Stax (formerly branded as Fattmerchant), is a merchant services provider known for its subscription-based pricing, transparency and 0% markup on interchange rates. It’s a good fit for midsize or large companies that are processing a decent amount of monthly sales.
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For a monthly subscription fee (with no contract required), users receive the payment terminal of their choice as well as Stax Pay, Stax’s integrated payment platform. This platform, included with all of its terminal solutions, has features such as custom-reporting, statements, invoicing, inventory and access to a customer success team at no additional cost.
Stax offers three small-business subscription levels:
Ultimate: $199 per month.
These plans are designed for businesses that process up to $500,000 annually. Custom pricing is available for businesses that exceed this limit. Add-on features, such as one-click shopping cards or integration with QuickBooks Online Pro are available for an extra fee.
Here’s what’s included in each of the Stax subscription plans:
Growth: $99 per month
The Growth subscription includes:
0% markup on interchange rates.
Next-day funding options.
Tokenized and encrypted customer data.
Free terminal or mobile reader.
Free surcharging capabilities.
Basic dashboards and analytics.
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.
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.
Advanced dashboards and reporting.
Data exports (i.e. transactions, customers).
Dedicated account manager.
Stax’s pricing is straightforward with one consistent monthly subscription price, no additional fees or contracts and a 0% markup on interchange. You’ll know roughly how much you’ll be paying each month and what you’ll be getting for that price.
A substantial list of features is included with every Stax subscription. You’ll get access to a centralized portal where you can access your customer database, inventory, invoicing and more. The more expensive plans also include excellent features for handling online sales.
Not a good option for businesses with low sales
Although the transparent, monthly subscription fee can be beneficial for some, it can also be difficult if you’re on the smaller end of the business spectrum. If you process a smaller volume of monthly sales, the amount you save might not be enough to offset the subscription fee.
Dharma Merchant Services
Dharma Merchant Services is a merchant service provider that has three core offerings: B2B, retail and small-business and restaurant solutions. Its low-cost pricing is interchange-plus for all of its offerings, which means you pay the interchange rate, plus a markup and fixed fee per transaction, such as 0.2% plus 10 cents per transaction. Rates vary by industry and card type. There’s a $25 monthly fee, but the company doesn’t have early termination fees and offers reduced rates for processing over $100,000 per month and for qualified non-profits. T
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Square is a technology-based point of sale system. The company’s technology connects to mobile devices, allowing businesses to ring up and charge customers quickly and easily. The POS software is free to use; you only pay when you take payment. The rate for the transaction depends on the hardware product you’re using. Like Stax, Square offers a variety of different options, includes many free features and doesn’t have hidden fees.
Helcim is a merchant account provider that offers retail and online options. Each option has month-to-month payment processing with cost-plus pricing, regardless of how many cards are processed. The pricing depends on your type of business and monthly payment volume.
Like Stax, Helcim doesn’t have introductory rates, hiked-up fees, cancellation fees or hidden charges. It also offers a variety of different features in addition to the actual payment processing. Despite these benefits, the company’s equipment is not automatically included in your cost.
Stripe is perhaps one of the most well-known payment processors in the industry. It has pay-as-you-go pricing, with no setup, cancellation, monthly or hidden fees. The pricing is the same rate for all types of credit card transactions, a set percentage rate for ACH — and variable for other types of payments. It also has excellent developer tools, features and support.
A version of this article was first published on Fundera, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.