Clover Flex Review
Clover Flex can be both a countertop and mobile POS, but be mindful that costs and contract terms depend on which provider you buy it from.
- Works for countertop and mobile POS setups
- Supports multiple payment types
- Built-in receipt printer
- 11-hour battery life
- Runs full Clover POS
- Large, somewhat clunky design
- Pricing and contract terms vary by providers
- Glitchy software
Clover Flex Overview
As the name suggests, the Clover Flex is meant to bridge the gap between a stationary POS device and a mobile reader: It can double as either — or both. You have the flexibility to decide. Unfortunately, I don’t think the Flex terminal is as mobile as Clover hoped it would be. It’s clunky and awkward to hold. It is bigger than a mobile-capable device should be, and it’s certainly not ergonomic.
That said, the Clover Point of Sale app is a very powerful POS solution, and the available features can work with a variety of business types, from restaurants to retail. And the Clover Flex is certainly a capable device. The hardware is absolutely functional, even if it leaves just a little something to be desired, aesthetically.
The biggest hurdle to the Clover Flex (as with most Clover products) is pricing/contract terms. How much you’ll pay for the hardware and payment processing will depend on which company you choose to sign up with. You can go directly to Clover.com to get the low hardware costs and predictable payment processing through Fiserv (formerly First Data). However, some of Fiserv’s resellers offer better processing pricing and contract terms, even if the hardware might cost a little bit more. (Others might offer terrible pricing and terrible contract terms, so steer clear of anyone promising a deal that seems too good to be true — stick with our recommended Clover providers instead.)
The Clover Flex makes the most sense if you already have a Clover setup and want to take it mobile. I have a hard time seeing anyone wanting to use the Flex as their primary POS device. If you want a small-profile standalone mobile POS device with affordable pricing, you can get all of that from Square Terminal, with far fewer headaches.
Read on for more details!
Table of Contents
In addition to the Clover Flex itself, you’ll also get a separate “starter kit” that contains essential accessories — namely, the Flex charging base, cable, and power brick, the starter manual, a roll of receipt paper, and a screwdriver. (The purpose of the screwdriver eluded me until I looked at the startup guide and found out it’s a tool for replacing the SIM card).
Around the edge of the Flex, you’ll find the card readers, various buttons, and some secondary features: a power button, a barcode scanner, speakers, an audio jack, and even a USB Type C port. Placement of these features is pretty standard if you’re familiar with a smartphone — just on a larger scale. The Clover Flex manual and online help materials include a neat little graphic that shows what everything is.
Let’s talk about the biggest design-related issue: The Clover Flex is much bigger than a mobile device should be, in my opinion. It’s just about the size of an early 90s brick cell phone, but with a 5-inch smartphone screen instead of buttons. I felt most stable holding the Flex in both my hands and using my thumbs to navigate and type.
It’s also top-heavy, thanks to the receipt printer at the top of the device, making it a bit unwieldy. The Flex is encased in smooth white plastic. It doesn’t feel particularly prone to slipperiness, but Clover does include a silicone bumper case with it as well. I don’t think the case makes it easier to hold, but it will offer shock protection if you drop it.
The Clover Flex also includes a charging dock—the base is contoured to fit the handgrip on the Flex. The charging cable is about three feet long, so it can definitely sit on a counter.
Overall, the Flex is functional. The hardware design team clearly put thought into some aspects of the Flex, while others fell by the wayside. But let’s talk about some of the more technical aspects of the Flex.
Clover Flex Device Specs
As you might expect from a device calling itself Flex, Clover throws in magstripe, chip card, and contactless payment support.
The Clover Flex officially measures 7.7 inches tall by 3.2 inches wide by 2 inches deep (that sounds small, but it feels anything but when it’s in your hands). The 5-inch screen is protected by Gorilla Glass, the same stuff used by most Android smartphones. The screen is a good size, and the resolution seems fine (Clover’s spec sheet says it’s 720p HD).
The Flex’s screen size is pretty reasonable for a mobile device, but there’s also a large open space above the screen where the NFC chip and receipt printer is located, making the whole device much bigger.
Loading a roll of receipt paper is quite simple. The drawer pops open easily but also seems to latch securely. However, the receipt paper roll does rattle about a bit. Giving the Flex a little shake didn’t make the drawer pop open, but personally, the sound of the paper roll rattling around would drive me nuts.
