Our rating(3.7/5)
The handheld Clover Flex works as a touchscreen checkout and card payment terminal.
Clover Flex is a portable card terminal that works as a portable checkout too. Its touchscreen enables you to manage products, monitor sales, create orders and complete payments from anywhere with internet or 3G.
  • Highs: One terminal for both card payments and checkout features. Can be used anywhere with WiFi. Offline mode.
  • Lows: Expensive for a small business. Proprietary hardware. Doesn’t integrate with other software than Clover’s own.
  • Choose if: You have a stable turnover and need a smart POS terminal with pick-and-choose features.

What is Clover?

Clover is a cloud-based point-of-sale (POS) platform producing Android-based POS hardware and software. Their payment terminals are sold through third-party merchant service providers, but the owner and creator of Clover is the American acquirer Fiserv (previously First Data).

All of Clover’s payment terminals have a touchscreen with access to POS features, but only Clover Flex is portable. Despite its sleek looks and user-friendliness, the card terminal comes with conditions, limitations and costs to be wary of.

Clover Flex terminal: tech specs

Clover Flex is one of several Clover POS terminals (the others are Clover Mini and Clover Station), but it’s the only mobile Clover terminal available in the UK. It accepts chip and PIN, magnetic stripe and contactless cards or mobile wallets. Accepted cards include Visa, Mastercard as well as the mobile wallets Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay.

Flex is a so-called smart POS terminal, because it does more than accept card payments. The touchscreen display gives you access to a range of POS features like inventory management, gift cards, sales reports and customer management.

It also has a built-in barcode scanner and receipt printer. You can buy receipt paper through Clover, but it’s cheaper to get compatible till rolls through other suppliers. Flex’s battery life is up to 8 hours from a full charge.

The Flex terminal works with WiFi but can be used with 3G on the Register subscription. It accepts cards offline for a limited period of time, but as with all offline card payments, these are only fully processed when back online.

Image: Clover

Clover Flex card payment methods

Clover Flex accepts contactless, swipe and chip card payments.

The touchscreen interface adapts to the features being used. If the customer, for examples, needs to enter a PIN code, the screen will show a virtual PIN pad for the customer. Clover produces a tactile cover for customers who need it for the PIN pad, but not all merchant service providers offer this.

Some Clover Flex users have remarked on how clunky the terminal feels in their hands. Flex looks fancy on photos, but you may need both hands to hold and use it without dropping it.

Price? Not that simple

The Flex terminal is typically rented for a monthly fee, but there are other costs involved – upfront, ongoing and at the end of a contract. The hardware may need to be returned since Clover hardware is proprietary.

Costs and contract are in part determined by the reseller and in part by the type, size and sales volume of your business. This means you don’t get the full picture of costs until asking a sales rep from your chosen merchant service provider.

These acquiring banks and/or authorised resellers offer Clover products in the UK:

  • AIB Merchant Services
  • First Data/Fiserv
  • Lloyds Bank Cardnet
  • NetPay

The terminal is sold with a merchant account that may require up to 4 years’ commitment. Transaction charges are determined by your card turnover and type of business. Add to that ongoing software costs and the upfront or ongoing hardware costs.

The following are typical hardware and software costs applicable to renting a Flex terminal.

Hardware & software pricing*
Clover Flex terminal rental £15+/mo
Setup fee £0-£175+
Payment Plus or Register software Varies (monthly subscription)
Extra features from App Market £0-£26/mo per app

*Pricing is based on reported data from a mix sources.

The Flex terminal requires subscribing to a Clover software plan with pre-selected POS features (Payment Plus or Register), after which you can add extra software features on the terminal through the Clover App Market. Most of these extra apps incur monthly fees (even if it says they are “free” – this often refers to a free trial), so software costs can easily rack up with more features.

A merchant account comes with its own contract and charges along these lines:

Merchant account costs*
Monthly fee £10+/mo
Account on file fee £5/mo
Monthly minimum turnover fee £15/mo
Transaction fees 0.2%-3.5% + 20p-40p
Chargeback fee £25 + £250 review fee
Paper statement fee £5.95/mo
PCI compliance service fee £15/mo
PCI non-compliance fee £25/mo
Early termination fee Equivalent to monthly fee of remaining months of your contract

*Pricing is based on reported data from a mix sources.

