November 16, 2023

Stax vs Stripe

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Debating whether to go for Stax or Stripe? While Stax is easier to use, Stripe is more customizable. Here's a deep dive into their differences.

Stax and Stripe are two well-established payment processors. Stax is used by over 20,000 businesses and has processed over $23 billion in payments, while Stripe is used by Fortune 500 companies.

Although both let you accept in-person and online payments, they don't do it equally well.

In this review, find out the more suitable option for your business based on features, pricing, and more. Read on.

Is Stax or Stripe Better?

  • Stax is best for larger volume businesses
    Stax is a merchant account provider with subscription-based pricing. Aside from the monthly fees (starting at $99/mo), you'll only need to pay direct interchange pricing.

    There's 0% processor markup, which can mean huge savings for your business.

    Stax is better if you're a high-volume business with card sales of around $15,000/mo. The monthly fee can be too pricey for small businesses, especially for those with fluctuating sales.

  • Stripe is best for online businesses
    Stripe is a payment services provider with flat-rate pricing and no monthly fee. You only pay when you make a sale.

    Although it offers a Stripe terminal, the platform is mainly known for advanced features for online businesses. It's good for e-commerce, subscription services, mobile apps, and B2B businesses.

    It offers a completely customizable hosted payment page and can even adapt to your customer's language. It also accepts over 135 currencies, which is good if you have global sales.[1]

Stripe is a platform built with developers in mind. It does offer 'no-coding' features, but it's best if you have web developers to make the most out of it. You can also choose to outsource the coding work through Stripe Experts.

What is your biggest concern with your current payment processing provider?

Key Similarities

Here's what you can do with both platforms:

  • Accept credit cards, debit cards, and digital wallet payments
  • Send and manage invoices
  • Send payment links and set up recurring payments
  • Integrate the checkout page to your website
  • Access reporting and analytics
  • Purchase POS hardware for in-person payments
  • Get encryption and tokenization security features
  • Integrate with third-party software

To determine which payment processor can actually give more bang for your buck, check out their differences.

Key Differences

There are several main differences:

  • Stax is a proper merchant account provider, while Stripe is a third-party payment processor (you don't get a merchant account).
  • Stax is subscription-based pricing, while Stripe is flat-rate pricing.
  • Stax is only available in the U.S., while Stripe supports merchants in 46 countries.[2]
  • Stripe accepts over 135 currencies, while Stax only accepts payments in USD and CAD.
  • Stripe offers more customization and advanced API.

Keep reading for a more detailed comparison between the two processors.

Stax vs. Stripe: Detailed Comparison

Stax and Stripe Payments offer similar features, but they're actually quite different since they cater to different types of businesses. Let's compare them head-to-head.

Which factor is most important to you when choosing a payment processing service?

Pricing Model & Processing Fees — Winner: Tie

The ideal pricing model depends on your business size, so you can't say that one is better than the other.

Stax uses a subscription-based pricing model. You pay a monthly fee for the service, with no percentage processor markup on top of interchange rates.

It has 3 membership plans:[3]

  • $99/mo for processing up to $250k per year
  • $199/mo for processing $250k - $500k per year
  • Custom pricing for over $500k per year

This is more suitable for mid-size to large businesses since the monthly fee can be expensive for small businesses. It can also make payment processing more affordable for high-volume businesses.

On the other hand, Stripe's pay-as-you-go model can be more affordable for small and seasonal businesses. There are no monthly fees to budget for. You only pay when you make a sale.

Stripe's processing fees are:[4]

  • In-person: 2.7% + $0.05
  • Online: 2.9% + $0.30
  • Manual: 3.4% + 30¢
  • International cards: Additional 1.5%
  • Currency conversion: Additional 1%

For large businesses, this kind of flat-rate pricing can get expensive. But high-volume businesses can talk to Stripe for custom pricing.

Note that transaction fees and monthly fees aren't the only costs to consider. Equipment and add-on features will cost you money as well, so make sure to budget for them.

Getting Started — Winner: Stripe

If you need to start processing quickly, you can set up an account with Stripe in just minutes. This makes Stripe popular for new/micro businesses.

Stripe is a payment services provider (PSP). You don't get a merchant ID and you share one big merchant account with many other businesses. It's easier to get started, but your account will be more susceptible to holds or freezes.

Stax is a proper merchant account provider, which means you'll have to go through underwriting to get approved. There's more scrutiny when getting started.

But you get your own dedicated merchant ID and merchant account, which provides more security.

Supported Payment Methods — Winner: Stripe

Stripe offers more payment methods for your customers without the need for add-ons.

StripeStax
Credit cards
Debit cards
Digital wallets
Bank debits and transfersAdd-on
Buy now, pay later optionsThrough PayPal Integration
Gift cardsThrough IntegrationsAdd-on (digital gift cards)

If you have global sales, Stripe also lets you accept digital wallets used around the world,[5] including Alipay, WeChat Pay, GrabPay, and Link.

You can only accept Apple Pay and Google Pay with Stax.[6]

Ease of Use — Winner: Stax

Stax can be easier to use for small businesses. The dashboard is more intuitive. You can get an overview of your sales, number of customers and transactions, outstanding receivables, etc., with just a glance.