Clover Flex comes with a 2100 mAh battery, which is a little bit weaker than what you’ll find in most high-end smartphones these days. However, 2100 mAh is robust enough to run a device like the Flex for a standard business day (eight hours). Keep in mind that your mileage may vary depending on whether your shop is busy and you rely heavily on the Flex, you keep it on the dock when not in use, or you just use it for line busting or occasional tableside ordering.
Also, the Flex has a built-in camera at the top of the device. While I can’t attest to the image quality, you may find it to be a helpful feature. The Flex’s internal storage is limited to about 8GB, which will certainly hold a good amount of photos, but is about two times smaller than your standard smartphone (which typically offers at least 16GB of storage).
Getting Started With Clover Flex
The device itself is pretty simple to set up. The Clover Flex started up with just about half its battery power, which is pretty standard for most electronics in my experience.
But let’s commence with what you need to do to get your Clover Flex set up for the first time. That starts with powering up the device and choosing your default language. After that, the real setup process begins, starting with your data connection settings. Clover Flex comes with a mobile data connection (for an additional monthly cost), but you can also set the Flex up to work with Wi-Fi or an Ethernet connection. You can complete the setup process using any of these three connections.
Once you’re connected and Flex has downloaded any software updates, Clover will ask you to enter your activation code. Clover will send you the code via email when your device ships, but you can also access it in your online portal at Clover.com. I also conveniently received a reminder email about my activation code shortly after I powered the Clover Flex up for the first time. However, if your cellular provider isn’t great at giving you timely notifications, remember that you can look back at your previous emails or log in to the dashboard to get the code.
After you enter the activation code, Clover will download your apps for you. Then, you’ll need to set up the receipt printer, which really is as simple as popping the roll of paper in and closing the Flex up. You can print a test receipt to make sure the printer is working as it should.
The second-to-last step in setting up your Clover Flex is deciding what software plan you want. We’ll talk about these options in the Pricing section, but for now, just know that you need to pick which plan you’d like to start with. Once you’ve done that, Clover will also ask you to opt into the Wireless Manager add-on, which allows you to have cellular data in addition to WiFi or Ethernet. If you don’t opt-in, you won’t have a backup data option if your internet goes down, but the Wireless Manager isn’t mandatory.
Finally, you’ll be asked to enable a couple of settings before your Flex is fully set up. For starters, you can require users to enter a passcode to unlock the device. You can also specify whether you want to accept tips and collect signatures on printed receipts or the Clover Flex screen.
It does sound like a lot, but I have been very detailed in the setup process here! It shouldn’t take you more than 10-15 minutes to get everything set up unless you need to research the software plans or your data connection is unbelievably slow.
Clover Flex Features
I always knew that Clover was very modular, but I didn’t really understand just how much until now—nor did I understand why Clover refers to its inventory tools, customer database, and reporting tools as “apps.” I thought it was a marketing gimmick, not a literal explanation. Having the opportunity to test out the Clover Flex finally shed some light on the mysteries of Clover’s point of sale system.
For starters, Clover POS isn’t really a single app with many components. It’s more like an entire mobile OS that replaces phone calls with payment processing. (The Clover Flex is built on an Android device, so you can think of it as a hefty cell phone if it helps.) Inventory isn’t in a separate tab or buried in a menu within an app—it’s an entirely different app that you open.
The Clover Flex runs the full Clover POS, and it’s compatible with the Clover Station and Clover Mini. If you need a full-fledged register/countertop POS system, you can get that and use the Flex devices as a supplement. That means orders created on one device can be completed on the other, which is very important if you’re dealing with mobile hardware and mobile staff.
Inventory Management With The Clover Flex
Because the Clover Flex POS is meant to be mobile, it doesn’t support a few of the inventory features that the Clover Station and Mini do. For example, you can’t connect a scale to weigh products. However, you can create items (with variants), categories, and modifiers from Flex. You can also adjust the settings for Clover to track stock counts and costs, but this feature isn’t enabled automatically.
Clover Flex lets you create fixed price, per-unit, and variable price items. Fixed price is for standard wares, whereas per-unit pricing will ask you to specify a unit and a price per unit. When you select the item to ring up, you’ll need to enter the quantity. With variable price items, you’ll simply enter the cost when you add the item to an order. This feature could be helpful for, say, art galleries that have a rotating inventory of paintings by a select few artists. You could set the item up as “NAME painting” and simply plug in the price of that particular painting. But there are many other uses as well.
