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CardX Review [2024]: Is it Truly No-fee Credit Card Processing?

Dawn Prevete Dawn Prevete Finance Specialist

CardX is a leader in zero-cost credit card payment processing, a practice also known as surcharging. This allows merchants, educational institutions, and government entities to keep the full value of credit card transactions while maintaining compliance with state and card brand regulations.

With advanced technology, no-fee monthly plans, and a customer-pays pricing model, CardX can – and will – improve your profit margins.


POS equipment Custom Verifone VX520 POS Terminal ($35 monthly rental fee). Optional Magtek swiper for $120 one-time fee.
Payment methods accepted Credit and debit cards, ACH (e-checks)
Payout times WIthin 24 hours
Contract length Monthly (no cancellation fees)
Customer support 24/7 technical support line, other support available via phone, email, and live chat Monday to Friday from 7:00 AM – 6:00 PM CST
Security Level 1 PCI-compliant, tokenization, end-to-end encryption, and fraud monitoring and prevention for chargeback protection

Seamless Surcharging Plans Reduce Your Processing Costs

CardX homepage above the fold.
CardX has staked out a leadership position in zero-cost credit card processing

Too often, the big savings some credit card processors promise with cash discount programs never materialize. Here’s the catch: you’ll need to mark up all your prices to recoup the discount.

CardX’s surcharging plans are different. CardX, like its parent company Stax, is extremely upfront about pricing and delivers the savings it promises. Once you sign up with CardX, you’ll be able to keep the full value of your credit card transactions and pay an interchange plus fee as low as 1% + 25¢ for debit card transactions.

CardX accomplishes this feat with automated surcharging, so you’ll never have to worry about complex federal, state, and card brand regulations. By taking care of all the persnickety details for you, CardX saves you money and leaves you free to run and grow your business.

Available in all 48 US states where credit card surcharging is legal, CardX is best suited to businesses with thin profit margins, regardless of size. It also offers favorable pricing plans to government and educational entities.

After reviewing hundreds of merchant reviews, contacting its customer support, and researching CardX from top to bottom, here’s my advice: if you’ve considered surcharging but have been put off by the regulatory requirements, CardX just might be the right payment processor for you.



Everything You Need for Zero Cost Online & In-Person Credit Card Sales

Whether you process in-person, in-office, online, or all three – CardX has a technology-driven solution that will help you save on processing fees. It pairs full compliance rules with advanced administration and reporting capabilities, which you can access through the CardX Portal.

Another plus is the better-than-average payout time. For all transactions made before 8PM EST Monday to Saturday, you’ll receive your payments by the following morning.

Custom POS Terminal & Software

For in-person payments, all CardX customers receive a Verifone VX520 POS terminal with EMV Quick Chip and CardX’s proprietary software pre-installed.

Terminals ship with everything you need to start collecting payments, including store signage (required for surcharging compliance), a detailed “Getting Started” guide, receipt paper, and ethernet and power cords.

CardX POS terminal and other essentials.
The CardX POS terminal accepts chip and swiped credit and debit card transactions

CardX also offers a Magtek card reader if you want to accept in-person payments at pop-ups, events, and other locations. There’s a one-time $120 fee for the swiper. This lets customers pay with a credit card or debit card but not digital wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay. If they choose to pay with a credit card, they’ll cover the credit card issuer’s fee instead of you.

While it doesn’t charge a monthly plan fee, CardX does charge a $35 monthly rental fee for the POS terminal. If you cancel your account, you’ll have to return the equipment. But unlike some credit card processors, there’s no restocking fee.

As an added perk, CardX will ship free receipt paper to you at no cost – all you have to do is ask.

Easy-to-Use E-commerce Solutions

CardX’s commitment to offering a turnkey surcharging solution holds true for e-commerce payments as well.

To set up payments on your website, you can embed a link to the CardX Lightbox, which is a payment form that pops up on your page so your customers don’t have to leave your website to complete their transaction. When it’s time to pay, your customers can simply click on a “Pay Now” button to bring up the Lightbox and choose their payment method – credit card, debit card, or ACH.

The CardX Lightbox for online payments.
The CardX Lightbox announces the credit card fee to customers before they pay.

If a customer chooses to pay for a product or service with a credit card, CardX displays the surcharge fee and gives them an opportunity to choose a cheaper, no-fee payment method (debit card or e-check).

Virtual Terminal for Card-Not-Present Payment Processing

If your business accepts telephone and mail orders for products or services, you can take advantage of CardX’s secure Virtual Terminal. This comes with advanced software that instantly recognizes a customer’s card type (credit, debit, or prepaid) and automatically calculates any payment processing fees that apply.

The fee to use the virtual terminal is $29 per month.

Advanced Analytics and Reporting

Simply log onto the CardX Portal (or Virtual Terminal) to search, view, and download weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly sales and deposit reports.

When you log on, you’ll see a quick overview of your business’s recent performance, including the number of recent sales (sorted by in-person or online), the total volume of deposits, the amount you’ve saved on credit card processing, and more.

CardX Portal (virtual terminal) features.
You can download detailed reports, review customer data, and more from your CardX Portal

While CardX doesn’t offer apps and integrations, you can integrate third-party accounting and invoicing programs like QuickBooks by simply embedding a link.

Special Features for Government & Educational Institutions

Eligible government and educational organizations are entitled to CardX plans with reduced rates and unique features.

At the top of the list is CardX’s “Intelligent Rate” technology, which automatically identifies the type of credit card used and adjusts the surcharge fee to correspond to the interchange rate set by the card issuer. Customers will pay a fee that ranges from 0.75% – 3.99%, depending on the card type they use.

This feature benefits consumers who use a no-frills, basic credit card – they’ll no longer be asked to cover the higher interchange rates charged for rewards cards.

To learn if your institution qualifies, you can view a list of eligible merchant category codes (MCC) on the website or contact customer support.


Ease of use

A User-Friendly Experience

Even though you can’t apply online, setting up an account with CardX is straightforward and benefits from a quick approval process. In my experience, CardX sales representatives are helpful and informative, and they’re happy to support you through the application process.

Getting Started With CardX

To get started, you can submit an online form with your name, email, phone number, and company. You can also call the sales or customer support line directly.

When you’re ready to try the service, CardX will send you an application via DocuSign. If you’re an established merchant with a credit card payment history, you only have to submit the application and a color copy of your driver’s license. It should take no more than 2 to 3 days for CardX’s underwriters to approve your account.

CardX online form to start application process.
CardX’s application process is easier than most – you don’t have to submit a ton of additional documents to get started

Even if your business doesn’t have any payment processing history, the only supporting documentation you have to submit with your application is a copy of your driver’s license.

Once your account is approved, CardX will send your login credentials so you can access the Portal and add additional users, who will all get their own login details. You can also set access preferences for users.

An All-in-One Solution With Essential Software Built-in

CardX ships its POS terminal with its proprietary software installed and ready to use, so you can start accepting payments immediately.

CardX automatic surcharging at point of sale.
CardX automatically applies a surcharge fee when a customer pays with a credit card

To accept card-not-present payments with the CardX Virtual Terminal, log into your account on the CardX website with your username and password as you would for any other cloud-based platform. You don’t need any technical expertise to key in manual payments using the virtual terminal.

Intuitive Interface for Managing Sales

From your CardX portal, you can access an overview of your business’s current sales, deposits, and processing savings. Even if you’ve never worked with a payment processor before, CardX’s user-friendly interface makes it easy to access and customize your analytics data and reports.

The portal is also your virtual terminal where you can enter and schedule mail order/telephone order (MOTO) payments, including recurring payments and subscriptions. Jut be aware that CardX only accepts payments in US dollars.



Surcharging Can Save You Money

CardX’s zero-cost surcharging plans will allow you to keep the full value of your credit card sales by passing on all the usual credit card processing fees to your customers. To make this possible, your customers will pay a flat 3.5% customer surcharge on every credit card transaction. Debit card transactions will still incur a small 1% + 25¢ transaction fee payable by you, the merchant.

Also be aware that CardX charges a monthly rental fee for both its POS terminal ($35) and its virtual terminal ($29). Even if you only accept in-person payments, you’ll still have to pay for the virtual terminal because it also functions as the CardX Portal.

This doesn’t apply to plans for government entities and educational institutions. In this case, CardX waives the monthly fees for its virtual terminal and Lightbox payment gateway. What’s more, it uses advanced technology to calculate card-specific interchange rates and applies a smaller surcharge to (nearly) every payment, helping to reduce costs for the people you provide your services to.

CardX doesn’t charge a fee for PCI compliance on any plan. And since all contracts are month-to-month, you can cancel at any time with no termination fee.


Compliance & Security

Compliance & Security

Secure Processing for You and Your Customers

Whether your customers pay online or in person, you can be confident that their information is protected and your money is secure. Not only is CardX PCI compliant, but it also offers additional fraud protection tools, including regular fraud monitoring of merchant accounts.

PCI Compliance & More

CardX is a Level 1 PCI-compliant processor, the highest level available for business-to-consumer transactions. After your account is approved, a specialist CardX team will work with you to help you achieve PCI compliance within 90 days at no additional charge.

CardX is also HIPPA compliant, which allows healthcare companies and service providers to take advantage of the savings it offers.

In addition to PCI compliance, CardX monitors merchant accounts to reduce exposure to fraudulent transactions and ensure customer data is not compromised.

Additional Security Features

In addition to PCI compliance and fraud monitoring, CardX uses end-to-end encryption and tokenization to keep your customers’ stored credit/debit card numbers secure.

The CardX POS terminal also accepts EMV chip-enabled cards for more secure in-person payments. PCI risk is lower for online transactions because customer data exposure is limited – by using CardX’s Lightbox payment gateway, your clients are never directed to a third-party site.