Payout times depend on the merchant service provider and the card being accepted. If the customer disputes the transaction, a chargeback fee is applied, the amount of which also depends on your acquirer.

There may be other costs for using Clover depending on your provider. For instance, it’s common to pay a replacement fee if you damage the hardware. Leaving before the end of a contract will most certainly cost an early termination fee that may be equivalent to the amount you would’ve paid for the remaining months. This is on top of the collection fee if the provider wants the Clover Flex terminal back.

POS features

Regardless of which merchant service provider you choose, UK users will be presented with a choice of two software subscriptions: Payment Plus and Register.

Since Payment Plus is the cheapest POS plan, there are limitations with it. In either plan, features are general so they apply to most retailers and food businesses that don’t require very specialised features.

Feature Payment Plus Register
All payment methods
Staff shifts & accounts
Open tabs
Discount-based rewards
3G connectivity
Inventory management
Order management
Item discounts, rewards & taxes
Full Clover App Market access
Items-orders integration
Remote order printing
Feature Payment
Plus
Register
All payment methods
Staff shifts & accounts
Open tabs
Discount-based rewards
3G connectivity
Inventory management
Order management
Item discounts, rewards & taxes
Full Clover App Market access
Items-orders integration
Remote order printing

These features come pre-installed on the terminal so you can use the terminal straight away. 3G connectivity is only available on the Register plan, so if you’re on the Payment Plus plan, you can only use the Flex terminal with WiFi.

In addition, you can add extra features from the Clover App Market, but not all these apps are available on the Payment Plus plan. You actually have to pay extra (i.e. upgrade to the Register plan) for the privilege of accessing all apps with specialised features incurring additional costs. For industry-specific functions, it may therefore be necessary to subscribe to Register to subscribe to relevant apps.

Some of these apps are free, but many aren’t. Some only work on the payment terminal, while others are for the Clover web dashboard (accessible in a browser), or both. The Clover Reporting app, which many users find essential, is free for the first 30 days before starting a monthly, paid subscription.

Image: Clover

Clover sales reports

View in-depth sales reports in the Clover dashboard – if you subscribe to Clover Reporting.

Customer support

Regardless of where you got the Clover Flex, Fiserv provides customer support directly. You can call the Fiserv support line between 8am and 8pm every day of the week, or search the First Data help section for answers. Some merchant service providers advertise additional customer service, but this is not the norm.

Clover reviews from users are quite varied. We’ve seen many complaints about customer support being unresponsive, and unexpected or high fees. In the US, First Data/Fiserv has a poor reputation while the UK support has more limited reviews to judge from. Recently, Trustpilot shows many positive customer reviews speaking of excellent customer service, bit it’s hard to tell whether they are all legitimate.

From what we’ve read, we strongly recommend close-reading the contracts you sign, paying particular attention to hidden fees and commitments that the sales rep may not mention unless asked directly about it. Otherwise, you could be tricked into a contract with fees too high for what it’s worth.

Who is Clover Flex best for?

Flex is suitable for payments in most environments, whether out-and-about at markets, conferences or outdoor spaces, or inside for e.g. table-side orders or busting queues while the main till is handling slower transactions. Since the screen is made of durable, antibacterial glass, it suits food and drink environments perfectly.

Image: Clover

Clover Flex terminal bill

Create a bill on the touchscreen.

Clover Flex is a natural extension to a stationary Clover POS system as it works in conjunction with it.

Small businesses not already signed up for a Clover/Fiserv contract should think twice before applying, though. Why? Because software, hardware and merchant account fees can easily end up costing more than you can afford.

Bigger companies can get better card rates, while the (expensive) customisation options can be just what they need for a till system tailored around the business.

Verdict

Clover costs can rack up the more POS features you require, and you have to consider the contractual commitment only disclosed at sign-up. Better transaction fees can be negotiated for businesses with a large card turnover, but this won’t benefit a small business with a lower sales volume.

That being said, the built-in barcode scanner is an asset in a portable card terminal, as are the options for tailoring software features to suit your type of business.

If you’re on a budget and cannot reliably predict where you are in the next few years, we suggest looking at Square Terminal as an affordable, contract-free touchscreen terminal with no ongoing fees.

Best for: Stable businesses that want a mobile smart POS terminal with custom features.

Name of Reviewed Item: Clover Flex Rating Value: 3.5 Image: https://www.mobiletransaction.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/clover-flex-review.jpg Review Author:Review Date: