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Reviews and expert opinion Stax

Emma Ayres Emma Ayres Finance Specialist

Stax is a fantastic subscription-based credit card processing service that offers affordable transaction fees, intuitive payment software, and e-commerce functionality to cover all aspects of your business.

While it has its flaws, high-volume businesses can save money with Stax over a processor with a traditional fee-only payment model.

Overview

A Fantastic All-in-One Payment Processor for US Merchants

Stax is a US-only payment processor that aims to simplify your credit card processing bill by offering a monthly fee and competitive interchange rate payment model. This is a fantastic way to save money if your business handles more than $5,000/month in credit card transactions.

With plans for small, large, and SaaS companies, Stax has a lot to offer both brick-and-mortar and e-commerce businesses.

That’s because, on top of the standard card reader and mobile point-of-sale (POS) software you’d expect, Stax comes with other great benefits. It integrates with several popular e-commerce platforms, it’s easy to add to your website, and it even lets you send invoices via text or email.

Stax's software features
Stax offers multiple ways to collect payment quickly and securely.

What’s more, Stax integrates with QuickBooks and Xero to automate your accounting, Slack or MSTeams to keep everyone up to date, and Mailchimp to automate adding new subscribers to relevant email campaigns. With so many “above-and-beyond” features, it’s not surprising that this company is so well-loved by its customers.

After reading hundreds of customer reviews, contacting customer services, and investigating this service from top to bottom, I’m here to help you decide if Stax is right for you and your business.

5.0

Features

Stax Has A Fantastic Range of Features

Stax offers every feature you could ever need from a payment processor – and then some.

I can easily see businesses using Stax without requiring any additional integrations. It offers built-in invoicing and a fantastic developer kit to help you build custom shopping carts on your own website.

With that being said, Stax also has integrations for popular e-commerce gateways like Bigcommerce and Magento to optimize payments on your existing online store.

Just be aware that not all of Stax’s features are included as standard. Unfortunately, this includes its pre-built e-commerce shopping carts and the ability to pass credit card processing fees onto customers. You’ll have to pay an additional monthly fee to use these features.

Your Choice of a Free Point-of-Sale Terminal

As a Stax customer, you’ll get a free Swipe Simple, Dejavoo, or PAX payment terminal to handle in-person transactions, whether they’re keyed in, swiped, or contactless. The specific terminal you receive will depend on your business needs, what payment methods you want to accept, and whether you need a mobile terminal.

Stax's quick reference guide for payment terminals
Stax also has quick reference guides for every Pax and Dejavoo terminal it offers.

Unlike other providers, Stax doesn’t charge you to rent this terminal. However, if you cancel your account, you must return the equipment within 10 business days to avoid being charged. This makes Stax a great option for small businesses that don’t necessarily have the budget to purchase expensive payment equipment outright.

On top of this, you can install Stax’s mobile app on your smartphone or tablet to use your own device as a terminal. This will allow you to manually enter card details, automatically charge cards saved on customer accounts, and create invoices on the go.

Full E-Commerce Support With Developer Tools

While this processor integrates with most popular e-commerce platforms, Stax also has its own e-commerce platform. So, if you’ve already got an online store with a platform like WooCommerce, Shopify, or Magneto, you don’t need to worry about migrating your entire store to use Stax.

Stax’s developer tools for building a shopping cart on your website are also easy to use, whether you know how to code or not. You can easily add a Stax shopping cart using one of its no-code, pre-built cart templates, helping you to get selling almost instantly.

You can also sell digital gift cards and custom brand your e-commerce payments. These features are optional add-ons, but if you get a significant amount of business through your e-commerce store, they’re worth it to improve your brand image.

Accepted Payment Methods

Stax’s accepted payment methods aren’t anything special. It accepts debit and credit card payments, ACH transfers, Google Pay, and Apple Pay, but there’s a notable lack of PayPal and cryptocurrency support. Plus, Stax currently only accepts payments in USD.

What Stax lacks in payment options it makes up for with its payout speed. Unlike most card processors, Stax will deposit payments in your merchant account on the day they’re made – although you will need to pay extra for the privilege. 

Otherwise, Stax takes 24-72 hours to process credit card payments and 4-5 business days for ACH transfers. If you regularly handle these kinds of payments, the same-day payment add-on might be worth the money.

Business Software Integrations

Stax integrates with other software via Zapier, effectively giving you thousands of integration options. Using Zapier allows you to set up custom integrations, but Stax already has several pre-built options for popular project management, marketing, and accounting software suites.

Stax's QuickBooks Pro Data Sync add-on
Stax’s Quickbooks integration is a great add-on.

