Square vs. Clover: Which is Better for Your Small Business?

 

A point of sale system is critical for any merchant running a physical location. Your POS system lets you ring up sales, take payments, and in some cases even keep track of your customers and inventory.

While there are many players in the world point of sale systems, Clover and Square are two of the most popular solution providers. But which system is right for your business?

Let’s take a look at the two solutions in more detail.

Square vs Clover at a glance

In a nutshell, Clover offers more flexibility, particularly when it comes to payment processing and app integrations. Clover also comes with more features, its the hardware and software are more expensive than Square.

Square, on the other hand, is geared towards new businesses who want to take advantage of technology, but who don’t need the extra capabilities and shouldn’t have to pay for features they won’t use. It’s also cheaper than Clover.

That being said, there are steps that Clover users can take to level the playing field when it comes to price. In some cases, Clover may actually end up being more affordable.

Dive into the details below to learn more.

Square vs Clover: Software

Here’s a rundown of the software features of Square and Clover.

Square

Square has all the fundamental features you can expect from a POS system including:

POS (or the till) – Square’s POS features are simple and easy to use. It allows you to ring up sales and process payment using your phone or iPad. Square’s sell screen lets you add product photos for easy viewing and the touchscreen display makes it incredibly intuitive.

Inventory management – Square also has inventory management capabilities, which give you the ability to import and export products via CSV and track your stock from any device. It also offers low stock alerts, so you can get a heads up whenever you need to order new products.

Analytics – Square’s analytics capabilities can surface metrics around your sales, customer spend, and returns. Your data is updated in real-time, allowing you to get a handle on your business wherever you are.

CRM – When it comes to customer management, Square lets you create customer profiles that can store shopper contact details and purchase history. This lets you personalize the customer experience, through relevant messaging and communication. You can also store credit cards securely so you can process future transactions with ease.

Additional features at an extra cost

Square also offers add-on features for an additional fee. These include:

  • Employee management, for setting user permissions and tracking hours. (Starting at $5 per month.)
  • Payroll features, for tracking timecards and processing wages for houred, salaried, and contract workers. (Starting at $34 per month.)
  • Marketing, for creating email and social media campaigns. (Starting at $15 per month.)
  • Loyalty, if you want to set up a rewards program within Square. (Starting at $45 per month.)

Clover

Now let’s look at Clover’s POS features. Like Square, Clover has a number of built-in features for ringing up sales and managing your business. But one key distinction is Clover offers a range of apps that let you extend the capabilities of the software for free.

Let’s take a closer look below.  

POS – Clover lets you ring up sales from multiple devices, so whether you’re looking for a stationary POS or want to be more mobile, Clover has a solution for you. It also comes with additional features, such as gift cards, feedback requests, table and waitstaff managements, and promotions.

Analytics – Clover’s analytics features lets you gain insights into your sales, revenue, profits, refunds, and more. Clover is also a cloud-based system which means you can view your metrics from anywhere.

CRM – CRM – Like Square, Clover has customer management features that let store their contact information and purchase history, so you can market to them in the most relevant ways. Clover also has rewards capabilities which come at no extra cost. Plus, its feedback app can also come in handy, if you’re looking to find out what customers think about your products and services.

Staffing – Unlike Square, Clover’s employee capabilities come right out of the box, at no extra cost. Clover allows you to access staffing reports so you can measure performance, and it has employee incentive tools for rewarding your top workers. What’s more, Clover lets you customize user permissions so you can control their software access.

If you’d like to get more out of the system, you add on Clover apps to extend its functionality.

  • Register, for processing all payment types and letting you track all Clover activities, including orders and transactions. (FREE)
  • Promos, to help you collect customer details, build a mailing list, and offer real-time offers via email, text, and Facebook. (FREE)
  • Feedback, for gathering customer comments and concerns. It’s a feature that lets you discover what people love more about you and it can keep negative feedback off public platforms. (FREE)
  • Rewards, for running a loyalty program that lets you engage customers on every channel. Offer multiple perks, birthday rewards, and bonuses for regulars and VIPs. (FREE)
  • Happy Hour, which is perfect for bars and restaurants. Clover’s Happy Hour app enables you to set time frames and schedules for specific discounts. (FREE)
  • Clover Dining, which is great for restaurants. This app lets you set floor plans, manage customers and tables, quickly send orders to the kitchen and more. (FREE)
  • Shifts lets you track employee schedules with ease, thanks to its simple to use time-in and time-out features. (FREE)

Clover vs Square: Hardware

Clover Station (4)

Both Square and Clover offer a range of hardware options, depending on your needs. Let’s look at some of them below.

