Clover VS Square: Which POS System Is Best For Your Small Business?
Clover and Square both have innovative hardware, user-friendly interfaces, and affordability. The size of your business may determine which one is better for you.
In the world of point of sale systems, Clover and Square are two industry heavy-hitters, and for good reason. Clover and Square have a lot in common — innovative hardware, user-friendly interfaces, and affordable pricing plans. However, a few distinct differences between the two products may make one a better option for your small business than the other.
It’s easy to spend hours researching Clover and Square, weighing the pros and cons, and identifying the differences between the two. But as a small business owner, who has time for that? Instead, we’ve done the hard work, putting Clover vs. Square head-to-head so that you can easily make the most informed decision for your business.
If you’re ready to upgrade to a POS system, looking for a way to take online orders, or want tools for managing your employees, inventory, and marketing, keep reading to find out whether Clover or Square is the best POS solution for you.
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Clover VS Square
In the Square vs. Clover debate, they are both strong POS solutions, boasting numerous features, user-friendly interfaces, and sleek hardware options. But Clover has strong back-end features better suited for larger and growing businesses. Meanwhile, Square’s easy, affordable pricing model and ease of use make it a popular choice among smaller businesses.
The Key Differences Between Clover & Square
On the surface, Clover and Square are pretty similar. But when you dig a little deeper, you’ll see that there are a few key differences between the POS providers, including:
- Rates & Fee Structures: Square offers pricing plans starting at $0/month up to $60/month if you opt for Square for Retail or Square for Restaurants. Additional paid add-ons include Square Appointments, Square Marketing, and Square Payroll. Clover also offers basic payment processing with no monthly software fees, but a Square device is required. Other plans range from $9.95/month to $69.95/month.
- Hardware Options: Clover has numerous hardware options to meet the needs of businesses of all sizes. Options include the compact Clover Go, the handheld Clover Flex, the small yet powerful Clover Mini, and the more robust solutions Clover Station, Clover Station Solo, and Clover Station Duo. Square also has several hardware options to select from, including card readers, tablet stands, startup packages, the handheld Square Terminal, and the all-in-one Square Register.
- POS Software Features: The built-in features you’ll find with Clover are hard to beat. Some of its standout features include online ordering, customer invoicing, inventory management, kitchen printing, order management, tableside ordering, custom digital and physical gift cards, built-in loyalty, and a solid selection of reports. Square boasts its own strong feature set. Notable features include inventory management, employee management, menu creation, table management, tableside ordering, delivery integration, free online store, marketing tools, and reporting. Note that the features you have access to for either Clover or Square are dependent on the plan you select.
- Marketing Tools: Clover has a handful of marketing tools in its paid plans, such as communication tools and real-time promos via text or email. Square users can access several free marketing tools, including a customer directory, customer insights, and feedback. Additional tools are available by purchasing the Square Marketing add-on, which includes unlimited marketing emails with customizable templates, automated emails, and smart groups for targeted marketing.
- Multichannel Selling: Square offers numerous ways to easily connect with your customers, from payment links and QR codes to direct connections to Instagram and Facebook for social media sales. Clover users can use plug-ins and integrations for their multichannel selling needs.
- Website & eCommerce Tools: If you want to take your business online, Clover and Square both have eCommerce options. Clover partners with BigCommerce and Ecwid. Free trials may be available, and a separate monthly subscription fee would be required after that. Square users can get a free basic online store hosted by Weebly or use one of Square’s integrations for more complex eCommerce needs.
- Inventory Management: All of Clover’s software plans feature inventory management, although you will need to purchase a more expensive plan to access advanced inventory. Some of the features you can expect from Clover include variants, labeling, item tracking, and modifiers. Inventory can be managed across multiple locations. Square has similar inventory management features. For the most advanced features, you will need to invest in the Square for Retail plan. Some of Square’s inventory management features include transfers across multiple locations, bulk importing, real-time tracking, variants, and daily stock alerts.
- Employee Features: Clover makes it easy to manage your employees with features such as scheduling, shift management, customizable tips, tip pooling, customizable employee access, and performance metrics. Square Team Management is free for all plans and has scheduling, a time clock, break tracking, and the Square Team app. Users can upgrade to Team Plus for an additional monthly fee, which has more advanced features, such as open shift scheduling, shift swapping, team reminders, customizable access levels, and reports and analytics.
- Loyalty: Clover’s loyalty program is built into most of its hardware. Clover Mini, Flex, and Station users can customize their loyalty programs, create text and email campaigns, and even get customer feedback. Square also has a loyalty program — Square Loyalty — that is available as a separate add-on starting at $45/month.
- Virtual Terminal: Both Clover and Square have virtual terminals, allowing you to accept credit card payments through your computer. With Square, there is no monthly fee; you’ll only pay credit card processing fees. If you choose Clover, you must subscribe to the No Hardware plan, which includes invoicing, online payments, and other features for $9.95/month in addition to processing fees.
