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The Best Clover Alternatives & Competitors For Small Businesses In 2024

Clover POS is powerful and flexible, but it’s not a perfect point of sale system. Check out these alternatives to find a POS system that might better suits your needs.

    Shannon Vissers
  • Last updated onUpdated

  • Matt Sherman
  • REVIEWED BY

    Matt Sherman

    Lead Staff Writer

Advertiser Disclosure: Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships, and we adhere to strict guidelines to preserve editorial integrity.

Clover POS has become one of the most popular and best POS systems for small-to-medium businesses.

Clover is truly an all-in-one system, as it comes complete with a merchant account — in fact, you can only use it in conjunction with a Fiserv merchant account. Competitive credit card processing rates are available, and the open API and app market both make Clover adaptable to just about any industry — restaurant, retail, hospitality, or service-based.

Clover is easy to set up, easy to learn, and has serious aesthetic appeal. But it’s not for everyone.

Looking for a Clover alternative? Keep on reading.

Learn More About Our Top Picks

CompanyBest ForNext StepsBest For

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  • Best all-around Clover alternative
  • Processing: 2.6% + $0.10
  • Monthly cost: $0+
  • Best all-around Clover alternative
  • Processing: 2.6% + $0.10
  • Monthly cost: $0+

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  • Best for small cafes & coffee shops
  • Processing: Custom
  • Monthly cost: $69+
  • Best for small cafes & coffee shops
  • Processing: Custom
  • Monthly cost: $69+

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  • Best for full-service restaurants
  • Processing: 2.49% + $0.15
  • Monthly cost: $0+
  • Best for full-service restaurants
  • Processing: 2.49% + $0.15
  • Monthly cost: $0+

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  • Best for retail stores
  • Processing: 2.6% + $0.10
  • Monthly cost: $89+
  • Best for retail stores
  • Processing: 2.6% + $0.10
  • Monthly cost: $89+

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  • Best for omnichannel sales
  • Processing: 2.4-2.7%
  • Monthly cost: $29+
  • Best for omnichannel sales
  • Processing: 2.4-2.7%
  • Monthly cost: $29+

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Read more below to learn why we chose these options.

Why Should I Choose A Clover Alternative?

Some benefits of Clover alternatives may include:

  • Shorter contract or no contract
  • More/better payment processing options
  • More POS hardware options
  • Lower monthly pricing
  • More features specific to your industry
  • Better customer support

5 Best Clover Alternatives For Small Businesses

Looking for apps like Clover? Let’s review the top Clover competitors for different types of small businesses so you can find the POS that works best for you.

How The Best Clover Alternatives Compare

Clover Square TouchBistro Toast Lightspeed Retail Shopify POS
Typical contract length 3 years Month-to-month 1 year 2 years 1 year Month-to-month
Hardware options Proprietary iOS, Android, & proprietary iOS Android iOS iOS, Android
In-house processing fee 2.3-2.6% + $0.10 2.6% + $0.10 Custom 2.49-3.09% + $0.15 2.6% + $0.10 2.4-2.7%
Choice of payment processor
Software pricing $0+/month $0+/month $69+/month $0+/month $89+/month $29+/month

Square: Best All-Around

Total Rating 4.8
Fees & Rates5.0

Products & Services4.7

Contract4.3

Sales & Advertising Transparency5.0

Customer Service4.9

User Reviews4.9



Get a free card swiper from Square at no cost when you create a free account. Claim your card reader.

Pros

  • No contract or commitment to use
  • Free, fully featured POS
  • Can use iPad, Android, or proprietary hardware
  • Industry-specific POS software packages

Cons

  • Doesn’t come with your own merchant account

square stand with contactless card reader

Why We Chose Square POS For Best All-Around

Clover and Square are competitors in the most direct ways: both are mobile, flexible, and, above all, simple. Square is an amazing all-around product that can work as either an entry-level POS for new businesses or a more specialized POS for specific industries, such as food/beverage, retail, and beauty/wellness. As an alternative to Clover, Square also has some distinct advantages: it's free, there's no contract, and you have a wider choice of hardware options.

Square POS Pricing

Square’s flagship Square POS app is free, though there are paid add-ons you can purchase if you need advanced features like a rewards program, team management, and digital marketing—for example, Square Payroll, Square Loyalty, Square Marketing are popular Square add-ons.

Square also has both free and paid versions of industry-specific POS systems for the restaurant, retail, and service industries: Square for Restaurants, Square for Retail, and Square Appointments.

