CardConnect vs Stax Connect: Which Is the Better Choice for ISVs

The number of ISVs and SaaS companies seeking greater control over their customers’ payment processes is steadily on the rise. And for good reason.

Revenues generated globally by payment facilitators (excluding payment processors like Stripe, Square, and PayPal) have grown from $200 million in 2016 to $4.4 billion in 2021.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the associated growth in eCommerce have further fueled this trend. A number of credit card processing companies/merchant services providers have also come up with plug-and-play solutions for ISVs to integrate payments into their offerings.

Both CardConnect and Stax Connect are viable options for ISVs and SaaS companies that want to generate additional revenue streams by facilitating payments for their customers. In this article, we’ll compare both solutions to help you decide which might be better suited for your book of business.

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Features of CardConnect Vs. Stax Connect

CardConnect is a leading payment processor whose clients range from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies. The company was acquired by First Data Corporation in 2017 (now part of the Fiserv family) and processes over $26 billion in credit card transactions each year.

Under the CardConnect Partner Program, ISVs, ISOs, and sales agents get access to several resources, tools, and value-added solutions. Here are some of its most notable features:

  • Integration: The CloverConnect ecosystem is a comprehensive suite of APIs and developer tools from CardConnect that enable seamless payment integration for ISVs.
  • Dashboard and Reporting: CoPilot is a powerful portal for vendor and merchant portfolio management. It can help ISVs and SaaS companies activate and onboard merchants, track revenue, fulfill device orders, provide support, and much more. CardConnect also offers a robust reporting system that enables full-transaction lifecycle reporting.
  • Rapid Enrollment: The application process is completely digital. ISVs can start accepting credit card payments within minutes of completing the process.
  • Multiple Payment Methods: The CardPointe Gateway combines the functions of a virtual terminal and payment gateway to facilitate secure in-store and online payments. It also optimizes interchange so you can benefit from the lowest credit card processing rates. CardConnect partners also get access to the Clover suite of point-of-sale (POS) devices so they can integrate their software directly into them to streamline payment acceptance.
  • Security: Bolt is a cloud-based solution that secures your transactions across multiple devices (including contactless payments) with PCI-validated point-to-point encryption (P2PE) and tokenization.
  • Support Enablement: CardConnect offers its partners access to an automatic ticketing system so they can provide round-the-clock support to their customers. On demand support and resources are available on cardconnect.com.

Stax Connect is an end-to-end payments facilitation ecosystem for ISVs and SaaS companies looking to integrate payments into their solutions. With its impressive features and exceptional customer support, Stax Connect has made a mark among ISVs looking into becoming payment facilitators. Here are some of its most notable features:

  • Dashboard and Reporting: Stax Connect offers a detailed dashboard (the “Command Center”) for you to monitor your enrollment pipeline through deposit reporting and user onboarding tracking. It also allows you to view payment activity and assign unique roles to your support team.
  • Bank Sponsorship: With Stax Connect, you can eliminate the lengthy and difficult process of getting a bank sponsorship before you become a payments facilitator. Instead, you can benefit from their relationship with one of the biggest sponsor banks in the world and build a payments ecosystem in as little as 30 days.
  • Accept any Form of Payment: the Stax platform is capable of accepting any form of payment, including ACH transfers, contactless payments, and more.
  • Pre-built Enrollment Platform: Stax Connect’s enrollment platform enables its partners to start accepting payments in just 20 minutes. You don’t have to wait for underwriting approval or hire a team of analysts. The Stax API also allows for customizable enrollment flows in your software so users can sign-up directly.
  • Surcharging Made Easy: Stax is able to help reduce or eliminate the cost of credit card processing through surcharging – seamlessly passing interchange fees to the customers. Though surcharging is not available in every state, this can be a powerful cost saving tool for small businesses and is easily enabled with Stax.   Risk Management: Stax Connect has an in-house risk management team to validate all transactions on your platform. It also ensures PCI DSS compliance and expedites the chargeback process through the Dispute Manager API. Stax is a leader in payment security, recognized as a Level 1 PCI Service Provider – the highest level of PCI compliance. Further, Stax also takes proactive steps secure cardholder data, including encryption of card information and use of a state-of-the-art cloud architecture that undergoes frequent vulnerability testing.
  • Tokenization: Stax Connect allows you to tokenize credit and debit card info, so you never have to handle sensitive information directly during card transactions.
  • Automated Settlements: The settlement engine takes complete ownership of funds distribution and eliminates the need to manage compliances by automating the settlement process. Stax Connect will transfer funds to user accounts in batches as per your choice.

Integrations

CardConnect offers several APIs and services to help you facilitate payments. For example, the CoPilot API allows you to integrate certain features of the CoPilot platform directly into your solution.

The CardSecure API allows you to integrate encryption and tokenization directly with your app while the Bolt Terminal API integrates with your POS system allowing you to process card-present transactions securely.

CardConnect also offers the Hosted iFrame Tokenizer which can be integrated into a website’s payment page to securely transmit card information to CardSecure for tokenizing card info for future payments.

Stax Connect provides the Omni API for ISV and SaaS companies to enroll users to accept payments in their software. With the Omni API, you can set up subscriptions, and manage users, payments, disputes, and invoices easily.

The same API supports both one-time payments, ACH payments, and tokenizes payment info for recurring payments. Stax Connect also offers mobile SDKs for both iOS and Android so you can tokenize payment info on your mobile apps. The Stax payment solution also integrates with the most popular applications, such as Quickbooks, Hubspot, Slack, Microsoft Teams, and more, to ensure your business runs seamlessly.

Pricing

CardConnect doesn’t mention pricing information on its website. However, most reviews suggest that their pricing terms are not clear and contracts may vary widely across businesses. Also, CardConnect works with third-party independent sales agents (besides internal agents) who tend not to disclose hidden fees and/or offer quotes above market value.

Stax Connect doesn’t work with external sales agents. Instead, the team strives to establish mutually-beneficial agreements designed to suit your specific needs. Stax Connect lives by the ethos: your success is our success.

To that end, companies that work with Stax Connect enjoy generous profit-sharing and incentive programs, along with dedicated sales and marketing support to maximize conversion rates. Get in touch with their award-winning team for a consultation to understand what works best for you.

Pros and Cons

CardConnect offers several APIs and services (like Bolt, CardSecure, CoPilot, etc.) for ISVs to choose from based on the functions they want to implement. Its quick application process, easy vendor portfolio management, full-transaction lifecycle reporting, and automatic ticketing system are extremely beneficial for its partners.

Plus, its patented tokenization and encryption functions guarantee secure payments while ensuring PCI compliance.

CardConnect offers an extensive knowledge base for each of its solutions. Besides documentation, they also provide a library of resources called LaunchPointe that contains tons of useful information for businesses.

In spite of this, they don’t have the best customer reviews. The pricing isn’t transparent with most customer complaints revolving around hidden fees and lengthy contracts. Additionally, CardConnect is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and has received a number of compliants related to service, transparency and hidden fees.

Stax Connect, on the other hand, offers quick and easy integration to help you build a payments ecosystem in just 30 days, all while ensuring PCI compliance. There’s no need to spend your time and money in securing a bank sponsorship as you’re automatically backed by one of the largest banks when you partner with us. 

Our pre-built enrollment, risk management, and automatic settlement capabilities allow you to integrate payments easily with little to no financial investment. What’s more, Stax Connect simplifies the integration process with our single API. You’re able to connect the software with other solutions to create the best software experience for your merchants, instead of limiting them to pre-sets.

Plus, our top-notch partnership success team makes us a valuable partner for ISVs looking to facilitate payments quickly and easily. Stax also gives access to direct interchange rates, meaning ISVs can offer favorable rates and provide more value to sub merchants. Further, Stax has an A+ rating from the BBB, a noteworthy differentiator from CardConnect. Stax offers secure payment processing, transparent pricing, powerful analytics tools, and real-time 24/7 customer support. 

One drawback is that Stax Connect is currently not available for companies that don’t have a presence in the US.

Customer Support

CardConnect offers 24/7 customer support for their merchants. They also offer phone and email support for their ISV partners and email support for developers who have questions about their APIs, Gateways, card readers, or the Hosted iFrame Tokenizer. However, it’s not explicitly mentioned if ISV partners can access round-the-clock support.

Stax Connect partners love the fact that the support team guides them every step of the way and provides quick solutions when they hit a wall. Plus, there are tons of useful resources on the website that you can check out. Alternatively, you can reach out directly to your dedicated partner success manager for a more personalized experience.

Customer Ratings and Reviews

CardConnect doesn’t have the best customer reviews. There have been many complaints about hidden prices, and they were even sued in a class-action lawsuit. Customers have also complained about its unethical sales tactics and poor customer service.

CardConnect has 3 out of 5 stars on G2 and 3.9 out of 5 stars on Capterra. Merchant Maverick has given it a 3-star rating for its services and features.

Stax has great customer reviews on most review sites and forums. It has a 5-star rating from Merchant Maverick, a 4.3-star rating on Trustpilot, a 4.9 out of 5 stars on G2, and 4.8 out of 5 stars on Capterra. Stax has also received several awards for FinTech innovation, including awards from U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, and Inc. 500.

Final Verdict: CardConnect Vs. Stax Connect

Both Stax Connect and CardConnect allow ISVs to facilitate omnichannel payment acceptance solutions easily.

But when it comes to customer reviews and ratings, Stax clearly takes the lead. CardConnect doesn’t have a great reputation when it comes to transparency or customer support. Meanwhile, Stax has raving reviews on most platforms. 

While both CardConnect and Stax Connect have similar capabilities, customer experience and transparency in pricing and contracts are (and should be!) a sticking point for customers. Hidden fees and difficult contracts can make or break the relationship between the merchant and their payment processor. Stax Connect offers superior service and easy to understand pricing without contracts or hidden fees. 

When we compare the pros and cons of both, the only reason you should consider CardConnect is if your company doesn’t have a presence in the US. If you do, Stax Connect should be the obvious choice.

 Contact us to learn more about how Stax Connect can help you offer payment services to your customers.