Stripe Payment Gateway vs Stax: Which Solution is Right for Your Company?
Most businesses today are using a payment gateway. Or, at the very least, considering it. With only 17% of U.S. consumer spending made in cash, there is really no other option.
Thankfully, the trend toward digital and card payments comes alongside the development of digital services.
Enterprise businesses don’t need simple payment solutions. They need dynamic functionality, diverse checkout page options, seamless integrations, and usable data.
Often considered for these categories are Stripe and Stax. So let’s see how they compare.Learn More
About Stripe Payment Gateway
Stripe is an extremely popular payments solutions among eCommerce businesses, starting exclusively online. A prevalent payment gateway, Stripe integrates with numerous web platforms and apps, so businesses can easily accept payments online.
One thing that sets Stripe apart from other gateways is that it offers additional payment solutions. While companies like Authorize.net simply provide gateway services, Stripe’s offerings include payment processing and a merchant account.
Since its launch, Stripe has offered online white-label solutions. This meant that “ABC business online” could use Stripe payment processing service while keeping the “ABC business online” brand consistent at the checkout.
It wasn’t until 2018 that Stripe expanded its offering to include in-person POS solutions.
Today, Stripe offers the Stripe Terminal for in-person POS transactions and its white-label online solution.
Stax is a payments platform recognized by Fortune and U.S. News and World Report, Inc. for its simple payment solutions that are easy to use and highly scalable.
Designed for established businesses from small to enterprise-level, Stax offers an all-in-one payments API. Businesses can manage their payment ecosystem, analyze their customer and transaction data through payment analytics and enhance customer solutions with their wide range of available integrations.
Stax has both handheld POS devices and amerchant account powering online businesses.
Stripe vs Stax: Features
Now that we’ve covered each company’s general background, let’s take a look at their specific capabilities.
One of the most loved features of Stripe, when compared to other online platforms, is the range of payment options. No matter how a customer wants to pay, Stripe will likely support it. This includes ACH payments, credit card payments from Discover card, American Express, Mastercard, Visa, and mobile wallets like Google Pay, Apple Pay, and others.
It’s also worth noting that Stripe provides gateway services in-house. This can be advantageous because it provides a streamlined and consistent brand experience. However, it may limit your flexibility and options.
Aside from its gateway services,other Stripe-specific features include:
Stripe Billing allows merchants to request payments from customers and send custom invoices. These can be recurring, based on service usage, tiered, promotional, or your standard scheduled payment requests.
Stripe Sources is the feature that lets merchants accept international payment methods, such as Alipay, Bancontact, and Giropay. Stripe.js also allows merchants to build their own checkout form using Stripe APIs.
Stripe Connect is a specialized payment platform for large eCommerce clients.
Stripe Atlas helps United States businesses with a toolkit for setting up online.
Stripe Relay is for apps. It’s an API for merchants to power mobile in-app purchases.
Stripe Sigma handles reporting. Customer reporting, financial reporting, built-in reporting, and tax reporting integrations are all available through Stripe Sigma.
Stripe Radar for 3D secure credit card payment methods
Stripe Radar helps to fight fraud using machine learning to distinguish fraudsters and offers dynamic 3D Secure to high-risk payments.
For in-person point of sale (POS) payments, Stripe has its Stripe Terminals. A few different types are available, and all are handheld credit card readers. All of Stripe’s hardware options accept EMV chips and contactless payments. Prices for the card readers start at $59.
Developers love Stripe for its wide range of integrations. Too numerous to detail in full, Stripe has integrations with key platforms for everything from eCommerce solutions to recurring payments, accounting and customer communications, and marketing.
Businesses on the Stax platform get access to a centralized portal where the customer database can be found, along with features for inventory, payment analytics, invoicing, recurring billing, and other services. While they have different solutions depending on the membership, Stax offers a good range of features with all of its membership tiers.
Like Stripe, Stax supports several modes of payment. Customers can pay with all of the usual credit cards, debit cards, credit accounts, and digital wallets from iOS, Android, Microsoft, and all the others.
Their solutions are called toolkits and include:
Stax Pay meets most basic merchant needs, equipping businesses with a suite of services to accept payments via their cloud-based smart terminals. Payments can be taken over the phone, on the go, and contactless with their various POS solutions. On the dashboard, users have access to:
- Customizable digital invoicing
- Digital payment requests
- Email and text payment links
- Scheduled future and recurring payments.
- Real-time reports
- One-click online shopping carts.
From a payment gateway perspective, Stax offers more flexibility. While Stripe has its own payment gateway, Stax works with a number of providers including Authorize.net, NMI, Priority, and more. This means businesses aren’t tied down to a set provider, and you have other options should issues arise with a specific gateway.
Stax Enterprise is a dynamic payment experience to simplify business operations and discover better opportunities through in-depth analytics and real-time reports.
The real value of Stax Enterprise is the business analytics features that can be accessed via desktop and mobile. QuickBooks accounting software integration syncs information, such as customers’ card details, unpaid invoices, and payments. And APIs are available to integrate on any platform, website, or mobile. It also connects other business applications with Webhook automation.
Stax Bill automates and simplifies the billing and invoicing process while keeping the highest PCI compliance levels for customer data. It offers fully compliant revenue recognition, advanced financial analytics, customer insights, segmentation, subscription analysis, and real-time revenue tracking.
Stax API is the feature enabling integration with the various plugins, websites, and applications partnered with Stax. This feature also offers iOS and Android SDKs.
Stax Connect (SaaS) and Stax Professional Services
There are a few other features available to Stax customers that we won’t delve too deep into as they are not relevant to every business. But here’s a quick overview:
Stax Connect is for software solution providers to help with monetization and insight.