Automated Surcharging Compliance

As a CardX customer, you never have to worry about complex surcharging rules, which vary by state, card type (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover), and issuing bank. CardX will register your business with each card brand as required, so you don’t have to.

It also offers merchants additional solutions that ensure your business is fully compliant by:

  • Providing signage to display at the point of sale (in store or online) that discloses your surcharging policy.
  • Limiting the credit card fee your customers pay to 3.5%, so you’ll never exceed the maximum 4% fee allowed.
  • Processing the purchase amount and credit card fee as a single charge, as required by credit card companies.
  • Listing the combined purchase amount and credit card surcharge fee as a single item on your customers’ credit card statements.

CardX’s patent-pending technology automatically detects when a customer pays with a debit card and doesn’t apply a surcharge – even if the customer runs their debit card as a credit card and doesn’t enter their PIN.


Customer Support

Helpful and Knowledgeable Sales Support

You can contact CardX support via phone and live chat from Monday to Friday, 7:00 AM – 6:00 PM CST. You can also email sales and customer support or fill out an online contact form. If you run into a technical problem with your account, there’s also a technical support team on call 24/7.

To test the standard of CardX’s customer support for myself, I started by submitting a “Learn More” form on the website. Two days later, I still didn’t have a response. In fact, I never received one. This wasn’t a great start.

I then called the main support number and spoke with a CardX account executive, who was friendly and helpful. I got clear answers to all my questions. The agent also sent a comprehensive follow-up email with a PDF deck and additional information about plans, fees, and the application process.

CardX support follow-up email
Good customer support is a CardX strong point

Finally, I tested the live chat service. After interacting with the CardX bot and getting answers to some very basic questions, the bot referred me to a live rep. The connection was fast, and again, I quickly got answers to my questions. The rep I chatted with also forwarded our interaction to the sales rep I had previously spoken with, suggesting that CardX has effective, well-integrated support systems in place.

In addition to providing live support, CardX maintains a “Resources” page containing both current and archived articles, categorized as “News” and “Insights.” These articles primarily focus on the advantages of surcharging and detail CardX’s initiative to legalize this practice across all states in the US. Please note that this isn’t designed as a typical knowledge base.

The lack of a knowledge base is one area where CardX comes up short. On the other hand, its live support is mostly excellent, and it’s easier to set up than with other credit card processors. And while there are no video tutorials, you do have a handy “Getting Started” setup guide that comes with your POS terminal.


How does CardX match up to the competition?

Leaders Merchant ServicesCompareOur Score4.8Compare
PAYARCCompareOur Score4.7Compare
CardXCompareOur Score4.6Compare
QuickBooks PaymentsCompareOur Score3.5Compare


If you want to explore surcharging as a way to reduce your payment processing fees, CardX may be your best option. It’s one of the best services on the market if you want a painless, easy-to-use, and compliant zero-cost processing solution for your business. It offers a flexible and transparent experience for your customers, too.

Another significant advantage of CardX is that it takes care of all legal requirements for you, so you never have to worry about complying with state or card brand regulations.

Updating its terminals to enable customers to pay via digital wallet (Apple Pay, Google Pay, or Samsung Pay) could make it even more appealing to small businesses interested in the savings CardX offers. Even so, this processor is hard to beat in the surcharging niche.
Pros Cons
  • Zero-cost processing lets you keep 100% of credit card sales
  • Transparent pricing
  • Fast payout times
  • Helpful customer support
  • Surcharging is compulsory for all credit card payments
  • Limited payment methods
  • Monthly hardware and software fees


What is zero-cost credit card processing?

Zero-cost credit card processing (or surcharging) allows merchants to pass along the fees charged for credit card transactions to their customers. Businesses must comply with complex regulations that can vary by state and credit card brand, so it’s important to choose a provider like CardX that takes care of regulatory compliance for you.

Is CardX the best zero-cost credit card processing provider?

CardX is a leader in the 0% credit card processing niche. It gives businesses a way to streamline the in-store and online payment process, and it even offers special plans for government and educational entities. CardX takes care of surcharging compliance for you, so you’ll never have to worry about running into regulatory or legal issues.

How do I decide if zero-cost credit card processing is right for my business?

You’ll want to weigh the savings you’ll realize against the potential loss of sales you might experience if customers are put off by the surcharge and take their business elsewhere. CardX ensures you’re transparent and flexible, so your customers are more likely to accept the additional fee.

Is it better to use surcharging or offer a cash discount?

Both models have their pros and cons, but there’s a key difference. When you offer a cash discount, your customer will only save by paying cash. With surcharging, you give your customer a choice: they can save if they pay with a debit card or they can choose to pay the credit card processing fee, which means you’ll save on these fees.
Dawn Prevete Dawn Prevete
Dawn specializes in writing about a range of software products, including website builders, backup services, credit card processing solutions, and project management platforms. She has 10+ year’s experience as a technical writer and has written a number of articles for CEOs and senior executives at client companies that have appeared under their bylines. When she’s not researching and testing digital services, she brainstorms with educators to ensure all students have access to enriching learning opportunities.
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