Payment Gateways, Comparisons

Clover vs Square – 9 Things You Need to Know in 2020

Rosie Greaves | Updated:

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I think we can all agree; finding a new POS system is hard graft.

The stats speak for themselves; 23% of entrepreneurs aren’t satisfied with their POS system- that’s almost as much as a quarter of business owners!

clover vs square

There are so many options out there, but the two that come up time and again are; Clover and Square. After all, they’re both industry leaders and boast an excellent reputation.

This begs the tricky question; which is better?

Luckily for you, we’re going to cover exactly that here in this review. Continue reading to find out more!

Square vs Clover- Managing Your Business on the Go

Whether you opt for Square or Clover, you can manage your business on the go. This is because they’re both cloud-based systems, so you’re not confined to a specific location. This is amazing for entrepreneurs who need to operate on different sites or for those who travel a lot.

Square: 8 out of 10

You can use Square’s Mobile Card Reader virtually anywhere!

Plug this into the headphone jack of a smartphone, and you’re good to go. You can use this same mobile card reader alongside Square’s Stand POS (more on that later).

As you might expect, this mobile card reader is somewhat basic. So, it doesn’t offer much beyond taking card payments.

square mobile card reader

Clover: 9 out of 10

Whereas, Clover Mobile is far more sophisticated. Not only does it complement Clover Station (again, more on this later), but it’s also a fully-functioning POS system- which makes it ideal for restaurant owners.

What does it do?

Well it can:

  • Take customized orders,
  • Send receipts to the kitchen,
  • Accept card payments,

All from the convenience of one device- how awesome is that?!

manage business with clover mobile

Square vs Clover- Compatibility

The compatibility of hardware and software are enormous factors when it comes to choosing a POS system. So, this might seal the deal for you.

Square’s Credit Card Processors: 6 out of 10

If you’re using Square’s hardware, you can only use Square’s credit card processor. For some people, this is a nightmare.

On the whole, you’ll pay an average of 2.75% of the cost of each transaction (in credit card fees).

Clover’s Credit Card Processors: 10 out of 10


Whereas, Clover’s a standalone POS system.

As such, you’re free to shop around to find the best credit card processor for you. There’s a good chance you’ll see a better deal than the 2.75%, we just referred to- which could potentially save you tons of money in the long run.

Square vs Clover- Functionality

Clover and Square both offer the below functions:

  • The ability to take payments from either credit or debit cards,
  • Provide customer receipts,
  • Give the consumer the option of adding a tip,

Outside these core features, the functionality of these services depend on:

  • The equipment you opt for,
  • The payment plan you choose,
  • The apps you download,

Unsurprisingly, if all you want is a mobile reader- you’ll have fewer features to work with. Whereas, if you need a full POS System, you’ll enjoy a significant number of benefits.  Make sense? 

This applies to both Clover and Square!

Clover: 9 out of 10

When you become a Clover user, you can access their App market. Here you’ll find hundreds of third-party apps. These enable you to customize their platform to suit the exact needs of your business.

Some of their more popular apps include:

  • Their QuickBooks integration,
  • Payroll services,
  • Gift card programs,

Top Tip: If you’re not selling gift cards, you should be. Statistics show half of customers given a gift card spend more than the card ’s worth. This means more profit for you!

clover functionality

Square: 6 out of 10

Like Clover, Square offers a selection of apps to boost the overall functionality of their software. Yet, their choice isn’t as extensive in comparison.

You should note: as with most programs, third-party apps sometimes involve extra fees. So, don’t forget this while calculating your budget!

Square vs Clover- Cash Advances

Clover: 10 out of 10

Square: 10 out of 10

In short, Square Capital gives users the option of taking a cash advance. Clover also offers a similar service, called ‘Clover Capital.’

How does this work?

Well, a cash advance is a bit like a business loan. Yet, there isn’t a fixed monthly repayment, and there isn’t a set interest rate. Instead, you’ll repay what you’ve borrowed as well as an additional fee.

Your repayments are paid automatically by taking a small part of your credit card sales. Therefore, the more you sell, the more you’ll pay off your cash advance- get it?

Although a cash advance is easier to get and maintain than a business loan, they usually cost more. So, it’s a good idea to study the pros and cons of using a service like this before signing the dotted line!

square vs clover cash advances

Square vs Clover- Customer Service

If customer service is essential to you, Square might disappoint.

Why?

Square: 5 out of 10

You can’t access a telephone number for customer service until you’re a paid customer. Not to mention, lots of users have complained about their accounts being frozen or closed.

