Last Updated on April 22, 2023 by Ewen Finser
While both Clover vs Square are good options for small to medium-sized businesses, they differ in how they work.
Clover is a retail POS system used by independent businesses around the world. It was developed over 15 years ago by retailers, so it’s easy to use with lots of great features out of the box. For example, customers can pay using cash, card, or mobile wallet.
Square is an all-in-one credit card processing solution that took the retail industry by storm when it launched in 2009. It was built around magnetic stripe readers and requires a smartphone or tablet to process transactions (credit & debit cards only). Payments are processed via your online Square account and can be done using cash, card, or mobile wallet.
The most important difference is that Clover is a hardware system with physical terminals while Square is all software. This isn’t an issue for most retailers because they only want to process cards and don’t need the complete feature set of Clover (which includes things like gift cards, loyalty programs, etc.).
Bottom Line Up Front
Clover vs Square are valuable POS systems, but they serve different purposes. Square is perfect for small businesses because they don’t charge any monthly fees for basic features, but Clover is more robust and professional-looking. Unfortunately, Clover also isn’t quite as user-friendly as the Square app.
Main Differences Between Clover vs Square
The main differences between Clover vs Square are:
- Clover allows customers to pay using cash, cards, or mobile wallets, whereas Square only processes credit and debit card transactions.
- Clover requires a physical terminal to process transactions, whereas Square requires a smartphone or tablet.
- Clover offers point-of-sale features such as gift cards & loyalty programs, whereas Square only provides the ability to accept credit card payments.
- Clover’s main competitor is Revel which has many similar features and a lower price point, whereas Square’s main competitors are Shopkeep and Vend, which offer more advanced POS systems at a higher price point.
- Clover has been used by independent retailers for over 15 years, whereas Square specifically focused on the retail industry when it was founded in 2009.
- Clover is the pioneer of mobile card processing and has innovated many features which can now be found in other mobile payment apps such as Apple Pay, Android Pay, etc., whereas Square is the pioneer of mobile POS systems and has innovated many features which can now be found in other retail apps such as Alibaba’s Alipay, Walmart Pay, etc.
Clover is a hardware-based POS system for independent retailers. Its main features include:
- Accepting credit and debit cards (including Apple Pay, Android Pay)
- Managing inventory and generating reports
- Processing gift cards and loyalty programs (manually or automatically)
- Printing receipts (customizable font/layout/ink color)
- Accepting checks for manual processing
- Running employee payroll
- Clover offers 24/7 support via phone, chat, and email, whereas Square only provides phones support during business hours.
Clover is available in two different models, Clover Station and Clover Mini. Clover Station is a full-sized POS system that takes up a lot of counter space, while Clover Mini can be placed flat on a tabletop or mounted on a wall. Both models allow retailers to accept payments using cash, card, or mobile wallet.
Clover Station accepts payment using a PIN pad, while Clover Mini uses an EMV chip reader for added security. Both models allow you to accept checks and print receipts.
Clover Station is the primary model available from Clover and costs $599, while Clover Mini costs $399. Both models come with a free mobile credit card reader, which you must purchase separately if you want to use your smartphone or tablet.
Clover features a credit card swipe for self-checkout, while Square’s self-checkout solution is through an iOS / Android app.
Clover also has a built-in electronic signature pad that allows customers to sign for their purchase on a mobile device, as well as a built-in receipt printer.
Clover has a lot of features that allow it to stand out from its competitors, including:
- PIN pad with easy-to-use buttons and large screen for quick transactions
- Ability to accept checks manually or automatically
- Built-in electronic signature pad for mobile devices as well as a built-in receipt printer
- Easy back office software (no programming required!) for managing inventory, employees, etc.
- Many different payment options, including cash, card, mobile wallet payments (Apple Pay, Android Pay), and checks
- A large variety of accessories available to customize your Clover system
These features come at a high price point. Still, Clover is the only option for retailers wanting to offer basic credit card processing features such as gift cards and loyalty programs in addition to basic POS features such as inventory management.
Clover’s design is simple, clean, and user-friendly. Its large screen allows it to stand out in a retail store with limited counter space. In addition, its sleek, compact design allows it to fit in with any décor.
The physical buttons on the PIN pad make transactions quick and easy. You don’t have to worry about customers struggling to find the right buttons or seeing their frustration as they take too long to complete a transaction. The PIN pad’s large screen also allows customers to see the total amount of their purchase before they swipe their card, which is an advantage over Square’s chip reader.
Clover’s design allows you to switch between different payment options easily. For example, you can use your smartphone or tablet as a mobile credit card reader, accept payments using Clover’s free credit card reader, accept cash payments, swipe cards manually, and process checks.
Setting up Clover is simple. First, you need to plug in the PIN pad. Afterward, sign up for a Clover account and connect it to your internet router with an Ethernet cable. You’ll also need to sign up for a merchant account with a credit card processor (Clover has partnerships with First Data and Elavon). Then you can connect your Clover device to the printer and enter your inventory.
Clover is compatible with iOS, Android, Windows 10, and macOS, so you don’t need to worry about using different software depending on your device.
