Clover vs Square explained – Payment processing comparison

Updated on 25 April 2024

The rapidly evolving financial landscape has spurred the development of an array of digital payment processing solutions, aimed at making financial transactions more efficient and reliable for businesses and consumers alike. Clover vs Square are two leading names in this landscape, both offering robust payment processing solutions for small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

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This article seeks to provide a comprehensive comparison of these two titans, highlighting their key offerings, unique features, and potential drawbacks.

Video: Choosing a card payment machine

Clover vs Square

Key Features– Comprehensive POS system
– Wide range of third-party integrations
– Mobile and online payments support
– Inventory and employee management
– Robust hardware options
– Extensive App Market
– Mobile and online payments support
– Customisable system
Hardware Costs– Reader for contactless and chip: £19
– Stand for contactless and chip: £159
– Terminal: £239
– Register: £599
– Go: £69
– Flex: £449
– Mini: £549
– Station: £1,269
– Station Pro: £1,649
Software Fees– Free, pay per transaction– Register Lite: £9.95 per month
– Register: £39.95 per month
Transaction Fees– 1.75% for card-present transactions
– 2.5% for online, keyed-in, and invoice transactions
– 2.65% + 5p for card-present transactions with Register Lite
– 2.3% + 5p for card-present transactions with Register
– 2.5% + 5p for online, keyed-in, and invoice transactions
ContractNo long-term contract required1-3 years contract depending on agreement
Customer SupportPhone, email, and social media support available24/7 customer service by phone and email
Clover vs Square

Keep in mind, pricing and offerings can vary, so it’s always a good idea to visit the Square and Clover websites for the most accurate and up-to-date information. This table aims to give a snapshot overview of each system’s key features and associated costs, and is not an exhaustive list of all the functionality that each provider offers. Always carefully review your contract terms before committing to a specific payment processing platform.

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Overview: the emergence of digital payment processors

With the increasing proliferation of digital technologies and the growing emphasis on seamless customer experiences, businesses have had to adapt and evolve. Traditional payment methods, while still prevalent, are quickly being augmented by digital payment processors that offer speed, security, and convenience.

These platforms integrate easily into businesses’ existing systems, enabling them to accept a wide range of payment methods, from credit and debit cards to mobile wallets and contactless payments.

Among these digital solutions, Clover and Square have carved out prominent positions for themselves in the market, gaining favour among many SMEs for their user-friendly interfaces, rich features, and scalability.

Square: An overview

Launched in 2009 by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, Square offers a broad range of hardware and software products, targeting SMEs. They’ve developed an all-in-one payments system that includes a point-of-sale (POS) system, hardware for processing payments, including card machines, and a robust set of tools for managing and growing a business. It allows merchants to accept card payments from anywhere – an in-store terminal, a mobile device, or online.

Features and benefits

Square is lauded for its comprehensive POS system, which offers inventory management, employee management, sales reports, and more, in addition to processing payments. Its software is free to use, with costs incurred on a per-transaction basis, making it accessible to small businesses with tight budgets.

Its ability to integrate with a host of third-party applications also adds to its flexibility, providing business owners with a customisable and expandable platform that can evolve with their needs. The system supports all major credit and debit cards, as well as contactless payments and mobile wallets.


However, Square has its downsides. Its customer service has often come under scrutiny, with users citing difficulties in reaching support representatives. Moreover, its transaction fee model, while suitable for small transactions, can become costly for businesses with larger ticket items, due to its flat-rate pricing structure.

Clover: An overview

Clover, owned by payment processing giant First Data (now Fiserv), is another powerful player in this space. It offers a range of POS systems and payment processing hardware and software, all designed with a key focus on integration and adaptability.

Features and benefits

Clover’s key advantage lies in its versatility. The platform offers a variety of hardware options, from mobile card readers to full-scale POS systems, suitable for businesses of various types and sizes. Like Square, Clover supports a range of payment methods, including credit cards and debit cards and contactless payments.

What sets Clover apart, however, is its robust App Market, which allows business owners to extend the functionality of their system through various apps. This includes everything from customer loyalty programmes and table management for restaurants, to inventory tracking and employee scheduling.


