Clover vs. Square. What’s the difference between these two point-of-sale system solutions?
No matter what business you operate—if you have a physical store location, you need a point-of-sale (POS) system. Today’s shoppers have options for payment methods, such as cash and traditional debit and credit cards, but also mobile wallets (where customers can pay using their iPhone or Android mobile device), e-checks, EBT card payments, and others. No matter your store’s payment types, you can’t offer credit card processing without a POS system.
Most importantly, POS systems allow you to ring up your customers’ purchases. But some systems even help you maintain customer information, such as for loyalty programs, or keep tabs on your inventory, so you know when you’re running low or, conversely, when you might need to have a sale on a product that’s not selling well.
The point-of-sale machine industry is brimming with options. Square and Clover are among the industry’s most popular POS options. But between the Square Stand and the Clover station, which POS system is the right one for your store? Let’s learn more about these two rival payment processors.
Square vs. Clover: Overview
Both of these POS system providers allow businesses to accept customer payments. While the two companies are somewhat similar, their differences are pretty significant.
Square vs. Clover: The Debate
For instance, Square is mainly aimed at businesses that are either brand-new and want the best of today’s payment acceptance technology or established and looking to upgrade their current—may be outdated—POS system. With many businesses adding e-commerce branches, Square works for companies that need expanded payment acceptance capabilities. Square offers business owners the ability to choose just the features needed, so you’ll never pay for functionality you don’t use. Plus, Square could be the more economical option between Square vs. Clover. But that depends on the capabilities and features you need. And if Square unexpectedly deactivates your account, what then? You could be left scrambling with no point-of-sale solution or merchant services account (but more on that in a moment).
On the other hand, Clover has more app integrations and payment processing options. This POS system provider has a few more features than Square, but you might pay more for access than Square.
However, Clover customers have some options that could balance out the processing fees and pricing differences. Clover might be a bit more affordable in some instances—it just depends on aspects of your business, such as annual sales and average ticket value. For example, if your average ticket values are high, or you operate in a high-risk industry—no matter where you stand on the Square vs. Clover debate—you may need to consider a high-risk merchant services provider. Zenti specializes in high-risk payment processing.
Square vs. Clover: Which POS System Has the Best Software?
In addition to the overall differences listed above, how are these two POS system providers distinct from one another? What are the significant differences between Square vs. Clover when it comes to such things as software, hardware, and actual payment acceptance?
Let’s take a look.
When it comes to fundamental features you’d expect in a point-of-sale system, in this Square vs. Clover contest, Square’s got your back. Square’s POS systems come preloaded with the software you need for your industry.
You can choose between:
- Square Point of Sale. This is the original software for the company’s POS systems. It can be tailored to work with any business, but it works best for businesses that don’t need a lot of bells and whistles as far as added features.
- Square for Retail. This software is tailored to retail businesses, offering functionality geared to the retail environment.
- Square for Restaurants. Square for Restaurants is to your local diner what Square for Retail is to department stores. This software is geared toward dining establishments and can support both front- and back-of-house needs, even online ordering, pickup, and delivery.
- Square Appointments. This software is perfect for businesses that accept clients by appointments, such as hair and nail salons, doctors’ offices, and even mechanic shops. Customers can book appointments, and you can stay on top of your scheduling all within the Square Appointments POS.
Each POS system has a free tier, though larger businesses with higher sales may need one of Square’s flexible monthly subscriptions. Monthly pricing varies depending on the POS system you choose.
Square also has several apps and integrations compatible with its POS systems, such as the Square Loyalty app, which you can use to offer your biggest fans rewards for shopping or booking with your business. How’s Square look to you in the Square vs. Clover rivalry?
Square POS Software and Capabilities
Each of the above POS systems come with the following items or functionalities standard:
- The till itself or the actual POS software
- Inventory management
- Tracking and analytics
- Customer relationship management (CRM)
For an additional monthly fee, you can also add on other features, such as:
- Employee scheduling and timekeeping. It starts at 5 USD/mo.
- Company payroll. It starts at 35 USD/mo. base fee, plus an additional 5 USD/person*/mo. (*Note: per person on the payroll for that month.)
- Loyalty program. It starts at 45 USD/mo.
- Gift cards. It starts at Free (for digital eGift cards) up to 0.95 USD/card (for cards made using Square Templates).
So, in this friendly Square vs. Clover match, how do Clover’s software packages compare?
Clover POS Software and Capabilities
Like Square, Clover’s POS has many features incorporated into its software. The main difference between Square and Clover in this respect—and it’s a big difference—is that Clover’s additional app integrations can extend its software capabilities, and all of them are free.
So, what’s included with Clover?
- The POS system. The Clover POS enables you to ring up a sale from various types of devices. Have a dedicated checkout lane? A stationary point-of-sale is sufficient. But what if your business has a mobile element, such as an in-home animal groomer or a restaurant that does popups? Clover can accommodate. Clover’s POS system has multiple features, such as gift cards, sales, discounts, promotions, and restaurant management options.
- Robust analytics. Need real insight into your business’s sales, revenue, and other financial movements? Clover’s transparent reporting offers these metrics and more—and since it’s based in the cloud, you can take a peek at real-time analytics no matter where you’re.
