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Clover Station 2018 Review

POS Systems

The Clover Station 2018 edition is actually a different machine than the original Clover Station POS system. The 2018 offers EMV chip card capability and integrated contactless options, as well as employee fingerprint login.

This Clover Station 2018 review will cover what else is different (and what’s the same) between the two systems.

Payment Types

Unlike the older Clover POS system, the new 2018 features built-in chip card capabilities. You can accept credit and debit, NFC (contactless) payments, and cash. Note that the Clover 2018 does NOT include an option for accepting PINs.

PIN Debit and EBT

If you accept a lot of debit or EBT cards, you’ll need to consider options for PIN debit. The Clover Station 2018 doesn’t make it easy, but there are options.

In order to accept PINs, you’ll need to “tether” a compatible PIN-entry device to the 2018. Compatible devices include an FD40 PIN pad or the Clover Mini. If you want to take EBT, you’ll need to use the Clover Mini. If you don’t need to accept EBT and you choose the FD40 PIN pad, you’ll first need to have your processor set you up with the Clover Station 2018, and then you can add the PIN pad later.

The new Clover Station 2018 will not accept PIN debit on the screen itself. Additionally, PIN on glass is not in the plans for Clover at this time.

Note that if you connect a Clover Mini or an FD40 to allow PIN entry, payments cannot be processed on the 2018 while the PIN entry device is connected. Instead, you’ll see an error message on the 2018, which will prompt you to use the tethered device to accept the payment. The NFC printer will still printer receipts, but the NFC functionality will also be disabled. If that sounds a little clunky, you may want to consider skipping PINs or opting for a system that has easier PIN entry options.

The 2018 does offer PIN bypass, allowing customers to skip PIN entry and process the card as signature debit. Note that in some cases, signature debit may cost more to process. Check out our article PIN Debit vs. Signature Debit: Which is Cheaper? for more info.

While the Clover does accept EBT with the workarounds mentioned above, it cannot support WIC.

Credit Card Processors

The Clover 2018, like the previous Clover, is compatible with the First Data platform. Any processing company that utilizes First Data may be able to offer the Clover. There are countless First Data compatible processors, including many that offer quotes through the CardFellow marketplace.

If you’re looking to use a Clover, be sure to check out our handy quote comparison tool to see pricing for accepting credit cards using a Clover Station.

Keep in mind that Clover Stations cannot be reprogrammed, so it’s important to be sure you’re going to stick with your processor for awhile if you purchase a Clover Station.

Clover Station 2018 Hardware

First, the hardware. The new Clover Station 2018 features a larger HD swivel screen – 14” vs 12” for the older model – and includes a built-in chip card slot in addition to a magstripe reader. The system also accepts contactless (NFC) payments, and includes a front-facing camera. The 2018 can also serve as a QR and barcode scanner.

Clover Station 2018

While pictured solo, above, the system is available bundles. One bundle includes the system, a cash drawer, and a thermal receipt printer. Another bundle comes with the system, a cash drawer, and a customer-facing NFC-capable printer. The third bundle comes with the system, a cash drawer, a thermal receipt printer, and a Clover Mini, which can serve as a PIN pad for PIN debit transactions.

Hardware Pricing

Prices for the bundles may vary depending where you purchase it, but suggested bundle pricing is as follows:

  • Clover Station 2018 with thermal printer, cash drawer, and Clover Mini: $1,399.99
  • Clover Station 2018 with a thermal printer and cash drawer: $1,049.99
  • Clover Station 2018 with NFC printer and cash drawer: $1,149.99

Hardware pricing does not include monthly software plan costs, or the costs of accepting credit and debit cards.

Software Pricing

The Clover Station requires a software plan with a monthly fee in order to use the system. Plans start at $9 and range to $39, with some functions only available on the higher cost plans.

Clover plans

You can get more details on the plans, limitations, and requirements in our article on choosing a Clover plan

Printers and Accessories

The Clover Station 2018 has two options for printers – a high speed thermal printer, or an NFC-compatible printer with a customer-facing display. The NFC-capable printer is not necessary for accepting contactless payments, as the system itself can accept NFC. However, the NFC printer (pictured below) features a customer-facing display and makes it easier for the customer to tap their device to make a payment.

Clover Station 2018 NFC printer

It’s suggested that the customer-facing display printer will be a better fit for quick-serve restaurants or retail environments where customers pay at the counter, as it will allow them to use the contactless option themselves and view the display screen. The traditional thermal printer may be a better fit for full serve restaurants and non-counter-pay businesses.

Note that older printers are NOT compatible with the 2018 system. Hardware cannot be “mixed and matched.” However, some accessories, including cash drawers and weight scales, are compatible with both systems.

