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Square vs Clover: Which One Will Save You Money in 2024?

Kamso Oguejiofor Kamso OguejioforFinance Specialist
Square and Clover are both popular credit card processors with advanced POS solutions and a comprehensive e-commerce software suite. On paper they appear quite similar, which can make choosing between them seem overwhelming – especially if you’re new to payment processing or are looking to make the switch from your current payment provider.

That’s where I come in. I’ve dived deep into the offerings of both payment processors, researching their features, ease of use, pricing structure, and support.

While I found that both payment processors offer flexible month-to-month contracts and easy-to-use POS hardware for merchants across various industries, they also have hit-or-miss customer support and hide a lot of the premium features they’re known for behind paywalls.

That said, Square is an excellent fit for most types of businesses. It offers a free plan with no setup fees or monthly fees (although you’ll still have to pay a per-transaction fee) and the fact that it handles PCI compliance for you is a plus. I also like that Square’s setup process is fast so you can start accepting payments right away.

Still, Clover has its benefits and I recommend checking out my comparison to ensure your final pick is the right processor for your business.

Features

Both Have Powerful Hardware but Square is Better for E-commerce

Square mobile card reader features
Square’s free compact mobile card reader lets you accept payments from anywhere
1
Square provides you with a free mobile card reader once you sign up1. With this card reader, you can accept credit card payments from anywhere, provided you’ve installed the free Square Point of Sale app on your device.

Along with the mobile card reader, Square offers other hardware for purchase like a fully featured credit card terminal, compact contactless and chip reader, and a dual-screen POS register with all the necessary software. What’s more, Square allows you to return any or all this equipment and get a refund, provided you do this within 30 days of shipment.

Clover hardware tools
Clover has a variety of POS hardware that can streamline payments and track employee schedules
Clover, on the other hand, doesn’t accept returns. This is a shame because while Clover offers a wide range of POS hardware – including a credit card reader, a wireless terminal, an over-the-counter terminal, and a full counter station – merchants could have issues with any one of them. Plus, Clover’s POS terminals are expensive, so not being able to return something that doesn’t work isn’t ideal for any business.

Square has impressive e-commerce tools that simplify selling online. You can add payments to your existing website by connecting to Square’s platform. You can even sell your products without a website using Square’s payment links or buy buttons/QR codes, which you share through social media or email/text directly to your customers.

You can build and launch an online store with Square Online1. Best of all, these services are free – but keep in mind that once you’re ready to sell, Square’s online transaction fees tend to be a bit costly.

While Square’s e-commerce suite is hard to beat, Clover offers a broader range of industry-specific tools that can help boost sales. Specialized features for retail, restaurants, and professional services include options for setting up a menu page, creating custom table layouts, designing customer loyalty programs, creating online invoices, and more.

This is a close one. Overall, Square offers more advanced e-commerce tools, and the fact that you can return any purchased Square equipment within 30 days of shipment is a plus. However, you shouldn’t overlook Clover’s great POS hardware selection and specialized software solutions.

Ease of Use

Square’s Sign-Up Process Is Straightforward

Square is super easy to set up. All you have to do is create an account1 and present some basic information about what you do. After you receive your free card reader, you can start accepting payments immediately. The setup process for online businesses is even faster.

Square sign-up process
You only need to provide a few details to sign up for Square
Clover is a bit different. Part of the setup process involves inputting your ZIP code to check if you’re near a verified Clover consultant or sales agent that you can call directly. And honestly, I find speaking to someone first to be more of a hassle than simply filling out a form as you would with Square.

While Square allows you to open an account super fast, this does come at a price. Going through some Square reviews, I found similar complaints of frozen “suspicious” payments and unexpected account terminations. The best way to mitigate this issue is to ensure you complete your profile thoroughly before you start accepting payments.

That said, Square has some redeeming qualities – like its dashboard with a built-in virtual terminal1. Not only can you key in payments, but you’ll also receive real-time reports and can use it to manage your inventory, book appointments, and more. However, if you run a restaurant, Clover’s dashboard can automatically sync online orders with the kitchen for a quick, streamlined process.

Square offers comprehensive app integrations that make it easy to connect to website builders and e-commerce platforms like WordPress, WooCommerce, Wix, and Shopify, as well as accounting platforms like Zoho Books and email marketing platforms like Mailchimp and ActiveCampaign.

Clover also provides seamless integrations with several e-commerce tools, such as Smart Online Order + WordPress, Swift Pizza, Thrive Inventory by Shopventory, and many more. That said, I like how Square provides a wider range of e-commerce platforms to integrate with, so I have to give the crown to Square for this section.

Compliance and Security

Square Leads With Comprehensive Security and Compliance Assistance

Both Square and Clover prioritize compliance and security. The difference is that Square assists you with PCI compliance by assuming responsibility as the merchant of record1, which means Square is liable for all credit and debit card transactions and is in charge of staying PCI compliant on your behalf.

Square PCI compliance
As the merchant of record, Square takes care of PCI compliance for you
In contrast, Clover provides fully PCI-compliant services but leaves much of the responsibility for achieving this compliance to you. Its online resources offer basic guidance, and while there’s an option to enhance security with Clover Security Plus, it requires more steps and an additional $14.95/month.

Beyond PCI, both Square and Clover are compliant with other privacy standards such as HIPAA, the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

For security features, both services ensure end-to-end encryption for transactions. Square uses advanced tokenization to store customer details securely and offers features like 2-step verification and employee permissions to control who can access your account.

Clover also employs end-to-end encryption and offers unique security measures like face and fingerprint identification for mobile app access. However, tokenization is only available on Clover Security Plus, whereas Square provides this across all software and devices right out of the box.