When this occurs, they’re provided with next to no support. You need a customer code, which can only be retrieved via your Square account- which due to the freezing or cancellation, you can’t access!

You should also note, their telephone support is only available Monday to Friday 6 AM-6 PM Pacific time. So, if you need assistance over the weekend, you’ll have to wait until Monday! They say email support is open 24/7- however, there’s a good chance you won’t receive an immediate response.

Last but not least, Square also encourages customers to reach out to them via Twitter. This is typically a slow and challenging process which customers are always complaining about!

However, Square’s self-help knowledgebase and its community forum are both fabulous resources. You’ll find tons of tutorials, answers to FAQs, and other troubleshooting info that should help you solve your own query.
 

square customer service

Clover: 7 out of 10

Despite all that said about Square, you can’t be sure of excellent customer service from Clover.

Like we’ve already said, Clover’s formed of lots of different companies. So, it’s hard for Clover to account for the majority of customer service provided to its users. Some companies offer excellent service- whereas others, not so much.

However, if it’s technical support you’re after, you’ll be directed to First Data. They’re able to provide 24/7 support to their consumers via the telephone, email, or their self-service knowledge base.

Remember:

Merchants using Clover deal with the credit card processing company they’ve opted for. So, when you’re deciding, do some research and get a feel for the quality of their customer service.

clover customer service

Hardware

Both Square and Clover offer a variety of hardware, here’s a quick rundown:

Clover: 9 out of 10

  • Clover Go: Connect this device to your smartphone or tablet using Bluetooth. You can process payments using magstripe cards, chip cards, that’s in addition to taking contactless payments.
  • Clover Flex: This is a handheld device that connects to WiFi. It accepts all the same payment methods as Clover Go. Plus, you can also save customer signatures, scan barcodes, and print receipts.
  • Clover Mini: It’s virtually the same as Clover Flex. However, its designed to sit on your countertop rather than to be used as a handheld device.
  • Clover Station: This is their most sophisticated piece of POS hardware. It’s a countertop payment processor which comes with a cash drawer. Plus, from its screen, you can access all Clover’s business-management tools.

It doesn’t matter whether you need these devices to work alone or in conjunction with one another; it’s up to you. Assess the needs of your brand and respond accordingly.

clover hardware

Square: 8 out of 10

Like Square, Clover also offers a host of hardware for you to buy and make use of.
So, here it is-

  • Square Register: This is Square’s most potent POS hardware. It’s a countertop payment processing system including customer-facing display.  You can accept magstripe cards, chip cards, and contactless payments. Plus, the Square POS app is already ingrained into the Square Register!
  • Square Terminal: This is a more compact POS terminal. You can accept and process the same payment methods as Square Register. Plus, using a USB port, you can connect to either Ethernet or WiFi.
  • Square Stand for Contactless and Chip: This is a stand which you can connect your iPad to. Then download the Square POS app, and voila, you have a fabulous POS system functioning via your iPad.
  • Square Card Readers: Square offers plenty of card readers. Including chip-card, magstripe-card reader, or a contactless payment reader.
square hardware

Now, let’s explore a more in-depth comparison of the hardware that most closely matches each device provided by Square and Clover:

Clover Go vs Square Mobile Readers

Clover Go: 9

Square Mobile Readers: 8

Square’s well-renown for their small credit card readers. These accept card payments using just a smartphone. Clover Go offers similar functions with NFC capabilities.

However,  Square doesn’t offer a combination reader that includes- magstripe /EMV / NFC to be used with a smartphone. If this is something you need, you’ll have to use their magstripe reader and their EMV/NFC combo reader- which means two devices rather than one!

Whereas, Clover offers its customers a more convenient all-in-one card reader. This enables entrepreneurs to take:

  • Magstripe cards,
  • Chip cards,
  • Contactless payments

All with the same device!

You can also enjoy all the following features from both these solutions:

  • You can key in transactions manually,
  • Add tax,
  • Offer discounts,
  • Give the option of adding a gratuity,
  • Collect signatures,
  • Email or print customer receipts.

Clover Flex vs Square Terminal

Clover Fex: 9

Square Terminal: 8

Both devices are compact and lightweight. However, Clover Flex is slightly smaller with a 5” touchscreen (instead of a keypad) and it weighs just one pound.

Whereas, despite the terminal touchscreen measuring a larger 5.5” (again in lieu of keypad) it weighs under one pound.

Both include built-in printers, which is amazing if your customers require physical receipts. However, Clover Flex also includes a built-in barcode scanner, which is something Square’s Terminal lacks.

