Credit Card Processing

Before You Buy a Clover POS System…

by Ben Dwyer

The Clover station, a sleek point of sale system available on the Fiserv (formerly First Data) platform, is an increasingly popular choice for businesses that need the functions and features of a full POS system.

The original Clover cash register is brushed aluminum with white accents, and a matching tablet display and receipt printer complete the basic POS hardware package.

Many processors offer the Clover POS for $1,000 or less. While not cheap, the attractive design and convenient features have some businesses deciding that it’s worth the expense, while other businesses prefer the lower cost and smaller Clover Mini.

However, the Clover comes with a big “but” and here it is: It looks nice and works well, but if you purchase a Clover POS through your processor, you can only use it with that processor. Since the average business switches processors every couple years (or less) this fact cannot be stressed enough.

It’s also important to note that there are two models of the full POS system – Clover Station and Clover Station 2018. In winter of 2018, Clover announced that the original station is now considered “end of life.” Software upgrades and support were available on the original Station through December 2022. If you’re thinking of buying a Clover, go with the 2018. You may continue to see older Clover Stations sold used, but they won’t be eligible for support or maintenance if you have any issues.

Wait, so the Clover station can’t be reprogrammed?


Processors cannot reprogram Clovers like they can with other machines. While the Clover POS can work with many different credit card processing companies, you can only accept payments through Clover with the company from whom you purchase it.

So if you buy a Clover station from Processor A, and then want to switch to Processor B, you can’t use the payment functions of the Clover you bought from Processor A once you switch. Annoying right? You’d need to purchase a new Clover Station (or other equipment) from Processor B.

What do I do if I bought a Clover POS but want to change processors?

Owning a Clover Station doesn’t prevent you from switching processors, it just prevents you from continuing to use your existing Clover POS with a different processor. Unfortunately, you’ll need to decide if changing processors is worth purchasing another point of sale system. In many cases, if your processor is gouging you on fees, the answer is a resounding yes.

The amount you could save on processing by switching to a competitive solution such as those available through the CardFellow marketplace could quickly exceed the initial expense of purchasing a new POS system. Alternately, you can continue to use your existing processor until you decide it’s time to purchase a new POS anyway and then switch, or you could decide if you’d be able to use a less expensive countertop terminal or smaller tablet-based system instead of purchasing another full-fledged POS.

Your other option is to consider non-integrated processing, available from some processors.

Non-Integrated Processing

Some credit card processors (like Heartland) can offer “non-integrated” processing with the Clover. Instead of accepting payments through the Clover POS, you’ll take cards using a connect countertop terminal. (With Heartland, an Ingenico iCT220.) Essentially, you’ll use the Clover station for your point of sale functions such as order entry and reporting, and use the countertop terminal to actually accept payments.

Some businesses may find non-integrated processing a little clunky, but it can be a great option for businesses that can’t or don’t want to switch POS systems while still taking advantage of lower processing rates.

Why isn’t it reprogrammable?

Your guess is as good as ours.

We reached out to First Data for an explanation, but that attempt proved futile through both First Data’s customer service live chat and the Clover support phone number. In the case of the live chat, the representative confirmed that the Clover cannot be reprogrammed, but couldn’t offer an explanation as to why and referred me to Clover phone support.

When contacting phone support, the rep made vague references to “security reasons” and wouldn’t go into further detail. First Data’s press department did not reply to my email asking for clarification. If we receive a definitive answer from First Data, we’ll update this article to include its response.

While reprogramming equipment does require a little work on your processor’s side, the fact that it’s a common practice for other equipment suggests that First Data didn’t want the systems to be reprogrammed or doesn’t permit it rather than it can’t be done. Whether this is for vague undisclosed “security reasons” or it’s simply a money grab is up to you to decide.

About the Clover POS System

The Clover POS system, also known as the Clover station or Clover cash register, is a full-featured system. Retailers, restaurants, and other businesses that need something more than a countertop credit card terminal can benefit from Clover. The cloud-based Clover provides POS functions such as credit card processing, voids and refunds, adding tips, and reporting.

Additionally, Clover stations can be “personalized” by adding apps from the Clover app market.

Clover App Marketing image

Apps provide the ability to add more functions. You can add “buy one get one” promos, invoicing options, HR resources, delivery management, and trivia night hosting options. The apps allow you to choose modules you need without adding unnecessary clutter from services you don’t use.

Clover Equipment

The Clover Station is one choice in the larger family of Clover processing equipment options. There are actually two different Clover Stations, the original Clover POS and the Clover Station 2018. Both stations offer enhanced point of sale functionality, such as inventory management, payment acceptance, employee tracking, and more.

