This article is part of a larger series on Payments.
Stax (formerly Fattmerchant) is a subscription-based merchant services provider with wholesale interchange-plus pricing rates, low-cost ACH processing, and integrated payments. Other features include invoicing and billing software, recurring and stored payment options, customer relationship management (CRM), text-to-pay, and analytics reporting. Best for small to midsize retailers and professional services, a Stax subscription starts at $99. It also offers a custom pricing model for businesses that process more than $500,000 annually.
*See more details in our section on Contracts and Terms of Service
When To Use Stax
After reviewing dozens of merchant account providers over the past several years, we can say Stax (formerly Fattmerchant) offers some of the most transparent and predictable pricing on the market. Its business dashboard and software solutions are very easy to use and much more robust than what most processors offer. Overall, Stax is the best merchant services for growing businesses.
Specifically, Stax is ideal for:
- Small and midsize businesses with growth goals: If you’re actively growing your business, Stax has tiered custom pricing plans that offer lower transaction fees as your transaction volume increases. Custom pricing plans and powerful software add-ons make Stax a great overall value for growing businesses.
- Established professional services: Stax’s invoicing and billing software, along with its affordable transaction fees and ACH bank transfer payments make it a great choice for businesses that process recurring payments, like professional services.
- Subscription-based retailers: While not making our list of top retail processors, Stax’s stored payment and recurring billing options do make it a good choice for subscription-based retailers and storefronts.
When Stax Would Not Be a Good Fit
- High-risk businesses: Stax does not work with high-risk businesses. Instead, consider PaymentCloud, our recommended high-risk merchant account provider.
- International merchants: Stax is only compatible with U.S. businesses. Alternatively, consider an international merchant account.
- New businesses that need to get up and running: Stax uses custom pricing, and requires an application and setup process, so it’s not ideal if you need to start accepting payments fast. Instead, look for one of these easier credit card processing options.
- Occasional sellers or sole proprietors: While Stax’s subscription-based pricing does result in really low per-transaction fees, the monthly fee can be too steep for micro businesses. You can find lower rates and more flexibility with these free merchant accounts.
Stax Alternatives At a Glance
Low-volume merchants with less than $10,000 monthly transactions
Those needing payment processing for occasional sales
Tech-savvy and B2B businesses
High-volume merchants with large transaction amounts
Starts at $0
Starts at $0
Starts at $0
Starts at $59
Card-present transaction fee
2.6% + 10 cents
Starts at 2.29% + 9 cents
2.7% + 5 cents
Interchange + 8 cents
Keyed transaction fee
3.5% + 15 cents
3.09% + 49 cents
2.9% + 30 cents
Interchange + 15 cents
Ecommerce transaction fee
2.9% + 30 cents
Starts at 2.9% + 49 cents
2.9% + 30 cents
Interchange + 15 cents
Looking for the lowest rates? The payment processing rates you will pay can vary based on your business’ size, type, and average order value. To find the most affordable option and compare multiple processing rates, read our guide on the cheapest credit card processing.
Since our Last Update:
Stax has acquired CardX, which aims to boost Stax’s ability to provide frictionless surcharging through built-in compliance features. Meanwhile, Stax has also made improvements to its invoicing platform and user interface tools. We go over both upgrades and take a closer look into Stax’s setup, application, and terms of service in this update.
Stax claims to be the first flat monthly subscription model that allows you to save up to 40% on credit card processing. Each monthly plan covers the first $500,000 of your annual processing and offers a 0% markup on direct-cost interchange. This means you pay a monthly membership in exchange for the direct cost of transactions and authorizations by card providers.
Stax Small Business Plans
All Growth Plan features plus:
All Growth and Pro Plan features plus:
There are also no additional costs for 24/7 customer service, next-day funding, or online reporting. Custom quotes are available for businesses that process more than $500,000 annually.
Optional add-ons to boost your business operations are also available, but you will need to contact Stax for pricing details:
- One-click Shopping Cart
- QuickBooks Online Pro Sync
- Terminal Protection
- Custom Branding
- Same-day Funding
- Digital Gift Cards
For businesses processing up to $500,000 annually:
- $99–$199 Monthly fee
- Interchange plus 8 cents per card-present transaction
- Interchange plus 15 cents per card-not-present transaction
Other cards types and brands supported by Stax are:
- Pin Debit
- JCB Dining
- Health Flex
Stax supports a number of hardware options for in-person payments, including mobile card readers as well as mobile and traditional terminals. Your first card reader or terminal is free, included in your monthly plan. However, not all of these hardware options are readily available from Fattmerchant’s website. Contact its sales team for more information.