Clover VS Square Software Features
Clover and Square allow you to take multiple forms of payment, from debit and credit cards to contactless EMV payments. The difference between the two lies in the payment processors that each require you to use. Square is its own payment processor and offers competitive processing fees. With Clover, you’ll be locked into a Fiserv merchant account. While Fiserv has competitive rates, there have been numerous complaints about customer service, so make sure to review your options before taking the plunge.
If you use Clover Flex, Mini, or Station, you’ll have a built-in loyalty program at no additional cost. Clover’s loyalty program allows you to store customer information, track spending habits, create and send custom promos, and get feedback from your customers. Customers can also use a mobile app to track reward points. Square also has a loyalty program. However, you must subscribe to Square Loyalty for an additional monthly fee.
Square has stock alerts that let you know when stock levels are running low. This feature is even included on the Square Free Plan. Clover does not have built-in stock alerts, although you can use inventory management integrations from the Clover App Market that include this feature. Additional fees may apply.
Square makes it easy to take appointments with its Square Appointments add-on. This option is ideal for beauty salons, spas, barbershops, photography studios, and other service-based businesses. Pricing is free for an individual and $50+/month for teams. Clover does not have its own appointment app or add-on, although you can find integrations through the Clover App Market.
Through Square Online, you can easily set up your business for delivery orders by enabling On-Demand Delivery. This service is very easy to set up and use, and pricing is $1.50 per order. Clover users that want to offer delivery to customers will have to download an integration through the Clover App Market.
With Square, you can easily handle your payroll right through your POS system. To run payroll, you’ll have to subscribe to the Square Payroll add-on for a monthly fee. Clover does not have its own built-in payroll, but you can again search the Clover App Market for payroll integrations.
Clover VS Square Pricing
What you’ll pay for in Square vs. Clover fees is dependent upon several factors, including but not limited to the software plan, hardware, and add-ons you select. Fortunately, Clover and Square both offer numerous plans and hardware options suitable for almost any budget.
Square offers free POS software that also includes one free card reader, making it one of the best free POS options on the market. For more advanced features, you will have to upgrade to Square for Retail or Square for Restaurants, each priced at $60/month. Square’s hardware ranges from free for a basic card reader to $799 for the Square Register. Additional costs to consider are add-ons, such as Square Appointments, Square Marketing, Square Loyalty, and Square Payroll. To learn more about the costs associated with Square, check out our complete Square POS review.
Clover has a basic free POS plan that is compatible with the Clover Mini, Clover Flex, and Clover Go. If you don’t want to purchase Clover hardware, you can subscribe to the No Hardware plan for $9.95/month. Additional paid plans range from $9.95/month to $69.95/month. Hardware starts at $99 for the Clover Go and can run as much as $1,649 for the Station Duo. Check out our full Clover POS review for more pricing details.
One other cost to consider before making your choice is payment processing fees. Clover’s payment processing fees start at 2.3% + $0.10 per transaction. Square’s payment processing fees start at 2.6% + $0.10 per transaction. Rates vary by plan, and discounts may be available for high-volume sellers.
Which Is Best For My Business Needs: Clover Or Square?
While Clover and Square are both strong contenders in the POS space, what works for one business may not be the right choice for yours. If you’re still undecided between Clover POS vs. Square, consider the following situations to determine which POS solution best fits the specific needs of your business.
Chose Clover If…
- You need strong inventory management and reporting
- You own a restaurant with complex menus and table mapping needs
- You have a large-scale or enterprise business
- You need a scalable solution for a business that’s growing quickly
Choose Square If…
- You need a payment processor and minimal inventory management
- You want a POS system with numerous add-ons and integrations
- You want a simple, easy-to-use, and scalable POS with affordable hardware
- You want an easy POS solution for multichannel selling
Clover VS Square FAQ
Clover VS Square Comparison: The Final Verdict
Clover’s POS software is very intuitive and easy to use. Clover is suitable for businesses of all sizes, from very small businesses to larger enterprises. Clover is a scalable solution, so it’s a solid choice for businesses that are projected to grow quickly. Strong inventory management, an impressive app store, a built-in loyalty program included with most hardware, and an overall solid set of features — all available at a competitive price — make it easy to see why Clover is such a popular POS solution. While it is missing a few key features, numerous apps are available to fill in the gaps and help bolster your business. Clover does boast a bit more firepower than Square when it comes to the depth of some of its back-end features and is probably a slightly better option for large-scale or enterprise businesses.
Square first appealed to the smallest of small businesses with its user-friendly interface, low pricing, and free card reader. Since its launch, the company has continued to make advances in its hardware and software, making Square a viable option for larger businesses as well. This all-in-one POS solution stands out for its simple built-in payment processing, large app store, sleek hardware, and affordable pricing. Square continues to grow and stay on top of POS trends, such as mobile ordering and eCommerce options. While Square certainly is suitable for businesses of all sizes, it’s an excellent choice for smaller businesses that want an easy-to-use solution for accepting payments and making sales through multiple channels.
If you still can’t reach a decision, make sure to check out our full reviews to learn more. You can also sign up for the Square Free Plan or test our Clover’s No Hardware plan with a 30-day free trial to check out the software for yourself. Or, if neither seems to be the perfect fit, give our other POS software reviews a look to find the option that works for you. Good luck!