Stripe POS Review 2022: Pros, Cons, Alternatives

Stripe’s Terminal integration can extend your business to in-person sales, but developer experience is recommended.
Feb 1, 2022

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Stripe is well known as a powerful payment processing platform for e-commerce businesses, but the company also offers point-of-sale hardware and software for in-person transactions. With Stripe Terminal, you can integrate in-person payments into your online payment setup, or vice versa. Its transparent pricing and customizable features make it a good choice for online-first businesses looking to extend to in-person sales.

The company only started offering Stripe Terminal in 2019, so it’s fairly new compared to some of its competitors. Many of its features — including connecting hardware to software — currently require coding experience or your choice of “no-code” integrations.

If you’re already a Stripe user or are comfortable with advanced developer tools, it’s a worthy extension. But if you do most of your business in person or want a more user-friendly option, it’s best to go with a more straightforward POS system like Square or Shopify.

Stripe

Stripe
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on Stripe's website

Deciding factors

Best for

Online-first businesses seeking optional in-person functionality. Developer experience is a plus.

Software cost

Free.

Hardware cost

Pre-certified card readers with cloud-based hardware management from $59 to $249.

Payment processing cost

  • 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction for online payments, plus an additional 1% for international cards or transactions where currency conversion is required.

  • 2.7% plus 5 cents per transaction for in-person transactions.

Accepted payment methods

  • Credit and debit cards, including Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover and Diners Club.

  • Digital wallets, including Alipay, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Microsoft Pay, Click to Pay and WeChat Pay.

  • ACH debit and credit transfers and wire transfers.

  • Buy now, pay later options, including Klarna and Afterpay.

  • Payments in more than 135 currencies.

Contract length

No set contract length and no fees for termination as long as there are no pending transactions.

Payout timing

Daily, weekly, monthly and manual options. Funds arrive two business days after a transaction, or pay a 1% fee for instant payouts to a debit card.

Live support

24/7 phone, chat and email support.

Ease of use

Less user-friendly compared to competitors; requires use of basic developer tools or integrated no-code platforms.

How does Stripe POS work?

With Stripe Terminal, you can integrate Stripe payments into your existing in-person checkout flow or build in-person payments into your existing mobile or web-based application. The software works both ways, but it’s best used by e-commerce merchants looking to add on in-person payments.

If you have developer experience, you can integrate your payment processing to one of several hardware options through its software development kit, or use one of Stripe’s no-code POS partners. Several of these integrated partners are free to use.

Hardware

Stripe offers EMV-certified card readers that are end-to-end encrypted and support chip cards and contactless payments, including Apple Pay and Google Pay.

Integrations

Terminal works with Stripe Payments, Connect and Billing so you can manage online and in-person sales in one place. Stripe also integrates with outside applications, including digital wallets, Xero, Squarespace, Mailchimp and more, and can also integrate into your business’s own mobile app.

Flexible API

With Terminal, you can create customized email receipts and reader splash screens, as well as integrate into JavaScript-, iOS- and Android-based point-of-sale applications for more customization.

How much does Stripe POS cost?

Software

Plan

Features

Pricing

Integrated

Access to Stripe’s payment processing platform, including billing, invoicing and more.

Free to use; per-transaction payment processing fees apply.

Customized

All of the above plus volume discounts, country-specific rates, multi-product discounts and interchange pricing.

Quote-based.

Payment processing

  • 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction for online payments, plus an additional 1% for international cards or transactions where currency conversion is required.

  • 2.7% plus 5 cents per transaction for in-person transactions.

Hardware

Stripe has three hardware options available to help your business process in-person transactions. All three are already EMV-certified and come with end-to-end encryption, though they do need to be connected with your Stripe account through the Terminal SDK.

Stripe Reader — $59

For mobile payments, this battery-powered card reader accepts EMV chip, contactless and swipe payments. It connects to the cloud via Bluetooth and comes with an optional charging cradle and tablet mount.

BBPOS Chipper 2X BT — $59

This is a fully battery-powered mobile card reader that accepts EMV chip, contactless and swipe payments. It connects to Stripe applications on your mobile phone via Bluetooth.

BBPOS WisePOS E — $249

For hybrid countertop and handheld use, this 5-inch touchscreen smart reader also accepts EMV chip, contactless and swipe payments. It’s Wifi-connected with an optional dock for Ethernet connectivity and can run on both battery and plug-in.

Pros

Highly customizable

If you (or someone on your team) has developer experience, you can take full advantage of Stripe’s customizable checkout flow. You can use its API to create a payment processing setup that works for your business and integrate into mobile and desktop applications.

For a more user-friendly option, Stripe also partners with platforms that provide no-code POS solutions, as well as companies that provide hired experts to do the customization for you.

Pricing

Stripe’s pricing is fully transparent, and its payment processing fees are comparable to competitors like Square and PayPal. Unlike many other POS systems and payment processors, there’s no monthly subscription fee to use the software, so your only costs will be an initial hardware purchase and per-transaction payment processing fees.

Cons

Online-first

Stripe is geared primarily for online businesses. Its in-person point-of-sale capabilities are a fairly new extension and aren’t intuitive for users without a developer background.

If your business already uses Stripe and you’re looking to add on in-person transactions, the company’s 24/7 support and no-code POS integrations can help you get through the integration process, but it’s not the best option for new or brick-and-mortar-only businesses.

Requires developer experience

Even if you’re only using Stripe’s online payment processing system, many of its advanced features and customization tools require some coding. To use Stripe as your POS system and process in-person payments, you’ll need to set up a Stripe Terminal SDK before you can connect to a card reader.

There are several ways to do this, and Stripe provides clear step-by-step instructions on its support website — but without developer experience, this process can be complicated and may take some time to learn before you can start taking payments.

However, Stripe does integrate with over a dozen no-code POS software options, so if you’re willing to add on an extension, you can bypass the SDK process.

Stripe

Stripe
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on Stripe's website

Alternatives

Shopify

Shopify Retail POS

Shopify
Shop Now

on Shopify's website

Shopify is another POS option that, like Stripe, is online first and in-store second. It’s ideal for multi-channel sellers, either in multiple online locations (Amazon, Facebook, Etsy etc.) or both in-person and via website. Software subscriptions start at $29 per month for a Basic plan; payment processing fees with that plan are 2.7% per transaction for in-person payments and 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction for online payments.

Its payment processing rates are comparable to Stripe’s, but Shopify makes it easier to integrate in-person and online sales without developer experience.

Square

Square POS

Square
Shop Now

on Square's website

Square POS offers both free and paid software options for restaurants and retail businesses. It’s easy to learn, mobile-friendly and comes with dozens of useful features, including reporting and inventory management, even in the free version.

Square charges 2.6% plus 10 cents per transaction for in-person payments and 2.9% plus 30 cents for online payments with the free version, and has hardware options ranging from free to $799 and up. It’s less customizable than Stripe, but much more user-friendly for businesses making in-person and online sales.