Our rating(3.5/5)
Clover Go looks simple from the outset, but features and contract can be limiting.
Clover Go is the smallest of Clover’s card terminals and works in conjunction with an app on your phone or tablet. Monthly plans are available at varying fees from resellers, but all come with your own First Data merchant account.
  • Highs: Comes with merchant account, which gives more payment stability. Integrates with Clover POS.
  • Lows: Monthly fees for what competing brands provide for free. Costs and contract not transparent. Features could be better.
  • Buy if: You’re an existing Clover user and need a mobile card reader to supplement your point of sale.

How it works

Clover Go is a portable card reader and app that, together, accept payment cards by EMV (chip), swipe and NFC (contactless). The wireless, square-shaped terminal fits in the palm of your hand and connects to the app on your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth. Transactions are processed over the phone’s network or WiFi connection.

Although simple from the outset, pricing, app features and subscriptions can vary a lot depending on your chosen Clover Go reseller.

Accepted payments

VisaMastercardAmerican ExpressDiscoverContactlessApple PayGoogle PaySamsung Pay

Some providers are more transparent about terms and costs, while others charge for simple features like a product library.

There should be greater account stability with Clover, because you get a full-fledged First Data merchant account regardless of who you sign up with. This means payments are less likely held for various random reasons, like Square or PayPal have done for some merchants.

Clover Go can be added to an existing Clover setup, but the features of Go are far more limited than, say, Clover Station or Mini. It’s for simple transactions on the move, or as an additional terminal in a wider POS system.

Pricing

There are no standardized prices for the card reader or app, and often, you don’t get all the costs disclosed upfront so you have to ask each reseller directly for a full overview of terms, contract and pricing. Previously, Clover was only sold through resellers – typically banks like Bank of America – but Clover now sells their hardware and plans directly on their website.

If you go through Clover directly, you can pick one of two subscriptions. The simpler plan is Register Lite (limited features) for US$14 a month, transactions costing 2.7% + 10¢ for in-person payments and 3.5% + 10¢ for keyed-in payments. The step up is Register (more features) for US$29 a month with transactions costing 2.3% + 10¢ for in-person payments and 3.5% + 10¢ for keyed-in payments.

Clover’s processing agreement is cancellable any time without a termination fee, with an option to get refunded within 60 days.

Cost itemClover Go
Card reader$69 (free shipping)
Register Lite
Monthly fee$14
In-person card fee2.7% + 10¢
Keyed-in card fee3.5% + 10¢
Register
Monthly fee$29
In-person card fee2.3% + 10¢
Keyed-in card fee3.5% + 10¢
Other fees
Termination feeNone
Per chargeback$25
Optional SIM plan$15 /month
Cost itemClover Go
Card reader$69 (free shipping)
Register Lite
Monthly fee$14
In-person card fee2.7% + 10¢
Keyed-in card fee3.5% + 10¢
Register
Monthly fee$29
In-person card fee2.3% + 10¢
Keyed-in card fee3.5% + 10¢
Other fees
Termination feeNone
Per chargeback$25
Optional SIM plan$15 /mo

Although the transaction fees are competitive to other card readers, you have to pay the monthly fee just to use the software and merchant account. Whether the latter is worth the cost is up to you. Clover does say that the first 30 days are free, but this may well be within a signed contract, so not the same as a free commitment-free trial.

If you go through a reseller, you may or may not pay a monthly fee. There is no norm for terminal price, fees and monthly costs for Clover, or even what payment features are included in the resellers’ plans.

To give another example, let us look at Payline’s pricing.

