Clover POS System Review: Features, Cost, Top Alternatives

Reasonable prices and great hardware options make Clover a good choice.
Maddie ShepherdNov 17, 2021

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

The Clover point-of-sale system is a solid and affordable choice for entrepreneurs with restaurants, retail outlets or professional services. Its easy-to-use features and high-quality, versatile hardware can make it simple to add orders or ring up sales efficiently. But it's not the cheapest option available, and its pricing could be more transparent.

Clover basics

To get started with Clover, you need to either select both a software plan and the hardware you want to use — or opt for the No Hardware plan. You can mix and match POS software and hardware for most options, according to your business’s specific needs, and get setups customized specifically for restaurants, retail and general service businesses. All systems come with:

  • Reporting tools that allow you to track revenue, filter your POS reports to see your busiest times and your best-selling items, get aggregated sales across all your locations, view end-of-day reports, track total sales per employee and more.

  • 24/7 customer service phone support.

  • Ability to set up both digital and physical gift cards.

  • Ability to accept payments online via virtual terminal.

  • Ability to sync with third-party apps like QuickBooks and Yelp.

  • The option to use Rapid Deposit, which gives you access to the funds generated by sales transactions within minutes — for a 1% fee — instead of having to wait the typical one to three business days.

Clover was acquired by First Data in 2012, which was then acquired by Fiserv in 2019. Fiserv is one of the largest payments and financial technology providers in the world, according to the payments news site PYMNTS.com. When you sign up with Clover, you’ll have to use Fiserv for payment processing on the backend, though you can work through different merchant service providers.

Software options, costs and features

Here's how each of Clover's software options stack up:

Clover Payments

Software: Free

Payment Processing: 2.6% plus 10 cents per transaction for in-person transactions and 3.5% plus 10 cents for each keyed-in transaction.

Features include:

  • Accept traditional and contactless payments.

  • Paperless receipts and offline payment mode.

  • Track sales in real time.

  • Liability protection up to $100,000 in event of a data breach.

  • 24/7 customer support.

Clover Essentials

Software: $9.95 per month

Payment processing: 2.6% plus 10 cents per transaction for in-person transactions and 3.5% plus 10 cents for each keyed-in transaction.

Features include:

  • Ability to accept and process all forms of payment, including credit, debit, chip and contactless.

  • Offline payment processing.

  • Ability to ring up items and add discounts and tax.

  • Sales tracking and reports.

  • Item-level taxes.

  • Refund processing.

  • Customizable employee permissions.

  • Access to the Clover App Market.

  • Liability protection up to $100,000 in event of a data breach.

  • 24/7 customer support.

Clover Register

Software: $39.95 per month

Payment processing: 2.3% plus 10 cents per transaction for in-person transactions and 3.5% plus 10 cents for each keyed-in transaction.

Features include:

  • Accept traditional and contactless payments.

  • Paperless receipts and offline payment mode.

  • Inventory management.

  • Loyalty program.

  • Discounts.

  • Ability to read customer feedback and reply with coupons.

  • Mailing list creation.

  • Apply taxes at item level.

  • Sales tracking with item-level reporting.

  • $100,000 liability protection against data breaches.

  • 24/7 customer support.

Clover Table Service Restaurant

Software: $69.95 per month

Payment Processing: 2.3% plus 10 cents per transaction for in-person transactions and 3.5% plus 10 cents for each keyed-in transaction.

Features include:

  • Ability to build floor plans.

  • Ability to send orders to your kitchen or prep station.

  • Pre-authorize bar tabs.

  • Split checks in desired proportion.

  • Set up order types and categories.

  • Discount at the order level.

  • Run reports per revenue station.

  • Option to connect a weight scale to your Clover POS.

  • Pre-authorization of credit cards for bar tabs and reservations.

  • Employee management.

  • $100,000 liability protection against data breaches.

  • 24/7 customer support.

No Hardware

Software: $9.95 per month

Payment Processing: Variable; ranging from 2.6$ plus 10 cents to 3.5% plus 10 cents.

Features include:

  • Ability to take payments over the phone, internet or in-person using your phone, tablet or computer.

  • Accept debit and credit cards, check, cash and contactless payments.

  • Sales tracking, inventory management and customer management.

  • Customer announcements, loyalty programs and promotions.

Nerdy tip: Not all of these software options are available for every Clover POS hardware solution. For example, the Table Service Restaurant plan isn't offered with the Go or Mini.

Hardware options and costs

Hardware Option

Cost

Setup

No Hardware

No cost for hardware

Accept payments from your mobile phone, tablet or computer.

Clover Go

$99

Mobile attachment for iOS or Android devices.

Clover Flex

$499

All-in-one handheld POS system.

Clover Mini

Starts at $749

Compact countertop POS system.

Station Solo

Starts at $1,349

Full countertop POS system.

