Clover is the best credit card processing company for new businesses because of its flat-rate pricing, month-to-month contracts, and affordable POS software and hardware.
New businesses have a lot to manage, so it’s helpful to choose a credit card processing service with clear pricing, flexible terms and integrations with the other key software a new business is implementing. We chose Clover as the best credit card processing company for new businesses because of its flat-rate pricing, month-to-month contracts, and affordable POS software and hardware. With Clover, you can accept online orders and mobile payments, as well as create gift cards and loyalty programs – all without shopping around for separate POS and credit card processing vendors.
8.3 / 10
We chose Clover as the best credit card processor for new businesses because it features flat-rate pricing, doesn’t force you into long-term contracts, and offers robust point-of-sale (POS) software and hardware. This cost-effective and flexible structure gives new businesses exactly what they need to grow with confidence.
With Clover, you get the ability to accept online orders, process mobile credit card payments, and create gift cards and customer loyalty programs, all of which can help a new business gain traction and grow quickly. We especially love that you don’t have to shop around for separate vendors for your POS and credit card processing needs, which is helpful for a newly launched company with limited funds and a long to-do list.
When it comes to usability, the primary way your team will engage with Clover is through the POS software interface, rather than with the credit card processing service itself. Except for the virtual terminal, Clover’s credit card processing abilities are not stand-alone and require users to purchase its POS hardware. For that reason, we examined the ease of use of the POS software alongside Clover’s credit card processing service.
Clover’s POS system comes installed on its own hardware, but it is also available via its mobile app and virtual terminals. This gives business owners flexibility and access on the go without additional equipment. When testing out the platform, we found the interface easy to use and intuitive.
In our review of Clover, we found it easy to accept credit and debit card payments from your Clover web dashboard. The system offers end-to-end encryption to secure transactions and stay PCI compliant. Clover has some of the fastest processing speeds we encountered in our review as well, purportedly running EMV chip transactions in less than 3 seconds. Through the dashboard, you can also send invoices and receipts, as well as store customers’ card information to speed up the checkout process.
Clover enables you to accept multiple payment options, including swipe credit card payments, EMV chip cards and contactless payments.
We don’t see any reason why employees would encounter difficulties or challenges when learning how to use the system. Clover offers several tools that simplify employee management, including an employee time clock for payroll tracking. We also like how the reporting tools provide analytics on employee productivity and customer foot traffic. This helps you identify peak operating hours and schedule shifts accordingly.
Although Clover previously focused almost exclusively on brick-and-mortar businesses that require a POS system, it has expanded its capabilities to accommodate e-commerce businesses. It provides customers with tools to build a website, synchronize orders, and manage inventory and customer data. Through the Clover dashboard, businesses can sell products, accept online payments, create menus and allow customers to book appointments.
Clover’s partnerships with e-commerce platforms such as BigCommerce and Ecwid give businesses with existing websites more reach. Clover also integrates with other online marketplaces such as Instagram, Facebook, Amazon, Etsy and eBay.
Clover’s restaurant POS software contains many industry-specific features, including table mapping, server input tools, custom guest orders and a delivery scheduler for cooks.
|Merchant account||Clover provides a merchant account, which is a necessity to accept credit card payments, through parent company Fiserv.|
|Fast processing||Transactions are processed within seconds, including on the go, which is important for managing cash flow.|
|Reporting||Clover can run reports from its processing terminal, including analytics on sales, products, inventory, and customer preferences, keeping you on top of data related to your business.|
|Payments||You can accept EMV chip cards, contactless payments, and mobile wallet payments, which are options that many customers have come to expect.|
|Customer management||You can set up customer profiles, send emails to clients, and create rewards programs, which can help cement customer loyalty.|
|Gift cards||The custom gift card templates tool is an uncommon feature among payment processors.|
|E-commerce||Clover offers integrations with major e-commerce platforms as well as website creation and management, making it something of a one-stop shop compared to alternatives without advanced functionality.|
|Merchant cash advance||Clover can advance cash – a great option for businesses that need a cushion for cash flow.|
Clover has several features that make it one of our best picks for a credit card processing service. Here’s a look at some that may be particularly useful to just-launched small businesses that want to process credit card payments.
To accept credit card payments, you need a merchant account, which Clover provides through its parent company Fiserv. When you work with Clover, most sales deposits will show up in your bank account the next day.
Want them even sooner? We love that Clover’s Rapid Deposit program lets you get money from your credit card sales in minutes. However, you must pay a 1% transaction fee for this perk.
You can process credit card transactions in seconds with Clover. You also save time by setting tax rates just once; they are then automatically applied to all future transactions. There’s also the ability to accept payments on the go, even without Wi-Fi. The sales are processed as soon as the device is back online.
