Clover and Square POS both offer convenient ways for you to accept payments from customers of your products or services, whether you need to process payments online or in person. We’ll compare them here to show each platform’s strengths and weaknesses so that you can make an informed decision for your business.
Clover is a point-of-sale (POS) system that offers a wide array of POS equipment, from mobile card readers to full terminals and registers. Its low payment processing rates make it an accessible option for small businesses. Plus, with a huge selection of integrations and apps, Clover can boost its functionality and to serve your business better.
By now, everyone has heard of Square. It’s renowned as one of the easiest, most affordable options for many businesses to process payments both online and in person. It deposits payments quickly and lets you customize the checkout process for customers without sacrificing its ease of use.
Clover and Square POS Compared to the Best POS Systems
We’ve examined a lot of different point-of-sale systems in our content here on Crazy Egg. While Clover and Square are two quality options, we’ve identified three others that work well for a wide range of businesses.
Clover Compared to Square POS
First, let’s get into what each platform does well when it comes to its POS features. Both Square and Clover have a lot to offer to keep your business running smoothly and allow you to serve customers efficiently.
Clover has a flexible platform that includes features specific to your business, ensuring that you have everything you need from the start. Clover’s modern setup offers retailers, restaurants, and personal service providers a versatile suite of solutions for collecting payments.
Clover’s pricing and offerings vary based on the solution you choose. For example, the cost of the personal services option’s starter plan costs about a third of the full-service restaurant option’s comparable package because the latter comes with a bevy of dining and hospitality features. Depending on the package you choose, you’ll benefit from features like flat-rate processing fees, inventory management, order tracking, and loyalty programs.
Clover offers its own hardware options, tailored to the Clover system, plus optional accessories such as weight scales, handheld barcode scanners, and cash drawers. You can get a simple card reader that syncs with your phone, a full-fledged POS register and terminal, or anything in between.
Square POS Highlights
Square POS has become one of the biggest names in payment processing with its easy-to-use system and affordable prices. It accepts a wide array of payment options, from traditional debit and credit cards to digital wallets and platforms like PayPal and Venmo.
Square POS solutions work for businesses of all sizes, so you can continue using it at all stages of growth. Get registers, stands, terminals, and accessories to create the best POS tech stack for your business.
And this platform is made for visibility, too. Square puts all your operations in one place, so you can manage your inventory, see insights and reports, and keep track of multiple locations from one space. Whatever Square POS doesn’t have built into its platform from the get-go, you can enhance it through Square’s many add-ons so it accomplishes exactly what you want it to.
Clover vs. Square POS: Pros and Cons
We researched the core features and functions every POS system should have to show you the best of what Clover and Square POS have to offer. Before you commit to one over the other, make sure to assess how each one’s strengths and weaknesses align with your company’s needs.
Where Clover Shines
Tailored industry solutions: Clover offers several industry-specific solutions based on the type of work you do. Their packages are conveniently split into industries, with platform features and hardware tailor-made for retailers, quick service and full service dining, and professional, personal, and home services. With this attention to detail, there’s no need to build your own combination of assets nor any mystery—Clover ensures that your new POS system works uniquely for your business.
Competitive rates: Clover’s flat fee for payment processing makes it easy to calculate what you’ll pay, regardless of your customers’ preferred methods of payment. Clover charges 2.3% plus 10 cents per transaction on many of its plans, though some charge a 2.6% fee instead. That 2.3% rate is one of the lowest among leaders in the POS category. Online payments take 3.5% plus 10 cents from each transaction.
More equipment options: By now, you’re likely familiar with the mobile card readers that can sync with your phone or tablet to take payments. But many POS providers only offer that or a bulky desktop register setup. Clover goes a step further, with two intermediary hardware options: the Flex mobile reader with built-in receipt printer and sales tracking, and the Mini device which offers a compact touchscreen that is lighter and more portable than Clover’s full Station terminals.
Variety of integrations: Even with its many built-in features, Clover sports over 300 integrations and apps to give it even greater capability. Sync your Clover platform and hardware with ecommerce platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce, marketing tools like TAPlocal, and online ordering platforms like Menufy, and many more. The only downside is that Clover’s app market is a bit annoying to navigate.
Where Clover Needs Improvement
No third-party hardware: While some POS systems let you use existing hardware or purchase terminals and other devices elsewhere, Clover doesn’t. It only works with the hardware it sells with its system, which can significantly drive up the price when you need a register, card reader, cash drawer, or accessories. It can also make the system less flexible if you need to make changes to your payment processing practices.