On the other hand, if you don’t need to scan barcodes, you might be better off with Square. After all, the design’s a little sleeker, and the hardware is cheaper- what’s not to love about that?!

Clover Mini vs Square Stand

Clover Mini: 9

Square Stand: 8

Throughout this review we’ve referred to both the Square Stand and the Clover Mini as POS systems; however, they’re more like miniature versions of a fully-fledged POS- yet, they’re not portable.

You should note: One of the great things about Clover Mini is that you can mount it to a wall, which provides a unique alternative to the counter.

In the table below you’ll see the main similarities and differences between the Clover Mini and the Square Stand:

Clover Mini Square Stand
7” screen Holds a 9.7” table- which is sold separately
Built-in reader for- magstripe cards, EMV chip cards, and contactless payments. It’s designed for those wanting to add the Square POS software to their tablet to create a basic POS system.
Basic inventory management Includes a built-in magstripe card reader
Front-facing camera to scan QR or barcodes. Basic inventory management
Built-in receipt printer Square payment functions- checkout, the option of adding tax and tips, emailed or printed customer receipts.
Customers can use more than one payment type to pay the bill
The stand swivels so you can turn it towards your customers to collect signatures or to enable them to plug in a custom gratuity.
You’ll have to add a barcode scanner or a receipt printer to the Square Stand- which costs extra.

Software Plans

Clover: 7 out of 10


How do you make the most out of Clover’s hardware?

Answer: you need to purchase one of their software plans.

The one you opt for will depend on the number of credit card payments your process annually. So, have that info to hand as you peruse your options.

You’ll also need to take into consideration any extra features you want access to.

So, here’s a quick list of Clover’s software plans:

  1. Payments Plus: This is Clover’s most basic plan (and it doesn’t cost you any extra). With Payment Plus you can accept cloud-based payments. You’ll also have access to basic customer engagement tasks.
  2. Register Lite: This plan is ideal for brands turning over $50,000 each year in credit card payments. You can also use plenty of tools to help you track your sales.
  3. Register: This is the most extensive software plan, and it’s best for companies processing more than $50,000 per year in credit card sales.
Clover software plan

Square: 8 out of 10

When it comes to Square’s software, it’s far simpler because you can access their core POS program for free, which also include real-time analytics and PCI compliance.

square software plan pricing

Pricing

Clover: 8 out of 10

You’re probably wondering; ‘how much will Clover set me back?’

So, as you may have already guessed, you can mix and match Clover’s hardware and software to create a solution that works for you.

Here’s a quick break down of the costs involved:

  • Clover Go: $59
  • Clover Flex: $449
  • Clover Mini: $599 (starting from)
  • Clover Station for full-service restaurants: $999,
  • Clover Station for full-service restaurants plus dining software: $1,068
  • Clover Station for other businesses: $1,199 (starting from)
  • Register Lite: $14 (each month)
  • Register: $29  (each month)

Square: 7 out of 10

square pricing

The best thing about Square?

Square’s POS app is absolutely free. However, you’ll need to buy the necessary hardware to get it to work. That’s except for the Square magstripe reader, (which you’ll also get free).

The price of Square’s equipment is as follows:

  • Square Register: $999
  • Square Stand: $169
  • Square Terminal: $399
  • Square Contactless and Chip Reader: $49
  • Square Chip and Magstripe Reader: $35

However, the way their card payment rates are broken down is somewhat more complicated. Check out the table below to get a better idea of what we mean:

Program Card Processing Fee
Square Payments using either swiped, tapped or dipped cards (these are for all the programs in this table) taken via the Square Stand or one of the mobile card readers 2.75%
Square Register using the Square Register POS system td>2.5% + 10 cents
Square for Retail using a POS system utilizing Square for Retail software $60 per month for the first register, as well as 2.5% and 10 cents per transaction. An extra register costs $20 per month per register.
Square for Restaurants. $60 per month for the first register, in addition to 2.6% and 10 cents per transaction. An additional register costs an extra $40 per month per register.
Square Terminal 2.6% + 10 cents
Keyed Transactions Hand-keyed transactions cost 3.5% + 15 cents no matter the equipment.
Online payments and invoices All online payments taken via an e-commerce store or invoice cost 2.9% + 30 cents..

Square vs Square- Popularity

Using Google trends and Alexa’s traffic data, we get a feel for the popularity of each software.