Other equipment choices include:

  • Clover Mini
    The Clover Mini, as its name implies, is smaller than the full Clover Station, but is still designed for use in a fixed location. (Looking for portability in-store or at a restaurant? Go with Flex.) It includes many of the same functions as the full POS, and can scan barcodes and QR codes. It also has a built-in printer can be tethered to the Clover Station for use as a customer-facing display and card swiper.
  • Clover Mobile ***discontinued***
    The Clover Mobile machine has been discontinued. 
    The Clover Mobile combined POS features with portability. Situations where you may want a Clover Mobile include tableside payments at a restaurant, line busting in a retail store, or selling products at a tradeshow. If you do want to keep it in a fixed location, an optional dock is available. With the Mobile being discontinued, the Flex is your best option for portability and POS features.
  • Clover Flex 
    Closer in size and functions to a traditional countertop credit card machine, the Clover Flex offers card acceptance and a built-in printer. However, the Flex supports fewer apps, so if you need specific functions, be sure to check for app compatibility first. Weighing just 1 pound and featuring a 5″ screen, the Clover Flex is the smallest of the screen-based options.
  • Clover Go
    The Clover Go is a smartphone/tablet card reader for on-the-go credit card processing. It’s similar to options from competitors Square and PayPal Here, and doesn’t have a screen of its own. Rather, the reader connects to a compatible smartphone or tablet, which functions as the screen.

The Clover POS supports optional accessories to customize your hardware solution. Available accessories include produce/weight scales, barcode scanners, PIN pads, additional receipt printers, and more. As with apps, you can pick and choose which accessories you want to create your perfect system.

Clover Features

We cover the features of the various systems in a comprehensive set of reviews for each product in the Clover family. No matter which Clover equipment you choose, you’ll need to sign up for a monthly software plan, which is one factor that will dictate which features you’ll be able to use. For example, advanced inventory functionality or restaurant modifier capabilities are only available with certain restaurant plans.

In addition to the software plan, the system itself will affect features somewhat. While all of the Clover devices let you accept credit and debit cards, other features will vary. For example, the Clover Go doesn’t offer inventory management capabilities. On the flip side, it’s the device that supports multi-MID capabilities so that multiple ‘businesses’ can use the same machine. This is common for situations like salons where stylists rent a chair and aren’t employed directly by the main salon, thus having their own merchant account.

Read all about the features of the different Clover equipment, as well as the available Clover software plans.

Researching and Choosing POS Systems

When deciding on a POS system, there are two ways to go about it.

1) You can decide on a system and then choose a processor who can support it, or…
2) You can find your processor first and then pick from the POS systems that processor can work with.

If you require specialty features or have a particular function in mind only available with certain systems, you should choose your POS system first. However, if you don’t need special features and want to ensure the lowest cost for processing, you should choose your processor first. Many processors support a range of different systems, so you’ll still have multiple POS systems to choose from.

If you’re not sure you want to be locked into a processor by purchasing a Clover station that can’t be reprogrammed, check out our extensive product directory to get factual information on other models and see POS system reviews.

If you’re ready to see competitive pricing from multiple processors and then choose a POS system from supported options, try our credit card processor comparison tool.

Have questions about POS systems? Ask us in the comments!

35 thoughts on “Before You Buy a Clover POS System…”

  1. Bradley Alton

    I can tell you it definitely can be reprogrammed but they dont allow it because they want a proprietary system so sales offices will promote their system knowing that it will make it tough for that business to switch because they have to buy a new POS system. We have Clover as an option and I detest this about it because I have other customers that got a Clover from another sales office and aren’t able to reprogram it because they wont allow it. However it’s doable because if I have a business owner who sells the business it can be reprovisioned as they call it. Or if the business owner changes businesses names and location but it is done by the same sales office, so that is a lot of BS that it is security. The only security is for that sales office that the merchant will stay longer even when not happy. I hope that helps.

    1. I’ve got two units purchased on eBay and they tell me I can’t reprogram them to my business. Please let me know if this changes. I’m thinking about turning this over to Attorney General and possibly a suit.

  2. We bought a business from a friend, who owned her Clover.
    I had three different people from Clover tell me that a transfer could be done. However the three times we tried, it never worked and reverted back to her old bank and account.

    I have never been so angry and frustrated. Either the three people telling me it could be done are lying to me, or the sales guy is lying. Either way I’m being lied to and taken advantage of.

    Now they are trying to force us to rent a new one.
    Going to start looking for other options at this point. I never want to do business with these scammers again.

  3. We just purchased a Clover Mini and it is nothing but a glorified calculator without spending $30+ a month to get the “Register app”.
    So mad!!

    1. Michael Carro

      So sorry for your situation, as mentioned in previous comments you are with a sales or billing company that is trying to make their profit off you. They should make a profit but, not at the expense of your business. In our platform you have full access to the inventory, register, etc at no additional charge.

  4. Brooks Gagstetter

    Don’t do it! There are better and cheaper systems out there! Clover processing and interchange fees come out to more than 5%! Ridiculously high rates and they won’t re-access your rate for 6 months. Total scam.

    1. Just to clarify, the Clover system is offered by multiple processing companies, and they’re the ones that set the rates and fees for processing.

    2. Michael Carro

      You are with the wrong company then because most of our programs come in at around 2-2.3%. Reviews can be done as often as possible, sounds like you are working with a sales or billing company that is ONLY interested in their bottom line and not yours.

  5. We own a boutique where we also offer screen printing and embroidery. The Clover system was sold to us as full POS system. Not the case at all. We were all excited to get started with it. It looked modern, cool, and expectations were high. When we tried to ring up our first printing order of more than 100 pieces we found our first issue. The system will not allow sales of items with a quantity of more than 100. Not a good thing when we routinely sell t-shirt orders of more than 100 shirts. We either had to make up multiple skus, which made a receipt look terribly unprofessional, or make an invoice on Word. Then I wanted to run a report on inventory value. Not possible. You can export a report to excel but good luck with that. My wife and I have both called customer support. We were both told that when enough people complained about the same issue, they may look into a fix. Until then, nothing would change. This was after going through multiple customer service reps who didn’t even understand what I was asking for help with. When asked if we could return the 2 POS systems we bought we were literally told “they’re yours, you bought them, do what you want with them, you could try selling them on ebay”. Needless to say, at this point, POS and Clover have a whole new meaning for us. Definitely not “Point of Sale” or “Lucky Clover”. We’re currently looking for another option, over $2000 and a lot of frustration later.

    1. It’s a shame that companies are selling Clover “over the counter” and don’t
      provide support. Your experience is unfortunately common and could be resolved by a knowledgeable rep. Search the App Market for some simple fixes at very reasonable pricing, with free Trial Periods. We have had several Clover merchants buy new Clovers because of the experienced support we give them to find the solutions for their business, not somebody else’s.

    2. Michael Carro

      Whomever set you up did not provide justice to you and for that I am sorry. I work extensively with Clover and it will do the things you spoke of without “reinventing the wheel” and allow your business to work. Invoices and estimates can be created in an app called Invoice ASAP and the inventory should be easily trackable. Go to your inventory app, in the upper left hand corner there are three lines next to the Inventory logo, click on them, it will give you a drop down, click settings and then check both boxes, tracking and auto deducting inventory as it is sold.

  6. stella burgetto

    Clover is the worst POS i have ever dealt with, it’s a SCAM. I’m referring my case to my attorney, I’m not gonna let them get away with this.

  7. Alejandro Quintero


    I recently moved to a new business location where the preview owners had a Clover POS system and they left it behind. Is there any way possible I could reset it and use it myself or sell it in the case I don’t need it for my business?

  8. As a small business owner, who feels as if I been scammed twice already…My customers love the Clover POS and Clover Mini, they compliment it, but for processing. I would tell anyone not to go with Clover or First Data. They make running a business much harder then it already is. I don’t blame them all the way. I take some blame, but Clover – get over yourselves, you’ve already gotten so much money for equipment and also processing. Why not make a system which can be reprogammed?

  9. Heidi Normand Berge

    I have to say that Dharma Merchant Services was a dream in helping us set up our Clover System. They have saved us THOUSANDS in payment processing fees and have even helped us with Clover questions. Also, every time I have contacted Clover Customer Service they have been great.

    You really have to do your homework when purchasing (or inheriting) a Clover system, or any other POS system for that matter.


  10. My winery owns about $2,000 in First Data Clover equipment. It functions acceptably but not great. Our merchant processor charges 4.5% effective rate when you add in the fees. The fact that going to another merchant processor makes our $2K Clover equipment boat anchors is insane. We are going to jump to another POS and another merchant processor. I guarantee you we will NEVER purchase First Data services or a Clover. This business practice may be legal but it’s bad bad bad.

