First off let me say that this is not a knock on the POS itself, its manufacturers, or anyone who uses it. However, it is most certainly an indictment of the ISO’s (independent sales organizations) and MSP’s (merchant services providers) who push business owners to lease this product.
In the payment processing world, Clovers are hot right now. And I mean HOT. They’re sleek, sexy, and capable. Best of all, they’re trendy. They’re the big (or little) thing that the stylish deli/bar/coffee shop wants to have to further the idea that they’re cutting edge and ahead of the times. Add the new Clover Mini to the mix and you’re able to get a powerful mini POS for about $400.
Oh, wait. You didn’t know you could get it for $400? That’s right. That’s news to you since your MSP sucked you into a $100/mo lease for the next 48 months. Yeah, $4800 to lease a piece of hardware that you could own outright for $400. Don’t believe me? Google it. So, why would your MSP rather you lease your equipment? Well, because they’re greedy. If they sell you a Clover for $400, they’ll make about $50 in profit. If they lease it to you, they’ll sell the ownership rights to a leasing company for about 50% of the total value (it’s worth less if the owners credit is poor). So, the short answer is they’d rather make $2400 in upfront cash as oppose to $50, even if it means ripping you off.
In addition to the expensive lease, the software suite you need costs an additional $35/mo. To make matters worse, the manufacturers of Clover brilliantly (or deviously, depending on your perspective) decided to make it so that the unit couldn’t be reprogrammed by a third party. You’d need to ship it back to manufacturer and have it refurbished. That means you cannot switch processors and bring your Clover with you. This decreases the likelihood of you switching, even if you can find a better bargain elsewhere. It’s like a shiny set of golden handcuffs.
Again, the Clover system itself is pretty neat and has a lot of useful features for many different kinds of business owners. But, if you’re considering leasing one, don’t. Pony up the cash and purchase it outright. You’ll be happy you took my advice.