I mentioned earlier that the Flex has a built-in barcode scanner, and you can use it to load inventory into the app. Simply scan the barcode, and the Flex will import that data into the POS. This could be a major time-saver for some businesses.
Payment Processing With Clover Flex
Clover Flex mobile payments are broken down into three apps: Register, Orders, and Sale. Register is where you can find all of your inventory and add products to the cart. Orders pulls up any open tickets so that you can complete the transactions. Sale is the standard quick-sale mode where you simply plug in an amount and swipe, dip, or tap the card.
However, you have access to all sorts of settings related to payments directly on the Flex, starting with the basics: tax and tip. The tip settings are fairly intuitive, but the tax settings might require a bit more thought, depending on where your business is located. While I won’t say Flex’s tax settings are the most advanced I’ve seen, they’re definitely flexible.
Most payment-related settings are in the Clover Setup app, including customizing your accepted payment tenders and whether a transaction triggers a cash drawer opening.
Clover’s additional POS features include a customer database, fairly comprehensive in-app reporting, and employee management features, among many others. (There’s a rewards program add-on, timekeeping and payroll, and more, all available from the “More Tools” button on the Flex.)
I like that you can create custom roles for your employees, set individual logins and restrict which features an employee can access on Clover devices based on their role. This is included at no extra charge, and it’s actually fairly advanced.
I wouldn’t want to use the Flex as my primary device for analyzing reports, but the features are a bit more robust than what you’d find on your average mobile device. You can specify the hourly range, the total timeframe (today, yesterday, the past week, the past 30 days, or a custom range), and filter reports by all devices or just your Clover handheld.
With the customer database, you can link transactions to customers and keep a database with their name, contact information, and even their birthday. This is a good foundation for the add-on CRM and loyalty programs that Clover offers.
Clover Flex Ease Of Use
I said earlier that the Clover Flex is fairly simple to set up. But what about actually using the POS and the hardware? In short, Clover Flex and other Clover devices will feel intuitive if you’ve ever used an Android device before. And even if you’ve only ever used an iPhone, you should be able to master Clover Flex’s app-based functionality in no time.
However, you could find yourself a little frustrated as you flip through multiple apps to find the right one to modify a particular setting. Settings are available within the individual apps rather than from a single settings menu.
There’s no centralized control for any of the settings.
Clover Flex Pricing
|Clover Flex||$499 ($350 if purchased with Clover Station)|
|Clover Payments Plan||$0/month; plus 2.6% + $0.10 per transaction|
|Clover Essentials Plan||$9.95/month per device, plus 2.6% + $0.10 per transaction|
|Register Plan||$39.95/month, plus 2.3% + $0.10 per transaction|
|Counter Service Restaurant Plan||$39.95/month, plus 2.3% + $0.10 per transaction|
|Table Service Restaurant Plan||$69.95/month, plus 2.3% + $0.10 per transaction|
The Clover Flex hardware is quite affordable for its class, as are Clover’s monthly plans. There’s even a free plan for payment processing only (with minimal POS features).
If you go through Clover.com, Clover Flex will cost you $499 if purchased on its own. You may be able to find different prices through different vendors, but those may also come with varying processing fees. As for software, you’ll have a choice of several monthly plans with Clover Flex, as shown in the chart above.
Adding additional devices to the same plan is $9.95/month/device, regardless of plan. So, for example, if you add a Clover Flex to a Restaurant plan with a Clover Station, you’ll pay a total of $79.90/month. You can also add 4G processing to your Clover Flex for $15/month.
To learn more about Clover pricing, read The Complete 2022 Clover Pricing Guide.
Customer Service & Support
To some extent, your customer support options will depend on which processor you choose to sign up with. Your merchant account provider will often be your front line for all account-related questions. However, for technical support, Clover is the go-to source. (If you sign up with Clover directly, they’ll be your point of contact for account-specific issues too.)