The new 2018 system allows you to connect two cash drawers as well.

Operating System and Apps

Like the old Clover Station, the 2018 uses a Clover operating system on top of an Android operating system. It’s still a cloud-based POS, and you still have access to the Clover app market to install applications to customize your POS system.

The 2018 comes with 24 preinstalled apps, although some “apps” sound more like basic POS functions. The preinstalled apps include:

  1. Register  - billed the same as the existing Clover Station register software (typically $39/month)
  2. Orders
  3. Sale
  4. Refund
  5. Transactions
  6. Cash Log
  7. Closeout
  8. Reporting
  9. Inventory – supports up to 15,000 SKUs.
  10. Employees
  11. Customers
  12. Authorizations
  13. Phone Sale
  14. Manual Transactions
  15. Mobile Printer
  16. Voice Auth
  17. Rewards
  18. Printers
  19. Feedback
  20. Promos
  21. App Market
  22. Online
  23. Help
  24. Setup

It’s important to note that “preinstalled” doesn’t mean free. Rather, the apps are “included with the [Clover] plan.” There’s a monthly charge for Clover register use, ranging from $9 - $39/month. Some apps, like Online, may incur additional fees as well.

Online App

The “Online” app that comes preloaded on the 2018 helps businesses that offer goods both online and in a brick-and-mortar store. Essentially, the app creates your online web presence for you. It syncs your inventory for an online shopping cart, enabling smooth inventory tracking between online and in-person sales. The Online app is one of the preinstalled apps that incurs additional fees.

Clover Dining

In December 2018, Clover announced a new option, Clover Dining, for full service restaurants. Dining is only available with the Register software plan, but it is included in that plan's price. The solution is intended for use at 1-5 locations, and includes options such as customizable floorplans with table status, bar tabs, transferable tables, the ability to print individual guest checks (including partial check printing if one guest leaves before others), and more. 

Restaurants that want to use the Dining feature can do so using a Clover Station 2018 or Clover Mini. Limited Dining features are available with the Clover Flex. 

Clover Station 2018 Limitations

Like the original Clover Station, there are some important limitations. Clover itself doesn't suggest using it for hotels / lodging, car rentals, gas stations, and businesses that need multiple MIDs per station, such as salons. Additionally, the company doesn't consider itself to be a common replacement for systems like Aloha and Micros. 

The Clover Stations cannot natively support recurring billing. This means it's not a great fit for businesses that offer memberships with recurring charges (such as gyms) or businesses that want to keep customers' cards on file to charge for future visits (such as doctors' offices.) 

While there are workarounds (such as storing cards securely in a third-party vault such as Spreedly) it adds another party and additional fees. If recurring billing is a need at your business, it's worth considering solutions that are already set up for it. 

Additionally, Clover 2018 can't support HSA cards (again, not a great choice for doctors or dentists) nor can it support WIC, meaning grocery stores may want to consider alternatives. 

Security

The Clover Station 2018 is PCI 5.0 compliant, and still includes tokenization and encryption for transaction security. New to the 2018 is an employee fingerprint login for up to 20 employees.

Can I still use my old Clover Station?

Yes. The old Clover Stations will not be considered at “end of life” until the end of 2018 or later. Additionally, they will continue to be supported for awhile after that. 24/7 support from the Clover call center will still be available to businesses using the older Clover POS systems.

Additionally, broken equipment may be replaced or swapped out while inventory remains. Note that the older system and the new system do not share hardware, so it’s not possible to replace some components of an older system with components from the 2018.

Additionally, Clover Stations cannot be reprogrammed, so if you’re hoping to switch processors but keep your old Clover Station, that won’t be possible. Instead, you may need to upgrade to the 2018 or choose a different system entirely.

 

Have you tried the updated Clover Station 2018? Let us know what you think and leave a review!

Product Features

Selective: First Data

POS Systems

  • Mobile device management
  • Tableside Ordering
  • Tableside Payment Processing
  • Patron Online Food Ordering
  • Gift cards and customer loyalty tracking
  • Marketing metrics
  • Inventory management
  • Sales reports
  • Employee tracking & management
  • Payroll metrics
  • Quickbooks data export
  • PayPal acceptance
  • Integrated CRM (customer relationship management)
  • Windows-based system

  • iPad-Based System
  • Android-Based System
  • Bar Code Scanners
  • Card Readers
  • Cash Drawers
  • Receipt Printers
  • Customer Displays
  • Kitchen Printers & Monitors
  • Checkout Scales
  • Portable Receipt Printers

Clover Station 2018 Q&A


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