- A full-sized POS system that allows retailers to accept payment and print receipts in a variety of ways
- Built-in electronic signature pad and receipt printer
- Built-in credit card swipe for self-checkout
- PIN pad with large buttons and easy to use software
- Ability to process checks and print receipts
- The base model is pricey
- No support for chip cards
- A merchant account with a credit card processor is required to use the device
- Requires an Ethernet connection
- No mobile credit card reader included
Square is a cloud-based credit card processing solution that allows businesses of all sizes to accept credit cards on the go. Square started as a simple mobile credit card reader that could connect to a smartphone or tablet but has since expanded its offerings with stand-alone readers and POS systems.
Square’s mobile credit card readers and POS system accept chip cards and swipe cards. However, Square’s stand-alone readers for smartphones and tablets are limited to swiping cards.
They have two main models available: Square Stand and Square Register, both of which are free with the purchase of a Square card reader. Square Register is more advanced and comes with a luxury design and many business-specific features such as built-in gift cards and loyalty programs.
Mobile credit card readers are free with the purchase of a Square reader, but they limit the number of payment options available. Square has the most extensive payment options available, including cash, card payments with chip cards and swipe cards, mobile wallet payment (Apple Pay, Android Pay), and checks.
Another feature unique to Square is the virtual employee feature. Square allows you to set different permissions for each employee so that they can only perform the tasks you need them to perform. In addition, since Square is free, there are no monthly fees.
Square’s unique features come at a price, though; in addition to purchasing a Square reader, you also have to pay a monthly fee of $275-450 depending on the options you choose.
Square’s stand allows you to use a tablet as a cash drawer and integrates everything into one sleek-looking system that stands out in any retail store. But, unfortunately, the stand only fits a tablet, so you’ll have to find a different solution if you use a smartphone or another device.
Square’s mobile credit card readers are small and lightweight, making them convenient for salespeople to carry around. They can easily fit in a pocket or clip onto a belt or bag. The Square Register is made of aluminum and glass, so it feels like a luxury device. The stand for the tablet is also made of aluminum, so it feels sturdy and well-made.
Overall, Square has a high-quality feel to it that Clover lacks. Square has no monthly fees, but the price of their devices and monthly payments for more advanced features may be off-putting to some.
Setting up Square is simple. First, you need to download the Square app, sign up for an account, connect it to your internet router with an Ethernet cable, and enter your inventory.
Square is compatible with iOS, Android, and Windows 10, so you don’t need to worry about using different software depending on your device.
- Free mobile credit card readers up to $50
- No monthly fees for basic features
- Can accept multiple payment options such as cash, checks, and chips
- Multiple user permissions and virtual employees make it easy to use with a team of employees
- Requires a merchant account (with a credit card processing company) and an Ethernet connection
- Doesn’t include a mobile credit card reader
- Requires an iPad or tablet to use the stand and integrate everything into one device
- Monthly fees start at $275 for more advanced features such as virtual employees and gift/loyalty programs
If you’re looking for a POS system, Clover and Square aren’t the only options on the market. You may want to look into these alternatives before making a decision.
Shopify is a cloud-based POS system that integrates with hundreds of third-party apps and includes gift cards, loyalty programs, inventory management, and more. It’s compatible with iOS and Android devices and works with chip cards and swipe cards.
If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to Shopify, you can always use ShopKeep. It works with iPhone, iPad, and Android devices only, but it comes with a free card reader.
Posera is another cheaper option that doesn’t charge monthly fees and only works with iOS devices. It also has lower device costs and uses swiping cards instead of chip cards.
If you’re looking for a complete mobile credit card processing solution, you can always use Vantiv. It comes with touchscreen credit card readers and app-based touchscreen POS systems.
PayAnywhere charges a monthly fee of $19.95 and works with iOS devices only. It has a low-cost card reader and app-based solution, but it’s only available in the United States.
If you’re looking for a mobile credit card processing solution that integrates with QuickBooks, you can always use GoPayment. It works with iOS and Android devices and charges a flat rate of 2.7% per transaction.
Question: What Credit Card Processing Fees Does Square charge?
Answer: Square charges a 2.75% fee per swipe and a 3.50% fee per keyed-in transaction, but they also charge a flat rate of $275 per month for more advanced features.
Question: Who is QuickBooks GoPayment best for?
Answer: GoPayment is best for companies that need a mobile credit card processing solution and already use QuickBooks. It’s also good for companies that need a physical POS system to use with an iPad or tablet.
Question: What Mobile Credit Card Processing Company is Best for My Business?
Answer: Before choosing a mobile credit card processing company, you need to think about your specific business needs. For example, do you want features such as multiple user permissions? Do you plan on expanding your business overseas?
Do you want a merchant account to accept credit cards directly instead of using a mobile processing company? When choosing the right mobile credit card processing company for your business, these are all important questions to consider.
When you need a new mobile credit card processing and POS system, Square and Clover aren’t your only options. However, with these alternatives and helpful FAQs, you should be able to figure out what’s best for you.
Square is a great option for small businesses, but Clover offers many of the same features in a less expensive package. While Square doesn’t charge any installation or monthly fees for basic features, Clover comes with a stand and has a “virtual cash register” feature. Clover is also compatible with Square, but it’s not as user-friendly as the Square app, and it can’t handle as many transactions.