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Pricing

Square Offers a Free Plan With No Monthly Fees

Square is very transparent in its pricing model. It provides three plans, including a Free plan with no monthly fees. Notably, Square doesn’t charge subscription fees and won’t surprise you with any hidden fees, which is particularly appealing if you have thin margins and want to be able to budget for the month.

Clover presents a diverse range of plans, boasting as many as 18 tailored to different industries and needs. Its versatility allows you to pick a plan best suited for your specific requirements. But unlike Square, Clover’s plans have monthly fees starting from $14.95.

Square Plus provides great rates for retailers.1 The markup on transactions is 2.5% + 10¢ along with a $60/monthly software fee per location. On the other hand, Clover is much more expensive. It offers three different plans for retailers, with the lowest one starting at $14.95/month plus 2.6% + 10¢ per card-present transaction

For low-volume businesses, Square’s free plan (where you only pay per transaction), lack of PCI compliance fees, and free e-commerce software could work out to be more affordable than Clover. In contrast, Clover’s monthly and transaction fees are more justifiable for brick-and-mortar businesses that process a high volume of transactions each month.

Square Clover
Monthly fee on the cheapest plan $89.00 $14.95
Transaction fees on the cheapest plan 2.5% + 10¢ 3.5% + 10¢
POS hardware
  • Square Mobile Reader (free)
  • Square Stand
  • Square Terminal
  • Square Register
  • Clover Go
  • Clover Mini
  • Clover Station
  • Clover Flex
Reporting and analytics tools Reporting and analytics tools to track and break down your sales, revenue, and performance. In-depth analytics including the ability to differentiate your new customers from your returning customers.
Payout times 1-2 business days 1-3 business days
Same-day payout For an additional fee For an additional fee
Available locations Australia, Canada, France, Ireland, Japan, Spain, United Kingdom, United States Argentina, Austria, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, United Kingdom, United States

Support

Square Offers a Wider Range of Customer Support Channels

Both Square and Clover have an extensive list of customer support options. Clover provides live chat, phone support, an online forum, and a knowledge base. Meanwhile, Square offers the same support channels as Clover but also provides email support and a chatbot.

Square’s live chat, phone support, and email support are available from Monday to Friday, 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM (PST). Live chat is also available over the weekend at the same time. Square does offer 24/7 customer support, but only for its Plus or Premium members.

Reaching Square via phone is next to impossible, especially if you’re a non-customer. That said, a lot of Square’s customers have also written unsatisfied reviews about sudden account termination and lack of support from Square’s representatives.

Fortunately, my colleague had a better experience with Square’s live chat and was able to speak with a support agent in a couple of minutes. However, the interaction was impersonal and the response felt scripted.

Square live chat
Square’s live chat responses can feel a bit…generic
Another colleague had a more personal experience with Clover’s live chat. Although the agent’s replies weren’t exactly detailed, they were enough to provide answers. That said, my colleague wasn’t too pleased with the sales-oriented discussions the agent initiated at the end of the conversation.

Clover live chat
Clover’s live chat is good enough to resolve your issues
Overall, both Square and Clover are good at frustrating you when you try to reach out to support. Eventually, though, you’ll be able to talk with an actual human being. Both payment processors also have online forums and knowledge bases that are available 24/7, but I found Square’s knowledge base to be more comprehensive. What’s more, Square also offers chatbot support.

Go With Square For Better Security and Pricing

In this battle between Square and Clover, Square stands out as the superior credit card processor. Square caters to all types of businesses and offers a streamlined setup process, making it easier for you to start accepting payments immediately. Also, its commitment to handling PCI compliance on your behalf is one less headache for you.

While Clover has its merits, its offerings don’t quite match up to those of Square in terms of overall value and ease of use. That said, Clover is still a pretty decent credit card processor that offers a comprehensive suite of hardware and e-commerce tools. It also provides several pricing plans for specific industries.

Square
Clover
Features
Free card reader and other POS selections, as well free e-commerce tools like a website builder
Advanced POS systems, custom reporting tools, and specialized software for specific industries
Ease of Use
Smooth setup process and seamless integration with platforms like WordPress, though there is a possibility of account termination
Takes longer to set up, but there’s a versatile and intuitive dashboard
Compliance
PCI DSS Level 1, CCPA, GDPR, and HIPAA compliant
PCI DSS Level 1, CCPA, GDPR, and HIPAA compliant
Pricing
Interchange-plus with a no monthly fee plan, advanced software at an additional cost
Monthly and per-transaction fees on all plans
Support
Email, phone, live chat, chatbot, online forum, knowledge base
Phone, live chat, online forum, knowledge base

FAQ

Is Clover better than Square?

No, it isn’t. While Clover offers more specialized hardware and advanced POS features, Square has a variety of POS solutions and provides free e-commerce tools, even on its Free plan. That said, both Clover and Square have their unique strengths and choosing one over the other largely depends on your business needs and budget constraints.

Why is Square better than Clover?

Square is better than Clover for many reasons. For starters, Square provides a generous free plan along with a free mobile card reader (Clover does neither). In addition, Square provides advanced security features like tokenization on all its plans while Clover only provides tokenization on its Security Plus plan.

Can I use Square POS without paying?

Yes, Square offers a free version of its point-of-sale (POS) software. This version also comes with a free card reader. However, while the software might be free, you will need to pay transaction fees for every payment you process. It’s essential to be aware of these costs when budgeting for your business operations.

Who has better processing fees between Square and Clover?

Processing fees can vary between Square and Clover based on processing volume and type of transaction. Generally, some Square plans only charge a flat fee for each transaction, while Clover’s fees can vary depending on your industry and plan. Also, you can sign up with a certified Clover reseller if you’re not happy with its rates. Our list of the best credit card processors in 2024 has a great selection of cheaper options.

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