The prebuilt payments page (or lightbox) is also easier to integrate on your website. There's no coding needed. Depending on your website builder, you can just embed Stax's ready-made HTML snippet.

On the other hand, Stripe's pre-built checkout page can be intimidating to look at. There are also more steps to follow when integrating the platform into your website.

In general, integrating Stripe's features can be more confusing since the platform is built for developers. It's known for advanced APIs that let you completely customize everything.

If you're not a developer, Stripe does have no-code options and partner integrations.

Stripe provides instructions on how to play around with its features on its Stripe Documentation. Want to integrate Stripe's Checkout? There's a doc for that. Want to add a pricing table? There's a doc for that, too.

Customization — Winner: Stripe

Stripe offers more customization features than Stax. For example, you can customize your Checkout page according to your brand. You can change the logo/colors/fonts, display your policies, add custom text, and more.

It also lets you translate the UI to your customer's language, create responsive designs, and auto-fill customers' info.

If you have a mobile app, you can use Stripe's prebuilt UI components or code from scratch to create your own checkout.

Although Stax lets you customize receipts, invoices, and website payments, you can only edit the colors, set custom fields, and hide the Stax logo.

Integrations — Winner: Stripe

Stripe offers a large library of partner integrations, including Dropbox, Mailchimp, Intuit, Salesforce, and hundreds more. It's convenient if you already use a lot of small business tools and software.

It beats Stax's limited library of software integrations. But Stax does integrate with popular third-party software like Slack, QuickBooks, and Mailchimp.

Stax also integrates with various payment gateways like BigCommerce, Magento, WooCommerce, etc.

Equipment — Winner: Tie

Both payment processors offer POS hardware options for in-person payments. Stripe offers their own integrated card reader, while Stax uses third-party equipment, including the popular Clover machines.

Stax Payment Processing Equipment:

Stripe Payment Processing Equipment:

  • Stripe readers
  • BBPOS WisePOS E
  • Tap to Pay on iPhone or Android (no extra hardware needed)

Reporting and Analytics — Winner: Stax

Both Stripe and Stax offer reporting and analytics features. But Stripe's reports are more focused on transactions and revenue.

It offers:

  • Monthly transaction history
  • Balance reports
  • Payout reconciliation report
  • Key revenue and growth metrics, such as revenue by product, customer, growth, and monthly recurring revenue

Stax's reporting gains an edge since its features can help you make better data-driven decisions. With Stax, you can:

  • Compare sales by item or category
  • View or print reconciliation deposit reports
  • Monitor customer records and payment history
  • See customer payment methods that are saved, expired, or expiring soon
  • Monitor staff promotions

With these insights, you can make decisions like phasing out products that aren't selling. You can also view loyal customers and possibly offer them rewards.

Recurring Billing — Winner: Stripe

If you have a subscription business, you'll want to check out Stripe. Its recurring billing feature comes with your account.

Depending on your business type, you can create:[7]

  • Flat-rate billing: set a single monthly or annual price
  • Per-seat billing: set prices depending on the number of active customers during the billing period
  • Usage-based billing: set variable/tiered pricing
  • Flat-rate + overage billing: Combination of flat-rate and tiered pricing (for customers that exceed a quota)
  • Multiple prices: offer the same product at different prices

Although Stripe Billing comes with your account, you will be charged 0.5% to 0.8% for recurring payments and one-time invoice payments.[8] Stripe also offers solutions to automatically update expired cards to avoid failed payments.

On the other hand, recurring billing for Stax is an add-on feature, starting at $199/mo.[9]

Or you can set recurring billing through invoices at no extra cost. Once you schedule these invoices, you can automate invoice reminders to ensure that your clients pay on time.

Security and Compliance— Winner: Tie

Stax and Stripe are labeled PCI Service Provider Level 1. It's the most stringent level of certification. And both offer encryption and tokenization to protect the cardholder's data and your business.

In addition, Stax's fraud detection software tracks possible unauthorized charges. Plus, the cloud-based terminals are constantly tested for any vulnerability.

Stripe, on the other hand, offers Stripe Radar to identify and prevent fraud. And its Dynamic 3D Secure feature adds another layer of authentication with high-risk transactions.

Do big companies use Stripe?
Many huge companies partner and work with Stripe. Some of them include Amazon, Shopify, Google, and Notion. This makes the platform a trusted and well-established credit card processing company.

Customer Support — Winner: Stripe

Stripe offers 24/7 customer support. If you send them an email, you'll receive a reply within 24 hours. For chat and phone calls, the average wait time is only 3 minutes.

Stripe even has a Discord server you can join for technical questions. Or just try to search for the answers from their support page.

You can also call Stax for customer support or visit their online knowledge base for immediate answers. However, Stax doesn't specify the schedule of their support team on their website.

International Payments — Winner: Stripe

Expanding your business to global customers? Stripe works with over 135 currencies and is supported in 46 countries.

Stripe's Checkout page even adapts to the language and payment methods available to your customers, making it convenient to use.

