Clover is our choice for the best POS credit card processor, thanks to its robust suite of tools, flat-rate pricing and well-designed POS hardware.
Credit card processing is just one aspect of running a business. Brick-and-mortar and e-commerce stores also benefit from a robust point-of-sale (POS) system – which is where Clover shines. In addition to credit card processing, Clover stands out from competitors by offering POS software and hardware. You can also access customer management, marketing, inventory management and report generation tools.
9.2 / 10
We chose Clover as the best credit card processor for POS because it provides business owners with solutions to meet all their POS needs. Clover’s software lets you accept credit card payments and many other digital payment methods. You can also process returns and exchanges, offer digital receipts and fast tipping, manage inventory, and generate reports.
On the hardware side, Clover offers various POS devices, including card readers, terminals and handheld devices. We like that with Clover, you don’t have to shop around for separate vendors for your POS and credit card processing needs. For these reasons, Clover is our choice for the best POS credit card processor.
Clover offers various POS hardware and software options to suit your business’s needs. Source: Clover
We tested Clover’s platform in-depth and found the interface easy and intuitive. Clover’s layout is logical, with separate tabs for reporting, orders, transactions, inventory and more. We appreciated that the virtual terminal tool is prominently displayed as a green button at the top – users will likely utilize this feature often. We feel that business owners and their teams won’t encounter difficulties or challenges learning how to use the system.
We found the virtual terminal straightforward to figure out. You can toggle between manually entering a customer’s payment information and sending an email invoice. The email invoice feature is particularly useful because an embedded link brings customers directly to the virtual terminal to enter their payment information.
On the hardware side, we like that Clover’s devices are plug-and-play, with no technical ability required for setup. (Clover even includes a screwdriver in its packaging for products that require it.) Another great feature is the Clover Go app, which can be paired with the Clover Go device to turn your smartphone into an easy-to-use POS system.
Clover’s desktop layout is well organized. Source: Clover
Clover not only processes credit cards, but also provides a host of useful tools for accepting payments, managing inventory, e-commerce, integrations and more. Here’s an overview of key Clover features that we think business owners will find helpful.
We liked that Clover’s virtual terminal lets you accept and process credit card payments without hardware. You can accept credit and debit card payments from your Clover web dashboard, while end-to-end encryption ensures e-commerce website security with secure and PCI-compliant transactions. Sellers can manually enter a buyer’s credit card information or send invoices via email. The ability to enter credit card information manually will be particularly useful for businesses that accept credit card payments over the phone. We appreciated that you can use the dashboard to send invoices and receipts and store customers’ card information to speed up checkout.
We were impressed by Clover’s in-depth inventory management and monitoring features. You can import and export inventory lists and assign SKU numbers and other information. For example, you can include various product characteristics, such as different sizes and colors. When you sell a product, the system deducts it from your inventory count. When you’re out of stock, the item won’t appear available on online menus. Clover integrates with several third-party inventory management apps if your inventory needs are more complex.
Clover’s inventory management features will help you avoid excess inventory, which ties up cash in products and can incur storage costs.
Clover provides customers with straightforward e-commerce tools to build an online store or 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 customer management and marketing tools are among our favorite features. With Clover, you can manage customers and build customer loyalty with customized deals and reward programs. You can also solicit customer feedback via the company’s customer engagement platform. In an era where customers often take out their displeasure on social media and online reviews, we believe this is a particularly valuable tool. You can also use the software to create customer profiles, send birthday rewards and email personalized offers.
When customers opt in to receive receipts by text, they are automatically enrolled in SMS marketing (they can opt out by unchecking the box.) We like how this process involves nearly zero friction. Customers can also create an account with your business using their phone number for faster ordering. The Clover app allows you to set up a profile page for your business, providing another avenue to engage customers and drum up more sales.
We were impressed that Clover integrates with 500 other third-party apps through its Clover App Market – by far the most integrations of any credit card processor we reviewed. For example, Clover integrates with many of the best accounting software solutions, including QuickBooks and Xero, and highly rated payroll software such as Gusto and ADP. Clover also integrates with many of the top e-commerce platforms, such as BigCommerce and Ecwid, as well as Instagram, Facebook, Amazon, Etsy and eBay.
Clover has various built-in security features, including two-factor authentication for logging in and end-to-end encryption with tokenization for all transactions. Merchants that want additional security help to maintain PCI compliance can opt for the Clover Security Plus plan for an additional fee.
Deposits can take one to three days, but many businesses see their funds the next business day. If your business experiences a cash flow problem, for a 1% fee, you can select specific transactions that you want to receive funding for immediately with Clover’s Rapid Deposit. You can also take a cash advance against future credit card sales with Clover Capital.
Software makes crucial data analytics for small businesses easier than ever. Clover’s POS software can run various reports on sales, inventory and employees. We like how you can track sales by product, employee and time period. We were impressed that reports can be generated on a very granular level, allowing business owners to view which products are selling on an hourly basis. You can also identify the best- and worst-performing products and manage staffing levels and inventory based on data collected at checkout.