Clover offers 24/7 phone support, which is always nice to see. Being able to talk to a support rep in real-time is very important, and being available round the clock? That’s a lot better than many processors offer. Being backed by Fiserv, which is an absolutely massive company, means access to some serious resources. I like that Clover’s support will help you with the basic setup as well as troubleshooting. There’s also a support page on the Clover site with troubleshooting advice.
You can also access customer support resources from your Clover device. (Look for the “Help” app with the question mark icon.) Clover will give you the phone number, email, and your MID right on the screen, so you don’t have to scramble for any information. You can also download PDF guides and watch some support videos on your Clover device directly.
Clover Flex Reviews, Complaints & Testimonials
One of the challenges that we have always faced with reviewing Clover products is user reviews. Parsing all of the data and getting a feel for what merchants love and hate about any piece of software (or hardware) is a big undertaking. Clover is extra challenging because Fiserv has such a massively huge network of resellers offering the Clover suite, and well…to be honest, some of them are completely terrible.
Most Clover reviews tend to be extremely negative and usually focused on payment processing or hardware leases. Even good reviews tend to primarily focus on the software element — being vague about the hardware if it’s mentioned at all. With that said, reviews have been slowly trickling in over a variety of places online, enough that a few recurring themes have emerged, albeit still from a small sample size.
Negative Reviews & Complaints
Clover Flex does not have a presence on the BBB. Clover’s parent company, First Data, has a BBB profile, but these reviews mostly pertain to its merchant services so many of these complaints are unrelated to Clover or Clover Flex. Clover does have a page on Trustpilot, but it’s not specific to Clover Flex. Still, there are various negative users reviews of Clover Flex to be found across the internet. Common complaints include:
- Customers Given Poor Information: More than one reviewer complained that they specifically asked Clover if certain software would be compatible with the Clover Flex, such as a gift card or a third-party app, and were told it wouldn’t be a problem, only to find out that it doesn’t work.
- Bugs & Restarts: Multiple customers reported very similar-sounding issues about bugs that would either shut down the Flex or cause a restart right in the middle of processing. There are multiple instances of the hardware either freezing up or becoming unresponsive, forcing a hard restart.
- Connection Issues: A few users reported that the machines would often process in offline mode even when connected to wireless, making for slower connection speeds. Similarly, a few reviewers complained that the range on the devices was sub-par, often dropping connectivity from one end of a store to another.
- Battery Life: More than one reviewer noted that the Flex started to have difficulty charging earlier than they would have anticipated, and the battery life got progressively weaker with time.
- Not Great Features For The Price: A few users mentioned Clover Flex’s upfront cost and mentioned that they expected additional features to be available that they either couldn’t find or didn’t exist in the product.
- Unhelpful Or Hard-To-Reach Customer Support: This complaint is not specific to Clover Flex but rather for Clover products in general. As mentioned, your quality of customer support may depend, at least in part, on where you purchase your system from.
Positive Reviews & Testimonials
As follows are some things customers like about Clover Flex, as mentioned in online reviews:
- Processing Speed: A good portion of the customers who were happy with the device felt particularly pleased with how quickly it processed payments and the speed at which they received funds.
- Ease Of Use: Most customers appreciated how easy the device is to set up and use for both employees and customers.
- Intuitive Design: A few reviewers really liked the feel of the device and found it was simple for their employees and customers to use.
Clover Flex FAQs
Final Verdict Of Clover Flex
In all, the Clover Flex earns a 4-star rating for its functionality and—pun fully intended here, folks—flexibility. I think the Flex works best as an extension of the Clover system rather than as a solo device, but it could work as a standalone if you need it to and all of the software features line up for you. The single biggest concern with any Clover product is making sure you sign up with a reputable processor. If you go through Clover directly, you’ll get the lowest hardware pricing and a month-to-month agreement with clear, simplified rates. However, other reputable resellers for Clover exist, including Dharma Merchant Services, National Processing, and Payment Depot.
What are your thoughts on the Flex? If you’ve used it, how does it stack up against the other Clover products? Do you have questions? We’re always happy to hear from merchants, so check out our comment guidelines.
The Merchant Maverick Seal of Approval 🏆
After hours of in-depth research and evaluation, we can confidently recommend this brand to our readers. Get started today and see Clover Flex for yourself.
The Merchant Maverick Seal of Approval 🏆
After hours of in-depth research and evaluation, we can confidently recommend this brand to our readers. Get started today and see Clover Flex for yourself.