In comparison, Stax only accepts USD and CAD payments, and is available to U.S. merchants only.

Stax is still able to accept payments from international cards (through invoices and website links), as long as the payment is in USD. You can also input the international billing address and international phone number of your customers.

Mobile App — Winner: Stripe

Stripe Dashboard (Stripe's mobile app) is packed with helpful features if you're on the go. Although, it's more suitable for getting an overview of your business than for taking payments.

With Stripe, you can view your earnings, investigate disputes, issue refunds, email customers, etc.

Stax, however, lets you accept customer payments with its mobile app (Stax Pay). You can scan your customer's credit card with your phone camera to take keyed payments.

If you connect a wireless card reader, you can take swiped and tapped payments, too.

Stax PayStripe Dashboard
App Store Ratings2.4/5 stars of 19 reviews4.7/5 stars of over 40,000+ reviews
Google Play Store Ratings2.8/5 stars of 31 reviews4.3/5 stars of over 20,000+ reviews

Unfortunately, the Stax Pay app is unstable compared to Stripe Dashboard. So even if Stax Pay can accept payments, Stripe is better if you want a reliable mobile app.

Stripe's mobile app isn't available for all types of Stripe accounts. You can only use the app if you have a Direct and Standard Stripe account.[10] Account types determine what the user can do with Stripe (like access the dashboard, manage payout schedules, control branding, etc.)[11]

Stax Pros & Cons

To recap, here are the upsides and downsides of using Stax:

Pros:

  • Predictable monthly fee
  • 0% processor markup
  • Month-to-month billing
  • Integrated payment platform
  • Easier to use for non-developers

Cons:

  • Add-on fees
  • Underwriting process
  • Pricey for small businesses
  • Negative reviews of customer service

Is Stax cheaper than Stripe?
Whether Stax is cheaper than Stripe depends on the size of your business and sales volume. A high sales volume can mean cheaper costs with Stax's subscription pricing. However, a lower sales volume can make Stripe's pay-as-you-go pricing more affordable.

Stripe Pros & Cons

And here are the upsides and downsides of using Stripe:

Pros:

  • Customizable with advanced APIs
  • Pre-integrated platforms available
  • Predictable flat-rate pricing
  • Comprehensive security features
  • 24/7 customer support

Cons:

  • May get confusing for small business owners
  • Can get pricey for larger businesses
  • Needs developers to maximize the platform

Why is Stripe the best?
Stripe can be the best option for your business due to its customizable features and support for international customers. You won't have to sacrifice your branding with its Checkout. And you can accept over 135 currencies, which can be a big help for e-commerce businesses.

Stax and Stripe Alternatives

If neither Stax nor Stripe sound right for you, there are other credit card processing companies out there.

Square: for new and small businesses
While Stripe can be overwhelming with all its coding features, Square is simple and intuitive. It's good for small mobile businesses, retailers, foodservices, and online stores.

You can accept online and in-person payments with the help of Square's POS app and hardware. You can even create a free online store through Square Online.

Just like Stripe, Square offers flat-rate pricing. And anyone can get started in just minutes.

Payment Depot: for mid-large businesses
If you're looking for a Stax alternative, then Payment Depot may fit the bill. Like Stax, it's a subscription based merchant account provider.

Compared to Stax, it has a lower monthly fee starting from $79/month.[12] And it also has no added percentage markup. There's no contract and no early termination fee.

PaymentCloud: for high-risk businesses
If you're a high-risk business, look at PaymentCloud. Stax and Stripe both don't cater to high-risk businesses. But PaymentCloud accepts them.

It offers customized pricing, so there are no disclosed rates. You also get a ton of payment processing solutions from e-commerce, retail, mobile, ACH, to cryptocurrency processing, etc.

Bottom Line

Stax and Stripe are two of the best payment processors out there. But whether it's good for your business depends on several factors.

Stax can be a better option for mid-size to large businesses. The subscription pricing can help you save money than flat-rate pricing. It can also be easier to work with and offers better reporting features.

On the other hand, Stripe can be a better option for online businesses and startups. It has more advanced customization features and more integrations with business tools.

References

  1. ^ Stripe. Supported currencies, Retrieved 10/28/2023
  2. ^ Stripe. Global availability, Retrieved 10/28/2023
  3. ^ Stax. Pricing, Retrieved 10/28/2023
  4. ^ Stripe. Pricing, Retrieved 10/28/2023
  5. ^ Stripe Docs. Wallets, Retrieved 10/04/2023
  6. ^ Stax. Contactless Payments, Retrieved 10/04/2023
  7. ^ Stripe. Stripe Billing, Retrieved 10/04/2023
  8. ^ Stripe. Billing Pricing, Retrieved 10/28/2023
  9. ^ Stax Bill. Pricing, Retrieved 10/28/2023
  10. ^ Stripe. Stripe Support, Retrieved 09/16/2023
  11. ^ Stripe Documentation. Explore Connect, Retrieved 10/04/2023
  12. ^ Payment Depot. Pricing Plans, Retrieved 10/28/2023
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