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Stax (formerly branded as Fattmerchant), is a merchant services provider known for its subscription-based pricing and 0% markup on interchange rates. It may be a good fit if you process a minimum of $5,000 in credit card transactions monthly and are looking for rock-bottom interchange fees.
Interchange rate with no processor markups.
Monthly subscription fee
Plans for small businesses:
Accepted payment methods
In person, online, keyed, mobile and invoiced.
Next-day and same-day funding options.
24/7 technical support through an electronic ticketing system. Phone, chat and email customer support through a team based in the U.S. An online knowledge base is also available.
Supports integrations such as QuickBooks, Xero, Wave, Zoho, Mailchimp and Hubspot.
Pricing and features
For a monthly subscription fee with no contract required, users can access Stax’s payment platform and also receive a payment terminal of their choice. Stax offers three monthly subscription-based plans for small businesses that process up to $500,000 annually. Custom pricing is available for businesses that exceed this limit.
Stax’s payment platform offers no markup on interchange rates, but you will pay processing fees in addition to the monthly subscription fee:
Interchange rate plus 8 cents per in-person transaction.
Interchange rate plus 15 cents per manually entered transaction.
Here's what's included in each of the Stax subscription plans:
Growth: $99 per month
The Growth subscription includes:
Free terminal or mobile reader.
Automated clearing house, or ACH, transaction processing.
Free surcharging capabilities.
Basic dashboards and analytics.
Next-day funding options.
Payment card industry, or PCI, compliance tools and support.
Pro: $159 per month
The Pro package includes everything in the Growth plan, plus:
Text-based mobile payments.
Payment links to include on websites.
Secure way to keep customer credit cards on file.
Integration with accounting software, including QuickBooks Online.
Application programming interface, or API, key integration capabilities.
Enhanced dashboards and reporting.
Ultimate: $199 per month
The Ultimate plan includes all the above features, plus:
Recurring invoices and scheduled payments.
Automatic updates for stored credit cards (for example, updated card numbers if the cards expire.)
One-click shopping cart setup with catalog management for an online store.
Advanced dashboards and reporting.
Data exports (e.g., transactions, customers).
Dedicated account manager.
Optional add-on features
One-click shopping cart.
QuickBooks Online Pro sync.
Digital gift cards.
Lower rates for card-not-present transactions.
0% markup on interchange rate
Unlike some payment processors, Stax’s pricing doesn’t include a markup on the interchange rate charged by credit card companies. Instead, Stax charges a monthly subscription fee to cover costs in addition to a processing fee. This pricing model is an alternative to consider and may result in lower costs for some businesses. Stax’s pricing generally becomes competitive with other pricing models when a business’s monthly savings from the lower interchange rates offsets the monthly subscription cost of the service.
Unique add-on features
Stax offers some distinct add-on features that can be used to further customize its plans. You can set up an online store quickly with the one-click shopping cart feature or use another feature to sell gift cards online. Brand customization tools are available for invoices, receipts and payments. Add-on features such as surcharging and lower interchange rates for card-not-present payments can help you reduce the cost of payment processing.
Not a good option for businesses with low sales
Stax’s subscription-based pricing model with low processing fees can be beneficial for some businesses, but does work for everyone. If you process a smaller volume of monthly sales, the amount you save might not be enough to offset the subscription fee. In fact, Stax acknowledges that its high monthly subscription amounts aren’t cost effective for businesses with low transaction volume. Stax considers a low transaction volume to be $5,000 per month.
Stax states that it’s committed to transparency, but it offers little information about pricing except for monthly subscription fees. Other payment processors, such as Dharma Merchant Services, Square and Helcim, provide more detailed pricing information such as processing fees, chargeback fees, closure costs and other costs. Knowing the total cost of the services offered by Stax would be helpful when you’re comparing it to other payment services.
Helcim is a merchant account provider that offers in-person and online payment options for businesses. Payment processing based on an interchange-plus pricing model is available without monthly fees, cancellation fees or setup fees. The transaction rate you pay depends on whether it’s an in-person, keyed or online payment, and on your monthly volume. Unlike Stax, equipment is not included in your cost, with a Helcim card reader starting at $109. In addition to payment processing, Helcim offers a variety of other features, such as unlimited invoicing, a self-service customer portal and the option to set up an online store.
Square offers payment services based on a flat-rate processing model without a monthly subscription fee. The processing rates you pay are based on whether the payment is taken in person, online or manually entered. Custom pricing is available for businesses that process more than $250,000 annually. You don’t have to sign a contract with Square. The point-of-sale software is free, and you can also set up a free online store. Dispute management, fraud prevention and an offline operating mode are additional features offered with the service.
Dharma Merchant Services
Dharma Merchant Services works with small businesses, retail, restaurants, online sales, health care, hospitality and other industries. It provides payment processing using an interchange-plus pricing model. This means you pay the interchange rate, plus a markup and fixed fee per transaction, such as 0.15% plus 8 cents per transaction. Rates vary by industry and card type. Discounts are available for merchants that process more than $100,000 or 5,000 transactions per month and for restaurants with average tickets of less than $25. Dharma charges a $25 monthly fee, which is less than Stax. You’ll also pay a $49 account closure fee.
A version of this article was first published on Fundera, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.