Square vs Clover: Which Is Better for Your Small Business?

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 of 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, but the hardware and software are more expensive than Square.

Square, on the other hand, is geared towards new businesses that 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.

Let’s dive into the details below to learn more.

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Square vs Clover: Software

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

Square Software

Square has all the fundamental features you can expect from a POS system. Additionally, Square offers a number of add-on features for business management more generally, like payroll and an eCommerce platform. 

Depending on your business or industry, Square offers some preset POS types: Square Point of Sale, Square for Restaurants, Square Appointments, and Square for Retail. All four products have a free version, though monthly subscription prices will vary based on the app you’re using.

Each solution has specific features based on the business type. For instance, Square for Restaurants has features such as front-of-house and back-of-house management, as well as food pickup and delivery. Meanwhile, Square Appointments has built-in appointment scheduling to enable clients to easily book services.

At a general level, all of these solutions have the following capabilities:

POS software (or the till) – Square’s POS features are simple and easy to use. It allows you to ring up sales and process payments 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 spending, 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 hourly, salaried, and contract workers. (Starting at $35 per month + $5 per person paid per month.)
  • Loyalty, if you want to set up a rewards program within Square. (Starting at $45 per month.)
  • Gift cards, to help you boost sales. (Starting at 80¢.)

Clover Software

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 that Clover’s pricing is not very transparent. It’s very difficult to determine the cost of their software and hardware separately from each other. $50/month appears to be the lowest fee listed on their website, but it includes both their software and hardware in the price.

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 management, and promotions.

Analytics – Clover’s analytics features let 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 – 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 that 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 can 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.
  • Promos, to help you collect customer details, build a mailing list, and offer real-time offers via email, text, and Facebook.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Shifts lets you track employee schedules with ease, thanks to its simple-to-use time-in and time-out features.

One of the most interesting things about Clover is it enables you to fully customize your POS system based on the features you need. While Square has separate POS solutions and subscriptions Clover, has a consolidated offering that you can tailor to your business. 

Clover vs Square: Hardware

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

Square Processing

First, let’s take a look at Square’s POS hardware offerings.

Square Register ($799)

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 Register doesn’t support Bluetooth, nor does it have a browser. You also can’t run additional apps on it.

Square Stand – 1st generation ($129)

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 Stand – 2nd generation for contactless and chip ($149)

The 2nd generation of Square Stand is similar to its predecessor, but with one key distinction: it has a built-in payments terminal. So rather than having a separate Square Reader, the Square Stand 2nd generation has a credit card reader built into the stand itself. Just bear in mind that you would still need a Square Reader (magstripe reader) if you want the option to take magstripe or swiped payments. 

Square Terminal ($299)

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 (iOS and Android), so you can accept chip cards and NFC payments.

Square Reader for magstripe ($10, though the first reader is free)

The Square Reader connects to your iPhone or iPad device and is used for taking swiped credit card payments.

Clover Processing

Now let’s take a look at Clover’s POS hardware offerings. Again, it needs to be noted that the pricing for each offering depends on which software plan you pair it with, making it incredibly difficult to determine how much the hardware is on its own. Plans start at $50/month for the smallest offering.

Station Solo

This POS system comes with a 14″ display, along with a matching cash drawer and receipt printer. A useful security feature is the device’s fingerprint scanner which requires employees to log in with their fingerprints. 

Station Duo

Like the Solo, the Clover Station Duo comes with a large display, cash drawer, and receipt printer. In addition, the solution also has a customer-facing display that allows patrons to enter their contact details and marketing preferences easily.

Clover Mini

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 payment types including Apple and Google Pay. You can integrate it with barcode scanners, weight scales, and other accessories.

Clover Flex

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

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 sales reports, and email receipts.

Clover Vs. Square Payment Processing

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

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

  • 2.6% + 10¢ for every tapped (mobile payments), dipped (chip cards), and swiped (magstripe cards) payment.
  • 3.5% + 15¢ for keyed-in transactions, virtual terminal transactions, or “card on file” transactions
  • 2.9% + 30¢ for invoice or eCommerce transactions
  • 1% with a $1 minimum for ACH 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 or merchant account providers to get lower transaction fees (i.e. less than 2.75% per swipe).

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.


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 cost, which gives it a leg up over Square.


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.


Clover offers more flexibility 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 2.6% + 10¢  per swipe, tap, or dip 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

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

If you value flexibility and need built-in 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.

Payment Depot streamlines your credit card transactions by equipping you with the latest payment technologies and terminals. Plus, with Payment Depot, you won’t encounter hidden fees thanks to our transparent pricing model, ensuring you always know what you’re being charged.

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.

Quick FAQs about Square vs Clover

Q: What are the key features of the Clover and Square POS systems?

  • Clover: POS, analytics, CRM, staffing, and additional apps for customization.
  • Square: POS software, inventory management, analytics, CRM, and add-on features like employee management, payroll, loyalty, and gift cards.

Q: How do the hardware options for Clover and Square compare?

  • Clover: Clover Solo, Clover Station Duo, Clover Mini, Clover Flex, and Clover Go.
  • Square: Square Register, Square Stand, Square Terminal, Square Reader for contactless and chip, and Square Reader (magstripe reader).

Q: What are the fees associated with each POS system?

  • Square: 2.6% + 10¢ per swipe, tap, or dip; 3.5% + 15¢ for keyed-in transactions; 2.9% + 30¢ for invoice or eCommerce transactions.
  • Clover: Offers flexibility with its standalone POS system, allowing users to shop around for credit card processing companies and potentially secure lower transaction fees.

Q: Which POS system is more suitable for new or small businesses?

Square is more suitable for new and small businesses, as it offers a simple solution with cheaper hardware options compared to Clover.

Q: How does the flexibility of payment processing differ between Clover and Square?

Square requires users to process payments using its system, while Clover is a standalone POS system that can be used with various credit card processing companies, enabling users to secure potentially lower transaction fees.

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