(Image Source: BBPOS)
Chipper 2X is a Bluetooth capable mobile card reader and supports all magstripe and EMV payment functions. It's compatible with both Android and iOS devices so you can easily turn your smartphone into a payment terminal.
Contact Stax for pricing (standard price for Chipper 2X starts at $59)
(Image Source: SwipeSimple)
SwipeSimple is a mobile card reader equipped with EMV encryption technology. First one is free with a subscription while additional readers can be purchased for $75 from your account manager.
Sign up for a Stax account for your first card reader
(Image Source: Stax)
The PAX A920 is a standalone payment terminal with full-featured Android tools, an integrated camera, and a high-speed thermal printer.
Sign up for a Stax account for your first terminal
From left to right: Dejavoo Z1 ($175), Dejavoo Z11 ($300), and Dejavoo Z9 ($500)
(Image Source: Stax)
Dejavoo systems' countertop terminals support swiped, dipped, and tapped in-person payments. The higher priced models are Wi-Fi ready and provide contactless payment options.
Available at the Stax website.
Stax’s product for small businesses is Stax Pay. This service provides users with the ability to accept online and in-person payments, including mobile payment options, to match all types of businesses.
Setup & Application
Stax’s application process requires you fill out a form on their website so they can assess your needs and provide you with custom pricing options. This allows Stax to provide you with a payment service that aligns with your current stage of growth, which can be affordable while you scale. If you have all your business information prepared, you can complete your application and access your Stax account in minutes.
After submitting your application, you should expect to be contacted by a payment consultant within 24 hours. If not, you should call 855-550-3288 to connect with one.
Contract and Terms of Service (TOS)
A closer look at Stax’s terms of service, which you’ll find when you first access your Stax account dashboard, shows that there is a three-year initial term with a one-year autorenewal clause. Having said that, Stax does not charge any cancellation fees, so you are free to terminate your use of Stax at any time, provided you give them 30 days’ notice.
When we reached out to Stax for clarification on this, they confirmed that this clause is required by Stax’s back-end processor, but is not enforced. Stax stands by their commitment to no long-term contracts. This effectively makes Stax a pay-as-you-go option. There have been no user complaints reported around contract terms, which is a good indication that Stax is keeping its word of providing month-to-month use of its payment service.
Other than that, there are just a few other points you need to go over its TOS, such as a mention of a minimum monthly fee of $25. There are also recent customer complaints reporting other hidden expenses. You also need to be aware of the possibility of being charged even after your account is closed. For these reasons, make sure that you clarify the terms of service and fees involved before you sign an agreement with Stax.
Stax Pay is Stax’s solution for secure-in person and online credit card processing. It is loaded with tools and features to help small businesses accept a wide variety of payment types. It allows you to accept all major credit and debit cards, ACH payments, invoicing, Text2Pay, virtual terminal, and contactless payments. Stax also works with a number of payment gateways such as Authorize.net, NMI, and Priority to give you access to almost any type of online payment method.
All Stax plans include a free terminal or card reader that requires a minimum level of effort to implement. These Stax issued hardware are encrypted with EMV technology and certified to meet payment processing security standards. It also includes automatic updates for software features and future security requirements.
You can easily create and manage digital invoices straight from the Stax platform and send them to customers via email or text message. It also lets you customize your invoice, schedule recurring payments, and set automatic payment reminders. Additionally, you can track the status of every invoice in real time from your desktop or mobile device.
The Stax Pay toolkit includes a free iOS and Android mobile POS app and Bluetooth-enabled card readers. You can use your mobile phone or tablet camera to accept credit cards, manage invoices, track products, create catalogs, accept tips, scan barcodes, and send digital receipts. It also allows you to send text payment reminders and accept payments from mobile wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay.
ACH processing is available upon request and has no interchange or markup percentage per transaction. This will then give you the ability to provide ACH payment options for single and recurring invoice payments. This feature also allows you to track the status of your outstanding invoices from the Stax Pay Virtual Terminal, while Stax’s reporting function will show you all deposits from payments received via ACH.
You can enable ACH payments by selecting the ACH feature from the built-in App marketplace listing in your Stax account.