Station Duo

Custom

Full countertop POS system with customer-facing display.

Clover Go is the most portable of the Clover POS hardware options. This piece of Clover point of sale hardware is a Bluetooth-enabled smart device attachment that allows your business to process magstripe-only cards, chip cards and contactless payments. However, unlike other Clover POS system hardware options, Clover Go requires an iOS or Android device to work. It's $99, making it the most affordable hardware option.

The Clover Flex is a handheld point-of-sale piece of hardware that offers a remarkable amount of capabilities for its size. It can process all payments, capture customer signatures, scan bar codes and print receipts, all on the go. It retails for $499.

This is the first fully countertop option in the Clover POS system hardware offerings. The small, powerful hardware solution, which starts at $749, is a relatively affordable option. You’ll be able to process all payments speedily, scan bar codes and print receipts.

The Clover Station Solo system, which starts at $1,349, allows you the same great capabilities as the Clover Mini, but with more speed. It also includes a cash drawer and receipt printer.

With this option, you’ll get the Clover Station Solo with a second, customer-facing touch-screen display. This can help provide a better customer experience — say, for example, if you want your customer to be able to review their order as you're completing a sale. Pricing for the Station Duo is custom.

Pros

All-in-one solution

With a Clover POS system, everything comes included: the software, hardware and payment processing. Except for the Clover Go and the No Hardware option, you can also use these systems without relying on a smartphone or tablet. If you want to keep things simple, purchasing these goods and services as a bundle is appealing.

Affordable prices

Clover’s payment processing rates are reasonable when compared with competitors. The 2.6% plus 10 cents transaction rate on the Clover Essentials plan is the same as Square and slightly more than PayPal. The Clover Register plan comes with a lower rate of 2.3% plus 10 cents. What’s more, the Clover Flex POS and Clover Mini POS can be had for under $750.

Top-notch hardware

Clover's hardware operates with great speed and ease and can be set up for a variety of different business purposes, including for restaurants, retail outlets and services. Its functionality and versatility might be enough to justify the higher prices on the more elaborate setups, like the Station Pro.

Cons

No free hardware options

Unlike some POS systems, the Clover POS doesn’t offer any free hardware options. This means that unless you opt for the No Hardware plan, your business will have to shell out a lump sum for a piece of Clover POS hardware on top of payment processing fees — no matter how simple your payment processing needs are.

As an alternative, consider Square POS, which not only offers a free magstripe reader to all new merchants, but also offers a free version of Square POS software that comes with inventory management capabilities. Square’s fees are also comparable to what you’d get with the Clover Essentials plan, and you can add a variety of features to your Square POS, such as payroll processing and a customer loyalty program.

Square Payment Processing

Square
Shop Now

on Square's website

Cheaper payment processing options exist

While the Clover POS is relatively affordable, its payment processing fees aren’t the lowest available.

For cheaper payment processing, consider Payment Depot, a merchant services provider that provides membership pricing and wholesale interchange rates. Memberships range from $79 to $199. With your membership, you’ll get the interchange rate plus transaction fees ranging between 7 cents and 15 cents. What’s more, Payment Depot resells several of Clover’s POS systems, including the Flex, Mini and Station Solo. Other tools include a payment gateway and virtual terminal.

Transparency issues

If you go with Clover, you have no choice but to process payments through Fiserv, even if you choose to work with a different merchant services provider, such as Payment Depot. Customer reviews on Fiserv vary widely, but it’s not uncommon to hear customers complaining about hidden fees, arbitrary account holds and early termination fees.

Clover also has many resellers, which means similar business owners can get widely different terms, depending on which reseller they work with. If you look on review websites, you’ll find customers describing Clover as a “scam” more than once — potentially because they got a raw deal from a reseller. If you buy from a reseller, read customer reviews and ask questions about the terms beforehand to avoid getting blindsided.

Is Clover right for me?

If you're looking for a POS system with great hardware options and an easy-to-use system, a Clover POS is a good choice. Despite some imperfections, it offers functionality and quality at prices that won’t break the bank.

Point-of-sale software

Square
Shop Now

on Square's website

Square POS Great for small-business owners looking for a top-notch POS with quick setup and easy-to-understand fees. Read Review.

Clover POS Great for small-business owners looking for reasonable prices and versatile hardware options.

Merchant account providers

Stax by Fattmerchant
Shop Now

on Stax by Fattmerchant's website

Stax Great for midsize or larger companies that process $20,000+ per month. Read Review.

PaymentCloud
Shop Now

on PaymentCloud's website

PaymentCloud Great for businesses in high-risk industries.

Payment Depot
Shop Now

on Payment Depot's website

Payment Depot Great for cost-effective credit card processing for midsize businesses.

A version of this article was first published on Fundera, a subsidiary of NerdWallet. It was updated by writer Roberta Pescow.