In addition to credit card processing, Clover offers a one-stop shop for small businesses’ point-of-sale needs. This complete system includes proprietary POS hardware, online ordering software, gift cards and a well-regarded mobile app.
Clover is well known for its proprietary POS hardware that pairs with its credit card processing software, including card readers, terminals and handheld devices. The Clover Go is a small, square-shaped device that can be paired with a smartphone so you can accept credit card payments on a mobile phone. The Clover Flex and Cover Mini are two tablet-like POS devices that can be used to accept payments from your shop floor or right at the table in a restaurant. Clover’s highest-end device is the Station Duo, which functions as a traditional cash register and comes complete with a customer-facing touchpad.
Clover offers several POS devices that integrate with its credit card processing software. Source: Clover
Clover’s robust online ordering capabilities set it apart from its competitors. Many merchants, particularly restaurants, will appreciate these features. You can easily create an online menu, and Clover’s software handles order and payment processing. Customers can create an advance order for delivery or schedule a curbside pickup. To streamline delivery, Clover has partnered with DoorDash on a built-in integration.
Clover makes it easy to streamline your delivery operations. Source: Clover
We liked Clover’s extensive gift card features. It offers physical and digital gift cards with more than 70 design templates to choose from. You can also create your own gift card with customized brand images.
Not every provider we reviewed offered a mobile app, and Clover’s app is excellent. The Clover Go mobile app can be paired with the Clover Go device to turn your smartphone into a mobile POS system, allowing you to accept card payments on the go and accept mobile payments in restaurants. You can also access reports from the app and manage your business from anywhere. We were impressed that the mobile app maintains a 4.8 out of 5 score on Apple’s App Store, an exceptionally high rating compared to many small business apps.
Clover’s mobile POS app is highly rated by users. Source: Clover
We like that Clover’s pricing structure isn’t one-size-fits-all. In contrast, it offers various plans depending on business type and hardware needs. For every business category, Clover features three plan tiers (Starter, Standard and Advanced) with included POS hardware ranging from handheld terminals to full cash registers. Clover bundles its software and hardware into packages that can be purchased on an annual or monthly basis. These costs are as low as $14.95 for some Starter plans but can reach $290 for the full-service dining Advanced plan.
Monthly costs for Clover’s six business categories are as follows:
Home and field services
In addition to the monthly or annual costs for bundled software and hardware, Clover charges credit card processing fees. This charge consists of a percentage of the total transaction amount plus a small fixed fee. Your processing fees will depend on your plan tier for the software and hardware bundle.
If your customers’ charges don’t go through, there is a chargeback fee of $30 for credit cards and $25 for rejected ACH payments. There is also a $30 fee for disputed transactions, a PIN adjustment fee of $25 and a nonrefundable application fee of $149.
We were impressed by Clover’s wide availability. Various authorized dealers sell Clover systems, including financial institutions like Citi, PNC, SunTrust and Wells Fargo, and retailers like Restaurant Depot and Sam’s Club. More than 3,000 authorized partners sell Clover devices. However, you can also purchase a system directly on Clover’s website.
When you purchase a software and hardware bundle, you must apply online for a merchant account. We like that Clover has a fast approval process and can ship hardware overnight in as little as one business day after approval. All Clover devices are shipped “payments-ready,” meaning you can start accepting payments immediately.
We like that Clover offers 24/7 phone support for merchants. In an era where many companies have transitioned to automated support systems, it’s essential that business owners can get a human on the phone when they need help. Clover also provides support through email, and answers to many frequently asked questions are available on its website.
Log in to your Clover account to access an extensive knowledge base. Source: Clover
While Clover provides top-notch POS hardware and software, the downside of its bundle approach is that you’re locked into the Clover ecosystem. Clover’s credit card processing and POS services are designed to work as an integrated system, and the hardware and software aren’t compatible with competitors’ offerings. Clover also charges a monthly subscription even if you aren’t using its hardware, and the company’s processing fees are significantly higher than those of some alternatives we reviewed.
On independent, user-generated review sites, we noted that many Clover merchants complained about long hold times for customer service and the difficulty of canceling Clover’s services. We advise business owners to carefully review the terms of service, regardless of which credit card processor they choose.
We researched and analyzed leading credit card processors to find the best credit card processors for small businesses. We investigated demos and free trials, carefully examined user reviews, and interacted with each vendor’s customer service team. We evaluated the usability of each company’s hardware and software offerings and how fair the contract terms are to merchants. Furthermore, we scrutinized the rates and fees each processor charges. To identify the best credit card processor for POS, we paid particular attention to POS hardware and POS features included in the software.
Funds generally appear in your account within one to three business days.
Contract terms and termination fees for Clover devices vary by provider, so be sure to review the terms of service.