Stax Pay offers customized ecommerce integrations, personalized checkout pages and easy one-click shopping carts with popular software such as WooCommerce, Shopify, and BigCommerce. It then connects with top gateways like NMI, Authorize.net, First Data, and TSYS to power your online sales.
Stax Pay allows you to create and save full customer profiles. This function also gives you the ability to offer recurring payments and invoicing payment options. Stax provides a simple customer profile management feature which you can upgrade for a fee. The Advanced Customization app is an add-on feature that allows you to add custom fields to your customer profiles and customize the appearance of invoices, receipts and website payments.
If you prefer a third-party option, Stax also integrates with more than 90% of CRMs on the market such as NetSuite, Salesforce, and Keap® (formerly Infusionsoft).
Analytics & Reporting
The Stax Pay dashboard shows sales trends in your business and determines where you have the most potential for growth. You can also use the tools to manage customers, view users and roles permissions, measure your growth, and learn about when you’re busiest. Stax also provides QuickBooks integration, which will then allow you to automatically send sales receipts to your QuickBooks Online account.
Among the reports you’ll find in your dashboard are:
- Gross Sales YTD
- Net Sales YTD
- Refunds YTD
- Growth Sales Overview
- Average Sales
- Number of active customers
- Number of transactions
- Outstanding Receivables
- New vs Returning Customers
- Transaction Heatmap
- Payment Methods Reports
- Users (with Roles and Permissions)
- Social Review Management
Stax Connect is a Stax product that gives you access to Dispute Manager features. This feature instantly notifies retailers of chargebacks and quickly facilitates an efficient resolution by allowing you to send replies and upload supporting documents from the platform. You’ll hear about the chargeback on the same day it’s claimed, and you can upload supporting documents through the user portal. Contact their support team to request for this feature.
Stax offers fully compliant surcharging. This feature allows users to process credit cards or ACH and pay 0% in transaction fees by adding a surcharge to a customer’s bill to offset the cost of transaction fees. Stax has recently acquired CardX that comes with built-in security compliance tools to ensure that merchants get a frictionless experience in implementing surcharges. Contact Stax to request for this feature and receive expert advice on which surcharging payment method makes sense for your business
Note that, at present, surcharging is not available in Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Puerto Rico. A new legislation is expected to take effect in July of this year permitting surcharging in Colorado, however, it’s important to confirm your current state laws to ensure compliance.
Stax Ease of Use
Stax accepts all major credit and debit cards, ACH, invoicing, Text2Pay, virtual terminal, and contactless payments.
Same-day funding is available. In general, customers will be approved for either next-day or 48-hour funding. However, Stax also offers same-day funding for clients who want to receive deposits on a debit card instead of in a bank account.
Advanced Third-party Integrations
There is no shortage of Stax integration options. The payment processor works with a variety of outside hardware and software platforms. However, access to third-party integrations requires a monthly subscription fee.
You can reach Stax customer support via phone or request form on their website. There’s also a live chat tool, though it’s hard to say during what hours you’ll be able to get in touch with a human as opposed to a chatbot. Stax uses Zendesk to manage support tickets, and you can also self-serve with the online Knowledge Base that has support content. The Ultimate subscription plan includes a dedicated account manager.
What Users Think of Stax
We found very mixed reviews for Stax (particularly for customer service)—from as low as 1 star and as high as 5. Those that liked Stax awarded this provider 4- and 5-star ratings across most review platforms and, surprisingly, some come from small and occasional businesses.
- Trustpilot: Stax earned a rating of 4.1 out of 5, from over 650 reviews.
- G2: Ranks Stax with an overall rating of 4.9 out of 5, based on around 10 user reviews.
Generally, people love the helpful and responsive customer support team—they’re helpful from the moment you sign up. Other feedback to note:
|Excellent onboarding support||Reports of billing errors and hidden fees|
|Ease of use||Poor after-sales customer support|
|Helpful analytics reporting||Pricy for seasonal businesses|
|Ability to send custom payment links to customers||Online payments require invoices|
Stax’s subscription pricing model allows its users to enjoy low transaction fees, which makes it well-suited to growing businesses. This easy-to-use processor has features like dispute management, CRM, invoicing, saved and recurring payments, and reputation management. There are tons of integrations, and qualifying merchants get next-day funding. However, micro businesses and those processing less than $5,000 in sales a month may find the monthly fees too expensive. To find out if it is a fit for you, contact Stax for a free savings assessment.