When it comes to choosing a payment processing solution, there are two companies small businesses should be sure to consider: Stax and Merchant One. Both are established solutions serving a variety of businesses — but which is right for your business?
About Stax Payment Processing
Stax was founded in 2014 and was originally known as Fattmerchant. Stax’s payment processing offer is unique in the marketplace because it’s a subscription-based service, meaning that the company doesn’t markup processing fees. You pay a single monthly fee to cover your membership and then you cover the direct cost of interchange.
About Merchant One Payment Processing
Merchant One has been around since 2002 and offers custom payment processing plans for businesses of all sizes. Their main selling point is their lenient and quick approval process for new customers. They tout the process to start taking card payments as being only three simple steps.
Pricing is perhaps where Merchant One and Stax differ most significantly.
Stax pricing is pretty transparent upfront, with three mainstay plans:
- Growth, at $99/month
- Pro, at $159/month
- Ultimate, $199/month
Each of these plans is a flat upfront fee, so you won’t be hit with any surprise bills for things like statement fees, monthly minimum fees, or provider “annual fees.” They include zero markups on direct-cost interchange as well as 24/7 support.
Merchant One is not very transparent about pricing, as they make a custom plan for every client.
Here is the information available online, though:
- All plans have a 3-year minimum contract. To break the contract early, you’ll be charged up to $750.
- Transaction rates vary between .29% and 1.99% on top of interchange. You’ll determine the exact amount during your contract negotiations.
- You’ll pay a monthly fee, the cheapest of which is $6.95/month.
- You’ll also have an additional PCI Compliance fee of up to $100 annually.
Payment Processing Features
When it comes to features, both Stax and Merchant One do a good job of serving general payment processing needs, though they do have a few unique features each.
Stax offers a deep well of features, though some can only be accessed by certain plans.
- Accept every type of payment: swiped, keyed, mobile, online, and even contactless
- 24/7 technical support support
- Next day funding options
- Tokenized and encrypted customer data
- Free card terminal
- Real-time dashboards and reporting that vary by plan size
- Digital invoicing (available on Pro and Ultimate)
- Secure way to keep customers’ credit cards on file (available on Pro and Ultimate) as well as automatic updates for these stored cards (available only on Ultimate)
- Recurring invoicing and scheduled payments (available on Ultimate)
- API key for custom integrations (available on Pro and Ultimate)
- PCI compliance support
Merchant One offers a variety of features that you can pick and choose from when negotiating a contract.
- Merchant One users can accept any type of payment: online, keyed-in, swiped, mobile, and contactless
- Unlimited customer support
- Recurring payments
- API key
- Advanced fraud tools
- A vault for credit card storage
- Check processing
Both solutions offer a variety of integrations as well as API keys, so your engineering team can build something custom if necessary.
Stax has prebuilt integrations with over 200 other software solutions, the most notable of which are:
Merchant One’s Integrations
There isn’t a clear listing readily available of who Merchant One integrates with. That said, they specify on their website that they do integrate with Quickbooks.
Customer Ratings and Reviews
Stax and Merchant One both have been extensively rated across the web by both professional reviewers for outlets like Forbes and day-to-day users on third-party review sites. Ultimately, Stax tends to stack up better reviews.
Stax’s Notable Ratings with Standout Review Excerpts
Capterra: 4.8/5 stars
“Overall: Their support is great. I’ve had dozens of questions and they always get back to me. And they send your payments super fast. Great experience overall.
Pros: Flat rate pricing! Oh man, this is a breath of fresh air. After using stripe and square to process payments we have absolutely loved the simplified pricing structure that [Stax] uses. Only paying interchange fees and a fixed monthly rate saves us $100’s each month.” – Matt M.
Trustpilot: 4.3/5 stars
“The transition to [Stax] from my previous processor was seamless. They had me up and running with a new machine in less than a week and processing the same day it was received. The online portal is intuitive and packed with features like invoicing that you would normally have to pay for. On top of the cost savings, I couldn’t be happier with the customer service and overall experience of switching to [Stax].” – Alex Anderson
G2Crowd: 5/5 stars
“[Stax] has been nothing short of spectacular for our business… The consultation process was very friendly and straightforward, and then we were able to set up and implement their payment processing extremely quickly. Now, we have access to tons more data in addition to being able to scale so much faster than I had ever expected.” – Kyle M.
Merchant One’s Notable Ratings with Standout Review Excerpts
Capterra: 1/5 stars
“This was my first experience using credit cards for payments, so I didn’t know anything about it. … I was never told that the hidden fees were almost as high as those on your telephone bill. The salesperson shamelessly misrepresented the costs. He told me I could cancel my contract at any time, but did not tell me that canceling would result in a costly penalty.” – Deborah R.
Forbes: 3.2/5 stars
“Merchant One is one of Forbes Advisor’s top 10 credit card processing companies…. The company claims to have a lenient approval policy for new customers. However, beyond that, there are multiple points of caution to consider if you’re interested in signing up for credit card processing with Merchant One.” – Leeron Hoory & Cassie Bottorff
TrustPilot: 4.9/5 stars
“I had no idea what I was looking at. The support member was professional and knew exactly what to do. Amazing service!” – Anonymous User
Merchant One vs Stax Payments: Pros and Cons
So what does the final tally of pros and cons look like?
Merchant One Pros
- Their easy approval process results in a 98% approval rating for new customers — even those without perfect credit.
- They offer unlimited support for setup and use.
- Their Trustpilot ratings are filled to the gills with customers who are super happy with their customer support.
Merchant One Cons
- There are plenty of bad reviews and complaints to the Better Business Bureau that indicate customers often get hit with unexpected fees and/or do not live up to their marketing claims.
- There’s a lack of transparency with their pricing.
- They lock you into a three-year plan that has detailed contract terms.
Stax Payments Pros
- The flat monthly fee means you’ll never get hit with unexpected fees.
- Every Stax subscription comes with hefty features and Stax is highly transparent about which features come with which plans.
- Overall, reviewers love Stax and particularly appreciate the transparent pricing.
- The customer service team is prompt to reply and very helpful.
Stax Payments Cons
- For very small businesses with not many sales, the flat fee may not be worth the savings in transaction fees.
- Some reviews mention that it’s difficult to see an audit trail of invoicing.
Which Payment Processing Solution is Right for You?
Ultimately, both solutions have pros and cons. For most, if not all, small to medium businesses, Stax’s transparent flat fees, as well as hefty feature catalog, will likely leave a good impression. MerchantOne, however, doesn’t fare well on the pricing front because the company isn’t upfront with how much it charges. That being said, while customers do complain about their hidden fees, reviews indicate that their general service is good.
If you’re considering Stax for your business, get in touch to learn more about how we can support your payment processing needs.