Cost itemPayline
Card reader$125 $100
Monthly fee$11 (Clover fee) + $10 or $20 (card processing fee)
In-person card feeInterchange fee + 0.2% + 10¢
Keyed-in card feeInterchange fee + 0.3% + 10¢
Termination feeNone, can cancel any time without penalty
Minimum volume required?Yes, $25 minimum card processing fees /month. If lower, a fee is added to make the total $25
PCI complianceFree. $19.95 non-compliance fee if haven’t completed documents within 90 days
Cost itemPayline
Card reader$125 $100
Monthly fee$11 (Clover fee) + $10 or $20 (card processing fee)
In-person card feeInterchange fee + 0.2% + 10¢
Keyed-in card feeInterchange fee + 0.3% + 10¢
Termination feeNone, can cancel any time without penalty
Minimum volume required?Yes, $25 minimum card processing fees /mo. If lower, a fee is added to make the total $25
PCI complianceFree. $19.95 non-compliance fee if haven’t completed documents within 90 days

Payline is different from a lot of other resellers’ pricing because their card fees are heavily dependent on the specific card being processed. If, for example, you’re accepting a “Visa Debit CPS” card, you pay an interchange rate of 0.8% + 0.2% + $0.10, which is basically 1% + 10 cents. That’s a lot lower than Clover’s 2.7% + 10 cents. Foreign, premium or corporate cards incur higher interchange rates, though, as do card-not-present transactions.

A downside of Payline is the two monthly fees you have to pay: $10 (if most transactions are card-present) or $20 (if most transactions are keyed) to Payline, and $11 to Clover. You also have to make a minimum of roughly $1,000 a month (namely, exactly $25 in processing fees) to avoid the monthly minimum fee, which is just the remaining amount to total $25 in card processing fees that month.

As with Clover, there is no longterm commitment required, so you can cancel the contract any time without penalty fees.

Payouts take 1-2 business days with Payline, but it is unclear how long it takes when you sign through Clover.

Card reader specs

The Clover Go card reader looks similar to the contactless Square Reader, but Go’s terminal goes a step further by being all-in-one as it accepts magnetic stripe cards in addition to NFC and EMV cards. As any other app-based options today, it connects to your smartphone wirelessly through Bluetooth.

It is compatible with iPhones or iPads running a minimum of iOS 10, and Android phones or tablets with at least Android 4.4.

The terminal weighs 2.67 oz. and measures 2.5 in. x 2.6 in. x 0.9 in, and battery life is on average good for 160 swipes or 130 contactless transactions.

The card reader comes with a micro USB charging cable, which plugs into a laptop to charge.

Reportedly, it doesn’t charge properly in a wall socket, so those nowhere near a laptop when the battery is low may find this problematic.

Clover Go chip dip

Clover Go card reader. Photo: Payline

There was an older Clover Go model that plugged into a smartphone audio socket, but this is no longer offered.

Clover Go app features

The features of Go depend on which Clover plan you subscribe to: Register Lite (recommended for merchants making under $50,000 a year in card sales) or Register (for those making over $50,000 a year). Some resellers even have their own version of the Clover Go app.

Clover Go app and card reader

Although product categories are shown in Clover Go images, this is not included on Register Lite. Image: Clover

Regardless of the plan, you should have a simple checkout screen where you enter a payment amount with optional description, then tap to charge the payment card through the card reader.

Everyone will also have the option to send receipts via email or text message. You should be able to track cash payments, accept tips, process payments requiring signature (on screen), process refunds, add tax and discounts and monitor sales through the account dashboard accessed in any browser.

It should also be possible to create employee accounts with customisable permissions, which is more than what some other card reader brands provide as standard.

Apart from these basic features, you will likely need to pay extra (i.e. subscribe to Register) for the functions shown in the last rows below. Some features advertised as included on Register – such as inventory management including product categories and variants – are actually only available on Clover Mini, Station or Flex – we haven’t included those here.

FeatureRegister LiteRegister
Accept cash
Offline payments
Digital & printed receipts
Tipping & taxes
Process refunds
Employee permissions
Payroll & shifts
Basic reports (sales, tax, payroll)
Process exchanges
Pre-authorize credit cards
Send orders to other devices
Table management
Add gratuity to checks
FeatureRegister
Lite
Register
Accept cash
Offline payments
Digital & printed receipts
Tipping & taxes
Process refunds
Employee permissions
Payroll & shifts
Basic reports (sales, tax, payroll)
Process exchanges
Pre-authorize credit cards
Send orders to other devices
Table management
Add gratuity to checks

A big benefit of Clover Go is its capacity to process transactions even when the internet is down. It’s common for POS apps and card readers to require a live connection to the cloud, but Clover will just read the card while offline and try processing it when back online again (however, this always carries a risk of transaction failure).

Clover Mini or Station users will know that Clover offers their own app marketplace for additional features, but none of these apps can be used with Clover Go. You can only connect Go to your Clover account, and sales through the card reader will be updated in the dashboard.

As for user experience, it can easily feel like a nuisance that very few settings can be adjusted directly in the app. You often have to log into the browser dashboard to change app settings, which can be a bit clunky to manage.

Accessories and hardware

Clover Go is intended as a portable device in addition to a stationary POS system or as a portable solution for simple card payments on the go, so it isn’t actually compatible with much equipment. There are a few key hardware components it can work with, though.

The terminal can be placed in a Clover Go Stand that acts as a charger too, and you can also get a Clover Go Holster and Belt Clip for carrying it around securely.

Photo: First Data

Clover Go processing Apple Watch payment

Clover Go on its charging stand.

The app can connect with any Google Print- or Air Print-enabled printer within range, but there is no full list of compatible receipt printers, so you’ll have to look around for receipt printers that work with those wireless technologies.

Of course, a major selling point for Clover Go is if you are an existing Clover user, because the Go terminal connects with your First Data account and by proxy your other Clover POS devices.

Customer service and user reviews

The service is a bit of a mixed bag that depends on where you signed on to Clover initially. Onboarding can be excellent, so-and-so or manned by misleading sales reps, depending on the reseller. You may also experience buying a terminal from one website, then having to register separately on Clover’s website for the merchant account.

Once you’re up and running, all the ongoing support can go through Clover’s 24/7 customer support line, which apparently is not always helpful. Many users have reported ongoing communication loops where issues don’t get resolved, slow or clueless responses and not being able to return hardware that doesn’t work.

Some users claim the service was good a few years ago, but has got bad recently. There are also positive reports, and customers who generally have a good experience, but with the occasional hiccup.

While the concept of Clover Go looks easy, there isn’t a way to test the system before committing to a plan. This is not great considering other (even cheaper) alternatives provide a free trial without commitment.

What you should know before signing up

We recommend looking around for prices from different resellers to see which has the best deal for your business. Some providers have contracts with a termination fee (which they are not always open about), so do ask about this when contacting sales. Make sure that everything confirmed to you is in writing, as verbal promises are not binding.

And of course: read the fine print in any contract. Because you get a full-fledged merchant account (unlike Square, which is painless to get started with, but uses an aggregate merchant account for payments), there is more bureaucracy involved with Clover Go.

Photo: Payline

Clover Go mobile payment

Clover Go is small enough to fit in your pocket and use for spontaneous transactions anywhere.

We have seen several customer reviews saying their reseller had not disclosed a hidden fee or term upfront, only to discover after sign-up that they have been misled. Another thing to be wary of is what app features are available on your subscription. Because you can’t try the app before setting up an account, make sure you get confirmation of what exactly is included on your plan.

It generally takes more than a week to have your account accepted and set up for payments. This is because a) you need to order the card reader, which takes some days to arrive, b) First Data needs to create a merchant account for you, and c) all your business details have to be checked and accepted by Clover and First Data.

Usually, you fill in a contact form online or call the company you want to order from, after which there will be some back-and-forth communication until your account is ready for payments.

Our verdict

Clover Go is convenient for existing customers looking to expand their POS system with a portable card reader similar to Square’s. It may also be suitable for businesses looking for a mobile card reader with its own merchant account, as most similar alternatives do not have this.

But compared with Square or SumUp that both offer free POS features without monthly costs, Clover Go isn’t the cheapest nor simplest solution for new or small businesses. If you don’t thoroughly check the contract you sign up for, you may end up with an inflexible and expensive deal for your business, so do consider your options carefully before opting for Clover Go.

Name of Reviewed Item: Clover Go US Rating Value: 3.5 Image: https://www.mobiletransaction.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/clover-go-app-card-reader.jpg Review Author:Review Date: