Merchant Services 101

Is Clover or Square Better for Your Small Business?

Small businesses have more online payment solutions than ever before. Clover and Square are two of the leading names in payment processing for small businesses. Unlike other systems, Clover and Square both offer a POS terminal along with payment processing software, creating an all-in-one solution that other companies do not offer. PayPal, for example, allows you to send and receive money online either by paying privately or submitting an invoice; however, it lacks POS hardware that physically accepts checks, cash, and credit card payments.

So how do Clover and Square stack up against each other and which one is right for you?


Clover allows you to mix and match services and systems to find the best fit for you. It also allows business owners to build their ideal payment processing system by combining hardware and software offerings.

Clover Systems & Costs

There are a variety of Clover systems to choose from depending on the unique needs of your business.

Clover Go

Clover Go starts at $59 and connects to your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth. The system can process magstripe cards, chip cards, and contactless payments.

Clover Flex

Clover Flex is a handheld, WiFi-connected payment processing option. Starting at $449, the system accepts accepts the same payment methods as Clover Go, but can also scan barcodes, capture signatures, and print receipts.

Clover Mini

The Clover Mini is similar to Clover Flex, but instead of being a handheld device, it's in a small countertop format. The price for this system ranges from $599 for the base model, to $649 for the WiFi and LTE-ready option.

Clover Station

Clover Station is the brand's most secure, powerful, and fastest countertop POS solution. It features a cash drawer, a large HD display screen, and credit card processing hardware. It includes additional business management tools, including employee tracking, sales reports, and inventory management. For full service restaurants, Clover Station is $999 (or $1,068 with dining software). For other businesses, the cost is $1,199 and up.

Clover Service Plans

Clover offers a number of different service plans to choose from, including:

Payments Plus

Payments Plus is Clover's most basic service plan. It costs nothing extra and allows you to perform basic customer engagement tasks and accept cloud-based payments.

Register Lite

Register Lite is a service plan that works best for companies that have less than $50,000 in credit card sales per year, and it includes a wide variety of payment acceptance and sales monitoring features. The cost for this service is $14 per month.


Register is the full version of Register Lite, offering the same capabilities and more. It's best suited for businesses that have more than $50,000 in annual credit card sales. The cost for this service is $29 per month.

Transaction Pricing

Like with most payment processing services, Clover charges a payment processing fee for each transaction. The base rate is 2.3% + $0.10 per transaction, but will vary depending on your individual software plan.

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Square is possibly the most well-known name in the payment processing industry. Square paved the way for handheld POS systems that can be used with your existing smartphone or tablet, but it's important to compare and contrast hardware, service plans, and pricing with newer solutions to determine the best fit for your business.

Square Systems

Square has a number of different hardware systems to meet many business goals.

Square Register

Square Register is an all-in-one countertop payment processing system that features a display for customers. This system accepts chip cards, magstripe cards, and contactless payments. The Square POS app is included. The cost of this system is $999.

Square Terminal

Square Terminal is comparable to Clover Flex and is the most compact, all-in-one POS system offered by Square. Square Terminal can connect via WiFi, Ethernet, or USB and accepts the same payment types as Square Register. The cost for the terminal is $399.

Square Stand for Contactless and Chip

The Square Stand is a stand that connects your iPad to POS hardware so you can use it as a payment processing system for your business. The cost of this system is $169.

Square Card Readers

There are three different types of Square card readers, all designed to take different types of payments:

  • Square Contactless and Chip Reader ($49)
  • Square Magstripe Reader (free initially, $10 to replace)
  • Square Chip and Magstripe Reader ($35)
Transaction Pricing

Like Clover, Square also has processing fees for every transaction. The fees vary depending on the type of transaction being processed and the type of hardware being used. Typically, Square fees begin at 2.75% per transaction.

Which One is Best for You?

It can be difficult to choose the best possible payment solution for your small business. Square is a no-fuss, widely used payment processing solution that does the job, but it's important to compare the pros and cons with other systems like Clover. Although Square has a slightly lower price point than Clover initially, transaction fees and costs of additional hardware tend to drive up the total cost of operation. Clover provides robust all-in-one business-management features and capabilities designed to help businesses develop and reach goals. Clover also offers dedicated POS solutions for the restaurant, retail, and service industries.

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