- Clover is our pick for the best POS credit card processor in 2021.
- It offers feature-rich POS software and equipment in addition to fast card processing.
- When you sign up with Clover, you can access its POS software for under $10 a month.
- This review is for small business owners who want to learn about Clover's credit card processing service and why it's our best pick for a POS credit card processor.
We chose Clover as the best POS credit card processor for small businesses because it has flat-rate pricing, doesn't force you into long-term contracts, and offers robust point-of-sale software and hardware. With Clover, you get the ability to accept online orders and mobile payments and to create gift cards and loyalty programs – and you don't have to shop around for separate vendors for your POS and credit card processing needs.
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Pricing and Terms
When it comes to accepting credit cards and debit card payments, small businesses are understandably focused on price. After all, you don't want to overpay for a service that's supposed to be about you getting paid, or get stuck in a long-term contract with a high fee for early cancellation. Clover takes a lot of the guesswork out of credit card processing with its flat-rate pricing. How much you pay to process customers' payments depends on the POS software capabilities you need.
Clover offers two POS software plans as well as credit card processing. Register Lite is Clover's plan for businesses just starting out. The Register plan has more features, including inventory, employee and customer management, and reports.
- Register Lite: This plan is $9.95 a month, following a free 30-day trial. You pay 2.7% + $0.10 per transaction for in-person purchases and 3.5% + $0.10 for payments taken virtually or entered by hand. Clover offers 24-hour customer support by telephone, live chat and email as part of the Register Lite plan. You can also set employee permissions, track sales, run reports and access the Clover App Market on this plan. The Clover App Market has a ton of integrations that cover all aspects of your business, from payroll to COVID-19 resources.
- Register: This plan is $39.95 per month and includes everything in the Register Lite package plus the ability to manage inventory, tools to create customer loyalty programs, and advanced reporting capabilities. Transactions cost 2.3% + $0.10 for in-person purchases, and 3.5% + $0.10 for online and keyed-in purchases. We like that Clover includes functionality specifically for its restaurant and retailer customers, such as the ability to send orders directly to the kitchen, manage tables and staff, connect to a weight scale, allow customers to exchange items, and track products and profitability. Some of these capabilities may require you to purchase Clover-specific hardware.
- Virtual Terminal: For small businesses that accept payments online or by invoice, Clover offers a virtual terminal for $9.95 a month (free for the first 30 days). You can use it to accept payments without any POS hardware. Through Clover's web dashboard, you can accept payments, send invoices, and speed up checkout by storing customers' card information.
Clover's contracts are month-to-month. You aren't locked into a long-term contract, as you would be with some other credit card processors. To cancel your service, you need to provide written notice to Clover 30 days before your payment is due.
Tip: You can set up a virtual terminal with Clover to accept debit and credit card payments online without any POS system hardware.
One of the reasons we chose Clover as the best credit card processor for POS is that it makes and sells a lot of POS hardware. It also has a team of resellers, which means you can shop around for your Clover POS equipment to find the best price. Here's a look at what Clover charges if you purchase your equipment directly from the credit card processor. [Check out our reviews of the best point-of-sale systems.]
- Clover Go: This entry-level card reader lets you accept payments on the go. It works with iOS and Android devices and can be used on either of Clover's POS software plans. The Clover Go costs $69.
- Clover Flex: This is Clover's handheld device that can be used to take payments at checkout, in line or tableside. Clover Flex costs $499 or three monthly installments of $166.
- Clover Mini: The Clover Mini is a small POS that you can use to accept payments, manage inventory and handle payroll. It costs $749 or three monthly payments of $250.
- Clover Station: This all-in-one POS is designed with restaurants in mind. You can create custom orders, split checks and support online ordering with this terminal. The Clover Station costs $1,349 or three monthly payments of $450.
- Clover Station Pro: The Station Pro is Clover's most advanced terminal, with features such as the ability to create loyalty programs and to preauthorize bar tabs. It costs $1,649 or three monthly payments of approximately $549.
Clover has several features that made it a best pick. Here's a look at the major ones that can be useful to small businesses.
- Merchant account: To accept credit card payments, you need a merchant account, which Clover provides through its parent company, FIS. When you work with Clover, most sales deposits will show up in your bank account the next day. Want it even sooner? Clover's Rapid Deposit program lets you get money from your credit card sales in minutes. You have to pay a 1% transaction fee for this perk.
- Fast transaction processing: You can process credit card transactions in seconds with Clover. You can also save time by setting tax rates just once; they are then automatically applied to transactions. There's also the ability to accept payments on the go, even without Wi-Fi. The sales are processed once you are online.
- Reporting: Clover enables you to run reports from the terminal, including reports on sales, products, inventory and customer preferences. Clover can also integrate with QuickBooks and Xero to expand its reporting data.
- Payments: You can accept EMV chip cards, contactless payments and mobile wallets with Clover. It also supports online ordering for curbside and in-person pickup.
- Customer management: Through Clover's customer engagement platform, you can set up customer profiles, send emails, and create rewards programs.
- Gift cards: You can choose from more than 70 gift card designs. If you prefer to include your company logo or have a vision for your gift cards, you can design your own.
- E-commerce: E-commerce is driving a lot of growth for businesses, and Clover supports that capability with e-commerce tools. You can build a website, sell online, and synchronize orders, inventory, and customer data. You can also create menus, book appointments and accept payments. Clover has partnerships with e-commerce platforms BigCommerce and Ecwid and integrations with Instagram, Facebook, Amazon, Etsy, and eBay.
- Merchant cash advance: Clover can advance cash to you when you're a customer; it will take a percentage of your credit card sales each day until it's paid back. [Looking for a small business loan? Check out our reviews of the best financing providers.]
Key takeaway: Clover offers small business owners a lot of features in addition to credit card processing. You get a merchant account, the ability to accept different payment methods, extensive reporting and customer management, e-commerce tools, and access to merchant cash advances
To apply with Clover, you have to contact the company by phone or with its online button that directs you to a sales rep in your area. You can use its online calendar to schedule the date and time for the call or call the sales department directly. The Clover rep goes over your business needs to determine the best package for you.
Clover has 24/7 customer support by phone and email. You can access live help on its website and via the Clover POS devices. Clover also offers fraud protection of up to $100,000.
Clover has a lot to offer small businesses that want one vendor for all their credit card processing and POS needs, but there's a potential downside to that: You can't use Clover for credit card processing alone. You have to use its POS hardware, so if you already have POS hardware that you like and just need a credit card processor, Clover isn't for you. Also, Clover's pricing could be more transparent online. You need to contact a sales rep to get an accurate quote.