Square Features

Square is superior to Clover in that it offers the following features:

  • Free POS app with no commitment or monthly minimum
  • Free online store on all accounts
  • No merchant account required
  • Use on any mobile device — iPad, iPhone, Android, etc.
  • Affordable all-in-one hardware options include Square Terminal ($299) and Square Register ($799)
  • Free Square Reader for taking magstripe payments

If you want to see how Square stacks up against Clover Go specifically, read our Square vs. Clover Go post.

Hardware Cost & Options

Square has several proprietary POS hardware options that are comparable to Clover. The $299 Square Terminal is similar in its function to the Clover Flex or Clover Mini, while the dual-screen $799 Square Register (pictured below) is more of an answer to the Clover Station. For mobile businesses, Square’s contactless and chip reader ($49 for first-generation reader, $59 for second generation) can be used to accept EMV and NFC payments, such as Apple Pay, or you can use a Square magstripe reader, one of which you can get for free.

square register with ipad

But the cool thing is you don’t have to use Square’s hardware (aside from a Square reader); you can instead use your iOS device or Android tablet if you like. If you enjoy the Apple-esque, all-white look of Clover, you might prefer to use the Square Stand, which is compatible with iPads and even has a swiveling screen, just like Clover.

Payment Processing Costs

Square’s payment processing is 2.6% +$0.10 per in-person transaction. You cannot use a separate payment processor with Square POS; you must use Square Payments.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

Square processing provides an alternative to a merchant account for businesses that aren’t ready for the cost or commitment a merchant account entails. Square offers a pay-as-you-go system, which has no monthly fee or monthly minimum. However, Square has very sensitive fraud controls, and some merchants have reported that their accounts were unfairly terminated with no notice.

Square Is Best For Businesses That ...

  • Don't have the budget for a monthly POS fee
  • Have a small average ticket size (e.g., coffee carts, kiosks, gift shops)
  • Do not belong to a high-risk industry

Get Started With Square

Read our in-depth review

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TouchBistro: Best For Small Cafes

Total Rating 4.3
Pricing4.0

Ease Of Use4.6

Features4.9

Customer Service3.9

User Reviews4.1

Pricing

$69/month

Online Ordering

Add-on

Equipment Cost

Call for quote

Pros

  • iPad-based system with option to source your own hardware
  • Affordable pricing
  • Choice of payment processors
  • Reservation management module

Cons

  • Long-term contract required

touchbistro self ordering

Why We Chose TouchBistro POS For Small Cafes

TouchBistro is among the most popular iPad restaurant POS systems. TouchBistro is more affordable than Clover's restaurant software, and it is just as easy to use. Being an iPad POS, the hardware is easy to source yourself and use with another system if you decide you're not satisfied with TouchBistro.

Because TouchBistro is not super advanced---inventory and reporting are on the basic side---it's better for smaller cafes, coffee shops, and bistros rather than large, multilocation restaurants.

TouchBistro POS Pricing

TouchBistro pricing starts at $69/month, which is less expensive than the Clover Table Service plan, and it includes more restaurant features out of the box. (All TouchBistro plans include 24/7 customer service, menu management, table management, cloud reporting and analytics, unlimited integrations, and unlimited users.)

TouchBistro Features

As follows are some TouchBistro features that may appeal to small restaurants looking for a Clover alternative:

  • iPad POS uses the same hardware as many other POS systems
  • Choice of payment processors gives you multiple options for your merchant account
  • In-house reservations management system available as a paid add-on

Some other unique features include upselling prompts for waitstaff, customization for right- or left-handed employees, and the ability to quickly toggle between breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus. Paid add-on options include gift cards, online ordering, loyalty, and reservation management, and you can choose from hardware add-ons such as a kitchen display system, kiosk mode, and a digital menu board.

If you want to expand TouchBistro’s functionality, you can integrate the app with various accounting software, inventory, bar management, analytics, and more.

Hardware Cost & Options

TouchBistro pizza POS system

TouchBistro uses iPad POS hardware, and you have the option to source your own components or buy a bundle from TouchBistro (call for a quote).

Payment Processing Costs

For payment processing, one option is TouchBistro Payments, in-house processing powered by Chase. TouchBistro also works with Square, TSYS, and Worldpay. Costs vary depending on your contract with your merchant account provider.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

TouchBistro does require a contract, and the contract length is specified in your quote (typically a year). There is no month-to-month option and it’s not easy to leave your contract early. If you don’t wish to renew your contract at the end of your term, there is a short renewal window during which you can choose to cancel before the contract automatically renews.

TouchBistro Is Best For Businesses That ...