The best integration that Stax offers is, by far, the optional add-on to connect Stax to QuickBooks. While you have to pay extra for this service (and, unsurprisingly, that amount isn’t clear until you apply for a Stax merchant account), this built-in integration helps you save tons of time on accounting administration.

Unlike other integrations, the QuickBooks connection works both ways, so you don’t have to worry about reconciling payments. Real-time data sync means your payments, customers, invoices, and products and services are automatically shared between Stax and QuickBooks, taking the stress out of your accounting.

5.0

Ease of use

Stax’s User Experience Is Among the Best

Setting up a merchant account with Stax is easy. According to Stax, it takes between 24 and 48 hours for a merchant account to be approved if you supply the correct documentation. Stax makes it clear up front what documents you need, including a list of accepted file formats for scanned versions.

You can either apply yourself or contact the Stax sales team to get help tailoring your application to your business requirements.

Getting Started with Stax

To apply for a Stax merchant account, you’ll need at least 3 months of payment processing history.

Click Sign Up or Get Started to input some basic information about yourself and your business. From there, you’ll be taken to Stax’s application form, where you’ll be asked to fill out detailed information about your business and upload documents to support your application.

Applying for a Stax merchant account
Stax offers a lot of help with filling out its application form.

In the Review section, double-check that all of your details are correct and that you’ve uploaded all required documentation, then click Save & Sign.

Your application will be reviewed by Stax’s underwriters. If you haven’t heard back within a few days, or need additional support, you can call Stax’s customer service to speak to the applications team.

Stax Pay Makes Managing Your Sales Simple

Stax’s all-in-one payment platform is easy to use. Even if you’ve never used a payment processor before, you’ll find it easy to explore your sales data, create and schedule payments, view customer information, and more.

StaxPay sales dashboard
Stax Pay makes it easy to read and understand your financial analytics.

In addition, if you need help navigating Stax Pay, Stax’s knowledge base has dozens of articles covering both the desktop and mobile applications. There are guides covering everything from creating invoices to what different decline codes mean, so you’re never on your own.

Plenty of Third-Party POS Device Integrations

Stax integrates with over 90% of third-party POS devices, so there’s no need to replace your existing devices if you switch to Stax.

Having such a wide range of integrations is really helpful for larger or more established businesses, particularly given that Stax only offers terminal devices. You’ll have to source registers, cash drawers, and inventory management tools from elsewhere.

These integrations are free of charge with a Stax account; however, it’s worth noting that your POS manufacturer may charge conversion or integration fees.

4.5

Pricing

Great Value Monthly Pricing For High-Volume Businesses

Stax claims to simplify your payment processing bill by offering a simple subscription model. You pay a flat monthly fee, interchange fees, assessments, transaction fees, and an effective rate.

Stax offers three tiers of service – Growth (0% markup + low flat fee), Pro (0% markup + low flat fee), and Ultimate (0% markup + low flat fee). Each plan covers up to $500,000 in annual processing. If your business handles more than that, you’ll need to contact Stax directly for a custom quote.

Each plan gets you Stax’s dashboard and analytics software, ACH processing, and a free terminal or mobile reader. If you need digital invoicing or want to use the Quickbooks integration, you’ll need the Pro plan. The Ultimate plan unlocks even more advanced features, allowing you to export your data, set up recurring invoices, schedule payments, and more.

The most important thing about monthly payment models is that they’re best suited to businesses that handle above a certain volume of transactions. According to its customer services, if you receive over $5,000/month in transactions, you’ll save money with Stax. This is because Stax doesn’t charge a markup on market interchange rates, which many other processors do.

Plus, Stax allows you to pass the per-transaction fee onto customers via its surcharging feature. This can save you even more money in the long run.

On the other hand, Stax’s payment structure isn’t quite as transparent as it claims to be. There are some hidden fees you need to be aware of, and it’s not entirely clear how much these are.

When I spoke to a customer service representative, they confirmed that Stax charges a transaction fee of “a few cents,” but I couldn’t get an exact number. Similarly, I couldn’t find any information regarding chargeback fees on Stax’s website.

Stax claims all other fees are included in the monthly cost. However, several customer reviews mention that data processing, PCI compliance, and chargeback protection fees aren’t included. If you’re considering using Stax, I recommend speaking with a sales representative to pin down exactly what fees you’ll be charged.

You’re not locked into a contract with Stax, so you can cancel your account at any time with no cancellation fee. Just note that you have to give Stax 30 days’ written notice of cancellation. If your billing date falls within this period, you’ll still be charged.

5.0

Compliance & Security

Your Money Is Safe With Stax

Stax offers a high level of financial security. On top of its PCI compliance, Stax runs multiple checks on merchant accounts to manage the risk of fraud.

Stax also helps merchants achieve PCI compliance within 30 days of signing up at no additional cost.

PCI Compliance & More

Stax is a Level 1 PCI Service Provider, which is the highest level of PCI compliance available. In addition, Stax is also HIPAA compliant and offers EMV compliant terminals to keep all of your transactions secure.

Stax's PCI compliance dashboard
Stax’s PCI dashboard makes it easy to see what you need to do to become PCI compliant.

Stax requires that all merchants are fully PCI compliant within 60 days of opening an account. You’ll be subject to a non-compliance fee otherwise. Luckily, they offer a comprehensive guide and easy-to-understand dashboard to help you complete the steps needed to become PCI compliant.

Additional Security Features

As part of its PCI compliance, Stax uses tokenization to keep used and stored credit card numbers secure. This means you can safely set up subscriptions and keep card numbers on file without worrying that your customer’s financial information is at risk.

On top of that, Stax protects against fraud by placing temporary risk holds on customer accounts that need additional verification. You can read more about this measure, plus get advice on preventing fraud, chargebacks, and other security risks on Stax’s knowledge base and blog.

4.5

Customer Support

Friendly and Knowledgeable but Sales Focused

You can get in touch with Stax customer support via live chat, email, web forms/tickets, phone, and fax. Stax also offers a comprehensive knowledge base with clear, well-articulated articles covering almost every aspect of this payment processor.

There are no published hours of customer support but I didn’t have issues getting answers from live chat outside of typical office hours. While that’s undoubtedly a plus point in Stax’s favor, it also highlights one of the biggest issues I had with this processor. Stax’s website really isn’t clear in a lot of areas.

To try and find more information, my first port of call was the “Get In Touch” form on the website. I filled in the details and waited, but I never got a response to this form.

Fortunately, live chat offered a far better experience. When you open live chat, you’ll have to answer a few basic questions about your business before being put in the support queue. Even though I was contacting live support during the middle of the working day, I was connected to an agent straight away.

Stax's live chat customer service
I eventually got the answers I was looking for from Stax’s live chat.

Stax’s customer support team is very sales focused. Before the agent answered my questions, I had to give them my email address, my phone number, and book a call with a payment consultant. After about 15 minutes of going through the sales process, I managed to get succinct answers to my questions.

Next up, I switched to another email account and tried out the email support channel. I got an (informative) answer the next business day, just as promised.

Stax's email customer support channel
At least Stax’s customer service answered my question this time.

While the knowledge base has comprehensive written guides, there are very few video tutorials. The video tutorials that do exist show a previous version of Stax. And while the software looks similar, there’s no way of knowing what differences there are until you’ve been approved for a merchant account.

Still, my own experience suggests you shouldn’t have too much trouble getting help though Stax’s human support channels if you ever need it. Just bear in mind that you might struggle to get a straightforward answer from the support agent unless you’ve got or you’re applying for a Stax merchant account.

Stax REVIEW: BOTTOM LINE

Stax has a lot to offer any business that processes over $5,000 in credit card transactions each month. With intuitive payment software, extensive e-commerce functionalities, and no contracts, Stax is one of the best credit card processors on the market for modern businesses.

With all of that said, Stax isn’t ideal for every business. If you’re a new business with no financial history or you don’t process a high volume of transactions every month, PaymentCloud might be a better choice for you.

FAQ

How much does Stax charge per transaction?Stax doesn’t publish precise transaction fees on its website. However, Stax doesn’t charge a markup on interchange fees, and the flat transaction fees it does charge will never be more than a few cents per sale. This means that you’re very likely to save money with Stax if you process a high number of transactions each month, which is one reason it’s ranked number 1 on our list of the top 10 credit card processors for 2022.How can I contact Stax?You can get in touch with Stax’s customer support team via live chat, email, web forms/tickets, phone, or fax. Unfortunately, none of these channels offer 24/7 support, but there is a comprehensive knowledge base to help you in the meantime.Can I accept American Express with Stax?All Stax merchant accounts can accept American Express as standard. In addition, Stax accounts accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and Pin Debit. You can also add Voyager, Wex, Health Flex, EBT, or JCB Dining if needed. To do this, you’ll have to call or email Stax’s support team.Who pays interchange fees?As the merchant, you’re automatically charged the wholesale interchange fee on every transaction you run. However, Stax offers the option to pass this cost onto the customer provided they pay via credit card and it’s legal to pass on interchange fees in your state. Just make sure you follow all relevant regulations outlined by the card issuer.

Emma Ayres Emma Ayres
Emma is a freelance content writer who specializes in thoughtful and insightful blogs and articles. Her main passion is the intersection of human behavior and modern technology, particularly in the context of marketing and cybersecurity. Outside of work, Emma loves video games, superhero movies, crochet, and cuddling her German Shepherd.

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Plus, get a FREE terminal for your business