Square Register ($999)

Square Register combines your POS and payment processing in one simple design. The card reader is a built-in part of the device, so everything looks sleek and seamless.

It does have limitations, though. Square Registers doesn’t support Bluethooth, nor does it have a browser. You also can’t run additional apps on it.

Square Stand for contactless and chip ($199)

This hardware solution works with an iPad, so you can download the Square POS app and connect it to the device. It also comes with Square Stand, Square Reader for contactless and chip, as well as a Dock for the reader.

Square Terminal ($399)

This is an all-in-one hardware solution that lets you process payments and receipts. It’s a good, portable solution that can be plugged in wirelessly or work with a power source.

Square Reader for Contactless and Chip ($49)

This reader can be connected to Square Stand or your mobile device, so you can accept chip cards and NFC payments.

Clover Station ($1,199 – $1,149)

This is Clover’s most comprehensive hardware offering. It’s an all-in-one POS system that includes your POS, cash drawer, and receipt printer. It comes with a large display, enabling you to process sales quickly and reliably.

Clover Mini ($599)

Another all-in-one POS system, Clover Mini comes in the form of a smaller display with a built-in card reader. It lets you process sales and accept all payments types including Apple and Google Pay. You can integrate it with barcode scanners, weight scales, and other accessories.

Clover Flex ($449)

Clover Flex is a card reader that supports swipes, dips, and taps. It lets you accept all credit card types, as well as mobile and contactless payments. It’s a compact solution that can replace your cash register and printer, and it’s perfect for businesses that don’t require a lot of space.

Clover Go ($69)

Clover Go is a lightweight card reader for taking payments on the go. It syncs with other Clover devices and with the Clover Go app, allowing you to track payments, run reports, and email receipts.

Payment processing

Both the Clover and the Square offer payment solutions for businesses, but they differ in flexibility.

Square requires you to process payments using its system and pay the following rates:

  • 2.75% per swipe
  • 3.5% + $0.15 for keyed in transactions

Clover, on the other hand, is sold as a standalone POS system, which means it can be used with a large variety of credit card processing companies.

This is good for merchants because it gives you the ability to shop for credit card processing companies and get a lower cost (i.e. less than 2.75% per swipe). For example, you could use Clover with Payment Depot, which doesn’t take a cut out of your sales.

Payment Depot’s membership model charges you a flat monthly fee, and we give you access to wholesale interchange rates. Depending on your credit card volume and sales, this can often mean lower payment processing costs.

If you’re in doubt, get in touch with the Payment Depot team. You could also send us your merchant statement or proposal, and we can analyze it for free and give you unbiased advice on how to lower your costs.

The verdict

Here’s a quick recap of Square vs Clover’s offerings as discussed above.

Software

Square and Clover offer comparable features and both solutions provide you with the tools you need to ring up sales and manage your business. Clover seems to offer more out-of-the-box features at no extra costs, which gives it a leg up over Square.

Hardware

Square’s hardware offerings are cheaper than Clover, which gives it an advantage. Their hardware options are flexible and perfect for new and small businesses.

Payments

Clover offers more flexiblity because it allows you to work with other payment processors, while Square requires you to use its merchant services.

In terms of costs, Square charges 2.75% per swipe and 3.5% + $0.15 for keyed-in transactions. Using Clover gives you the opportunity to lower your credit card processing costs, provided that you select the right merchant services for your business.

Final words

Clover and Square are both excellent solutions for small business. The right decision comes down to your specific needs, budget, and preferences.

If you value flexibility and need built-features like staff management, restaurant management, and happy hour, then Clover would be a better option. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a simple solution that just works, then Square would be a better fit.

You should also consider payment processing. Square works best if your average sale is below $15 and if you don’t process a lot of credit card transactions. If your sales volume and ATV are higher, though, you’ll likely a find a better payment processing deal elsewhere.

Still need help deciding? Get in touch. You could also send us your merchant statement or proposal and our payment experts will analyze it for free, to help you decide which processor is right for your business.