  • Have only one location
  • Need built-in reservation management
  • Prefer a choice of payment processor

Get Started With TouchBistro

Read our in-depth review

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Toast POS: Best For Full-Service Restaurants

Total Rating 4.0
Pricing2.6

Ease Of Use4.7

Features5.0

Customer Service5.0

User Reviews4.1

Pricing

$0-$69 plus custom plan

Online Ordering

Yes

Equipment Cost

$0+

Pros

  • Uses affordable Android tablets
  • Free pay-as-you go plan
  • Excellent customer service
  • Deep restaurant-centric features

Cons

  • Requires two-year contract
  • Full feature set is expensive

toast pos with handheld mobile device for tableside payments

Why We Chose Toast POS For Full-Service Restaurants

Toast is restaurant-specific and suitable for full-service, quick-service, cafes, bars, and pizzerias.

Clover does have a restaurant plan called Clover Dining, but when comparing Toast vs. Clover, you'll find that Toast has more advanced restaurant-focused features, particularly when it comes to inventory management and reporting. Because of its in-depth restaurant feature set, we can recommend Toast for not just small, quick-service establishments but also full-service restaurants.

Toast POS Pricing

Packages start at $0/month for the core Toast software and hardware (higher payment processing fees at this plan level cover the cost of your hardware). The core software offered at the lowest price level includes cloud-based reporting, menu management, and kitchen operations, while features such as online ordering, loyalty, gift cards, self-service ordering, and team management are paid add-ons.

If you want to pay for your hardware outright and get a lower processing cost, plans start at $69/month.

Toast Features

Restaurants that don’t want to use Clover may appreciate these Toast POS features:

  • Android POS hardware is an alternative for those who don’t like Clover hardware (or iPad)
  • Restaurant-grade hardware  designed specifically for waitstaff/foodservice
  • Free plan for restaurants with limited budgets
  • Full offline mode lets you operate seamlessly during an internet outage
  • Excellent in-house support available 24/7
  • In-house payment processing from Toast

Toast has a full suite of digital payment offerings, including curbside pickup, contactless delivery, and a feature that lets dine-in customers order and pay from their own mobile devices.

As with most of the other POS systems on this list, Toast has many integrations with other business software as well as an open API.

Hardware Cost & Options

Toast pub POS system

As mentioned, you can get your Toast POS hardware for free in exchange for a higher payment processing fee. Alternatively, you can purchase a hardware kit upfront for $1024 (basic countertop kit). It’s also possible to source your hardware yourself (though Toast doesn’t recommend it).

Toast uses Elo Touch i-Series 2.0 AiO touchscreen terminals with multiple size options. Toast also offers optional custom-built handheld tablets for waitstaff ($799, pictured above), self-service kiosks ($1339), as well as a custom-built kitchen display screen.

Payment Processing Costs

Toast POS users are locked into using Toast payment processing, but rates are competitive. Not having to deal with a separate payment processor/merchant account simplifies things; there’s only one number to call for any Toast POS issues, payment-related or otherwise.

Toast payment processing is 2.49% + $0.15 for most in-person transactions if you buy your hardware upfront. If you are on the free plan, fees start at 3.09% + $0.15 and go up from there depending on which advanced features you want.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

Toast requires a two-year contract with an early termination fee should you decide to exit your contract early.

Toast Is Best For Businesses That ...

  • Require full-service restaurant features
  • Offer online ordering options
  • Use digital ordering tablets

Get Started With Toast POS

Read our in-depth review

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Lightspeed Retail: Best for Retail Stores

Lightspeed Retail

Total Rating 4.1
Pricing3.7

Ease Of Use4.4

Features4.3

Customer Service4.1

User Reviews4.0

Pricing

$109-$289/month ($89-$239/month billed annually)

Contract

Monthly, annual, and custom

Equipment Cost

$199-$329

Pros

  • Multiple hardware options (using iPad or computer browser)
  • Month-to-month contract option
  • Choice of payment processors
  • Advanced retail features

Cons

  • Full feature set is expensive

lightspeed retail ipad hardware kit

Why We Chose Lightspeed For Retail Stores

Lightspeed Retail has especially strong inventory features that make it well-suited to specialty retail, including apparel, electronics, pet stores, vape shops, and more. It's also easy to add an eCommerce plan, which syncs your online and offline inventories, sales, customers, etc. Plus, this multiplication, multichannel POS functions equally well on an iPad or desktop computer.

Lightspeed Retail Pricing

Lightspeed Retail offers relatively advanced retail-specific functions at a very reasonable price point, starting at $89/month when billed annually ($109/month with month-to-month billing).

