Clover vs. Vital: POS Systems and Credit Card Machines

Clover® and Vital are two of the most prominent names in the point-of-sale industry. You can use a Clover or Vital POS system to help you manage transactions.

Clover is a prominent POS system provider from the credit processing team First Data. Vital is a newer business, but it comes from high-value processor TSYS. Both of these groups have the setups necessary to run whatever POS systems and credit card machines you wish to use.

What makes Clover and Vital different from one another? Let’s take a closer look at how these two solutions compare with one another.

How the Equipment and Software Works

You’ll notice when reviewing the Clover and Vital equipment that the two companies have similar products. The two parties sell various POS systems and credit card machines for your convenience, including items like these:

  • Mobile card readers
  • Portable handheld terminals with digital display screens
  • Tablet-like terminals with touchscreen systems
  • Full-size POS systems featuring dedicated screens and registers

Clover and Vital offer products that fit your payment management needs. But the two also produce different software systems. These two have Android-based platforms where you can create unique inventory categories and adjust your POS systems to help you access details on what you have for sale. Clover lets you add items one at a time in each category, while Vital supports color-coded inventory categories.

The two systems also produce reports to help you see how well you’re collecting payments. You can filter each system by transaction type, date, employee, and other points. But the Vital system also provides additional details on things like the weather in your area. Vital can help you find more details surrounding your sales, but Clover still provides complete reports.

Clover can sync between different devices, while Vital requires you to press a button to sync between devices. It doesn’t take long to sync everything up when you have the necessary equipment on hand.

How the Full-Size Stations Work

You can order the Clover Station 2018 or the Vital E13 or E15 stations if you need a full-size POS setup. Clover and Vital both use Android-based operating systems in these systems. But there are a few noticeable differences between the two companies surrounding how their equipment works:

  • Clover’s Station 2018 can run on battery power for a brief period. Vital’s E13 and E15 stations must be plugged into a power outlet to work.
  • The Clover Station features a 14-inch touchscreen. The Vital E13 and E15 stations respectively feature 13 and 15-inch touchscreens.
  • Vital’s E13 and E15 systems come with an attached cash drawer and receipt printer. The Clover Station doesn’t have either of these features, but it is compatible with various outside cash drawers and receipt printers.
  • The Clover Station has a built-in reader for all card payments. The Vital system only has a built-in reader for magstripe cards. You’ll need a PAX PIN pad if you wish to read chip and contactless cards with the Vital setup.
  • You can use password logins on both systems, but Clover supports fingerprint logins. Vital doesn’t have support for this feature.

Comparing the Smaller POS Setups

Clover and Vital also make two compact POS systems in the Clover Mini and Vital Select X8. These two come with color touchscreens and can accept various payment choices.

The main difference between the two involves their customer screens. The X8 features a customer-facing display on the back end, giving customers a look at what they’re purchasing. You’d have to link a Clover Mini to a Clover Station if you want to produce a customer-facing screen.

Looking At the Two Portable Readers

The Clover Flex and Vital Plus X5 are two portable handheld readers that feature color touchscreens. These two readers use the Android OS and can run on battery power. But there are a few differences between the two:

  • The Clover Flex features an NFC pad on the top that makes it larger in size.
  • The Vital Plus X5 is slightly heavier, but it is also contoured to be easy to carry.
  • The Flex works with a charging dock that restores its battery power. The X5 uses a separate power cord to help you charge the unit.

What About Mobile Systems?

You can also use the Clover Go or Vital Mobile when collecting card payments while on the go. These two items can plug into a smartphone or tablet. These are basic models designed for standard transactions.

The Clover and Vital systems can both handle various transactions. They can also link to your inventory management systems, giving you further control over how you’re handling your data. The included app with each option will help you keep tabs on your inventory and provide alerts as necessary. These systems also support Bluetooth connections.

The payments these devices can read will vary by product. The Clover Go can accept EMV, NFC, and magstripe payments. The Vital Mobile C3 supports EMV and magstripe payments, while the C4 adds NFC support.

What Are the Prices?

One point you may notice when acquiring Clover or Vital POS equipment is that their prices will vary. Clover systems tend to be less expensive than Vital ones. A Clover Station can cost about $1,000, while a Vital E13 station can cost around $1,500.

The price will vary surrounding where you buy the item and what additional features you require. You can compare the features of what’s open alongside your budget to see what works.

Don’t forget to monitor the fees associated with each card transaction you complete. The fees you’ll spend will vary surrounding your business and what card types you accept on average.


Be certain when looking at a POS system or credit card machine that you know what to expect from your product. Vital and Clover have useful setups that you can benefit from, but these systems work in different ways. Be sure you know what you’re managing when getting a system ready for work.

The Clover® name and logo are trademarks owned by Clover Network, Inc., an affiliate of First Data Merchant Services LLC, and registered or used in the U.S. and many foreign countries.

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