  11. Most (not all) terminals and equipment are not reprogrammable these days and every company is trying to lock you in as much as they can either with a contract, a Clover, or a lease.

    The bottom line is, you need to find a rep who:
    1) has been in the industry for a while.
    3) is willing to give you a list of references you can call.

    And YOU need to be willing to pay a fair fee that is worth the rep’s time to pick up the phone when you need them.

    The biggest mistake business owners make is shopping for rates rather than service.

    There are a lot of reps who are willing to go out of their way to help you and charge you reasonable rates.

  12. I am in love with the Clover hardware, and really dislike a lot the people who designed the software, interface, etc…

    I’m wondering if there is another hardware alternative, similar to the Clover Mobile (mini?) – a single unit, swipe and emv, nice bar code scanner, all built into one.

  13. Hello
    I have a clover, and I understand I can’t change the processor. Can I get a side terminal to process my cards, and still continue to operate, do business with my clover station?

  14. I received a Clover system and quickly realized that the inventory management is “very weak”. No subcategories, no manufacturer names, no filters…can’t even create a purchase order. So weak. I returned it under the “buyers’ remorse” clause, that they don’t advertise. I had to pay them a $250 restocking fee. I’m fine with getting rid of it though.

  15. I have 2 Clover systems for each coffee shop through Wells Fargo. However they aren’t compatible with my loyalty program from my current POS so I’ve decided to not use Clover. Can these systems be resold to people who need them? They haven’t been used in the field. One hasn’t even been turned on!

    1. The only way that someone else might be able to use them is if they use Wells Fargo for processing and Wells Fargo is willing to reprogram them for another client. In many cases, Wells Fargo offers expensive merchant service contracts, so it may not be in someone’s best interest to lock themselves into processing with WF just to get the systems.

  16. Just to add some information I had to call and research for, so it’s archived in the internet.

    If you have a Clover Mini tethered to a Clover Station from Merchant Processor A, it seems like you cannot transfer it to Merchant Processor B to be tethered to another Clover Station from Merchant Processor B. So being tethered does not make a difference on transferability.

  17. The only nice thing I can say about Clover is the machines themselves. They work. Customer service is about as bad as I have ever experienced. You call and a computer answers, you get put on hold, each customer service person says they can’t help you and pass you off to someone else you puts you on hold and then they say they can’t help you. All I have ever gotten has been the run around. In three months of trying to close my account because I closed the business, I have had ONE person actually help me and what needed done turned out to be very easy. Basically Clover, Owned by FirstData SUCKS.

  18. Randall P Garretson

    We currently use Clover Go with our tablets and cell phone for our non-profit. We were recently given a Clover mini and a Clover mobile system because the company which donated it went to a different solution. How would I be able to tell what processor this equipment belonged to and if we could use it with our Bank.

    1. Hi Randall,
      You can ask the person / company that gave you the Clover, or you may be able to find out by contacting Clover directly. You will only be able to use the system with the same processing company that originally sold it.

  19. I’m in the UK, spent approx 20K on terminal hardware and god knows how much on Clover software. Bottom line was we were promised the earth by the Clover rep, the system didn’t do what we wanted and basically 2.5 years down the line we have pulled them out of our stores. Customer service is awful, would not recommend them at all. So basically I have about 16 full terminal systems in my office which are useless and fully paid for. Why can’t the internet be put onto them so you could at least give them away for families to use the tablets? The printers are useless too as the serial numbers are linked to each terminal in some way so only Clover can dedicate it to another Clover terminal under your contract. Basically it’s an environmental issue too, we end up having to pay to dispose of them, more flipping landfill.

  20. the clover station, clover mini, and clover flex can be reprogrammed IF it’s with the same office (agent) who set them up. my guess is First Data doesn’t want the clover POS to be reprogrammed other than that first agent office who originally set the account up. Why? I don’t know. I never got a full explanation and I have worked with First Data for over 26 years

  21. I purchased the Clover POS about a month ago, not knowing it is a useless and wrong POS for restaurant. I spend days and hours with Clover software team and the salesman finally the Clover software department admitted that Clover can not make our menu requirement which was a typical structure menu for restaurant. Since this POS is useless without the software needs, the obvious action was to return the H/W and get my money back.
    My business is with PNC Merchant Services and finally I was told by the salesman I need to call merchant support at 800.742.5030 . I called PNC Merchant Services support and was told sorry no no refund and I can not return the H/W and they suggested go on Ebay sale it on Ebay.
    My plan is if I do not get my money back I will move my business to other bank
    This is a very good example of Lemon Law.

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