All Lightspeed plans come with one POS register software license. Adding registers to your subscription will cost an extra $59/register/month.

Lightspeed Retail Features

Here are some features included with Lightspeed Retail that may make this POS a better choice than Clover for some retail stores:

  • Various hardware options, including iPad, Windows PC, iMac, Chromebook, and more
  • Choice of payment processors, such as TSYS, 2Accept, and Worldpay
  • Quality customer support in one place
  • Advanced retail features out-of-the-box (without the need for add-ons and integrations)
  • Option to pay month-to-month if you don’t want to commit long-term

Lightspeed is also expandable with numerous Lightspeed add-ons.

Hardware Cost & Options

lightspeed retail on desktop

Lightspeed sells iPad and desktop computer POS kits (desktop kit pictured above) for Lightspeed Retail. However, they do not list pricing and you will need to call Lightspeed for a quote.

Payment Processing Costs

Lightspeed Payments charges 2.6% + $0.10 per in-person transaction if you choose to use Lightspeed Payments for payment processing. Or, you can integrate an outside payment processor if you don’t want to use Lightspeed Payments.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

As mentioned, you have the option to use Lightspeed with an annual or monthly contract. To get the lowest pricing, however, you will need to commit for a year.

Lightspeed Retail Is Best For Businesses That ...

  • Operate any size of retail business
  • Want the option to integrate an eCommerce store
  • Prefer to use a larger computer screen for POS display (vs. a small tablet screen)

Get Started With Lightspeed Retail

Read our in-depth review

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Shopify POS: Best For Omnichannel Sales

Total Rating 4.3
Pricing4.0

Ease Of Use4.9

Features4.4

Customer Service4.8

User Reviews4.4

Pricing

Starts at $29/month

Contract

None

Equipment Cost

$0-$500+

Pros

  • Numerous affordable hardware options
  • Comes with high-quality eCommerce website
  • Month-to-month contracts available
  • Option to integrate your own payment processor

Cons

  • Lowest price requires you to pay for a year in advance

Shopify POS hardware

Why We Chose Shopify POS For Omnichannel Sales

While Shopify is one of the best POS for retail businesses that also sell online, Shopify is especially known for its amazing eCommerce website builder. If you're looking at alternatives to Clover and you want a powerful website with syncing for in-person sales, Shopify is the obvious choice for an omnichannel POS.

Shopify POS Pricing

The $29/month ($39/month paid monthly) “Basic” plan includes standard POS features like gift cards, staff PINs, inventory, as well as your own online store with a blog. If you need the full set of retail POS features, you’ll need the Shopify POS Pro add-on, which will bring your monthly fee to $118/month.

Shopify Features

Omnichannel retailers looking for a Clover alternative may prefer Shopify POS for the following features:

  • Cheaper hardware options (works with iPad and iPad peripherals, such as mPOP, as well as some Android tablets)
  • Free website including eCommerce and blog on all plans ($29/month and up)
  • More retail and eCommerce features out-of-the-box
  • Monthly plans for businesses that don’t want to commit for a whole year
  • Option to use outside payment processor if you don’t want to use Shopify Payments (for added fee)
  • Highly rated customer support available 24/7

Note that Shopify does not have features specific to restaurants, but just about any other type of store that wants to sell online could find Shopify to be a better fit than Clover. Shopify also integrates with other business software with apps from the Shopify App Store.

Hardware Cost & Options

shopify pos go and case

Shopify POS can use iOS and Android devices, and you can buy your own hardware or source it straight from Shopify. Shopify sells $49 tap and chip readers you can use with a mobile device, as well as countertop POS kits for iPads and Android tablets for $459. Shopify also sells its own branded mobile POS Go devices ($299, pictured above) and even gives you the option to sell without any card reader using just your iPhone using Tap to Pay On iPhone.

Payment Processing Costs

The Shopify Payments flat-rate payment processing is included at 2.7% at the $29/month plan level, though you can get lower rates if you opt for a higher plan. You also have the option to integrate with an outside payment processor, though Shopify will add a 1% fee if you do that.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

As mentioned, you can purchase Shopify POS on a monthly or annual basis, though month-to-month plans are more expensive.

Shopify POS Is Best For Businesses That ...

  • Belong to the retail industry
  • Use multiple sales channels (POS, eCommerce website, social media, etc.)
  • Want to pay for their POS on a month-to-month basis

Get Started With Shopify POS

Read our in-depth review

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Methodology

Merchant Maverick has been researching and reviewing POS providers since 2012. Our writers have tested over 100 different point of sale systems, evaluating pricing, features, ease of use, customer service, and user reviewers. Read more about how we rate POS providers.