- Customer relationship management (CRM). Like Square, Clover’s CRM lets you store customers’ contact information and purchase history, offering appropriate marketing methods. Want to reward your most loyal customers? Clover’s rewards capability is also included, and there’s no additional cost. Wondering how you can recapture lost or unsatisfied customers? Use Clover’s feedback app to learn how your customers view your services, merchandise, and business. Clover’s edging ahead in this Square vs. Clover matchup.
- Employee scheduling and staffing reports. Square customers have access to these capabilities, but each tool is a separate add-on that “adds on” to their business’s monthly price. With Clover, employee tools are included in your POS system for free. You can schedule employees, track work hours, and reward stellar personnel with Clover’s employee incentives tool. You can even set user permissions—only give access to the parts of your system that an employee needs to perform their job.
When weighing Square vs. Clover, every business is different. For instance, a corner convenience store might need fewer capabilities in a POS system than a bar and grill. With Clover, you get everything you need to operate your business in one system. Need more functionality? Add the associated Clover app to your system. It’s that easy.
And the best part?
All of the Clover apps below are entirely free of charge:
For all businesses
Perfect for restaurants, cafes, and bars
- Happy Hour
- Clover Dining
Choosing the right POS system software depends on how much flexibility your business has, the functionality you need, and how much you want to spend each month on your POS solution. In Square vs. Clover, has Clover won? Well, let’s not count Square out just yet.
Square vs. Clover: Square Stand or Clover Station?
Software offerings are the most important when choosing a POS system—but having compatible hardware also makes a difference. Below, Square vs. Clover might tip in Square’s favor.
Square has several choices for both processing speed and budget. Here’s a list of Square’s current point-of-sale options:
Square Register – Accommodates all payment types.
Square Stand – 1st Gen – With iPad compatibility, uses Square POS app comes with a Square Reader and a Dock.
Square Stand – 2nd Gen – Similar to the original Stand, the 2nd Gen has the payment terminal built into the Stand. Accepts contactless and chip payments. You’ll need the Square Reader (sold separately) to accept swiped payments.
Square Terminal – The all-in-one, “plug-and-play” solution that offers payment processing and receipt generation.
Contactless/Chip Square Reader – Adds chip card and near field communication (NFC), or contactless, payment acceptance to the Square Stand and practically any mobile device.
Magstripe Square Reader – The original card reader from Square that can connect to iPhone/iPad devices for magstripe/swiped card payments. Your first one is free—any more than that costs 49 USD/each.
While Square might charge a few bucks for apps individually, their hardware prices are pretty reasonable. For instance, the Square Register is the company’s most expensive POS system at just under 800 USD. So, how does Clover’s hardware compare?
Station Solo —14″ display, sleek cash drawer, and sturdy printer. Built-in biometrics: employees log into the system using their fingerprints—1,349 USD.
Station Duo—All the perks of the Station Solo with an added customer-facing 14″ display for customers to enter details as desired. 1,649 USD.
Clover Mini —The Square Register’s competition offers everything in Square’s POS, plus mobile wallet payments and barcodes, weights, and other accessory integrations for 50 USD less than the Square Register. 749 USD.
Clover Flex —A small but mighty versatile reader with magstripe, chip, and contactless payments. Its compact size doesn’t require a lot of space, and it can replace any current register and receipt printer—499 USD.
Clover Go —Like its name, this card reader can go anywhere you can, whether you’re selling in-store or on the beach. Plus, it syncs with Clover’s Go app and all its other devices. Track your sales, run reports, and even email your customers’ receipts—all from the palm of your hand—for 49 USD.
Other Clover devices include the following:
- Clover Flex
- Clover Mini
- Clover Station & Station Pro
In this Square vs. Clover discussion, what about payment processing? Both Clover and Square can accept online payments and process payments physically. But you never know when you may need to process an ACH transaction, e-check payment, or—if your business sells e-cigs, vapes, or other high-risk industry products—if you may be designated high-risk at some point.
Square vs. Clover Payment Processing
Square and Clover offer businesses tools for accepting payments, but there are a few differences in flexibility.
Clover is a point-of-sale solution, which translates to payment processing services. Since Clover is a POS, it can integrate with nearly any merchant account services provider. You can pair your Clover equipment with Zenti merchant services and enjoy some of the lowest rates in the merchant account industry.
On the other hand, Square serves both roles—Square is the payment processor and the merchant account, provider. Sure, Square’s merchant account isn’t the same as a true merchant services account. For instance, many merchant account providers offer flat rate pricing, but Square’s service pricing scales with your sales. For some businesses, exorbitant fees don’t make sense for their goals.
Square vs. Clover: And the Winner is…
Let’s briefly review the Square vs. Clover debate.
Both companies have several features in common, and both offer tools so you can process sales and run your business. Of the two, though, Clover’s got a leg up on Square regarding free, included features.
Square is on top in this department—the company’s POS hardware costs much less than Clover’s, and the terminal’s flexibility is perfect for small businesses and businesses just starting.
For Payment Processing…
If this were a Square vs. Clover basketball game, Clover just scored a three-point buzzer shot. Clover’s flexibility to work with merchant account providers lets you decide who processes your payments—Square locks you into the company’s merchant account.
So, what do you think: Square or Clover? If you need assistance making the right decision for your payment processing, reach out to Zenti. One of our helpful representatives can review your business to see which option is best for your unique business needs.