Stax Professional Services is for professional services business, making it more convenient to receive online payments, get notifications when paid, and use flexible invoicing solutions to get paid faster.
For in-person point of sale (POS) payments, the Stax Bluetooth mobile reader can swipe, dip, or tap physical credit cards. One great feature of Stax is that you don’t need their hardware. You can simply use their payment gateway integration and any other agnostic device.
Integrations are one of the most praised features of the Stax experience. Like Stripe, there are too many integration partners to list. From mailer solutions to CRMs, accounting software, ads platforms, and workflow solutions, Stax has it all.
You can see their list of integrations here.
Stripe vs Stax: Pricing
How do the two solutions compare when it comes to pricing? Let’s look at Stripe and Stax’s pricing structures below.
A Stripe account is charged as a flat-rate, pay-as-you-go pricing model. This means no monthly fees, just the transaction fees, which are:
- Online transactions:9% + $0.30 per successful card transaction, 0.8% per ACH transfer (maximum $5)
- In-person transactions:7% + $0.05 per successful card transaction
- International cards via online transactions: 9% + $0.30 per successful card transaction
- International cards via in-person transactions:7% + $0.30 per successful card transaction.
There are no additional fees for mobile wallet payments such as Apple Pay and Google Pay. But disputed payments incur a $15 fee, in addition to the initial payment amount if the chargeback is processed.
Stax’s pricing is membership-based, rolling on monthly billing cycles with no lock-in contracts. Merchants pay a monthly membership rate and direct cost of interchange with no markup. Compared to Stripe, there is no “% + fee.” That rate would depend on the current interchange rate. This means merchants benefit from direct access to interchange without expensive payment processing markups.
There are three payment plans for the Stax software packages:
- Growth: $99 per month. Including a free terminal or mobile reader, ACH processing, free surcharging capabilities, lite dashboards and analytics, and quick payment/backup processing.
- Pro: $159 per month. Including all growth features and digital invoicing, Text2Pay mobile payments, website-hosted payment links, stored credit card numbers, accounting reconciliation lite sync, API integration capabilities, and an enhanced dashboard with reporting.
- Ultimate: $199 per month. Including all Growth and Pro features and recurring invoices, scheduled payments, automatic updates for stored credit card information, one-click shopping cart setup, catalog management, data exports, and a dedicated account manager.
Large businesses or SaaS platforms can request custom plans through the Stax website.
Stripe vs. Stax: Ratings and Reviews
Stripe has an average star rating on merchant review websites, while Stax scores considerably higher.
Stripe customer ratings and reviews
Out of 6,998 reviews on Trust Pilot, Stripe has an average rating of 3.1. Interestingly, reviewers seem to either love or hate the platform. 53% have rated it as excellent (5 stars) and 39% as bad (1 star).
Unfortunately, it looks like Stripe has been attracting a lot of bad reviews recently with its facial recognition authentication process, frozen accounts problems, and huge refunds issued to scammers. Most bad reviews talk about there being little protection for merchants against scammers, losing their money to issues with credit card validation issues, and long waits for payouts into their bank account.
From the positive reviews, many customers praise the number of integrations, the smooth sign-up process, and Stripe support. It seems like long-term clients continue to have a positive experience while some newer customers are facing challenges.
Stax customer ratings and reviews
Out of 649 reviews on Trust Pilot, Stax has an average rating of 4.4. Unlike Stripe, the reviews are not so polarized. 79% of reviewers have rated Stax as excellent (5 stars) and only 7% as bad (1 star).
From the bad reviews, the most common mentions are unexpected fees and frustrations about performance analytics fees and chargebacks.
Alternatively, positive reviews suggest great customer service, a smooth onboarding experience, and valuable features. Some of the most commonly praised features are the user interface (U.I.) itself and the functionality of the virtual terminal, reporting database, and the range of integrations.
Stripe vs Stax: Pros and Cons
Still on the fence between the two solutions? Here’s a detailed look at their advantages and disadvantages.
Stripe pros and cons
Stripe shines online. It’s great for merchants who want customizable online checkout solutions and have developers who can design this with the integrations.
Stripe’s highlights are its customizable checkout, developer support, dynamic currency displays, and conversion solutions. It’s easy for merchants to accept all currencies and consumers to use international currencies without a glitch. The Stripe dashboard also has a PHP library that developers can use to accept credit cards without signing up to the Stripe gateway.
Despite its in-person POS solutions, Stripe is really made for online businesses. Its in-person solutions don’t really stand out. Businesses that aren’t leveraging all the integration options (primarily online solutions) may not find a lot of value with Stripe.
Stax Pros and cons
Stax is a real all-in-one platform appreciated by online and in-person businesses alike. It can be deployed as a cloud, SaaS, or web-based solution and on desktop or mobile. Wherever you are, it’s available. And their customer service stands out against other payment gateways as it’s possible to speak to someone in real life on the phone. They also have email, live chat, and a knowledge hub for anyone just searching for answers themself.
Unfortunately, Stax is not for businesses still finding their bearings. The company’s membership pricing is a big money saver for big businesses. But a business with payment volumes lower than $5,000 per month could end up paying membership prices that they don’t meet in value.
Both platforms are popular for a reason. They’re easy to configure, and they’re robust. At the end of the day, the right provider depends on your transaction volume, required features, and sales channels.
You should also consider the pricing structure differences between Stripe and Stax. In most cases, those with high transaction volumes will find that Stax is a more cost-effective option.
If you’re actively looking for a payments platform and are deciding between Stax and Stripe, get in touch with our payment specialists.
We can go over your business needs and give you our honest input on which solution is a better fit for you.