When comparing different POS software systems, we consider many data points, including relative pricing, the depth of niche features offered, the price of hardware, and any associated payment processing fees. Our lists of the best providers include only apps we’ve deemed worthwhile from multiple vantage points. The POS vendors we pick share qualities such as widespread availability, accessibility, user-friendliness, and reasonable pricing. We also look carefully at niche features, such as check-splitting, inventory management, eCommerce, loyalty programs, gift cards, and more.

We spend an average of 10-15 hours researching and updating each one of our lists, making sure the providers included meet our internal standards for quality and reputation.

80+

Vendors evaluated

65+

Attributes assessed per vendor

20+

Features weighed

30+

Combined years of experience


4 Things To Look For In A Clover Competitor

The following are some considerations for shoppers when browsing Clover competitors. Ideally, whichever Clover alternative you select will have all of the following attributes, but you may also have additional qualities on your wish list that are specific to your industry. 

Strong Customer Support

Consistent, reliable customer support is a must for any POS system, since problems will surely arise from time to time. It’s even more convenient if your tech support and payment support come from the same place, since problems with the two issues can be intertwined. In the case of Clover, you may have to contact different parties for hardware support, software support, and payment processing support.

Reputable Payment Processor

You can’t have a good POS without a good payment processor. Some attributes of a good payment processor include a generally positive public reputation, month-to-month pricing (no long-term contract or terminal lease), and fair, transparent pricing with no hidden fees. Many POS companies have highly rated in-house processing services, or they may integrate with your existing merchant account.

Reusable Hardware

Whether your POS of choice uses iPads or Android tablets, or if it’s entirely web-based and therefore hardware-agnostic, you should be able to reuse your hardware if the POS system you choose doesn’t work out for you. If you’re switching from a different POS system, it’s also helpful if you can reuse the hardware from your existing POS. So, you’ll ideally want to use a POS with flexible, reusable hardware, such as iPads and mPop kits, or one that’s browser-based and can be used with any hardware.

Free Trial

Again, it’s possible that you will not be 100% satisfied with your POS (after all, you’re reading this article about not being satisfied with Clover!). To reduce the likelihood that you’ll have to switch POS systems down the road, it’s important that you’re able to thoroughly test any system you’re considering. This way, you can make sure you like the POS interface and ensure that the system has all the features you need. Luckily, most cloud POS systems offer a two-week free trial without a credit card—with the exception of systems that use proprietary hardware like Clover.

Which Clover POS Alternative Is Right For Me?

Clover POS is a very acceptable point of sale system for small businesses, as long as you understand the risks and challenges of using Fiserv for payment processing and are pretty confident you want to use Clover for the long haul.

If Clover seems a bit pricey or restrictive, you should try out one or more of the systems on this list. Most of these systems offer a free trial or at least a free demo. Some of them even offer month-to-month contracts and use hardware that can be used with other POS systems in case you end up wanting to use a different system.

Check out our Clover reseller recommendations if you think Clover is right for you (or buy it from Clover directly).

FAQs: The Best Clover Alternatives & Competitors For Small Businesses In 2024

Is Clover more expensive than Square?

Generally, Square is cheaper than Clover, but it depends what plan you’re on and your processing volume. For basic retail stores and quick-serve restaurants, Square’s free plan is comparable with Clover’s $49.95/month Register plan.

For full-service restaurants, Square For Restaurants Plus is $60/month, compared to Clover’s $84.95/month Table Service Restaurant plan.

Square also has more affordable hardware compared to Clover, though higher-tier Clover plans have lower processing fees than Square.

Is Clover better than Square?

Clover is not better than Square in general, as both systems have their pros and cons. Some businesses, including those with a high processing volume that want lower processing fees and their own dedicated merchant account, may prefer Clover to Square.

Square, on the other hand, is better for businesses that need a lower monthly cost, lower-cost hardware, and a no-commitment contract you can leave at any time.

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Shannon Vissers

Shannon Vissers

Lead Staff Writer at Merchant Maverick
Shannon has been writing for Merchant Maverick about small business software and financing since 2015. She started writing professionally about business topics in 2005. Shannon has been featured in the Washington Post, Reader's Digest, US News, MSN, Yahoo Finance, Business Insider, and other publications. She has a bachelor's degree in English from San Diego State University and currently resides in San Diego, California.
Shannon Vissers
View Shannon Vissers's professional experience on LinkedIn.