On the downside, Clover’s hardware is typically more expensive than Square’s, and its software comes with a monthly fee. This makes it a potentially costlier option for businesses operating on a tight budget. Additionally, Clover systems come with a long-term contract, typically between one to three years, which may be off-putting for businesses seeking more flexible terms.

Square vs Clover – The bottom line

Both Square and Clover offer robust payment processing solutions, equipped with a range of features designed to streamline operations and enhance customer experiences. The choice between the two largely hinges on your business’s unique needs and budget constraints.

If you are looking for an affordable, all-in-one solution with a strong emphasis on ease of use and flexibility, Square might be the best choice. Its free software and broad third-party integrations make it a versatile and accessible option for small businesses.

On the other hand, if your business requires a more tailored, advanced system and you don’t mind paying a premium for additional features, Clover’s customisable hardware and rich App Market may offer the comprehensive solution you need. Just be prepared for the commitment that a long-term contract entails.

In any case, both platforms are continually evolving, adding new features and capabilities. Thus, it’s worth keeping an eye on developments to ensure your chosen solution continues to meet your needs in the changing landscape of digital payments.


What are the key differences between Clover and Square?

The key differences lie in their pricing models, contract terms, and hardware options. Clover typically requires a long-term contract and has a monthly software fee, whereas Square does not require a contract and its basic software is free. Additionally, Clover offers a wider range of hardware options than Square.

Do both Clover and Square support contactless payments?

Yes, both Clover and Square support contactless payments, including payments made through NFC-enabled devices and mobile wallets.

How do the hardware costs of Clover compare to Square?

Clover’s hardware is generally more expensive than Square’s. The cost of Clover’s devices ranges from £69 to £1,649, while Square’s devices range from £19 to £599.

Can I integrate third-party applications with both Clover and Square?

Yes, both Clover and Square allow for the integration of third-party applications, which can extend the functionality of their platforms.

What are the transaction fees for Clover and Square?

For card-present transactions, Square charges a flat fee of 1.75%, while Clover charges 2.65% plus 5p per transaction for Register Lite, and 2.3% plus 5p for Register.

How does the customer support for Clover and Square compare?

Square provides customer support via phone, email, and social media. Clover offers 24/7 customer support by phone and email.

Do Clover and Square both offer mobile payment solutions?

Yes, both Clover and Square offer mobile payment solutions that allow businesses to process payments from a mobile device.

What are the contract terms for Clover and Square?

Square does not require a long-term contract, while Clover typically requires a contract of one to three years, depending on the agreement.

Can I manage inventory with both Clover and Square?

Yes, both Clover and Square offer features for inventory management.

Can I use both Clover and Square for online transactions?

Yes, both Clover and Square allow for the processing of online transactions.

How do Clover and Square process refunds?

Both Clover and Square allow businesses to process full or partial refunds, but the exact process may vary depending on the system.

Do Clover and Square offer customer loyalty programmes?

Yes, both Clover and Square have features that allow businesses to create and manage customer loyalty programmes.

Are Clover and Square suitable for small businesses?

Yes, both Clover and Square offer scalable solutions suitable for small businesses.

Can I manage employees using Clover and Square?

Yes, both Clover and Square offer features for employee management.

Are Clover and Square compatible with all major credit and debit cards?

Yes, both Clover and Square accept all major credit and debit cards.

Do both Clover and Square offer point-of-sale systems?

Yes, both Clover and Square offer point-of-sale systems as part of their offerings.

Do Clover and Square have software subscription fees?

Square’s basic software is free, but there may be charges for advanced features or add-ons. Clover has a monthly software fee starting at £9.95 per month.

How user-friendly are Clover and Square?

Both Clover and Square are known for their user-friendly interfaces. However, the specific user experience may vary depending on the individual’s familiarity with such systems.

Do both Clover and Square provide sales reports?

Yes, both Clover and Square provide sales reports, allowing businesses to track and analyse their performance over time.

Are there any upfront costs for using Clover or Square?

Both Clover and Square have upfront costs for purchasing their hardware. Additionally, Clover has a monthly software fee.

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