Square vs. Clover Go: What’s the Best Mobile POS for Your Small Business?

Square and Clover are two of the biggest players in point-of-sale today. Both have compelling mobile offerings, but which one is better for your business?
Best starter option
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Free fully featured POS system
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Free card reader
Best processing integrations
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Tons of credit processing integrations
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Swiped, dipped, and tapped payment options

The key difference between Clover and Square mobile processors is this: Square is designed with first-time point-of-sale users in mind, and Clover is targeted more toward businesses that already have a bit of payment processing volume.

So, if you’ve never processed a credit card in your life or your monthly payment volume is sporadic and unpredictable, we’d recommend you start with our review of Square. If, on the other hand, you have consistent processing volume or are already signed on with a credit card processing company, we’d recommend starting with our Clover Go review.

But first, check out some of the ways the Square mobile reader and Clover Go reader compare.

Square vs. Clover Go: Direct comparisons

Point-of-Sale featuresSquareClover
Reader cost$49.00$69.00
Processing rate2.6% + 10¢2.7% + 10¢ or 3rd party rate
Monthly feeNoneAs low as $9.95 a month or 3rd party rate
Accepts swipe, dip, and tap payments
on mobile readers
Inventory management
Loyalty programs
Restaurant tools
Employee management
Bluetooth connectivity
See plans

Similarities explained

As you can see above, both mobile processors share a number of similar features. These similarities are mostly in the realm of point-of-sale functions. Both Square and Clover have great POS offerings that include inventory management software, loyalty programs, and restaurant tools.

Differences explained

A major difference between the Square and Clover readers is the pricing—and this difference is crucial. Square has a simple flat-rate transaction fee that it assesses whenever a payment is made. You can use most of Square’s point-of-sale features and software without ever paying it a cent. You pay only for the initial price for the reader and the processing fee whenever you make a transaction.

Clover, on the other hand, charges a monthly fee, has a higher entry-level processing fee than Square, and sells its mobile readers for $69. But, the real saving grace for Clover is all the payment processors it can integrate with—which could end up saving your business a ton of money.

Square: Best starter option

Strengths
Pro Bullet Transaction-based fees only
Pro Bullet No paywall to access mobile app features
Pro Bullet Great suite of free POS tools
Weaknesses
Con Bullet Processing costs can be expensive at higher transaction volumes

Here’s a list of everything you can do with Square before paying a cent:

  • Get a magstripe card reader
  • Add products and prices to mobile processing app
  • Set up inventory management
  • Create a rewards program
  • Add employee information to processing app

By requesting a free mobile card reader and downloading Square’s POS app, you can get a whole processing ecosystem set up without even paying a dime. Add the $49 Square contactless reader into the mix, and you can show up at a farmers market or trade show ready to process any kind of card-based payment.

Square has created a turn-key POS program that can’t be ignored, especially by businesses new to mobile processing.

Square is great for newbies because their pay-as-you-swipe pricing gets rid of sunk costs. Businesses new to POS may have months where they don’t make a lot of sales. If those businesses are using a program that charges a monthly fee, that fee is money down the drain during those slower months.

With Square, you’ll never have to recoup processing costs lost during a slow month because you’ll only ever pay when you sell.

That’s why Square gets our recommendation for beginners.

Clover Go: Best processing integrations

Strengths
Pro Bullet Tons of credit processing integrations
Pro Bullet Swiped, dipped, and tapped payment options
Pro Bullet Hundreds of 3rd party app integrations
Weaknesses
Con Bullet Costly Direct Clover pricing

Clover’s most significant benefit is that it integrates with so many different processing solutions. In fact, many of the processing solutions Clover integrates with are on our list of the best credit card processors.

These credit card processors have great pricing structures designed to save a lot of money for businesses with higher processing volume:

Brand
Processing fee per transaction (swiped)
Processing fee per transaction (keyed)
Basic monthly fee
Learn more

Payment Depot

Interchange + 15¢

Interchange + 15¢

$49

National Processing

Interchange + 0.15% + 7¢

Interchange + 0.30% + $0.15

$10

Dharma

Interchange + 0.15% + 7¢

Interchange + 0.30% + $0.10

$20

The brands listed above are some of our favorites, but Clover integrates with many more processing providers.

That said, when paired with a cheap processing provider, Clover Go can save your business a lot of money. The only stipulation is that you need to have pretty good processing volume already—somewhere in the realm of $5,000 or more per month.

Is Clover Go worth the effort of going through a 3rd party?

Now for the elephant in the room. It’s not nearly as easy to go through a 3rd party processor for the Clover Go mobile reader as it is to just get set up with Square. And we can’t really recommend buying directly from Clover because its processing fees and monthly fees are a little too pricey.

That said, Clover has great POS features and a ton of app integrations available. And if you need to do a lot of mobile processing, the Clover Go device is a workhorse. It can accept any kind of card payment in one small, well-built package.

So, if you need a mobile processing terminal that really gets the job done, it’s worth going through a 3rd party for Clover Go. Plus, you’ll be saving a ton of money on processing in the long run.

The takeaway

If you don’t need to do a ton of mobile processing but you want a great suite of POS tools, Square is a great choice. It has no pricing barriers and is a breeze to get started on.

Clover, on the other hand, is a little tricky. You have to use Clover Go through a 3rd party credit card processor, but if you do, you’ll save a ton of money on processing costs in the long run. But, because these third party processors charge a monthly fee, you’ll have to be processing a higher volume of sales already—$5,000 or more per month—for it to be worthwhile.

If you still don’t think you’ve found the right mobile card reader for your business, check out some of our picks for the best mobile credit card readers.

Disclaimer

At Business.org, our research is meant to offer general product and service recommendations. We don't guarantee that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services.

Andrew Mosteller
Written by
Andrew Mosteller
For four years, Andrew has been writing copy to help business owners expand, manage, and advertise their unique brands. His upbringing in an entrepreneurial family nurtured a passion for small business at a young age. Andrew’s father, an equity fund manager, taught him the ins and outs of investment financing and owning and operating a successful business. Now he brings his expertise and experience to entrepreneurs as a regular contributor on Business.org.
Recent Articles
A young Asian businesswoman draws on a tablet while sitting in front of a desktop computer
9 Best Checking Accounts for Freelancers 2021
Best overall Lili Free sub-accounts No-fee checking Visit SiteLearn More Best interest-bearing BlueVine Interest-bearing checking...
Best Cannabis Dispensary POS 2021
Operating a cannabis dispensary is tricky because of legal regulations and restrictions. Our top picks...
The 9 Best Virtual and Outsourced Accounting Services for Small Businesses in 2021
We considered bookkeeping features, payroll and tax add-ons, integrations and software, and price to bring...
A Black businesswoman shows a financial form to a Black man and white woman
Chase vs. Bank of America: Business Banking Compared
Best for rewards Bank of America 2.6 Rewards program for small businesses Availability in 37...