calling paymentHandle.cancelPayment(). For example, if your code dismisses the view controller passed to PaymentManager.startPayment and the payment was not successful, you must call cancelPayment.

During any payment flow, if the application is sent to the background of the device or the application activity is interrupted, the payment in progress is canceled.

Link to section


Your application must provide buyers with the option to receive a digital or printed receipt. These receipts aren't sent directly by Square. Therefore, to remain compliant with EMV-certification requirements, you must generate receipts including the following fields from the payment response cardDetails object, when available:

  • cardholderName (example: James Smith)
  • brand and last4digits (example: Visa 0094)
  • authorizationCode (example: Authorization 262921)
  • emvApplicationName (example: AMERICAN EXPRESS)
  • emvApplicationId (example: AID: A0 00 00 00 25 01 09 01)
  • entryMethod (example: Contactless)