It’s finally over. It was a hard decision to walk away from my relationship with square. I don’t know if you’ve ever witnessed a dysfunctional relationship, but I have. It goes like this. Things aren’t working out in the relationship maybe it’s due to abuse, infidelity, or something like that. The one promising things will get better keeps promising, but nothing ever changes. The hard part is, that the longer you’re together, the more complicated things are. The more complicated things are the harder it is to leave an abusive or toxic relationship.

This has been my relationship with over the last two weeks. It all started when I was gearing up to leave for a sabbatical for a month with my family. If you didn’t know I am an inner-city church planter and a side hustle pastor. If you’re not familiar with that term it’s one that I coined to help capture what it means to be a pastor in the hood, take care of my family, and help to resource our little inner-city church.

A few days from leaving for a sabbatical I received an email from stating that they had held on to 30% of my income from my side hustle – I was thrown for a loop. How could all this be happening days from leaving for a sabbatical. After doing some research here’s what I found out on Squares FAQ page:

Why is Square holding a percentage of my funds in a “reserve”?

Reserves are a common industry practice designed to prevent a negative balance on your account. At Square, we currently apply what’s known as a “rolling reserve,” in which a percentage of your processing income is set aside in a reserve balance, and then released on a rolling basis. Your reserved funds are only used if there aren’t enough funds in your linked bank account and available Square balance to cover any disputes, refunds, or outstanding fees.

How does Square decide to apply a reserve?

Many factors are considered before we go forward with placing a rolling reserve on your account, such as:

  • New to Square. If you have a lack of processing history with us, we may place a reserve on your account until we know more about how you process payments.
  • High-risk goods or services. In review of our broad merchant base, we’ve found some businesses sell products or services that are more prone to receiving payment disputes. We may place a reserve on these businesses until we’ve established that they can maintain a low rate of payment disputes.
  • High rate of payment disputes. If a significant amount of your customers are disputing their purchases and/or if you have insufficient funds to support those disputes, we may place a reserve until your rate of disputed payments goes down.
  • Sporadic processing activity. Sudden changes in transaction sizes or how many payments you’re taking within a given period creates uncertainty around future cash flow, thus resulting in a reserve being placed on your account until a more consistent pattern is re-established.

I had no clue this was even a thing. What I can conclude is that COVID-19 is impacting everyone so much that a policy like this that I never knew of is now being enforced and they’re now holding on to my money for 180 days, and I cannot do anything about it. I’ve tried to have conversations, I’ve tried to send emails, I’ve talked on the phone – and nothing.

Here’s why I’ve left the relationship – they don’t care. I’ve learned a valuable lesson through this experience. When people feel like you don’t care, they won’t care to stay connected. This has implication for us as pastors. As we are leading the flock in these perilous times one thing has to be consistent – our people need to know that we care. If people know that we care then we can count on them to help us pursue the great commission.

I’ve since moved on and found another merchant that is more reasonable, gets back to me within a decent span of time. I’m sure I’m so love struck that I don’t see all their flaws – but, that’s the beauty of love lol. At any rate, I’m satisfied with who I have and have no intentions of ever returning to if you’re considering entering into a relationship with them – RUN. Here’s what I’ve learned the bigger you are, the more famous you become, the easier it is to forget about the days when no one knew you, and you were just struggling like everyone else to make ends meet.

Pastor, don’t forget where you started, and what this is all about. It’s about King Jesus and his heart to see this orphaned planet experience true hope. May we do what we can to care for people that God has entrusted us to serve.