Before You Buy a Clover POS System…
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?
- What do I do if I bought a Clover POS but want to change processors?
- Why isn’t it reprogrammable?
- About the Clover POS System
- Researching POS systems
Wait, so the Clover station can’t be reprogrammed?
As of 2017, no.
The Clover station cannot be reprogrammed like many standard terminals and POS systems can. 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 you’re being gouged on your credit card processing 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 I was given. 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. My email to First Data’s press and media department requesting an explanation has so far not been returned. 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 for retailers, restaurants, and other businesses that need something more than just a countertop credit card terminal. Offering cloud-based services, the Clover provides a range of 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.
Apps provide the ability to add more functions, like “buy one get one” promos, invoicing options, HR resources, delivery management, and trivia night hosting options. The apps allow you to pick and choose the modules you need for your business 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. You can decide on a system and then choose a processor who can support it, or 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!