Credit Card Processing

Before You Buy a Clover POS System…

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The Clover station, a sleek point of sale system available on the First Data platform, is an increasingly popular choice for businesses that need the functions and features of a full POS system. The 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 cost, while other businesses prefer the lower cost and portable Clover Mini or Clover Mobile systems.

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.


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

As of 2018, no.

Processors cannot reprogram Clovers like they can with other machines. While the Clover POS can work with many different credit card processing companies, it will only work 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 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.

Related Article: Average Credit Card Processing Fees – Are You Overpaying?


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 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.

The Clover POS is one choice in the larger family of Clover processing equipment options. Other choices include the Clover Mini, Clover Mobile, and Clover Go. 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.

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!

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Ellen Cunningham

BY Ellen Cunningham

Ellen has a degree in English, which she puts to work every day researching and writing articles, processor reviews, and social media posts. She enjoys the challenge of explaining complex topics - making her a perfect fit for credit card processing - and strongly believes in CardFellow's mission of empowering business owners through education.When she's not busy following the latest industry news, Ellen can be found cycling the beautiful trails of southern New England, narrowly losing at pub quizzes, or practicing her trapeze skills in aerial circus class.

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28 COMMENTS

  1. from James, on August 13, 2018 10:54:03

    I have 2 Clover systems for each coffee shop thru 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!

    • from Ellen Cunningham, on August 13, 2018 11:07:08

      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.

  2. from Dennis, on August 6, 2018 13:54:03

    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.

  3. from Cris, on June 14, 2018 12:15:49

    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?

    • from Ellen Cunningham, on June 14, 2018 15:52:06

      Hi Cris,
      You could, but none of your payment data will be integrated with the Clover system, so it may be a hassle.

  4. from Mike Koocher, on May 11, 2018 11:06:07

    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.

    • from Ellen Cunningham, on May 14, 2018 10:10:29

      Hi Mike,
      There are a lot of options for equipment these days. You may find something browsing our equipment directory.

  5. from Mike B, on March 21, 2018 15:39:47

    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.
    2) HAS A GOOD REPUTATION
    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.

  6. from Bob Wickizer, on March 20, 2018 17:41:53

    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 bad bad bad.

    • from Bernadette, on August 11, 2018 20:32:02

      Who did you end up using?

  7. from Heidi Normand Berge, on February 8, 2018 12:52:47

    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.

    Heidi

  8. from Unknown, on January 15, 2018 11:37:45

    A small business owner, who feels as if I been scammed twice already.. The clover pos and clover mini, my customers love, they compliment it, but for processing sake 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. from Alejandro Quintero, on September 28, 2017 12:35:25

    Hello,

    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?

    • from Ellen, on September 28, 2017 12:50:17

      Hi Alejandro,
      Unfortunately, Clovers can’t be reprogrammed, so unless it’s the same business, it’s unlikely you’d be able to use it. Sorry!

  10. from stella burgetto, on June 14, 2017 13:28:18

    clover is the worst POS i have ever dealt with, its a SCAM, im referiing my case to my attorney, Im not gonna let them get away with this.

  11. from Scott, on June 1, 2017 23:28:53

    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 sale 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.

    • from Michael Carro, on March 7, 2018 21:44:50

      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.

    • from Lisa, on August 30, 2017 19:41:30

      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.

  12. from Brooks Gagstetter, on May 3, 2017 12:45:22

    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.

    • from Michael Carro, on March 7, 2018 21:46:30

      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.

    • from Ellen, on May 4, 2017 12:37:57

      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.

  13. from Kevin, on March 10, 2017 02:02:30

    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!!

    • from Michael Carro, on March 7, 2018 21:48:20

      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.

    • from Lisa, on August 30, 2017 19:36:51

      You need to call Clover and switch to Clover Lite…a good rep would tell you that.

  14. from JY, on January 29, 2017 22:04:44

    We bought a business from a friend, who owned her clover.
    I had three different people from clover tell me that it 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.

    • from Ellen, on January 30, 2017 11:34:19

      I’m really sorry to hear that! What a frustrating experience.
      If you need help finding reasonable cost POS systems and credit card processing, be sure to check out CardFellow’s comparison tools. (https://www.cardfellow.com/sign-up) Much easier and we’re always here to answer questions or provide support.

  15. from Bradley Alton, on March 4, 2016 21:29:20

    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 its 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.

    • from Charles Selzer, on October 27, 2016 22:31:49

      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.