No reprogramming: On a similar note, once you buy Clover equipment, you’re stuck with using it just the way it is out of the box. There’s no option to change your programming. While that’s not too big of a deal for most companies—especially considering you can customize the POS software to make the hardware work the way you need it to—it naturally lacks full flexibility. Also, if you change providers, you’ll likely have to replace your hardware and buy a whole new system.
Complicated pricing: Clover’s pricing can be difficult to understand, since it varies so greatly with each industry and the hardware you get. Some industry packages have two platform options, with one being cheaper and the other being full-featured, while others have three options. It can be hard to immediately grasp the differences, especially if your business doesn’t fall neatly into one of Clover’s categories and you need to compare, say, the personal service packages to retail packages.
Where Square POS Shines
Easy to use: Square has become one of the most widely used POS systems in part because of how simple it is to set up and get started using. Its dashboard lets you see everything from one place and manage your transactions efficiently. The system doesn’t require any coding, you can sell from anywhere, and it has such a gentle learning curve that you don’t need any training to start using your new system. Plus, its free card reader attaches to your phone via the charging port or headphone jack, so you can set it up instantly.
Tracking and reporting: Time tracking is often an overlooked aspect of a point-of-sale platform. Square POS does not ignore this helpful feature set; you can track your team’s hours, sales, inventory, and more. This helps you set smarter schedules and generate more granular reports.
Customization: Square’s add-ons and integrations let you sync your POS with other major tools, like QuickBooks for your accounting and ShipStation for fulfillment. The system also lets you customize your checkout with item modifiers and a customizable item grid, so you can keep every product in its place and ring up customers more efficiently. You can even change the look of your receipts, which can be useful when you’ve got multiple locations to manage within the platform.
Fast deposits: When you run a business, having quick deposit times can make it easier to keep track of your transactions and income. Square POS sends deposits to your account within two business days so that you have the most accurate financial information possible and have the funds you need available.
Low in-person fees: Square POS delivers some of the lowest transaction fees on in-person payments, taking just 2.6% plus 10 cents (many other providers are around 3% or higher). Online transactions are also competitive, with a 2.9% plus 30 cent fee.
Low pricing: When it comes to pricing, Square POS is the most affordable POS system you’ll find. Plans include a free-forever option, a full-featured option starting at $29 per month, and a custom-priced premium package. In terms of hardware, you can get its card reader for your mobile device for free or its wireless reader for just $49. Even its most expensive hardware component, the full register, comes in at $799. Even with all of Square’s components combined, it’s still cheaper than some of Clover’s least expensive packages, depending on the industry.
Where Square POS Needs Improvement
Poor customer support: Square does have customer support available through several channels, including email, phone, chat, and social media. However, some users have found that it’s still difficult to get in touch with someone who can help, even with support open for all customers from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Plus and Premium plan users have 24/7 access, though not all customers have found knowledgeable help through Square’s support channels.
Expensive add-ons: Square may have a free plan, but its add-ons can make it pricey in a hurry. If you plan to implement any extras at all, such as customer loyalty programs, marketing campaign features, or payroll tools, you may need to pay $20 per month or more for each add-on. While the extensive add-on library features plenty of free options, you should be prepared to pay to connect Square to your wider ecosystem of tech.
Connectivity issues: Square has become famous for its ability to enable any vendor or seller to accept payments anywhere. But the wide array of mobile devices its readers need to work with and the variability of cellular connections can make it unreliable for some people using it without a solid WiFi connection. Some users have complained about long lag times after trying to process a payment and even some transactions that seemed to go through being completely missing upon later review.
The Last Word on Clover Compared to Square POS
When it comes to choosing the ideal point-of-sale system for your business, both Clover and Square POS are quality options to consider. Both work well for a variety of industries and have competitive transaction processing rates.
Clover tailors its packages more precisely based on industry, so you’ll find features intended specifically for eateries, drinkeries, and service-based businesses among its packages. However, it’s not very adaptable after you’ve chosen an industry-specific package. Square POS ranks among the best systems available with a free option. You can get it up and running quickly, just be advised that connectivity and their customer support can both be unreliable at times.
Square POS and Clover are only two options among many that you can use to process payments for your stores. To learn more about all of the options available, check out our post on the best POS solutions. You may find one that supports your business even better.