This article is part of a larger series on POS Systems.
Clover is a point-of-sale (POS) system that offers an all-in-one, cloud-based solution for small retailers, restaurants, and service-oriented businesses. Its POS software comes bundled with an integrated payment processor and proprietary hardware, plus you can integrate additional apps. However, many Clover competitors offer different features, clearer and more flexible payment options, and varying price points that might be better suited to your business needs.
Here’s a quick rundown of what Clover does well, along with some weak points:
|Can be programmed to integrate with other payment processing services||No built-in vendor management tools|
|Affordable plans with access to proprietary hardware (including portable options)||Hardware tied to the merchant account (cannot be reprogrammed)|
|Reports are easy to generate and use||Little oversight of third-party resellers means contracts vary in quality|
|Can process card payments while offline||Requires use of third-party apps that drive up monthly fees|
Two of these weak points—lack of oversight on resellers and requirement of third party-apps and features to cover missing functionality—are significant concerns for business owners looking to maximize clarity and minimize hidden costs when setting up their POS system. These shortcomings might be enough for entrepreneurs to consider other systems.
In our evaluation, the best Clover alternatives are:
- Square: Best overall Clover alternative with free POS system
- Shopify: Best multichannel features for native ecommerce businesses
- Lightspeed Retail: Best for advanced inventory features
- Toast: Best overall for restaurants
- Loyverse: Best for small quick service and hybrid restaurants
Top Clover Alternatives Compared
In-person Transaction Fee
2.3%–2.6% + 10 cents
Fiserv or third-party processor
$0 (+$29–$69 industry-specific Plus and Premium Plans)
2.5%–3.5% + 10–15 cents (custom rates available)
$0–$89 (+$39–$399 ecommerce subscription)
2.4%–2.7% (depending on your Shopify plan)
$69–$199 (Lightspeed for Retail)
Lightspeed Payments Card-present: 2.6% + 10 cents
Lightspeed Payments or third-party processor
2.49%–2.99% + 15 cents
While Clover offers a popular POS system, it is best for businesses that have limited inventory management needs and plan to purchase Clover hardware from their existing merchant account.
Although Clover advertises solutions specifically for retail, restaurant, and service businesses, its limited functionality—along with pricing and contract variability among resellers—prevented it from making the following lists:
- Best retail POS systems
- Best restaurant POS systems
- Best spa and salon POS systems
- Best POS systems for small businesses
Read our full Clover review to learn more or read on for details on the top Clover competitors.
Square: Best Overall Clover Alternative
What makes Square a good alternative to Clover?
Square is Clover’s top alternative and our pick for the best POS system for small businesses. It offers similar key features to Clover, including a built-in payment processor, but beats Clover for ease of setup and use. For users looking for a free plan or more affordable subscriptions or a greater variety of hardware with clearer pricing and functionality, Square is likely a better choice.
You can get started with Square for no money down if you have an iOS or Android device to run the Square app. Square is also the top pick in our guides on the leading mobile POS apps and the best free POS software. It offers basic and industry-specific POS software that starts with a free plan.
Some users found Clover’s pricing confusing due to the number of third-party resellers with different policies and the many possible combinations of subscriptions, software plans, and available hardware.
As an alternative, Square is very transparent with its pricing:
- Monthly POS software fee: $0 ($29–$69+ for industry-specific Plus and Premium Plans)
- Payment processing: 2.5%–3.5% + 10–15 cents (custom rates available)
- Individual devices: $0–$799
- Hardware kits: $249–$1,479
Square’s platform is one of the most intuitive POS systems on the market, allowing users to process transactions and manage their businesses seamlessly with a cloud-based system. It also allows you to run sales reports, collect customer information, run a loyalty program, take payments, and more. Users who outgrow the basic Square POS software also have the option to upgrade to a more industry-specific solution like Square Appointments, Square for Retail, and Square for Restaurants, each with Plus and Premium plans ranging from $29–$69+ each month.
Specific Square features include:
- Vendor management
- Multichannel sales tools
- Offline payment processing
- Credit card pre-authorization
- Automated customer directory
- Social media selling integration
- Buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) features
Want to know how Clover stacks up against Square? Read our Clover vs Square comparison for more details.
Shopify: Best Clover Alternative for Ecommerce Business
What makes Shopify a good alternative to Clover?
For business owners who want a strong online presence in addition to their physical store or wish to go all-in on an ecommerce platform, Shopify stands head and shoulders above other POS systems. It is a powerhouse in the ecommerce space and offers small business owners one of the best retail POS platforms, whether you have an ecommerce website or a traditional brick-and-mortar shop.
Shopify provides a wealth of omnichannel features, such as tools for order management and pickup, options for buying online and exchanging or returning in-store, QR codes for more convenient online shopping, integrations for multichannel sales, and more.
- Monthly ecommerce software fee: $39–$399
- Monthly POS software fee: $0–$89 per month per location
- Payment processing: 2.4%–2.7% (depending on your Shopify plan)
- Hardware: $39–$429
Shopify stands out for its sophisticated yet easy-to-use website builder that integrates perfectly with Shopify’s in-store POS software, which is equipped with all the tools that business owners need to manage in-store sales. Clover POS users who prefer a stronger online presence or have a larger ecommerce sales revenue should consider Shopify as a more suitable alternative.
Specific Shopify features include:
- Integrated sales channels
- Online store builder
- Shipping tools
- Integrated inventory management
- Wide range of integrations, including Amazon
To learn more about Shopify’s multichannel tools and how they stack up to the competition, read our guide to the best multichannel POS systems.
Lightspeed Retail: Best Clover Alternative for Advanced Inventory Management
What makes Lightspeed a good alternative to Clover?
