Payment Methods

How to Store Credit Cards With Clover for Recurring Payments

Written by
Greg Schraff
Publication Date
January 26, 2017
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Many point of sale payment solutions don't allow you to store credit cards. Somewhat surprisingly - given its modern approach, excellent reputation, and growth - Clover is one such system. There are many good reasons for this. A downside, however, is the inability for merchants to make recurring, card not present transactions. There is no way within Clover itself to capture and store credit cards for recurring payments. The good news is, there's a solution for this.

The Use Case

Clover is a popular choice for businesses that need the features and functions of a full POS payment solution. It has many things going for it: competitive processing rates, an open API and app market, ease of set up and use, and an aesthetically pleasing design. But if you’re running a restaurant, retail store, service business, hotel or other business with Clover you may have encountered the challenge of trying to store credit cards. The use cases for doing so are many:

  • An orthodontist that has repeat patients not having to re-swipe a credit card each visit.
  • A restaurant that also features online ordering for pick-up and delivery.
  • A retail store that offers a wider selection of inventory online.
  • Or a gym offering "first month free" -¬†you need a card on file for payment in¬†month two.

I could go on, but the point is there are ample opportunities to generate more business outside the point of sale environment.  

Exacerbating the Problem

In addition, solving for these use cases addresses a particular customer experience that can also boost your bottom line. All of the examples above create a double-entry order experience. Whether in-person, on a smartphone, a web browser, or some other channel, entering payment details multiple times causes friction. This friction serves to disconnect your customer from your brand. This disconnect creates a disjointed customer experience, a problem quickly coming to a head:

Moving freely between offline and online shopping channels is more and more the norm, particularly amongst younger consumers. The expectation for a consistent user experience puts pressure on retailers to change quickly if they want to maintain customer loyalty.

A recent IBM study reveals that Generation Z consumers are busy shopping on their phones, online and in stores, and this demographic represents $44 billion in estimated buying power.

While nearly all Generation Z shoppers, 98 percent, still hit brick-and-mortar retailers, more than half, 66 percent are now using more than one device and 60 percent won't use an app or hit a website if the site loads slow.

On the mobile front alone, in 2017 the number of proximity mobile payment users in the US will climb 32.4 percent to 50.8 million. By 2020, close to one-third of US smartphone users will use proximity payments at least once every six months, according to eMarketer. All of this points to the need for a seamless brand experience, which a card not present payment solution supports.

"In this new era of customer engagement, what will separate the winners from everyone else is a differentiated brand experience that delivers high impact engagements with compelling personalization regardless of where the customer is." - Harriet Green, general manager of IBM Watson Customer Engagement

So what are Clover customers to do?

Here is a way to store credit cards and use them whenever you want with Clover

While Clover does not yet provide the capability, they do have customers solving for this problem via Spreedly today. With Payment Method Distribution (PMD), you can use cards you've already securely stored and tokenized in Spreedly to transact directly with Clover (click here for details on how to set this up). 

Spreedly's Payment Method Distribution is the process by which a customer tells Spreedly to initiate a call to a third party API and to include credit card data that is securely stored and tokenized within Spreedly's credit card vault. Spreedly then acts as a proxy that adds in sensitive cardholder data before passing along the customer's API request to the third party. For documentation on Payment Method Distribution (PMD) go here. For information on how Spreedly works with third party endpoints like Clover, go here.

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