Square: 8

Here you see a slight rise in Square’s popularity over the last five years.

square popularity google trend

The same is true with Alexa’s traffic results.

square alexa traffic

Clover: 5

In the screenshot below, you see Clover’s popularity has remained pretty static. 

clover google trend

However, there’s a stark rise in people searching for Clover using Alexa.

clover alexa traffic

Square vs Clover- Their Mobile App

Square: 10

Clover: 7

This is best compared using a table, so take a look at each of the features offered by Square and Clover’s apps:

Clover Go Mobile App Square’s Point of Sale app
Customizable taxes and tipsCustomizable taxes and tips
Full and partial refundsQuick-sale mode
Unlimited registered usersInventory mode
Email and SMS receiptsFull and partial refunds
Integrated reporting with other Clover systems Discounts
Items library Email and SMS receipts
Quick-sale modeReporting
Inventory mode Add items in-app
A customer database Adjust tax settings in-app
Offline modeInventory management and synchronization
Set variable price points
Offline mode

Advertising Transparency

Square: 10

Square is incredibly transparent. Over on their website, you’ll find out everything you need to know about:

  • Contract terms
  • Pricing info
  • Details on how to upgrade or change plans.

There’s a good chance you won’t have to deal with aggressive salespeople or misleading ads.

Clover: 6

There are plenty of reviews complaining about the credit card processors Clover’s associated with. Some of these have a habit of publishing misleading pricing and using unethical sale practices.

The Pros and Cons of Using Clover

Pros Cons
Clover’s incredibly customizable. So, it doesn’t matter whether you’re looking for a POS system for an established brick and mortar store or a pop-up stall- Clover’s got you covered. If you’re on a shoestring budget, Clover probably isn’t the solution for you. If you can relate, find a POS system that supports cheaper hardware.
Clover integrates with popular programs like MailChimp, QuickBooks, and Shopify. You can make full use of the services you’re already using, which helps to make the transition to this POS system seamless. Some users have complained of being locked into lengthy contracts- which makes it hard to swap services.
Depending on the software plan and accessories you opt for you can also: Manage your inventory,Track sales,Create reports,Schedule your employee’s shifts
Clover Flex device is pretty unique. As we’ve already said, it’s ideal for restaurants and any other service-based businesses. These business models often need staff to help you manage your brand while they’re on the go.
This POS solution is reported to be incredibly user-friendly.

 The Pros and Cons of Using Square

Pros Cons
Square’s equipment is way less expensive than Clover’s, and the software comes free! Depending on the nature and size of your business, you may need to buy extra hardware. This means in some circumstances; it’s actually more expensive to use Clover! Do a full cost-benefit analysis of the two programs before committing any of your hard earned cash.
You can use Square’s Virtual Terminal to take payments either online or over the phone. When you do this, you’ll transform your computer into a POS terminal. From there you can enter your customer’s card info.You should also be aware, Square’s app store is pretty limited. Especially when you compare it to all Clover’s hardy business-management tools.
quare’s generally considered the better option for e-commerce owners. They offer a solution to launch a website and to accept and process online payments. It’s also ideal for traditional brick and mortar store owners who want to reach an online market.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Square better than Clover?

Clover is better than Square. Square: 8 out of 10 Clover: 9 out of 10.

Is Clover the same as Square?

They are both cloud-based systems. However, Clover is seen as being far more sophisticated. It is a fully-functioning POS system, which is ideal for restaurant owners. It can take customized orders, send receipts to the kitchen and accept card payments.

Is Clover cheaper than Square?

Clover is the cheaper version. Clover Go: $59 dollars. Clover Flex: $499 dollars. Clover Mini: $599, to name a few. Square Register: $999 dollars. Square Stand: 169$ Square Terminal: $399. Square Contactless and Chip Reader: 49$.

Is there a monthly fee for Clover?

Payments Plus-4.95$ a month. Register Lite Plan: 9.95$ a month. Register Plan: 29.95$ a month.

Final Thoughts: Clover vs Square

As you can see, Clover and Square boast very similar features.

So, what’s the verdict?

Clover is usually a better choice for brands who not only want a  POS system but also need software to help manage their business.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re running a:

  • Traditional retail store,
  • A restaurant,
  • A service-based business,

You’ll find Clover offers a handy solution to meet the needs of your industry.

Whereas, Square is much better suited to anyone needing a no-frills POS solution. If all you need is to accept and process a variety of payment methods, Square’s a great choice!

All in all, you need to have a good think about what you want from your POS system. Then see what you can get for your budget. With all that being said, both these programs are excellent, so you shouldn’t go too far wrong with either.

Have you got any experience using either Clover or Square? Write a comment in the box below and kickstart the conversation!

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