Lightspeed offers POS systems for retail and restaurant businesses, along with an ecommerce platform comparable to big names like Shopify and BigCommerce. Its granular matrix inventory management tools surpass competitors like Clover, earning its place as our top-recommended POS for inventory management.
Lightspeed allows you to accept payments with its built-in payment processor Lightspeed Payments and third-party payment processing integration in its more advanced plans. Overall, it offers more flexibility with processors and hardware reprogramming than Clover does.
- Monthly software fee: $69–$199 (Lightspeed for Retail)
- Payment processing:
- Lightspeed Payments card-present: 2.6% + 10 cents
- Hardware: $129–$439
Lightspeed gives its users the ability to access back-office management, accounting, and online reporting tools. Flexible features allow users to customize the system for various retail and restaurant businesses easily.
Lightspeed’s top features include:
- Customizable advanced matrix inventory
- Third-party payment processing integrations (with extra fee)
- Built-in purchase ordering
- Supply chain management
- Multilocation management
If you’re ready to get started, see our guide on how to manage inventory using Lightspeed.
Toast: Best Overall Clover Alternative for Restaurants
What makes Toast a good alternative to Clover?
Toast easily dominates restaurant POS systems in the market as an overall best solution and as a Clover competitor. It offers many features for full-service bars, restaurants, and even coffee shops. The baseline subscription starts with a pay-as-you-go option, so there’s $0 upfront cost, and it already includes useful features such as menu management tools. Toast also tops our lists of the best bar POS systems and online food ordering and delivery POS systems, and is generally a far more robust POS option for restaurants than Clover.
- Monthly software fee: $0–$165
- Payment processing (card-present): 2.49%–2.99% + 15 cents
- Payment processing (keyed-in): 2.99%–3.5% + 15 cents
- Hardware: $799+ (but $0 down payment for starter kit)
Toast is a powerhouse for both front-of-house and back-of-house restaurant operations, giving you all the tools you would find in legacy, locally installed restaurant POS systems like MICROS but in a more affordable package. It offers built-in solutions—from order and table management to delivery and takeout functionalities—perfect for everything from cafes to full-service restaurants. Note that some of these solutions come as add-ons to the base plans and may require you to pay additional fees.
Toast’s top features include:
- Customizable floor plan management
- Menu and table management tools in the baseline POS plan
- Integrated digital ordering via online, mobile app, or QR code
- Quick order screens for bars
- In-house delivery and takeout platform
- Multilocation management from a central dashboard
Loyverse: Best Clover Alternative for Small Hybrid Restaurants
What makes Loyverse a good alternative to Clover?
Loyverse has a free POS plan, while Clover’s subscriptions start at $14.95 per month. Given that they have comparable features for restaurant businesses, Loyverse’s free subscription is a major advantage over Clover.
Loyverse is the only free POS system with a built-in loyalty program. It also offers business management tools supporting both retail and restaurant businesses, making it an ideal solution for small hybrid cafes and restaurants. You will need to find your own payment processor, but unlike Clover, Loyverse does not require proprietary hardware, so you have more flexibility in choosing a provider
- Monthly software fee: $0 (paid add-ons available for $5–$25 per month per location)
- Payment processing: No default payment processor; third-party only
- Hardware: Costs vary; no proprietary hardware
Loyverse also includes paid add-ons that enhance the base POS system:
- Employee management tools: $5 per month per employee with 14-day free trial
- Advanced inventory tools: $25 per month per location with 14-day free trial
- Various integrations and apps (accounting, ecommerce, marketing, online ordering): starting at $9 per month per store with 14-day free trial; app developers may charge additional fees
Loyverse offers solid POS and inventory management tools for small food-based establishments that also sell retail products. You get access to menu customization, ticket management tools, barcode scanning, and bulk inventory upload features. Loyverse also integrates with popular payment providers like SumUp, PayPal Zettle, and Worldpay.
Specific Loyverse features include:
- Free POS app for iOS and Android
- Barcode scanning and bulk inventory uploading (CSV)
- Menu modifications and management
- Offline mode
- Customer display support and a free dedicated app for Kitchen Display System
- Order management tools
- Stock management including inventory count
Clover Alternatives Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The best POS solution for you will depend on the type of business you run and the specific needs that come with it. For nearly every industry, there are great Clover POS alternatives. Overall, we recommend Square POS as the best overall solution for small retail businesses and Toast as the best restaurant POS.
Unfortunately, Clover does not offer a free option, but you can try the software out with its 30-day free trial. If you need a free POS system, we recommend Square. It is completely free for a single location and has all the tools you need to conduct sales and manage your store.
Clover’s payment processing fees are:
Restaurant: 2.3% + 10 cents
Retail: 2.6% + 10
2.3% + 10 cents
3.5% + 10 cents
If you decide to pay full price via monthly installments, Clover charges between $14.95 and $94.85 per month, depending on your chosen plan.
If you choose to pay for continuous use on a month-to-month basis, the charges are as follows (for combined hardware and software usage):
- $60–$175 per month (retail)
- $90–$175 per month (quick-service restaurants)
- $150–$290 per month (full-service restaurants)
For hardware, you can purchase Clover devices directly from Fiserv or buy or lease devices from more than 3,000 other resellers. The exact price you will pay (whether for an outright purchase or lease installments) will depend on the reseller you are dealing with. Should you choose to take this route, be sure to scout around for the best deals you can find.
Clover POS offers a complete business solution, from software and hardware to credit card payment processing. However, it locks you into contracts, may include hidden fees, and could be more expensive than a small business can afford.
Among all the Clover competitors, Square gives you more features and flexibility at a fraction of the cost, even with its paid plans. Additionally, it gets constant high marks for affordability and ease of use. For these reasons, Square is our top POS recommendation for a Clover alternative. Visit Square to create a free account.