Clover enables you to run reports from its processing terminal, including analytics on sales, products, inventory and customer preferences. Clover can also integrate with QuickBooks and Xero to expand its reporting data. See our review of Xero to learn more about this accounting software.
You can accept EMV chip cards, contactless payments and mobile wallet payments with Clover. The platform also supports online ordering for curbside and in-person pickup.
Through Clover’s customer engagement platform, you can set up customer profiles, send emails to clients and create rewards programs.
An uncommon but delightful feature Clover includes in its platform is more than 70 gift card designs to offer customers gift cards for your business. If you want to include your company logo or you have a specific vision for your gift cards, you can design your own.
E-commerce is driving a lot of growth for businesses, and Clover supports virtual transactions with e-commerce tools. You can use its services to 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.
Clover can advance cash to you if you find your funds are getting low. It will take a percentage of your credit card sales each day until the money is paid back. This is a really great benefit for new businesses that may be struggling with cash flow.
When it comes to accepting credit and debit card payments, small businesses, especially new ones, are understandably focused on the cost of processing such transactions. 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. New business owners must adjust to various fluctuating expenses, but 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 with its credit card processing services. Register Lite is Clover’s plan for new businesses. The Register plan, for more established businesses, has more features, including inventory tools, employee and customer management, and reports.
For small businesses that accept payments online or by invoice, Clover offers a virtual terminal for $9.95 per month (though we appreciate that it’s 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’ credit card information.
A really great benefit when you sign up with Clover is that contracts are month to month. You aren’t locked into a long-term contract, as you would be with some other credit card processors. (Check out our review of Merchant One for an example of one such processor.) To cancel your service, you need to provide written notice 30 days before your next payment is due.
For more information, refer to Clover’s pricing page and contact a sales rep for a quote.
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 main reasons Clover is a great option for new businesses 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 company. [Check out our reviews of the best POS software if you prefer a stand-alone system.]
To apply for Clover’s services, you must contact the company by phone or through its website. We liked that you can use the site’s online calendar to schedule a date and time for a sales call, or you can call the sales department directly.
When you connect, a Clover rep will review your business’s needs to determine the best package for you. Solutions and pricing are tailored to your business, taking into account these and other criteria:
Clover has 24/7 customer support by phone and email. You can access live help on its website and via Clover POS devices. Clover also offers fraud protection of up to $100,000.
For this review, we contacted a representative through the live chat option on Clover’s website with numerous questions about Clover’s features. Within 10 minutes, we received a reply with answers. We found that representatives typically responded within 10 to 20 minutes of each question. Be prepared to present information about your business’s sales volume, products and what you want out of the Clover system.
We found that Clover’s representatives were knowledgeable, but because the company offers many custom business solutions, it can be difficult to obtain an easy answer.
If you prefer to troubleshoot any issues on your own, Clover offers helpful user guides on its website. These guides walk you through the features of specific devices, as well as offer guidance on virtual terminals, leveraging the API, and other FAQs.
Clover has a lot to offer small businesses that want one vendor for all their credit card processing and POS needs, but there is a potential downside to that: You can’t use Clover for credit card processing alone. Apart from relying solely on the virtual terminal, you must use its POS hardware. This means that if you already have a POS system that you like and just need a credit card processor, Clover isn’t for you.
We wish Clover’s pricing was more transparent online. You must contact a sales rep to get a quote, which is inconvenient compared to competitors that simply list price points on their website. Clover offers customized solutions for different business needs, which may mean higher pricing or termination fees.
To conduct our review of Clover’s credit card processing service, we arranged a live demo with the Clover team, which gave us a walk-through of the product and conducted a thorough question-and-answer session. In addition, we analyzed Clover’s website, marketing materials and customer reviews. To make our decision, we zeroed in on criteria such as affordability, ease of use and relevant features to small businesses. In the end, we chose Clover as the best credit card processing service for new businesses because of its rates, flexible terms and associated POS software, which can help new businesses get up and running quickly.
Clover’s Register Lite plan costs $9.95 per month, plus 2.7% + $0.10 per transaction for in-person purchases or 3.5% + $0.10 for payments taken virtually or entered manually. Clover’s Register plan costs $39.95 per month, plus 2.3% + $0.10 for in-person purchases or 3.5% + $0.10 for online and keyed-in purchases. Clover also offers a virtual terminal for an additional $9.95 per month.
Yes. Clover offers a 30-day free trial for both its Register Lite and Register plans.
Banks such as Citi, SunTrust and Wells Fargo sell Clover products. You can also buy directly from the company at Clover Direct.
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Lori Fairbanks and Donna Fuscaldo contributed to the writing and research in this review.